Day 1 - Rippin Out the Old


I started the day by getting my pedals actually installed back in the car so that I could actually drive to Midas where my (soon-to-be) brother in-law works. That didn't take too long. I got that installed and took it for a test drive to make sure I didn't screw anything up. I was paranoid that I would have problems stopping since I was used to a full size brake pedal and not the short stubby one that I finished with. Amazingly enough I had no problem. I never realized that that's all the pedal I normally use anyway.

After my short test drive I started packing up the truck. My fiancé came by to help me by driving the truck for me while I followed in my Monte.

That's most of the stuff, the rest is in the box.

One thing that I was always afraid of doing with the 200-4R in there was a power brake and launch. I figured the first time I did that the tranny would finally give out. Out on a back road on the way I figured I'd have to do it once before I yanked the tranny. Of course that was fun, except the sliding through gears. It was definitely time to pull it out.

After the trip to 7-11 for beer we pulled up and started work at about 3:30pm Sat.

First thing we (my soon-to-be brother in-law Brantley and I) did was disconnect the drive shaft. Then we disconnected everything that was attached to the tranny. i.e. shifter cable, speedo gear, etc. We didn't really feel like trying to get the upper trans cooler line off the tranny due to how tight it was to get to, so we took a whizz wheel to it. Much easier that way ;). After that we unbolted and lowered it down. Within 45 minutes we had the drive shaft and tranny on the floor.

Then we started the fun part. Putting everything together. Starting with the flywheel we ran into our first and second problem. No bolts for the flywheel and the starter was setup for a 168 tooth flexplate and I had a 153 tooth flywheel. The bolts for the fleplate are shorter than a flywheels bolts and the starter was just going to have to be on hold for now so we could continue. Luckily I was at a shop and the shop Forman (Howard) had an extra set for me. Torqued that down to 74 ft/lbs as per a Chilton's manual on hand.

This is when we started measuring the bellhousing. As we lifted it up we found that the headers where causing a clearance problem. Nothing the whizz wheel couldn't handle.

When that was all complete I realized that the back shield for the blow proof bellhousing had not been put up yet. Off comes the flywheel, cut the back plate with, yep you guessed it, a whizz wheel, put the back plate up and re-torqued the flywheel. This is where the real problem came up. We didn't have a pilot bearing. Who would've figured that a $3.00 piece would hold us up. We called everywhere. Trash Auto, Pep Boys, you name it. Anything that was open at 7:30pm. None of these people could help me. Most of them didn't understand what I was talking about. We finally found one place that was open and had one, but they where an hour away. 2 guys that where hangin out and throwing in a helping hand now and then said they would go so we could continue working. That was a big help.

While they where gone we decided it was time to do all the work under the dash and in the car. I needed to drill the holes for the master cylinder and take the center console out. Brantley started on the center console while Howard and I started on yanking the steering column out. Once we got the steering column and the brake peals out I used John Bzdel's template he sent me to use, to drill the holes. That thing worked flawlessly. As Jay put it, "I wouldn't expect anything less from the President of the MMC"(Manual Monte Cult). While I was under there I remembered John Bzdel also telling me that the steering column bracket needed to be trimmed a little so that the clutch pedal had some more clearance. This time we used a air powered jig saw. (Air tools are wonderful things).


This is my live picture.

This is John Bzdel's picture he sent me to show how it works. This picture makes it a little easier to see without all the wires.

This is the steering column bracket that John also said to trim. Again this is his picture because he took the time to actually take it out of the car. I did all my trimming with it still in the car.


I hooked the pedal back up just as the two guys came back with my pilot bearing. They made it in record time. There went and came back in an hour and a half.

We raised the car back up and tapped in the pilot bearing with the back of a socket. Then we started with the clutch. No problems there. The pressure seemed to be the next pain. No bolts for it either. Howard had those for me too. Lucky me. Torqued those down to 35 ft/lbs.

While Brantley was doing all that I started work on the bellhousing. I put the pivot ball in the bellhousing and the throw out bearing in the clutch fork. This came to be our finishing point because the clutch fork wasn't right for the bellhousing. Go figure, I order a Lakewood Bellhousing and a Lakewood Clutch Fork and they don't work. I call Summit (open 24/7) and they don't have a clue. They gave me a number to Lakewood's tech support but that is all they can do for me. Apparently the clutch fork is for a mechanical linkage and my bellhousing is for an '84 - '92 Camaro hydraulic. Stupid me, so I ordered a '91 Camaro clutch fork from GM on Monday.

No big deal, it's 11:00pm and we have had about enough anyway. We lowered the car back down, put the steering column back in, and pushed it out into the parking lot (Armstrong power steering). We cleaned up and put away all his tools, washed our hands, and where out of there at about 12:30am.