How to Install a Manual Transmission

by Chris Stevenson

Manual transmissions allow a driver to manually shift gears to power a vehicle forward or backward. Unlike automatic transmissions that use fluid, vacuum and pressure to shift the gears, the driver selects the gear to be used and determines how long that gear stays engaged. Many things must be considered when removing and rebuilding a manual transmission. Installing a manual transmission can also be challenging due to transmission's weight and lack of balance.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Use the floor jack to lift the vehicle high enough to place two jack stands under the rear part of the frame and two jack stands under the front part of the frame. With the help of an assistant, place the manual transmission in a transmission dolly jack.

Set the transmission housing squarely in the jack cradle and cinch the four end clamps against the case housing. Loop the two safety chains completely around the transmission case and join the links together with two bolts and nuts. Tighten the nuts finger tight.

Slide the transmission jack under the vehicle. If you have left the shifter linkage and arm attached, maintain a clear path for it to enter up into the passenger cabin through the plate access opening. Pump the handle on the jack to lift the transmission. The transmission input shaft should be parallel with the opening on the bell housing.

Move the transmission forward. Make fore and aft adjustments on the front and rear tilt knobs on the the transmission jack to align it. Use the fore, aft and side tilt knobs on the jack to reach the correct alignment plane.

Push the transmission input shaft toward the opening of the clutch and pressure plate. Align the splines of the input shaft with the clutch splines. To help align the splines, turn the transmission on its side axis by turning the the side tilt knobs on the jack. Once aligned, push the transmission completely forward until the end of the transmission input shaft seats in the pilot bearing hole. If you have a 1/2-inch gap between the bell housing and transmission, the pilot bearing did not align properly. Pull back and reinsert.

Install the the transmission mounting bolts by hand into the threads of the bell housing. Tighten them with a torque wrench, according to your repair manual's specifications. Twist the knobs to loosen the jack clamps by hand. Remove the nuts and bolts on the safety chain and remove the chain. Push the transmission jack away from the vehicle.

Connect any wire back to the transmission that belongs to solenoid or speed sensor, if so equipped. Loosen and remove the side plug gear oil fitting with an end wrench. Fill the transmission gear box with the prescribed gear oil, according to your manufacturer's specification. Screw the filler plug back in and tighten it with a socket.

Reinsert the clutch pedal rod to the throwout bearing pivot joint by hand. Pull back on the throw-out bearing fork to set it in its seat. Use an open end wrench to adjust the clutch pedal free play. Insert the drive shaft input shaft into the output shaft of the transmission. Align the splines correctly and push the drive shaft forward until it seats.

Connect the rear U-joint to the rear differential yoke. Insert the bolts through the universal joint end caps. Tighten them to the yoke with a socket. Replace the center console unit inside the passenger cabin around the shift handle. Screw the console unit down with the screws or bolts (provided) with a screwdriver or socket.

Use the floor jack to lift the vehicle and remove the jack stands. Reconnect the negative battery cable and tighten the terminal to the battery post with a socket. Start the engine and note the clutch pedal operation and shift movement. Adjust the linkage or clutch pedal free play, according to manufacturer's specifications in your repair manual.

Items you will need

About the Author

Chris Stevenson has been writing since 1988. His automotive vocation has spanned more than 35 years and he authored the auto repair manual "Auto Repair Shams and Scams" in 1990. Stevenson holds a P.D.S Toyota certificate, ASE brake certification, Clean Air Act certification and a California smog license.

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