2001 LS1 Trans AM Spec Clutch - Forward Motion
At this juncture, we made...
At this juncture, we made the mistake of popping the quick-connect between the master cylinder and slave cylinder hydraulic lines together. One is supposed to wait until the slave cylinder has already been reinstalled on the transmission-and the transmission bolted to the flywheel housing-before doing this, as it leaves little slack to work with. Plus the suckers don't come apart without a special tool, as far as we could tell.
Before bolting the new slave...
Before bolting the new slave cylinder to the front of the transmission, it's critical to install this SPEC-supplied spacer between them. By shimming the slave cylinder toward the clutch assembly slightly, the "crashed pedal" situation that many F-bodies experience during hard driving is avoided (i.e. a soggy, reduced-throw pedal during road racing).
As the transmission is about...
As the transmission is about to be bolted to the flywheel housing, our above-mentioned quick-connect mistake and consequent slackless braided line necessitated bolting the slave cylinder to the transmission whilst there was very little clearance in between. The throwout bearing went in there, too, of course. All this wasn't terribly difficult, but any little bit added to our headaches to come...
The absolute worst part of...
The absolute worst part of the job ended up being getting the transmission and flywheel housing to line up. The tranny must be at just the right orientation to get the transmission input shaft to slip into the pilot bearing, and any rough play here can potentially cause damage. A trans jack with adjustment knobs for rotating and pitching the transmission is absolutely crucial here; after well over an hour of frustration, we finally got the two to pop nearly together and eased them the rest of the way by slowly and evenly tightening the transmission-to-flywheel-housing bolts.
A main culprit in the difficulty...
A main culprit in the difficulty of transmission alignment turned out to be this pesky lip around the opening for the shifter, just above the transmission tailshaft. One can even see how it got a bit bashed up in the process, as it wouldn't allow the rear of the transmission to pitch upward enough for the input shaft to go into the pilot bearing straight. Do yourself a favor and cut this lip off while you have the tranny out-for sanity's sake!
Since our nitrous-huffing...
Since our nitrous-huffing Trans Am would now be well into the 12s in the quarter, we needed an NHRA-legal driveshaft safety loop, like this one from BMR (PN DSL-001). It's a total bolt-in design, retails for $99.95, and can be had in a variety of powdercoat colors. A bunch of shims are included to help adjust its location to compensate for the particular vehicle's exhaust setup.
BMR's loop bolts up where...
BMR's loop bolts up where the crappy factory wavy plate used to be, using the stock bolts. Ample room is afforded for large aftermarket exhaust systems, though the loop's crossbrace doesn't hang so low that it becomes a speedbump problem. Its heavy-duty construction surely does a lot more than the stock plate in terms of reinforcing the car's floorpan.
We should have done this just...
We should have done this just as we were taking the transmission out, but better late than never: the transmission fluid drains out of a clearly-marked "drain" plug. On the opposite side, there's another that says "fill," but this doesn't mean that fluid will be pumped into there; rather, it indicates that fluid is to be poured into the transmission until it begins to trickle out of the "fill" plug.
It turns out that the ATF...
It turns out that the ATF capacity of the transmission is almost exactly one gallon, so we dumped in just that through the shifter hole prior to reinstalling the Pro-5.0 shifter. It's important not to use synthetic fluid in these Tremecs as it has been known to cause leaks. That said, we went under the car, let some fluid trickle out of the "fill" plug, and after reinstalling the shifter and interior trim we were ready to roll!
2490 Five Star Pkwy.
12581 U.S. Hwy. 301 N.