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Old 12-04-2017, 11:57 PM
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Swap 3 speed auto for manual?

Hey folks. Is there any benefit to swapping a perfectly good 3 speed auto for a manual 5 speed? I'm thinking I'd get better gas mileage with the 5 speed but I have zero issues with my auto slushbox right now.

Thoughts?

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Old 12-05-2017, 12:36 AM   #2
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This is one time it pays to do the math. By the time you figure the entire cost of the project (thousands of dollars + time), and how much better your fuel economy might be (2 or 3 cents a mile, max), you're looking at driving a LOT of miles to get your money back in "savings".

IMHO, if you want a manual transmission in a Wrangler, your best bet is to save yourself the time, money and aggravation and buy a Wrangler with a manual transmission.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jak_Rak View Post
IMHO, if you want a manual transmission in a Wrangler, your best bet is to save yourself the time, money and aggravation and buy a Wrangler with a manual transmission.
I hear ya. My main issue is that I'll never find another one in this condition unless I'm willing to shell out some serious coin.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:57 AM   #4
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If the transmission is in good shape,and you want a 5spd, I'd start collecting parts to do the swap.

The advantage to a 5 speed isn't entirely in the overdrive. Having more gears means you can get a better match to your driving speed.
Overdrive is primarily a highway gear, 50mph+ is when it normally becomes usable, if you don't spend much time on the highway, you won't see any real benefit from it.
It can be used at lower speeds, but will stress the transmission.

I've switched dozens of vehicles from auto to manual, it's not that difficult and is a real breeze when the transmission was available as a factory option.
Driveshafts may need to be altered, most factory transmissions were kept to the same length to keep costs down on option specific parts. It's cheaper to use a longer extension housing on the option trans than it is to keep different transmission supports and driveshafts in stock. Normally can check auto parts and see if they list different parts for manual and auto versions.

Some parts (primarily clutch related) you'll want new, but used parts can get it set up for well under $1000.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:53 PM   #5
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Some parts (primarily clutch related) you'll want new, but used parts can get it set up for well under $1000.
Just off the top of my head, you'll certainly need the big parts:

Transmission
Bellhousing
New flywheel
New clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing
Clutch master cylinder & slave cylinder (external needs the proper bellhousing)
Clutch pedal assembly
Shifter assembly

The there's the little stuff, like hoses and clips and fluid and gear oil...and the clutch fork, shifter cover for the floor, and possibly a new trans mount. And that's assuming everything else in the drivetrain bolts up.

Personally, I wouldn't trust a used transmission without going through it first.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:21 PM   #6
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I think there are 4 different input splines over the years on transfer cases.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jak_Rak View Post
Just off the top of my head, you'll certainly need the big parts:

Transmission
Bellhousing
New flywheel
New clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing
Clutch master cylinder & slave cylinder (external needs the proper bellhousing)
Clutch pedal assembly
Shifter assembly

The there's the little stuff, like hoses and clips and fluid and gear oil...and the clutch fork, shifter cover for the floor, and possibly a new trans mount. And that's assuming everything else in the drivetrain bolts up.

Personally, I wouldn't trust a used transmission without going through it first.
I think the OP is smart enough to know that he will need a manual transmission if he wants to switch from an auto to a manual.

Some things are pretty much automatically known from the outset.
I also addressed the potential driveshaft issues.

I don't doubt that there may be some people who require being told which end of a toothbrush to hold, I just prefer to treat people as if they have the intelligence to know they'll need a manual transmission in order to install a manual transmission.
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Old 12-06-2017, 11:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by maxtor View Post
I think the OP is smart enough to know that he will need a manual transmission if he wants to switch from an auto to a manual.

Some things are pretty much automatically known from the outset.
I also addressed the potential driveshaft issues.

I don't doubt that there may be some people who require being told which end of a toothbrush to hold, I just prefer to treat people as if they have the intelligence to know they'll need a manual transmission in order to install a manual transmission.
The point I was trying to make - since you obviously missed it - was that there are quite a few parts to gather, and the job isn't as simple or cheap as some people make it out to be. Could you get all that stuff for "well under $1000"? Maybe where you live, or maybe by getting lucky and finding someone on CL parting out an entire YJ and getting everything used. But IME, $1000 isn't going to get you very far when you have to chase a long list of parts, and the nickel and dime stuff adds up quickly. YMMV.

The other thing I brought up was that I wouldn't trust a used transmission without going through it first. Again, that's my own opinion, and I pointed it out as such. Sure, you might be able to find a used AX-15 for $300-400, but when you add the cost of a rebuild kit and time...it's not as inexpensive as it seems, especially if you have to send it to a shop to do the work. Or you can just install the used unit and hope nothing happens with it out on the road (or trail).

And Nubby55 has a valid point - there were different input shafts on the TC, so there's that to deal with as well. Swapping shafts? Finding a trans with a compatible output? More time and/or money.

Also, we don't know what drivetrain the OP is currently running, or even if he's planning on doing all the work himself, and those things will affect the final cost of a project like this.

I wasn't trying to be condescending or question the OP's intelligence by stating he'll need a transmission, and again, I don't think a swap like this is as easy or cheap as it appears at first glance. But free advice is sometimes worth what you pay for it - and that goes both ways.
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Old 12-06-2017, 03:24 PM   #9
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As I mentioned, I've done dozens of auto to manual conversions as well as plenty of other engine swaps etc as well as custom work over the years (my 'part time' garage paid for my house) So I don't get easily fooled by 'looks easy' jobs because the odds are I've done it and know what it will take.

The swap can be as inexpensive or expensive as you want to make it.
When buying used it's buyer beware, but a bit of inspection can keep you from getting burned.

One reason I didn't go too heavily into details (or costs) is because the OP never mentioned what engine, transmission or even the year jeep he had.
Only thing anyone has to go on is that it's a 3spd auto and posted in the YJ general section.

Frankly, around here 4 popper parts are cheaper than crap, parts for a six are not nearly as cheap.
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Old 12-09-2017, 05:13 PM   #10
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The OP may find someone to trade every thing over, from what I see most real serious off roaders prefer an Auto trans to a Stick.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:40 PM   #11
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No need to justify the cost. A manual transmission YJ is a great set-up, and worth spending some money on.

Doesn't look like it's a bad job. The clutch pedal and under-dash work would kind of sucks doing, IMHO. (I'm tall)
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:10 AM   #12
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Just say NO.

First of all its a Jeep and not going to get good mileage regardless.

Second, if your Jeep is in good condition you could sell it for the same "serious coin" that it would take to buy one with a manual.

I have one of each. My auto is a 91 and doesn't even have the lock converter and gets the same mileage as my 93 with the 5 speed, give or take. If I had it to do again I would have both autos if for no other reason than I dont need a secret handshake for the remote start in the auto.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:51 AM   #13
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the only reason that you posted was to get better gas mileage, if that really is your only reason then no don't swap... You aren't going to get better gas mileage at least not enough to bother with...

If you like driving your jeep with an automatic then leave it alone... On the other hand if you WANT the 5-speed, aren't concerned about fuel mileage, and don't mind doing the work, then yeah sure go for it.
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Old 12-18-2017, 08:28 PM
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Just say NO.

If I had it to do again I would have both autos if for no other reason than I dont need a secret handshake for the remote start in the auto.
You make a good point digger. I do have a remote start in my Jeep right now. There would be extra fidgeting to get that working properly with a 5 speed.

So here's the situation. My Jeep right now sits right around 2750 RPM when cruising at 100 kph. I think that is too high.....too high for my liking anyway. Perhaps my money will be better spent replacing the gears with 4.10's or even 3.73's to save some revs on the road. I mentioned before I plan on removing my 4 inch lift and 33's replacing it with a 2.5 inch lift and 31's which will suit my Jeep lifestyle much better.
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:21 PM   #15
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Or swap it with an overdrive auto if you like the auto. Quite a few of them from the late 80s didn't use a computer for shifts, just the standard valve body.
Most overdrives have a .70 OD, so same as installing 30% higher gears when you want them at speed.
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:48 PM   #16
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Don't pay to swap to higher gears... get paid.... advertise your 4.56? geared axles for $xxx plus good 3.73 axles.... swapping in an auto w o/d will be a bigger job than swapping in a 5 speed
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxtor View Post
Or swap it with an overdrive auto if you like the auto. Quite a few of them from the late 80s didn't use a computer for shifts, just the standard valve body.
Most overdrives have a .70 OD, so same as installing 30% higher gears when you want them at speed.

Oh yes that is a great Idea, and have the best of both of them!
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dramus View Post
Hey folks. Is there any benefit to swapping a perfectly good 3 speed auto for a manual 5 speed? I'm thinking I'd get better gas mileage with the 5 speed but I have zero issues with my auto slushbox right now.

Thoughts?
To answer your question, NO!
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Old 12-18-2017, 10:27 PM   #19
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Gottagofast (post #13) & Nubby55 (post #18) hit the hammer on the nail.

If you want better mileage, the answer is NO.
If you just want a standard trans, then go for it. You don't need any other reason than you just want a stick.

Good luck, L.M.
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