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T56 Front shift conversion Install

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:45 PM   #1
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Default T56 Front shift conversion Install

Im getting ready to replace my NV3500 with a T56 and wanted to keep my jumpseat so I picked up a front shift conversion kit. The instructions tell you to remove the tail housing and main case which requires pulling gears and quite a bit of disassembly. After taking the access cover off where the new shifter will bolt up I realized there was a decent amout of room and I could make the proper modifications to the rail without removing it. Figured I would post some pics of what I did since it saved a TON of work and the front shift conversion is a nice option in a truck.

Note: This is not the "correct" way to install, just an illustration of how I did it.

Here's what all comes with the relocation kit.
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Factory offset lever under front access plate.
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Tail housing, CAGS solenoid, and shift detent assembly removed. Stuffed full of aluminum foil to keep metal out of trans during cutting.
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Used an air cut off tool with small disc and cut top portion of offset lever. Tip: A pocket magnet pick up tool works perfect for cleaning up all the metal around the shaft from cutting.


Offset lever and shift guide plate removed. The replacement lever uses the original roll pin hole the original one did so you dont have to worry about alignment for that hole. Careful when taking the lever out so you dont lose the detent ball or spring because they go back in the new piece.
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Shift rail cut off and the rear piece removed. This works nice because you can cut and drill the removed chunk outside of the trans.
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Rail slipped back in to mark where new hole will be for the second roll pin as well as how much shaft to cut out.
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First roll pin, shift guide plate, and shift detent assembly installed.
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Second hole drilled, shaft cut and ends ground to contour per instructions, roll pins installed. The shaft is surface hardened so drilling it is tough even though a cut off wheel goes through it no problem. I had a guy drill it for me in the machine shop at work. Otherwise grinding a small flat spot and then drilling will also work. Just make sure you have good hard bits, HSS wont cut it, litterally.
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Shifter installed. With original shift cup installed you can still make use of the reverse lockout solenoid.
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The custom shift lever I made. Its 5/8" stainless that I polished with some wheel cleaner. Looks really good in person. Its angled back and towards the driver. These are just ballpark bends I made to resemble my factory 5 speed shifter. I will fine tune the bends as needed once its actually in the truck.
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The only thing you have to be careful about is getting the new hole you have to drill for the 2nd roll pin aligned with the rear hole for the factory cup so it doesnt hit the trans case. Mine was off a tiny bit and it hit the case when trying to go into first so I ground it off a little. Not a big deal just something to keep in mind. Otherwise its all back together and shifts fine. Just need to figure out which pin on the pcm to hook the reverse lockout too. Its set up in my tune to enable over 8mph and disable under 6mph. I hooked a wire to unused pin 44 (where the f-bodys lockout is) and hooked up a test light to a hot lead in the cab and it didn't work so I still need to figure out how to get that to work because I want to use the lockout. Any ideas? I have an 04 factory 5 speed so there was no auto trans stuff in the tune to begin with.

Last edited by marovetsm; 07-13-2011 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:09 PM   #2
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Nice writeup! I didn't even know this mod existed.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:33 PM   #3
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Awesome, I have one I want to install in my 1968 but was afraid of the front shifter conversion. The ones I have seen are pretty spendy, where did you get yours from they may all be the same. PM me if you want
Thanks a ton I need to get on this with mine.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #4
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Let's see if you can get it installed without having to cut your floor up. If so, I'm going to start ordering parts for my 6 speed swap. I am subscribing to this thread as I hope you update it
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:09 PM   #5
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I know there will still be some cutting, but hopefully only 1-2" instead of cutting a completely new hole. I am doing the swap this weekend and I plan on taking as many pics as I can. Ill post some of the shifter in the cab when its in. Ill probably put together a little write up too when I have some time, but its also my birthday this weekend so theres alot of beer drinking to do so I dont know when Ill get around to putting that together lol
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:15 PM   #6
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Do you at least think you can do the conversion and still keep your center seat/flip down console? Trimming a few inches isn't bad. I don't like the hard plastic console that you see so many people swap in. I'd be nice to keep the center jumpseat and not have the shifter hit it. How close do you think it'll be? Is the T56 throw shorter than the nv3500?
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:27 PM   #7
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I know for sure I can keep my jumpseat easily. And From what I can estimate the throw will be similar to the NV. You can only get one version of the front shift conversion and Im pretty sure it wont be too bad throw-wise, my stick is just under 16" long which is shorter than my stock Gibbs 5 speed so we'll see. Ill keep you updated.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:27 PM   #8
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ready for some pics once its in!
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:38 PM   #9
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Swap is half done, NV is out, LS7 clutch kit is in, bellhousing on, ready to bolt up the T56. I could have finished it today but its my birthday so I took the day off and having some beers. Gonna finish it tomorrow (I have the day off). Ill post some pics tomorrow night.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:58 PM   #10
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Oooh I can't wait How's the humidity down there?
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assembly, center, conversion, detent, front, install, kit, number, part, pictures, pin, rail, relocation, shift, shifter, t56

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