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Any good T-56 fixin' shops out there?

This is a discussion on Any good T-56 fixin' shops out there? within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I think I have had bad luck in tranny shops fixing my T-56. I've had my T-56 rebuilt twice, one ...

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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    Any good T-56 fixin' shops out there?

    I think I have had bad luck in tranny shops fixing my T-56. I've had my T-56 rebuilt twice, one buy a dealer, and another by a trans shop in Anne Arundel County (not naming names), and both times the tranny is repaired (in the summer) where it seems fine in the warm months and grinds gears (a zipping noise) in the winter, even after I have let the car warm up.I don't drive the thing hard, especially until its had some time to warm up, clutch pedal all the way to the floor before shifting. I've had shops replace the clutch and tranny fluid with what they are supposed to have, and the problem doesn't go away. Any ideas, recommendations?

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    Former Mopar Man 2002ssslp's Avatar
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    I have a great guy in NJ. he is not that expensive, about 450 labor. Buy your own kit and ship it with the trans. Let me know if you want his name.
    My ride is a 2002 Camaro SS SLP #3296 with 30k, LTH, 3" Y, CME, Frost tune, K&N, ported TB, Blackwing lid, Bellows, MSD, Denso Iridium, and 85mm MAF, Bilsteins, Eibach springs, SLP strut brace, Adj. Panhard, TA Girdle, UMI, Pro 5.0, Nitto NT555
    My wife has a 2004 GTO with the rare SAP, 18" wheels, K&N Cold Air System, MSD, Ported TB, Frost tune, Denso Iridium, Flowmaster cat-back, 3200 Yank, 75k

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    Senior Member raynor139's Avatar
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    Tick performance if your willing to ship it. One of the best at rebuilding trans and beefing them up.
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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    I am looking for a shop to drop the car off to do it. While I am looking for closer to Baltimore, what part of New Jersey is he in and what is his turn-around time?

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    Former Mopar Man 2002ssslp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whamhammer View Post
    I am looking for a shop to drop the car off to do it. While I am looking for closer to Baltimore, what part of New Jersey is he in and what is his turn-around time?
    He is located in Boonton,NJ and he has been building manual transmissions and differentials for years. He know all the upgrades to do as well. He takes about a week for turnaround. Let me know if you want his number.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    What did you have rebuilt? What parts were used? No warranty on the work?
    It's on jackstands.

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    Former Mopar Man 2002ssslp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002ssslp View Post
    He is located in Boonton,NJ and he has been building manual transmissions and differentials for years. He know all the upgrades to do as well. He takes about a week for turnaround. Let me know if you want his number.
    He goes over the entire transmission, if you supply the kit he will use it to help save money. He gives an unlimited mileage one year warranty on all work done.

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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    What did you have rebuilt? What parts were used? No warranty on the work?
    The parts were new:

    1st rebuild (8/21/08 58,368 miles)

    QTY PN Descr
    1 14061685 Bearing
    1 12523186 Ring, Synch 4.384
    1 12523194 Ring, Synch 4.384
    1 12523191 Synchro 4.423
    2 12523252 Ring, Synch 4.384
    1 88894078 Ring, Synch 4.384
    1 10117848 Seal SMM 4.318
    4 88861800 Fluid 8.800
    2 12346141 Adhesive 8.800
    1 12523043 Synchro 4.380
    1 12523049 Ring, Synch 4.384
    1 12523186 Ring, Synch 4.384

    2nd rebuild (08/07/2009) 72k miles:

    QTY PN Descr
    1 12523052 reverse gear
    1 12523043 reverse synchro
    1 12523300 reverse lockout solenoid
    1 NPN sealer

    As of late, I have brought it to the local Buick dealer (used to be Pontiac) multiple times, and they couldn't diagnose the problem because it wouldn't do it for them (they would drive it at about noon, so the trans wasn't so cold). The Mr. Tire checked it out when I have some minor work done and the mechanic said that it was giving him problems going into fifth and sixth, where I am having it in the lower gears.
    Last edited by Whamhammer; 11-24-2013 at 08:53 AM.

  10. #10
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Why on the second rebuild did they just replace reverse gear parts? 99% of the manual transmissions I've rebuilt, including old muncie's and top loaders I never have to replace any reverse stuff (and those transmissions don't even have a sincro reverse gear).
    So I find it kind of odd that you did.

    What kind of clutch setup are you running? Sounds to me like you have a clutch issue if you have to push the pedal completely to the floor to release it. Shouldn't be that way. With a clutch pedal working like that it's likely not moving the disc off the flywheel far enough, and may still be trying to spin the disc slightly. This makes for sticky shifting and is hard on syncros which kind of explains to me why all the syncro replacements. Very difficult to drive that way as well.

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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    They replaced the reverse because I literally couldn't get it out of reverse. During the second rebuild, the guy said it looked like some of the adhesive from the first rebuild leaked inside and was on some parts, but they got it off of them. I don't put too much into the statement because I figure they would've put in for more labor and parts to fix that being that the extended warranty already waived my deductible because of the problems I had.

    I am running a factory replacement clutch, installed from a Chevy' dealer during the first rebuild because it was almost gone. I can get the pn's later. I don't necessarily have to push it in all the way, at least I think I don't, I just do it to know that its fully depressed. Normally, how far down should I have to press it for it to fully engage?

    One of the reasons I am frustrated is because its seems I get handed a bit of hooey every time I need it diagnosed and/or repaired to get nearly the same result as before. I was under the belief that these transmissions were somewhat reliable and (reasonably for an F-Body) smooth. I am willing to give up a little bit of shift-time and consistency, versus newer automatics, to row my own gears, but whats been going on with this trans' is getting a little daunting. I want to build the engine up in the next year or so to play with the newer guys, but if I have a trans that is just going to act like this, why bother?

  12. #12
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Some would like you to think the T-56 was the best thing since canned beer. That's a bit of a misnomer. It's "OKAY" and works fine for daily driver status that these cars were intended for. However for some of us gear bangers they stink. They have paperlined parts and alot of plastic and cast parts inside that just don't like abuse. They have to have money sunk in them to perform up to a higher level much like the auto's do.
    Clutch system is the same way, the hydraulics leave alot to be desired and the stock clutch itself won't hold much HP anyway. So in reality anyone that wants to race a T-56 and do it reliably and consistently will be spending as much or even more money than any owner with an automatic Fbody. If they don't they are just on borrowed time.
    To top that off, since manuals are so much harder on driveline parts you'll run into the dreaded 10 bolt issue and the prezzled driveshaft much quicker than any slushbox will. Then add the cost of a blowproof if you like your toes, and/or run under 13.0's with a sticky tire and want to be leagal.

    Hope that doesn't get you down in the dumps though Sorry to hear about the trans issues. Too difficult to diagnose over the internet but it sounds like you'll be digging back into it unfortunately.

    As far as clutch engagement it's personal preference. I prefer mine to grab near the top of pedal travel so I don't have a complete foot stroke when hanging gears, I can feather it. With these hydraulic setups it's impossible unless you go with an adjustable master cylinder, then set pedal engagement to your liking.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 11-25-2013 at 12:16 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Some would like you to think the T-56 was the best thing since canned beer. That's a bit of a misnomer. It's "OKAY" and works fine for daily driver status that these cars were intended for. However for some of us gear bangers they stink. They have paperlined parts and alot of plastic and cast parts inside that just don't like abuse. They have to have money sunk in them to perform up to a higher level much like the auto's do.
    Clutch system is the same way, the hydraulics leave alot to be desired and the stock clutch itself won't hold much HP anyway. So in reality anyone that wants to race a T-56 and do it reliably and consistently will be spending as much or even more money than any owner with an automatic Fbody. If they don't they are just on borrowed time.
    To top that off, since manuals are so much harder on driveline parts you'll run into the dreaded 10 bolt issue and the prezzled driveshaft much quicker than any slushbox will. Then add the cost of a blowproof if you like your toes, and/or run under 13.0's with a sticky tire and want to be leagal.

    Hope that doesn't get you down in the dumps though Sorry to hear about the trans issues. Too difficult to diagnose over the internet but it sounds like you'll be digging back into it unfortunately.

    As far as clutch engagement it's personal preference. I prefer mine to grab near the top of pedal travel so I don't have a complete foot stroke when hanging gears, I can feather it. With these hydraulic setups it's impossible unless you go with an adjustable master cylinder, then set pedal engagement to your liking.

    So would the Tick's "Viper" rebuild make it reasonably "bulletproof and blowproof" and safe for car/toes?

  14. #14
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    A true Viper build would include the larger outputshaft similar to 400 turbo 32 spline style rather than the whimpy 27 output in a stock T56.
    The larger output is a big plus but it also requires a new tailshaft housing, as well as a new "larger" driveshaft yoke. At this point it's a good time to upgrade the driveshaft because the larger yoke will take a larger U-joint (rather than use an adapter joint). Then you'll be looking at swapping the yoke on the rearend to accept that new driveshaft with it's 1350 u-joint on the other end. Now the rearend itself is the weak link.

    See how this all just keeps snowballing?

    The route most people take is a good quality rebuild from Tick without the Viper output shaft upgrades simply because the larger output shaft leads to more money spent on down the driveline. And that's fine, in most cases you won't snap the small 27 spline output shaft in a stock T-56 but I will say it does happen, even with mild HP. If you don't run sticky tires and don't plan trips to the track on a prepped surface, you'll likely be fine. So you could save some money by going with a good Tick rebuild that replaces the other weak links in the trans, like the sincros, shift forks, etc..and be just fine.

    On the blow proof bellhousing, that's a safety issue that I prefer. Something else that most don't consider is the blowproof also comes with a block saver plate, because when you blow a clutch, it generally takes out the engine with it. I've had clutches come apart myself and it will go right through a stock aluminum bell housing like melted butter, luckily never touched the block in my case, but carnage gets expensive very quickly. So I like to use them even on a street car. NHRA will also tech a manual trans car looking for a blowproof if they suspect it will run under the index set. So it's possible to get parked without one.
    Without looking at the book I believe the cutoffs are 13.0 or faster with sticky tires or 12.0 or faster with DOT tires but I'd have to check on that. Either of which a good running LS1 is easily capable of doing.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 11-26-2013 at 07:23 PM.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    I checked for you, any stick car running 11.99 or quicker requires a blowproof regardless of the type of tire used.

    So yeah, even a mild cam LS1 can do that. Now whether the track you go to is enforcing this is another question.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Blow proof? First I heard of that. Similar to a scatter shield?

  17. #17
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Same thing.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    A true Viper build would include the larger outputshaft similar to 400 turbo 32 spline style rather than the whimpy 27 output in a stock T56.
    The larger output is a big plus but it also requires a new tailshaft housing, as well as a new "larger" driveshaft yoke. At this point it's a good time to upgrade the driveshaft because the larger yoke will take a larger U-joint (rather than use an adapter joint). Then you'll be looking at swapping the yoke on the rearend to accept that new driveshaft with it's 1350 u-joint on the other end. Now the rearend itself is the weak link.

    See how this all just keeps snowballing?

    The route most people take is a good quality rebuild from Tick without the Viper output shaft upgrades simply because the larger output shaft leads to more money spent on down the driveline. And that's fine, in most cases you won't snap the small 27 spline output shaft in a stock T-56 but I will say it does happen, even with mild HP. If you don't run sticky tires and don't plan trips to the track on a prepped surface, you'll likely be fine. So you could save some money by going with a good Tick rebuild that replaces the other weak links in the trans, like the sincros, shift forks, etc..and be just fine.

    On the blow proof bellhousing, that's a safety issue that I prefer. Something else that most don't consider is the blowproof also comes with a block saver plate, because when you blow a clutch, it generally takes out the engine with it. I've had clutches come apart myself and it will go right through a stock aluminum bell housing like melted butter, luckily never touched the block in my case, but carnage gets expensive very quickly. So I like to use them even on a street car. NHRA will also tech a manual trans car looking for a blowproof if they suspect it will run under the index set. So it's possible to get parked without one.
    Without looking at the book I believe the cutoffs are 13.0 or faster with sticky tires or 12.0 or faster with DOT tires but I'd have to check on that. Either of which a good running LS1 is easily capable of doing.

    Well, if I do go with tweaking this car out, I was thinking of budgeting 10k (don' tell my wife). I was figuring heads/cam set (if the bores/bearings are fine) trans rebuild (because I figure I will need it), that lighter k-frame I mentioned a few months back and a rear. How much does a scattershield that protects the engine as well cost? Unless the 2015 Camaro/Mustangs come out lighter and 30k, I don't see how they will be that much more beneficial than a 4th gen'er.

    Also wouldnt it be good to weld in some sort of shield in the tunnel?

  19. #19
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    If you run a blowproof bellhousing there is really no need for extra metal in the tunnel. I've used Lakewood in the past that run about $500 but there are many other brands on the market now so you can price shop around. I recently used quicktime on some customer cars, very nice bellhousing. There is even a thicker aluminum housing that looks stock for a little more protection, however not SFI approved like a blowproof though, made for classic cars, not sure if anything like that is out there for the LS/T56 combo or not.

  20. #20
    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    McCleod was the best scatter shield for the T56 as far as fitment when I did my research on them a few years ago.

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