Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
6/12/18 1:09 p.m.


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Story By Tom Suddard • Photos Courtesy Tremec

Which Flavor of the Legendary T-56 Transmission Fits Your LS Swap–and Your Budget?

Want to see my 4G63-swapped AW 11? How about my EF9 fitted with a B16A engine and transmission? Oh, and you’ll love my AE86.

Confused? We don’t blame you. Car dorks have been tossing around engine and chassis codes forever, and unless you’re a devoted fan of a particular car (hello, E30 BMW lovers), odds are it’s all gibberish to you.

But we’ve got one code you’re guaranteed to know: T-56. It’s the basic designation for the gold standard in domestic six-speed, rear-wheel-drive, manual transmissions. You can’t enter a forum or a salvage yard without hearing those three characters discussed with hushed awe and respect.

But not all T-56s are created equal, and what may seem like a great bargain might actually be the opposite. To get to the bottom of this aluminum-cased wonder, we roped in the experts at American Powertrain. The T-56 is their bread and butter, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re also the world’s largest Tremec dealer.

Read the rest of the story

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
6/12/18 6:59 p.m.

That's awesome. I needed that. 

te72
te72 Reader
6/13/18 10:29 p.m.

Good info, thanks for sharing online! I really, really hope to never need to replace the transmission in the Supra, but if that day comes, it will likely be a TR-6060 for me.

 

For what it's worth, even new, a T56 variant is cheap compared to the other 6-speed manuals that can handle the power like they can. For reference, try looking up what a Getrag V160/161 goes for these days.

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
6/14/18 7:02 a.m.

The getrag 420g and Nissans cd009 6 speeds behind the vq35de (the one behind the vq35hr engines have a concentric slave cylinder) are also options. Both can take good amount of power and easily found everywhere. Usually cheap compared to t56 and way way way cheaper than the v160/161.

Matt_Corrie
Matt_Corrie New Reader
6/14/18 7:07 a.m.

i bought my car with the T-56 already installed - now i cant wait to crawl under it and see what i have - articles like this are like Christmas morning for me !! LOL!!

te72
te72 Reader
6/15/18 1:25 a.m.

In reply to yupididit :

I know of at least one 420g swap going on in a Supra, it's been a work in progress from what I can remember. The CD009 is indeed a good alternative, especially for those on a budget. However, identifying them seems to have been an issue in some cases. If I recall, not all of them are tagged in such a way that can confirm them as the CD009. There was some issue with a VERY similar transmission used in the Z33 that was significantly weaker, but looked essentially the same. About the only way to tell that they were not the same was when your new 6-speed decided it didn't like torque as much as you were hoping.

 

Details are a bit fuzzy in my head though, so I certainly wouldn't take my words as gospel here. I never had any intention of running a CD009, so I was skimming through the information when it popped up.

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
6/15/18 3:24 p.m.

In reply to te72 :

You're right some of them arent labled well. But, I believe you can still buy them brand new for a very decent pricel. Like $1600 for a brand new CD009. The latest revision number is CD00A, which is identical to the CD009 just to be clear.

te72
te72 Reader
6/16/18 1:37 a.m.

In reply to yupididit :

Can't beat that price with a stick for the performance level. Unless you were under some severe budget restriction (which, why are you swapping a 6-speed in if that's the case?), I don't understand why you wouldn't just buy new. This, coming from a guy who still picks up pennies that he finds.

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
6/18/18 10:54 a.m.

I've never driven one.  How's it shift, compared to say a T5?

te72
te72 Reader
6/19/18 12:42 a.m.

In reply to JBasham :

Can't say I've driven a T5, but a T56 is easily one of the better transmissions I've driven. It's direct, a bit notchy (I mean that in a good way), and takes a bit of a firm hand to select your gear, but... it inspires confidence that you can slam gears quickly and it will work.

 

My manual experience, off the top of my head:

-whatever is behind a KA24E in a Nissan 240SX

-whatever is behind the VG30DET in the Z31

-Toyota T50

-Toyota W58

-Toyota R154

-Miata transmissions

-Various trucks

I'd say the only one that compares for shift quality is the W58 in my experience, but those are comparatively made of glass... You owe it to yourself to test something out with a T56. Fortunately, they're all over the place. =)

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
6/19/18 8:36 a.m.

Thanks.

I'm using T5s at the moment, but three problems.

Shifting quality is only "pretty good."

5th gear is utterly useless on the track, even on a downhill front straight.

Torque handling is okay for now, but possibly not okay where I'm headed.

OTOH, it's really light.

And there are a lot of really good rebuild videos out for it.

weedburner
weedburner Reader
6/19/18 10:00 a.m.
JBasham said:

Thanks.

I'm using T5s at the moment, but three problems.

Shifting quality is only "pretty good."

5th gear is utterly useless on the track, even on a downhill front straight.

Torque handling is okay for now, but possibly not okay where I'm headed.

OTOH, it's really light.

And there are a lot of really good rebuild videos out for it.

There is another way to get more power thru any transmission including the T5- add a device to control the hit of the clutch!

Adding the ability to control the hit of the clutch makes it possible to significantly reduce the impact of inertia on the gearset/case. At the same time controlling the hit of the clutch actually makes the car quicker by increasing the amount of power that the engine is able to produce. You can also increase the overall amount of torque that you can put thru the transmission on the shifts.

Some claim to be successful at modulating the clutch with their foot, but even with a lot of trial/error practice consistency will be lacking. It's much easier to precisely add a bit of slip time by using a mechanical device, here's a list/links to devices specifically designed to do the job for you...

Tilton Flow Control Valve
ClutchMasters Flow Control Valve
Magnus Launch Control Device
ClutchTamer Clutch Slip Controller

The last one on the list is my personal favorite as I designed it myself, but it's also the only one on the list that works with mechanical clutch linkage as well as hydraulic. Anyone who has witnessed an NMRA Coyote Stock race in the last couple years has seen the ClutchTamer in action.

If at some point you were to decide to upgrade from a T5 to a TKO or T56, that same device will improve their power handling capabilities as well.

Grant

wspohn
wspohn Dork
6/19/18 7:39 p.m.

Understand why you might want a CDV (clutch delay valve) but I hate them.  BMW owners learn to drive so they can remove the valve.  Plus by introducing slip on engagement, they may be easier on drive line but are harder on clutches.

weedburner
weedburner Reader
6/20/18 9:18 a.m.

I don't like CDV's either, as they slow down the entire release cycle of the clutch pedal which screws up the shifts.

The ClutchTamer is selective, as it only slows down the last bit of pedal travel that affects how hard the clutch hits the drivetrain/tires. The driver still has full control over the part of clutch pedal travel that affects speed/quality of the shifts. The net effect on clutch component wear is not what you might think. It basically converts the clutch slip part of the pedal release cycle from hi clamp/short duration to less clamp/longer duration. Less clamp/longer duration slipping creates a much lower torque spike to be passed along to the rest of the drivetrain, but net wear/tear on the clutch components themselves ends up about the same.

 

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
6/20/18 7:11 p.m.
JBasham said:

I've never driven one.  How's it shift, compared to say a T5?

Personally I love T-5s and have hated every T-56 I've driven. To me the T56 has too short of throws, even stock, and not enough side to side travel. I like my gates a little wider spaced and I like a little less shifting effort. Then again, my DD has an SSK with a tall shifter to mitigate the shortness.

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