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Transmission options for club racing at budget levels

captdistraction

GrumpyRacer
1,769
1,290
Phoenix, Az
As everyone probably knows: I sent a clutch disc through the housing of my MT82 (and into the body somewhat) in my 2011 jackstand racer during a warmup lap at an event a bit back.

I've sold a few parts off the transmission as I wasn't sure what I plan to do on moving forward, I've been told I need all sorts of expensive options and since I have 7 months to plan (and save, hopefully) I want to do it right. I have very little budget, so the more expensive the option, the longer it will take.

That discussion aside, I'd like to analyze the options for a S197 racecar with a manual transmission setup and the pro's cons.

What I'd like: something that is easy to shift, mostly reliable outside operator error, and is affordable. Getting out of my racecar and doing a quick session in my bone stock S550 made me realize how effortless it is to shift the stock MT82 on a stock shifter (though my revs never exceeded 6500, so inertia isn't exactly the same)

The options I'm aware of, from least expensive to most:

1: replace or weld the housing on my existing transmission. Get a new clutch (exedy hyper single perhaps?) and new shifter (MGW race spec). Ratios remain the same, hopefully shift effort reduces (it was very hard to shift this car on the McLeod RXT/Aluminum Flywheel setup). $1,600 cost to me to do this after some small pieces I gave away.

2: Have Ben Calimer rebuild my transmission, new clutch again and new shifter. Ratios remain the same, transmission is beefed up to match the rigors of racing. Cost to me $3,000.

3: TR6060 swap: I can get one of these on the cheap, but would need a conversion driveshaft, shifter, clutch, and some electrical work. Not to mention gearing may come into play given the ratios (and possibly other issues like diff cooling on a shorter gear set). Would then match the Boss302S and I don't hear a ton of complaints on those (1-2 shifts I've heard aren't fun, but I don't know I'd ever use that). Probably close to 3k when all said and done.

4: T56 XL Magnum - ultimate choice, can do a close ratio setup. Available in kit form. I have no idea or feedback other than to watch race videos and I see no complaints there. $7k. Probably wouldn't race for a long time.

Feedback on the above? Who's raced any of these options and has meaningful feedback?

Even clutch/shifter feedback is interesting. I never realized how much more effort was required to shift the racecar until I did the back to back thing. If I could get the racecar to someday shift like the street car, that would really be something.
 
3,590
2,860
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca
As everyone probably knows: I sent a clutch disc through the housing of my MT82 (and into the body somewhat) in my 2011 jackstand racer during a warmup lap at an event a bit back.

I've sold a few parts off the transmission as I wasn't sure what I plan to do on moving forward, I've been told I need all sorts of expensive options and since I have 7 months to plan (and save, hopefully) I want to do it right. I have very little budget, so the more expensive the option, the longer it will take.

That discussion aside, I'd like to analyze the options for a S197 racecar with a manual transmission setup and the pro's cons.

What I'd like: something that is easy to shift, mostly reliable outside operator error, and is affordable. Getting out of my racecar and doing a quick session in my bone stock S550 made me realize how effortless it is to shift the stock MT82 on a stock shifter (though my revs never exceeded 6500, so inertia isn't exactly the same)

The options I'm aware of, from least expensive to most:

1: replace or weld the housing on my existing transmission. Get a new clutch (exedy hyper single perhaps?) and new shifter (MGW race spec). Ratios remain the same, hopefully shift effort reduces (it was very hard to shift this car on the McLeod RXT/Aluminum Flywheel setup). $1,600 cost to me to do this after some small pieces I gave away.

2: Have Ben Calimer rebuild my transmission, new clutch again and new shifter. Ratios remain the same, transmission is beefed up to match the rigors of racing. Cost to me $3,000.

3: TR6060 swap: I can get one of these on the cheap, but would need a conversion driveshaft, shifter, clutch, and some electrical work. Not to mention gearing may come into play given the ratios (and possibly other issues like diff cooling on a shorter gear set). Would then match the Boss302S and I don't hear a ton of complaints on those (1-2 shifts I've heard aren't fun, but I don't know I'd ever use that). Probably close to 3k when all said and done.

4: T56 XL Magnum - ultimate choice, can do a close ratio setup. Available in kit form. I have no idea or feedback other than to watch race videos and I see no complaints there. $7k. Probably wouldn't race for a long time.

Feedback on the above? Who's raced any of these options and has meaningful feedback?

Even clutch/shifter feedback is interesting. I never realized how much more effort was required to shift the racecar until I did the back to back thing. If I could get the racecar to someday shift like the street car, that would really be something.
I didn't pay anywhere near that for my Magnum...the whole kit was in the $3500.00 neighborhood (less driveshaft) and handles 700 pounds of torque and comes with a scattershield.

https://www.brothersperformance.com...magnum-xl-2005-14-mustang-gt-m-7003-m6xl.html
 
Last edited:
369
143
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
5-10 Years
Waco, TX
I say go with option 2 have it rebuilt and get a new clutch and shifter. Hopefully that cures everything and your good to go back racing this season maybe. However, if it's still not where it's needs to be after all that save your money and keep that whole setup as a spare.

If i was in your shoes i would go with the calimer trans and new setup and test it. Granted if you sell all your brakes and wheels you will have to wait until they are replaced but you could potentially be back on track here soon depending on what brake/wheel setup you're going with.

Either way you have to what's best for you and wallet if it means sitting out again for a little bit then go for it.
 
719
332
I have personally had options 1, 2, and 4 in my Boss.

1. I upgraded my original MT-82 with an MGW shifter, Blowfish shifter support, and one piece driveshaft. The car shifted great until the clutch started to go.

2. I installed a McLeod RXT with aluminum flywheel and had the transmission rebuilt with upgraded internals, the same as what Ben Calimer does in his rebuilds. The transmission lasted most of a season before I lost third gear catastrophically at Watkins Glen. Upon tear down, the transmission gears had extensive blueing and other signs of heat damage. I had the transmission repaired and installed a transmission cooler. It only lasted a single weekend before third gear failed again.

3. I currently have a Magnum XL, Excedy Hyper Single, a transmission cooler, and 4:56 rear gear. It is not a cheap option. Your $7K estimated is pretty accurate. If you also install a transmission cooler and rear gears, it will be closer to $9K.

The off the shelf gear ratios in the Magnum are pretty strange. The close ration gear set is only a close ratio in 1 - 4, but then has a big drops / spreads with the 5th and 6th overdrives. The wide ratio has wide gear spacing 1 - 4, and close ratio overdrives. What you really want is 1 - 6 in close ratio.

You can custom order the transmission through Liberty Gear and they will swap the overdrive gear sets to close ratio for about $500. This will give you a close ratio spread 1st through 6th:

1st: 2.66
2nd: 1.78
3rd: 1.30
4th: 1.00
5th: .80
6th: .63

In Comparison, the MT-82 ratios are:

1st: 3.66
2nd: 2.43
3rd: 1.69
4th: 1.32
5th: 1.00
6th: .65

This is a comparison of transmission and rear gear ratios with a 26" tall tire shifting at 7000 (blue) and 7400 (yellow) RPM and the resulting speed / RPM in the next higher gear:

Magnum Ratios.JPG


I also opted for upgraded carbon blocker rings, bronze shift pads, and polished internals. With a one piece aluminum DSS driveshaft, the transmission was $5,464.89 through JPC and built by Liberty. The Hyper Single is another $1300.00. The rear end gears cost about another $1000.00 with installation, all new bearings and seals throughout, and custom Blowfish split spacer block to fit a 4:56 in the torsen.

The Magnum is the best shifting manual transmission I have ever driven. With the custom overdrive swap, the gear spacing is closer than the MT-82 and keeps the motor in the peak of the power band. I also don't worry about breaking the transmission.

From a cost perspective, I would recommend trying the close ratio spacing with your existing 3:73 rear gears and learn to use 2nd through 4th on track as opposed to 3rd through 5th. This will also help eliminate the need for a differential cooler.

Rather than spending any money on my MT-82, I wish I would have just gone straight to the Magnum. It would have saved me a lot of money in the long run.

Of course, there are other people who have had great success on this board with the MT-82 and a clutch and shifter upgrade. I just wasn't one of those people and got tired of ending a weekend early because of transmission issues.

The other option is the TR6060. Both Blowfish Racing and Revolution Automotive have done these swaps. I know it is cheaper than the Magnum, provided its a used transmission, and I believe the wiring is plug and play.
 
If your car was hard to shift I suspect something else is/was also wrong. From my experience the MT-82 is a light shifting trans but not real accurate with the stock shifter.

A proper race car should not be running a glass jaw MT-82. With that said for the price of used MT-82's you and @ArizonaBOSS could afford to keep a spare around. You can also buy most of the parts that Ben installs and do the rebuild yourself. It's been a LONG time since I've been inside a car (or motorcycle) transmission but they aren't that complicated. If you can rebuild an engine a trans should be a piece of cake. Member @Yopauly bought the parts and had our local Ford dealer install them and I can tell you his shifts like butter and has been working much better on track. It's his white 2012 Boss 302 that's for sale in our For Sale forum. I can get the parts list for you if you'd like.
 
50 Deep has his GT350 transmission for sale on here somewhere (unless it sold already). It would need an external cooler but it seems to be pretty rugged. As Tech pack owners swap out their transmissions to upgrade to the track pack transmission, more may be available in the used parts market.
 
719
332
If you decide to choose a used TR6060, keep in mind that they also were offered with different ratios in the Shelby.

The original TR6060 ratios are:

1st: 2.98
2nd: 1.78
3rd: 1.30
4th: 1.00
5th: .80
6th: .63

The ratios in the 2013 - 2014 Shelby are:

1st: 2.66
2nd: 1.82
3rd: 1.30
4th: 1.00
5th: .76
6th: .50

Of the two sets of ratios, I would choose the original gear spread for road course use. First gear is meaningless on a road course, and I would prefer the slightly narrower 2 - 5 spread. Of course, if buying a used transmission, I wouldn't be too picky and would just get the transmission in the best condition for the price.
 

302 Hi Pro

Boss 302 - Racing Legend to Modern Muscle Car
1,991
426
Southeast
It's a difficult decision without knowing your exact needs/requirements but if getting back on the track sooner than later is the goal, I'd think about picking up a used MT82 and rebuilding it with beefed up parts, because you need a new trans case. I've seen them on Craigs list in the $500-750 range. Then go with the Exedy single disc clutch with a lighten steel flywheel, or resurface and reuse your OEM flywheel for reuse if the Exedy single disc is compatible. The new MGW Race Spec shifter is a must IMO as it eliminates the body mount and more importantly it eliminates the multi-articulated shift rod. You might even find good deal on the MGW shifter on Forums or Craigs List.

Whatever you decide to do, do what's best for you and good luck with your decision.

302 Hi Pro
 

captdistraction

GrumpyRacer
1,769
1,290
Phoenix, Az
If your car was hard to shift I suspect something else is/was also wrong. From my experience the MT-82 is a light shifting trans but not real accurate with the stock shifter.

A proper race car should not be running a glass jaw MT-82. With that said for the price of used MT-82's you and @ArizonaBOSS could afford to keep a spare around. You can also buy most of the parts that Ben installs and do the rebuild yourself. It's been a LONG time since I've been inside a car (or motorcycle) transmission but they aren't that complicated. If you can rebuild an engine a trans should be a piece of cake. Member @Yopauly bought the parts and had our local Ford dealer install them and I can tell you his shifts like butter and has been working much better on track. It's his white 2012 Boss 302 that's for sale in our For Sale forum. I can get the parts list for you if you'd like.
I think clutch release was a lot of my trouble, and ultimately had a lot to do with the clutch's demise. The car would creep with the clutch in while in first gear, and I think it pointed to the stack height issue, as I had re-measured the slave cylinder and put a small spacer behind it to get it "closer" to correct.
While that helped with the 3-4 shift, it still needed more, however as we see it didn't take long for the whole thing to give up the goose. I think that's a big driver for me to go back to a lightweight single clutch system as it will be easier to get the system heights, preloads etc correct. Additionally our cars really don't need a ton of capacity, we're not shocking (or shouldn't be) the driveline like a lot of drag racers.
 
3,590
2,860
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Pleasanton: 1/2 way between Sonoma and Laguna Seca
I think clutch release was a lot of my trouble, and ultimately had a lot to do with the clutch's demise. The car would creep with the clutch in while in first gear, and I think it pointed to the stack height issue, as I had re-measured the slave cylinder and put a small spacer behind it to get it "closer" to correct.
While that helped with the 3-4 shift, it still needed more, however as we see it didn't take long for the whole thing to give up the goose. I think that's a big driver for me to go back to a lightweight single clutch system as it will be easier to get the system heights, preloads etc correct. Additionally our cars really don't need a ton of capacity, we're not shocking (or shouldn't be) the driveline like a lot of drag racers.
True, but we're doing a lot more gear changes-both up shift and down shifting.
I'd have to imagine its just as hard, or harder on the clutch than going through the gears once and then sitting in the pits for an hour and a half between rounds.
 

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