Day 2 - Installing the New



Day 2: We started up again the following Sat. (3/2/2002) back at Midas. We pushed the car back in and made sure that the new clutch fork was going to work. Lined it up while it was still in the package so that worst case it would be easier to send back. It looked like it was going to work. We unwrapped it and installed the throw out bearing and lined it up. No problems there anymore.

We didn't want to push the car in until we knew that we could do some work so after the clutch fork was lined up we pushed it in out of the rain. After the car was jacked up (lifted into the air for people taking things literally) we proceeded. First thing was make sure that the pressure plate was torqued down to 35 ft/lb. Then we installed the bellhousing. After a few choice words trying to get the fork lined up and staying in the one place, we realized this is the time we really need to get all the hydraulics installed. Down the car came.

First thing I realized is that I had all my MSD wires and oil pressure gauge coming through the hole for the master cylinder. A little temporary relocation was needed before I started with the hydraulics.

This was probably the hardest part to the whole thing. Not because it IS hard, but because I made it hard on myself. I decided that I didn't want to bleed the brake lines so I kept the brake booster hooked up. It stinks trying to get around all of that while trying to route this one piece hydraulic master/slave cylinder through everything. I did disconnect the pedals from under the dash so that I could at least move it around a bit. After a half hour and some more choice words I finally realized that it needs to be routed on the drivers side (outside) of the headers. Then it seemed to work a bit better. The only problem I ran into was getting the right angle of the master cylinder past the brake booster. With a little more "patience" things seemed to line up. Then I needed a little help from the "intimidator" to get the u-bolt through the fire wall and master cylinder. Once that was in and I had nuts on the bolts I raised that car back up. The slave cylinder actually sits where it's suppose to. What a novel idea, something works the way it's suppose to. We installed the heat shield and slave cylinder to the bellhousing, lined the fork up, and we where good to go to cut the floor and install the tranny.

We measured from the back of the bellhousing 19.5" and made a quick mark under the floor board to use as a template for our hole. We lowered the car back down, took my trusty Craftsman 18V cordless drill and the biggest bit I had and made my first hole (grimacing the entire time). Then we measured from the center a hole that was 4" wide and 5" long. Out came the Saw-Zall and then metal really started to fall out. It cut the floor board like butter. We probably could have gotten away with a jigsaw, but this is what we had at the time. Back in the air the car went.

Next we took out all the jacks (mainly Brantley the human jack) and we heaved the thing up. We couldn't get the right angle to get the tranny lined up. First thing we tried was jack up front of the engine. That helped a bit, but it still wasn't enough. Down the car came again to extend the hole for the shifter. We had to cut about 4" more towards the back so we could swing the shifter in the whole and line things up. Later we are going to take a piece of sheet metal and bolt it down in the unneeded space to strengthen the floor pan and so that we can unbolt it when I have to do a clutch.

Once the hole was right we lifted the car back up, jacked the front of the engine up and began jiggling. Jiggle here, jiggle there until the tranny went through the clutch and pressure plate. Then we put some bolts in and started walking them in slowly to get through the new pilot bearing. The Lakewood bellhousing has quite a bit of paint on it and that caused some problems getting the tranny to seat. Out came the tranny again and we used some emery cloth to clean some of the paint off. This seemed to do the trick. Back up with the tranny we went and it was still tight, but not too bad this time.

Now that the tranny is bolted down we started working with the cross member This is where we start to have our problems for the day. First thing we notice is that the exhaust is in the way. No big deal here. Out comes a chunk of the exhaust and we decide we'll fix it later. Once the exhaust is clear we notice our big problem. The cross member sits too high. We can't get the transmission mount between the tranny and the cross member The tranny was buried into the floor board. First thought is that we have to cut a BIG hole in the floor, but after I talk to a few people I realize that it's not a floor clearance problem, but a cross member problem.

This is where we stopped for the day. We kept the cross member in there to keep the weight off the engine and left the mount out.

The following Monday I called G-Force Performance up and talked to John. He was a big help. He told me that he was afraid that this wouldn't work with this cross member, but would do what it takes to make it right. His first suggestion was I could send it back and he would refund my money. His second suggestion was take one of his 200-4R cross members and a 3/8th" piece of steel, send them overnight to me and make that work. What he had in mind was bolt this cross member up and take the steel plate, weld it to the bottom of the cross member , and use that to mount the tranny to. I plan on trying this setup on Sat. with the hopes that I can finish up, besides the drive shaft, this weekend.

Stay tuned for Day 3 - Cross Member Day.