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Transmission Conversion

Car: 1985.5 Audi 5000S

There are bunch of things that you need before doing a project like this. The biggest thing is a donor car (I lucked out… the car that I purchased (84 5KS) had a clutch and throwout bearing with only a month worth of miles on it before it was totalled). It’s best to get a wreck from an insurance company or junk yard.


These are the things you need off of the donor car:


These are the parts that you should buy new:

(The items starred above you can use off of the old car, but you are likely to be replacing them later… it’s easier to suck up the cost and replace these items while everything is out of the car)


Some of the tools needed to make the job go smoother:

After getting all the necessary parts, tear apart the dash and the console inside the car. You are going to remove the parts unique for the automatic (remove the down pipe, but save it… it’s easier to work without it in the way)… You will be removing the transmission throttle linkage, valve cover, throttle assembly, throttle cable, transmission (after disconnecting the transmission cooling lines, use one of the flexible hoses to connect the cooling lines together), transmission mounts, crankshaft cover, driveshafts, transmission selector lever (leave the wires intact), brake and gas pedals. You will also need to remove the plug in the crankshaft to install the pilot bearing (this is where the air chisel comes in handy… the easiest way is to take it out in pieces).

Install the pilot bearing in the crank with a little grease… tap it in gently, as it looks somewhat fragile… bolt the flywheel on, insert the clutch, and screw the pressure plate on. Make sure the clutch is centered, and your ready to put the transmission on. When I did it, me and one other person lifted the transmission from under the car laying on our backs… (we had the car on blocks & ramps at its lift points… it gave us about 2 and half feet of room to work)… Use a few bolts to hold the transmission in place.

The pedal assembly was probably the most difficult part… This is where an air ratchet and the 2 foot extension come in handy (I did it laying on my back holding a minimag flashlight in my teeth… Easy to get off)… once you remove the pedals, you have to modify the transmission tunnel (near the gas pedal). We used a 4 foot piece of 4x4 lumber laid perpendicular to the length of the car. Using a sledge hammer we gave it about 4 good whacks and we were finished (surprisingly easy despite what I have heard)… Install the Clutch master on the pedal assembly… screw the clutch/brake pedal assembly in the car… Have patience putting the nuts on… use the 2 foot extension… It took me about 15 minutes to finally get them on… connect the blue hose from the brake fluid reservoir to the clutch master. (the reservoir should already have the tube coming off of the side… just cut the end of it off… don’t put a hose clamp on it… it is just a gravity feed and you don’t want to break the plastic… (I used a tie wrap). Connect the master to the slave using the metal tube through the fire wall and then the flexible hydraulic hose to the slave on the transmisson. At this point you want to bleed the clutch… (this is where I discovered the clutch master from the junker was bad… We used a clutch master off of a VW Quantum… It was essentially the same (on the Quantums the master is located in the engine compartment)… We had to swap connecting rods and drill the threads out of the mounting holes. (careful if you have to switch rods… the clutch master is spring loaded)… once it was bled, I finished tightening the nuts on the pedal assembly… I then mounted the gas pedal…

The valve cover needs to be swapped… the one of the 5 speed has a bracket on it to hold the throttle cable (of course, you want to make sure you replace the valve cover gasket). Ideally you also want to use the throttle assembly off of the car that originally had the 5 speed, but we forgot to grab it, but we were able to attach the cable to the automatic throttle cable linkage. Same thing with the speedometer cable… you should get one for a manual transmission, but I was able to adapt the automatic speedometer cable… the part that spins within the cable on the automatics is much longer on the automatics than on the 5speeds… All I did was take a length of stiff rubber hose… attached it to the end of the cable, and attached the other end to the threads on the transmission held in place with tie-wrap… seems be working well…

All that is left to hook up in the engine compartment are the half shafts and transmission mounts. Its pretty straight forward for the mechanically inclined…

The most difficult part of this was hooking up the shifter. The mounting studs are different on the automatic then the 5 speed and we had to enlarge the hole where the linkage passes through the body… We hooked up the linkage and then screwed the shifter in place once we figured out where the gears were… Once that is in place, hook up your electrical for the reverse lights, put your dash together, and you now have a brand new car.

Some of the things that are currently unresolved:

- There is a humming noise around 50-60 mph coming from the front. There wasn't any noises at all prior to the install. [This problem has been resolved. I discovered that the right front center nut was ¾ of a turn loose. (Impact wrench needs adjustment]. Also contributing to this problem was the fact that the rotors were ‘shredded’. With a brake job and the nut tightened down fully, the braking/noises are gone.

- I get some brake shudder in the steering wheel (and pedal? cant remember) when slowing down from a high speed (50 mph+). Brakes operated perfectly before the install. I realized that I was due for a brake job because the rotors were ‘shredded’. With a brake job and the nut tightened down fully, the braking/noises are gone.

- The power windows will not work after running the car at times… I have to wait 10 – 15 minutes before they reset and will work again after shutting the car off… I think I accidentally disconnected a wire and they are getting too much current draw when the alternator is charging… I think I have a broken plug or wire that was disturbed when I pulled the dash apart. I put all of the plugs on the passenger side door in their original position and the problem has subsided.

- I still need to hook up the cruise control… it stopped working 3 years ago when it still had an automatic… I grabbed the control unit out of the old car and need to buy a Y tube vacuum adapter for the clutch vacuum cutoff… (it taps into the cutoff for the brake line)… I grabbed the control unit off of the donor car and replaced the turn signal assembly about 6 months ago… Haven’t gotten around to fixing this one.

- I have to cut off a piece of the plastic from the automatic transmission selector to cover up the hole at the back of the leather shift boot. I also need to purchase a new rubber boot around the linkage… I am thinking of using some silicone adhesive to prevent any gases from entering the car through the shifter linkage pass-thru. Also unresolved.

- I want to modify the gas pedal slightly… it is awkward having driven an automatic for so long… I am a short guy (5’6") and have to have the seat much further forward to make sure the clutch is engaged… the gas pedal seems quite high to me and has less travel than the automatic… For long trip I just adjust the seat back so that my leg is more relaxed.

My biggest motivation for undertaking this project is that I grew tired of putting transmissions in the damn thing. The woman that owned the car before me had to put a transmission in it (rebuilt) after the original one died. I had that one rebuilt, which bit the dust 15 months later. Put another rebuild in it off of a wreck with only 1 month worth of miles on it and that one died after a month and a half. Replaced that one with a rebuild off of a wreck that only had 3 months worth of miles on it… which lasted a couple years… but I noticed my gas mileage going down and the car didn’t seem to have the ‘pep’ that it did in previous years… In early 99, I had the transmission fluid completely (100%) changed for synthetic fluid.… The difference was night and day… However, 2 weeks later I lost second gear… I found out later that the 100% transmission fluid changeouts are only reccommended for newer cars… It was then I decided to investigate a 5 speed… As luck would have it… my father was gracious enough to tow the wreck from my mechanic to me down here in Connecticut… The whole job cost me 50 bucks less than throwing a rebuild auto tranny… and the amount of mileage I get now out of one tank of gas far surpasses the automatic…I have gone from filling up every 8-9 days to filling up every 10-11 days...

NOTE: In the beginning of March 2000, The car suffered a series catasrophic electrical failures starting with a cracked distributor cap, failed ignitor circuit and then finally the computer. The car left me stranded 3-4 times in 2 weeks and cost me over a grand in that time. Because I was putting 1000 miles a week on the car, I couldn't afford the rentals and towing of being left stranded. I don't blame the car... It was 15 years old and approaching 300,000 miles. I paid 3 grand for it in 93 and never put more than 1200$ per year in maintenance. The car was an absolute pleasure to drive, and even though I was only able to enjoy it as a 5 speed for only 8 months, it was well worth it. I hope to get another Audi when my annual salary allows it...

The replacement for the Audi was a 2000 Hyundai Accent. Great car... classic econobox, but it has been relatively trouble free in the 5 years that I've owned it. Check out http://www.hyundaiperformance.com/ Email me at tugger5000@yahoo.com if there are questions.


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