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Thread: The Auto Transmission VR6 DeLorean Goes 5-Speed Manual.

  1. #1
    Vin3299's Doc DeLorean03's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Eglin AFB, FL

    Posts:    1,603

    My VIN:    3299

    The Auto Transmission VR6 DeLorean Goes 5-Speed Manual.

    Howdy everyone,

    Been a long time since I've posted here. Figured I'd share a journey recently completed just last weekend.

    For those of you who don't know, my DeLorean was converted from the stock PRV engine to a turbo-charged VW VR6 engine. Those of you keeping count, there are two DeLoreans with VR6 engines - both the brainchild of Ed Ghesquiere in Melbourne, FL. Mine was completed in May 2014, and fellow owner Henrik's car was completed in February 2017. The big thing Henrik's car had that mine did not was a 5-speed manual transmission. Armed with that transmission, he was able to put down an impressive 367 HP at 6260 RPMs and 377 Ft/LBS of Torque at 4710 RPMs.

    While I was content with 207 HP with the auto transmission, Eddie and I longed to increase the power that the auto transmission could handle.

    Short condensed version: That didn't happen.

    20180114_161107.jpg

    Longer version: Ask me to tell it later.

    After eating two transmissions, Casey (HillbillyDMC here at DMCTalk) and I agreed that the only way to rectify this situation was to replace the auto with a manual transmission. So we did exactly that, agreeing upon completing the journey together in 2017 Sep. We didn't get started until 2019 Jan.

    Good things come to those who wait.

    Real life happens: deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on a new-build home, PCS'ing around as a military member, divorce - you get the idea. Once all of that drama was over, it was time to begin gathering the parts for this conversion. Three main things we needed:

    1. Manual transmission along with the gearbox shifting mechanism, all linkages and cables, master and slave cylinders
    2. Pedal Box
    3. Flywheel

    Everything else can be built/custom-made hotrodded.

    I was fortunate enough to locate a spare pedal box and full transmission from a fellow owner. Transmission came with all the mounts (minus the metal mounts to connect the transmission to the frame), and the pedal box was 90% complete, short of some hardware that I could pull from my auto pedal box and swap over.

    20180505_163257.jpg

    Now the flywheel was a unique beast. Given that Henrik and I both have the same adapter plate for mating the VR6 to the transmission. Thankfully, Eddie created the adapter plate with the notion of mating either the auto or the manual transmission to the VR6. That being said, it only made logical sense to replicate the setup that Eddie had made for Henrik's car.

    After doing my homework on Henrik's blog and talking to Eddie, the flywheel used was a SN35A Aluminum Flywheel - used mainly on a 07-09 Nissan 350Z. Of course, the bolt pattern on a stock SN35A flywheel is not correct; however, no biggie as Eddie could get it machined to fit correctly. So off to eBay I went and snagged a brand new one.

    aluminum-flywheel_98.jpg

    Once the bolt-pattern was corrected, we had the three main components. Next we just needed the time to line up. Between work, raising my 5-6 yr old stepson, learning new jobs, going off on routing assignments for the DoD, and my Masters - well the car quite frankly sat for a while. That being said, while in Orlando for Mickey Mouse World, I was able to get another extraordinarily vital piece of the puzzle: the mount that allows the gearbox shifting mechanism to sit in an automatic frame. With Eddie's blessing, I had the mount replicated at the same shop that created it for Henrik's car, and they did an outstanding job - payment was made in the form of a 12-pack of ice cold glass bottled Budweisers - due to them finding out I knew Eddie and was doing this for another DeLorean. It's not who you are but who you know....

    20180525_130137.jpg

    More to come....a LOT more to come....
    DMCTalk.org Moderator

    Actual snippet of a conversation from Sept 2013:

    Me: Eddie, I can't wait to get the car back when you're done with it.

    Eddie: Yeah, you'll be able to give the car gas, and it won't be - like - embarrassing....

  2. #2
    Customized Member 81dmc's Avatar
    Join Date:  Feb 2013

    Location:  Magnolia, TX / Naples, FL

    Posts:    653

    My VIN:    831

    Looking forward to the power numbers when done. Maybe go to 400hp? Or can the manual not handle that?

    My car has been sitting too while I begin my VR6 5 speed tiptronic swap. It's going to be a slow build for me. As you said, life happens....

    Anyways, good luck!
    Rodolfo
    Toy: VIN 831- VR6 Swap in Progress...
    Delorean.eu Roof Box, Double Din, Custom Instrument Cluster w/Cruise, QA1 Suspension.
    Cruiser: 1982 Mercedes 300SD
    Tow Pig: 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins

  3. #3
    previously DMC Timeless's Avatar
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    Location:  SW FL

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    Club(s):   (DCF) (DCO) (DCUK)

    Are there any reliable auto-trans engine swapped cars out there? Meaning, long term operation without major mechanical issues. Porsche gearboxes?
    ~LXA~

  4. #4
    Vin3299's Doc DeLorean03's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Eglin AFB, FL

    Posts:    1,603

    My VIN:    3299

    Quote Originally Posted by 81dmc View Post
    Looking forward to the power numbers when done. Maybe go to 400hp? Or can the manual not handle that?

    My car has been sitting too while I begin my VR6 5 speed tiptronic swap. It's going to be a slow build for me. As you said, life happens....

    Anyways, good luck!
    Thank you very much. I'm only going for about 325 WHP. I'm good with lower numbers. I think sometimes people get so obsessed with "big numbers" that they don't realize that "less is more", and with uneven wight distribution on the car - too much power can really result in losing control of the car.

    I'm reaching out to a local shop that specializes in tuing with VW being one of their specialties. We'll see if I hear from them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timeless View Post
    Are there any reliable auto-trans engine swapped cars out there? Meaning, long term operation without major mechanical issues. Porsche gearboxes?
    Honestly, I don't think so. I was very dedicated to try and make it happen, and it just did not pan out. Once the seals and clutches were addressed, the next thing to go was one of the metal pressure drums. Now, that could have been COMPLETELY coincidental; however, I wasn't going to make it a hat trick. Two transmissions was enough.

    The trend with engine-swap DeLoreans seems to be nearly universal: if you swap engines you have to have a manual transmission. Every single engine swap DeLorean I know has a manual, and if they started with an auto transmission, nearly every single engine swapped DeLorean converts to a manual transmission as shown by this list:

    http://www.citizenkidd.com/dmc/pages...sp?vinstart=20
    DMCTalk.org Moderator

    Actual snippet of a conversation from Sept 2013:

    Me: Eddie, I can't wait to get the car back when you're done with it.

    Eddie: Yeah, you'll be able to give the car gas, and it won't be - like - embarrassing....

  5. #5
    Customized Member 81dmc's Avatar
    Join Date:  Feb 2013

    Location:  Magnolia, TX / Naples, FL

    Posts:    653

    My VIN:    831

    Quote Originally Posted by DeLorean03 View Post

    The trend with engine-swap DeLoreans seems to be nearly universal: if you swap engines you have to have a manual transmission. Every single engine swap DeLorean I know has a manual, and if they started with an auto transmission, nearly every single engine swapped DeLorean converts to a manual transmission as shown by this list:

    http://www.citizenkidd.com/dmc/pages...sp?vinstart=20
    I know there was one back in the 90s that installed a 4hp22 ZF porsche transaxle in his car.

    Include me as never going manual. I'd somehow install a dual clutch paddle before I'll go with a manual.
    Rodolfo
    Toy: VIN 831- VR6 Swap in Progress...
    Delorean.eu Roof Box, Double Din, Custom Instrument Cluster w/Cruise, QA1 Suspension.
    Cruiser: 1982 Mercedes 300SD
    Tow Pig: 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins

  6. #6
    Vin3299's Doc DeLorean03's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Eglin AFB, FL

    Posts:    1,603

    My VIN:    3299

    Well, let's continue the discussion on how we got to completing the auto to manual transmission swap.

    Once we had all the components to start the swap, Casey and I had to make some time and align our schedules to work on the car together. Going into this project, we agreed that I would learn how to bring down the auto transmission and put in the manual transmission, and that I would learn and understand how to swap the clutch as it will be inevitable that I will have to do it.

    That being said, let's fast forward to the first day we were able to work together, and boy, what a job we had - bringing the auto transmission down and out for the final time.

    20190223_085418.jpg

    So, first things first. Start taking pictures of everything. After all, you can never have too many, but you can have too few wishing you had more- and that's a bad place to be.

    20190223_095602.jpg

    This is driver's side of the transmission facing towards the tail lights. The aluminum plate you see is the adapter plate that mates the engine to the transmission.

    20190223_102010.jpg

    Here you can see the inner drive shafts have been disconnected, the starter is removed from the adapter plate, various wires/hoses have been disconnected.

    20190223_102018.jpg

    This is one of two flanges that we will need to remove from the auto transmission and transfer to the manual. They are held in by flange pins which can be removed by the means of a punch and mallet.

    20190223_111102.jpg

    No one said it would be easy - or clean.

    After wrestling quite a bit with the automatic mounts and moving the nose of the transmission forward and back and seeing how good or bad of contortionists we were, we finally got the transmission out:

    20190223_121146.jpg

    This thing is a heavy unit - I'd guess a good 225 to 250 lbs. Deceptively similar in size to the 5-speed manual, but trust me, the 5-speed is a LOT lighter....

    20190223_130541.jpg
    20190223_130554.jpg
    20190223_130605.jpg
    20190223_130617.jpg
    DMCTalk.org Moderator

    Actual snippet of a conversation from Sept 2013:

    Me: Eddie, I can't wait to get the car back when you're done with it.

    Eddie: Yeah, you'll be able to give the car gas, and it won't be - like - embarrassing....

  7. #7
    previously DMC Timeless's Avatar
    Join Date:  Nov 2016

    Location:  SW FL

    Posts:    124

    Club(s):   (DCF) (DCO) (DCUK)

    Quote Originally Posted by 81dmc View Post
    I know there was one back in the 90s that installed a 4hp22 ZF porsche transaxle in his car.

    Include me as never going manual. I'd somehow install a dual clutch paddle before I'll go with a manual.
    Porsche PDK w/Porsche V6!
    ~LXA~

  8. #8
    Vin3299's Doc DeLorean03's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Eglin AFB, FL

    Posts:    1,603

    My VIN:    3299

    Now that the transmission is out of the car, let's get a look at that VR6 crankshaft:

    20190223_132124.jpg

    And there it is with the adapter plate responsible for mating the VR6 and the transmission.

    20190223_135542.jpg

    Here is the 350Z flywheel with the correct bolt pattern ready to be installed.

    The next picture shows the flywheel installed on the crankshaft of the VR6 motor:

    20190223_143427.jpg

    The clearance on this was extremely tight, showcasing Eddie's attention to detail. We used a light application of 320 grit sandpaper to file the insert of the flywheel just enough for it to "click" into place on the VR6.

    We did not end up re-using the bolts from the flexplate. The reason is two-fold: length and tension strength. This flywheel will be rotating at speeds the auto trans flexplate could only dream of. We needed to know the bolts could handle the load, so we ordered ARP Heavy Bolts from USP Motorsports. These bolts have a tensile strength of 190K PSI, and they were made specifically for VR6 applications as well as other European engines. The second reason was to ensure we had enough thread for mating the flywheel to the VR6 engine without the ends of the bolts interfering at ALL with the motor (that would be very bad). Cranked these bad boys down to 40 ft/lbs and then the mandated 70 ft/lbs - 2 separate times to ensure all the bolts were snugged down.

    Interestingly enough, these are marketed on their website for "For use with manual transmission vehicles with aftermarket flywheels only."

    Lucky us : ). No really, it says that: $100 for 10 bolts please.

    52913798_10156375497118710_5825059582862426112_n.jpg

    Next, we needed to install the pilot bearing (part on the left) to the VR6 crankshaft. Its purpose, in a nutshell, is to ensure the alignment of the transmission's input shaft to the VR6 engine's crankshaft. The clearances here were extremely tight, and in our case, a tiny bit bigger than the crankshaft. The pilot bearing was 0.002" too big. To compensate for this, we used 320 grit sandpaper to "file" the bearing down. We then used physics to our advantage and put it in a freezer for 1 hour, allowing the metal's molecules to cluster tighter, shrinking its size to exactly what we needed. To be completely safe, we added a coating of anti-seize to the exterior wall of the bearing to help assist with its possible replacement when the clutch is serviced down the road.

    20190223_151153.jpg

    Pilot bearing installed in the middle of the flywheel (not actually installed IN the flywheel but rather the VR6 crankshaft).

    20190223_152546.jpg

    Here the clutch friction plate is behind lined up and centered with the input shaft hole. The tool in the middle simulates the input shaft of the manual transmission. This allows you to better center the friction plate to the end of the VR6 crankshaft.

    20190223_160623.jpg

    Next, we moved to installation of the slave cylinder to the transmission's rear differential case. Pictured here is the differential (big butt of the trans), the slave cylinder (gold unit on top), and the shifting fork inside the differential and around the input drive shaft sticking outside of the transmission. Not pictured is the throwout bearing that will mount on the input drive shaft and up against the clutch fork.

    In a nutshell, when you are driving down the road, the throwout bearing is resting up against the clutch fork, pushing it up against the interior of the differential wall. When you shift, the slave cylinder fluid displaces a rod attached to the clutch fork, pushing the throwout bearing out, and allowing you to shift gears (EXTREMELY simplified version).


    20190223_160630.jpg

    Here is a better look on the rod of the clutch fork that gets displaced by the slave cylinder.

    Here's where things got interesting. Notice how the slave cylinder is NOT flush with the rear of the transmission? Yeah, that's not good. If we try to install the transmission like this, the slave cylinder will prematurely place pressure against the VR6 motor, meaning we will not be able to install the transmission in this current configuration.

    The solution, bring the slave cylinder back up about 1 inch using spacers, which will allow it to clear the motor. Problem doing that - remember that rod that gets displaced by the slave cylinder (in the picture it is the horizontal rod going into the black seal of the slave cylinder)? Well, that is still the same length, so if we move the slave cylinder up, the clutch fork will always be partially depressed, making the motor think we are in a constant state of "getting ready to up or down shift".

    The fix for this is to cut the clutch fork in half (horizontal cut), weld a plate about 1 inch long between the two pieces, and that will allow the bottom of the clutch fork to be in its factory starting position while allowing the top fo the clutch fork to move the required 1" distance to allow for the slave cylinder to be moved and mount with it in line with the rear of the transmission. As Doc said in BTTF 3 when explaining to Marty how they'll get back to 1985: "It couldn't be simpler...!"
    DMCTalk.org Moderator

    Actual snippet of a conversation from Sept 2013:

    Me: Eddie, I can't wait to get the car back when you're done with it.

    Eddie: Yeah, you'll be able to give the car gas, and it won't be - like - embarrassing....

  9. #9
    Vin3299's Doc DeLorean03's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Eglin AFB, FL

    Posts:    1,603

    My VIN:    3299

    20190223_162007.jpg

    We pressed a lil' bit more for the the night! We ended with installing the clutch pressure plate on top of the friction disc. The installation took 9 allen wrench bolts installed at 25 ft/lbs - done with a total of two full revolutions around the pressure plate to ensure all of the bolts were equally seated.

    52605455_10156375678598710_7720397563613937664_n.jpg

    We also installed the steering shaft coupler from DeLorean Industries in Ohio. This is a unit made entirely of stainless steel equipped with vibration reduction. My original unit was in bad shape with 1/8" play in the joints, equating to nearly no response in steering from 12 to 1 o'clock. This addressed what was becoming a serious safety concern behind the wheel.

    Attach30973_20190125_181557.jpg

    Here is my new throttle assembly. Originally, the throttle cable was held in a coupler with zero adjustments, which was not entirely ideal. This unit has an allen wrench locking screw for adjustments as well as the standard adjustments by means of two hex nuts on the throttle cable sheath.

    Attach31791_20190217_124705.jpg

    And here is that unit installed. To the right are the two hex nuts that allow for loosening or tightening of the cable. The cable can also be adjusted on the throttle spool by means of a loosening and tightening a supplied allen screw.

    52956286_437479200326799_3085339110550798336_n.jpg

    Here is my modified clutch fork courtesy of Josh Schattenkirk. Man, did he come through in the clutch (pun kind of intended). He had a clutch fork ready to go as he has done this modification for his LS swap. That worked out nicely : ).

    53068889_2523072527706245_31395777142063104_n.jpg

    Anyone who has done a transmission swap on the DeLorean will know there are a few crucial components you absolutely must have to either keep the project going, to mitigate any sizable delays, or to see the project through to completion. Some of these components include the entire gearchange assembly (shifting unit the driver uses to shift gears inside the car), the pedalbox, the clutch/flywheel assembly, and of course the transmission itself.

    One tiny thing you don't think of until you get to it and go "ah hell" - the transmission mounting brackets.

    With the DeLorean, the transmission mounting system is a 2-step process, First, there are gearbox mounts that are reinforced with support brackets that attach to the frame. From there, the transmission has a set of mounting brackets that attach to the transmission and then interlock with the aforementioned gearbox mounts that are attached to the frame. The transmission mounts themselves are VERY hard to find and are near unobtanium at all the vendors and suppliers.

    Now, I am sure some of you are asking: why not just use the mounting brackets from your old auto transmissions. Well, the auto transmission mounting brackets are NOT the same as the 5-speed manual transmission's brackets. The modifications to the auto trans brackets to make them work is infeasible, hence the need for the manual brackets.

    Again, here comes Josh kicking ass in the clutch and offers up a pair of NOS mounts ready to go.
    DMCTalk.org Moderator

    Actual snippet of a conversation from Sept 2013:

    Me: Eddie, I can't wait to get the car back when you're done with it.

    Eddie: Yeah, you'll be able to give the car gas, and it won't be - like - embarrassing....

  10. #10
    Vin3299's Doc DeLorean03's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Eglin AFB, FL

    Posts:    1,603

    My VIN:    3299

    56177125_10156453702053710_5970169158946521088_n.jpg

    Sway bar re-installed with all new bushings kit from DMCNW. Made sense as it all had to be taken apart to install the new aluminum lower control arms.

    55823815_10156453702068710_6787561487608053760_n.jpg

    Good shot of the re-installed sway bar as well as the new aluminum lower control arms. Funny how the "oooo shiney" parts stand out from the rest of the car...!

    56454546_10156453702023710_5850731306765254656_n.jpg

    Had to do a lil' bit of grinding of the transmission bellhousing. The reason for this is the bellhousing was in the way of the starter gear, and that gear is responsible for engaging and turning the teeth on the flywheel, which in turn allows the engine to turn over and idle in neutral gear.

    Needless to say, a necessary modification.

    56372193_10156453702013710_8181244831465472000_n.jpg

    Many thanks to Josh Schattenkirk for the modified clutch fork. With the properly modified clutch fork (an offset of roughly 24 mm) the slave cylinder now sits flush with the transmission's bell housing, and the slave cylinder is not "partially engaged" but now completely at rest, waiting for the driver to initiate the clutch pedal to begin shifting through the appropriate gears.

    Now the transmission can be properly mated with the VR6 engine via the customized adapter plate!


    55869059_10156453702113710_5255834252724928512_n.jpg

    The 5-speed shifting mechanism ready for install. Per Casey, this was a very intensive labor of love - probably more time went into getting this assembly ready than the entire swap when we pulled the auto transmission last month. A lot of very methodical corrections and modifications went into this unit, and I am very grateful for his skillful hand and mastery of knowledge that went into this. Note the plate below - that is the plate responsible for helping anchor the shifting assembly into the automatic frame.

    56242724_10156453702133710_5415574325665202176_n.jpg

    Mostly done! We were waiting on the shifter boot at this point. Originally, we were going to opt for a "gated shifter" similar to the Ferrari GTS from the original 80's Magnum PI television series. We could have gone that route; however, the clearances were tight and it would be more "struggle" with shifting gears than we felt it was worth. The gear change lever is all stainless steel (thank you Joshua at DeLorean... See More
    DMCTalk.org Moderator

    Actual snippet of a conversation from Sept 2013:

    Me: Eddie, I can't wait to get the car back when you're done with it.

    Eddie: Yeah, you'll be able to give the car gas, and it won't be - like - embarrassing....

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