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Thread: Manual to automatic transmission swap

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    Registered User conedodger's Avatar
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    Default Manual to automatic transmission swap

    I'm just doing a little intelligence gathering here. I have not decided to actually do this. If you have the parts I need though, please PM me or speak up.

    My wife loves to ride in my Porsche 914 and 911. She sits there quietly and looks serenely happy. I ask her if she wants to learn to drive them and she says yes but when I actually take her to a parking lot to teach her, no way!
    The Z is different though. She calls the 914 and 911 cute but when I pull the Z out she calls it sexy in a voice that lets me know, she is not kidding. Now some of us are lucky enough to have our wives or girlfriends share our love of cars. I am not one of these lucky ones. She likes to ride in them and especially likes to ride in the 914 on the track and autocross course. I would love for her to actually drive. This has me pondering the possibilities. I know I can teach her to drive a manual transmission without causing a divorce but it will be very stressful for her and she will not enjoy driving on the street with other cars. What if I put an automatic transmission in it? I know most go the other way and take out the automatic and a lot pull the 4 speed for the 5 speed. What would be needed to go the other way? Is it impractical due to wiring harness differences? I know there are some wiring differences due to ignition safety systems and such.

    I have had an automatic transmission Z. I had a 76 with an automatic and was surprised to discover it was a total autocross weapon. Just drop it in first and take off. Shift to second if you have to. Only problem ever, was that it didn't want to shift back out of second if you needed to.

    What do you think? I would love for her to love to drive this car.
    Rob
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    1973 Datsun 240Z Restoration project. New paint in original white. E31 head on 2.4 block. Nissan Motorsports header. R200 with Nissan motorsports LSD.

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    Z Club of San Diego Montezuma's Avatar
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    I got a deal for u in san diego, I have a 72 automatic that the owner wants to make a 5sp, I have everything to make the change except the pedal box. I don't need anything in return except a pedal box. You are welcome to come to san diego to remove and fetch the tranny and flywheel. I got a guy we can pay to remove it for you. The car is located on a military base hobbyshop. PM me if you are interested.

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    Registered User conedodger's Avatar
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    I am interested but I cannot envision having the time to come to San Diego anytime soon. I wonder about the wiring harness. I know I need a different radiator, mine is an aftermarket aluminum job. What else do I need?
    Rob
    2000 BMW R1100 RT-SE (for sale)
    1999 Toyota 4Runner Supercharged
    1975 Porsche 914 stroker motor autoX car
    1973 Datsun 240Z Restoration project. New paint in original white. E31 head on 2.4 block. Nissan Motorsports header. R200 with Nissan motorsports LSD.

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    Z Club of San Diego Montezuma's Avatar
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    I know...I too am very busy. I got a guy who hangs around the hobbyshop looking for work who can have remove the tranny and ship it to you. I believe the radiators have the the auto tranny cooling feeds blocked off on manual cars, but your radiator not beiing stock could be a problem. If the wiring harness is different u can have the one that is in the car. You would have to pay the handyman to remove all that stuff for you. My 73Z is an automatic and I like it, gets 30 mpg on the freeway.

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    Semi-retired admin Arne's Avatar
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    Most of the wiring harness differences can be ignored. You will need to splice the trigger wire for the starter solenoid into the neutral-safety switch. I can't recall anything else that should be a show-stopper.
    Arne - Former owner, HLS30-37705, 7/71, 905 Red
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    You'll also have to hook up the downshift solenold. I'm not sure if they run off the gas pedal or the linkage somewhere.
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    Semi-retired admin Arne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sblake01 View Post
    You'll also have to hook up the downshift solenold. I'm not sure if they run off the gas pedal or the linkage somewhere.
    Oops! I forgot that. On my '71 I think it was on the gas pedal.
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    Supporting Member Diseazd's Avatar
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    Montezuma......I believe the pedal box is the same for the auto's and manuals.......I'm getting ready to convert from auto to manual on my 73 and it looks like all I need to do is bolt in the 2 manual pedals into the pedal box in the auto car ( with the robbed pedals, bushings and springs). Is that right or not Arnie? Guy
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    Registered User conedodger's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I knew there would be a neutral safety switch but I forgot about the downshift solenoid.

    She is getting pretty excited. I installed most of the new interior today. She kept coming out and looking and was finally calling it "my car" which is cool... I screwed up a couple things. For instance, you have to install the rear side vinyl before the quarter window and rear finisher. OOoops. Oh well, take it out, do it again.
    Rob
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    1975 Porsche 914 stroker motor autoX car
    1973 Datsun 240Z Restoration project. New paint in original white. E31 head on 2.4 block. Nissan Motorsports header. R200 with Nissan motorsports LSD.

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    Get yourself some transmission hose and rig up a cooler in front of your radiator. It's a snap really.

    Just make sure that your cooler is very close to your radiator without an air gap between the two. Doing this will force frontal air to go through the cooler and not around it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diseazd View Post
    Montezuma......I believe the pedal box is the same for the auto's and manuals.......I'm getting ready to convert from auto to manual on my 73 and it looks like all I need to do is bolt in the 2 manual pedals into the pedal box in the auto car ( with the robbed pedals, bushings and springs). Is that right or not Arnie? Guy
    I had to change the pedal box on my yellow car, but only because the PO buggered it up in it's past life. As far as I know, the pedal boxes for any given year are the same for either transmission type. Going from manual to auto should be simpler than the other way, as you will only need to replace the brake pedal, and remove all the clutch stuff. You'll want to fab a sealing plate for the clutch master hole, but that'll be simple.

    Beandip just swapped from auto to a 5 speed in his '73 a couple of months ago, his transmission was suspect, but he may still have some of the requisite parts.
    Last edited by Arne; 06-13-2010 at 07:36 PM.
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    My old Camaro was an automatic with an original style radiator. When I replaced the radiator with a Griffin unit, I added a B&M oil cooler and plumbed the lines to it. You should be fine with a similar setup. If I recall, the applications were based on horsepower, but it has been a few years
    -Andy
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    I am parting a 2/72 that was an auto. I got it with no motor or trans, but it does have the pedal box and the clutch master block off plate too. there might be some other pieces you need as well.

    let me know if you are interested. I'm selling everything cheap.

    Dave

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    mike
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    Default automatic transmission

    i have all you need i have no use for it its in realy good condition i have the flywheel torque converter the pedal starter all the pipe and the plate ill even give you the console for it let me know if u are interested im here in stockton so u can pic it up ill sell it for really cheap

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    Registered User ta240's Avatar
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    When I had an automatic in my old Z I used a limit switch with a roller on the arm mounted to the firewall on the engine side that the throttle linkage would press against to operate the kickdown. Also ended up wiring the A/C compressor power wire through it so it would cut the A/C under hard throttle. Was always a little tempted to wire in a second button I could push to trigger the kickdown.

    The brake pedal fits from the automatic, just remove the clutch pedal.

    As pointed out above make sure you get good airflow through an external cooler if you use one. I got stuck in traffic around lake tahoe when I first did the swap to auto on my old Z and it started shifting real hard. After that I added a fan to the external cooler till I later had to replace the radiator and used one with a cooler built in.

    I did my swap at the time for a similar reason, we could only afford one car so it was convert the Z to something she would enjoy driving on a regular basis or replace it. It was funny though, I just left my center console the same with the shifter coming up through the old boot and she never had any trouble getting it in the right gear but the guy at the tire shop could not get the car into reverse for anything.

    I also changed the worn out 2.4 in it to a used 2.8 so can't comment on exactly how different it feels.
    Last edited by ta240; 09-25-2010 at 08:10 PM.
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    Registered User Steve Parmley's Avatar
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    I have the radiator, larger brake pedal and starter motor (which is different than the standard) left over that you can have. You missed a complete swap package by a year though. I sold everything else to that guy in So Cal that was putting the automatics in Chinese trucks.

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    Registered User conedodger's Avatar
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    Shhh... If we quit talking about it maybe she will forget. NOT! Gotta get the rest of these dashboard wires matched up first and then I can gather parts.
    Rob
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    Give her the keys and take her to a large parking lot, then get out, get a cup of coffee and book and let her have some alone time with the car and parking lot.
    things will only bother you if you let them.

    82 280zxt 4 spd auto
    73 240z--lsd, cv axles
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    mike
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    i have all the parts u need to do the swap and im in stockton i have no use for it ill give it all to you for 50 dollars its the starter flywheel torque converter transmission piping even the mount and the break pedal thats every thing u need to do the swap let me know before i start trowing it away

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    Registered User conedodger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel View Post
    Give her the keys and take her to a large parking lot, then get out, get a cup of coffee and book and let her have some alone time with the car and parking lot.
    That might work. Not.

    My problem is that the car has new paint, new interior including a new dashboard. It is essentially a new looking Datsun Z with a track car suspension and warmed up engine. If I turned her loose in a parking lot I would need Propofol and Versed (anesthesia and sedation drugs) instead of coffee and a book... I remember teaching her to drive. She drove right through a bus shelter with me screaming "STOP - STOP - STOP!" Once she had killed the shelter, she stopped and got out and I drove home.

    Teaching her to drive a manual transmission was the plan and she was good with that until one of you guys mentioned converting it to an automatic at one of my Reunion events. Then she turned to me and said, "you can do that?" and there has never been any doubt in her mind since then that this is the plan.
    Rob
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    Registered User conedodger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesbond209 View Post
    i have all the parts u need to do the swap and im in stockton i have no use for it ill give it all to you for 50 dollars its the starter flywheel torque converter transmission piping even the mount and the break pedal thats every thing u need to do the swap let me know before i start trowing it away
    I will take them. I think the center console might be a bit different too? No?
    Rob
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    1973 Datsun 240Z Restoration project. New paint in original white. E31 head on 2.4 block. Nissan Motorsports header. R200 with Nissan motorsports LSD.

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    Registered User doradox's Avatar
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    Does the rear end have a 3.54 or better gear already?

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by doradox View Post
    Does the rear end have a 3.54 or better gear already?

    Steve
    Not sure what ratio it is but it stays. It has a Datsun Comp LSD.
    Rob
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    Quote Originally Posted by conedodger View Post
    Not sure what ratio it is but it stays. It has a Datsun Comp LSD.
    Being an R200 there's a good chance that it is. I was just wondering because the auto trans 240s came with a 3.54 and if you had a 3.36 it would be a little less "spirited" off the line. It's cool that you're doing the swap to allow you wife to enjoy driving a Z.

    Steve

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    mike
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    i have every thing including the console its black i have no use for it its just taking up space its all in good condition i hate to trow it away but i dont like keeping stuff that i dont need if u wanna take it ill give it all to you for 50 dollars if u want u can give me your center console ill give you mine but i know the automatic console is easy to convert let me know if u want it if not ill have to take the transmission to the junk yard so i can get the core for it hahaha

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    Registered User olzed's Avatar
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    Ten years ago I converted my 72 240 from auto to manual. Not too hard.
    One of the local 'experts' on 240s told me I would have to change the diff as well. This sounded rubbish to me so I left it as was. ie 3.5. This car is now a breeze to drive with plenty of poke and quite a cruisy drive if thats what we want. 2600 rpm in 5th at 60mph or 100kmph.

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    mike
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    i got all u need to convert ill just be trowing it away ill take the transmission for a core at the junk yard so if u dont want the transmission u can take the other parts starter torque converter for free let me know before i trow it transmission is not included im taking it to the junk yard to get my core i just dont wanna waste a good parts the i have no use for so let me know if u want it its free

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    hi new owner of a 240 and is there a big difference on the auto to manual trans with the distributor? just found out i have the auto distributor, can you give me any info you might have on it that would be awesome

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    Registered User olzed's Avatar
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    Hey Adam. You will notice NO difference.

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    Have you looked into the differences between the zx turbo automatic with lockup torque converter and
    the plane jane jatco 3 speed?

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