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Bellhousing

The Bellhousing of choice for the Buick 215 is the GM 3 or 4 speed.   The four speed variety will have two bolt patterns.   It is an aluminum bellhousing that was available on a few different vehicles in the early 60's.  Some models of this bellhousing (3 speed)  will have to be modified to fit the T5 transmission.  Mine was already modified for the T5 when I bought it.  I paid $120 and bought the bellhousing from a list member.  Several of the V8 vendors will sell you a bellhousing.  Don't be suprised if you have to pay substantially more than what I did, these seem to be becoming a fairly rare item, and prices are going up accordingly. As a side note, the studs on my bellhousing where bigger than the corresponding holes on the T5, so they had to be drilled out slightly to fit.

 

 


Transmission

The BW (Borg-Warner) T5 transmission was used in a wide range of GM products in the 80's as well as the some Ford Products (the Mustang) comes immediately to mind. I ended up getting a good buy on a T5. It was from a 86 Camaro V6. I know this isn't the ideal ratio with 5th gear being only .63. I ended up paying only $100 for it, and shipping was another $50. So for that price, I'll live with it for now. You should look for a T5 from a V8 if possible, as these have a more favorable gear ratio.  This was found on the web at one of the classified sites. The T5 is the most popular trans in the US for conversions, and is fairly readily available from various donor cars. Search the BBS archive, and you will find a list of suitable donor cars, as well as what cars have what ratios. It is also important to note that the tailshaft on the Camaro trans are tilted about 20 degrees. You will notice this by looking at the stock Camaro rear trans mount. I fabricated a bracket that uses the stock GM mount with the stock MG crossmember. The general concesus is that the .73 5th gear is better than the .63 gear ratio.  As I have never driven either of these I won't comment on the truth of that.If I was paying full used price I would have chosen the .73 ratio.

Trans ModificationOne important difference in the Camaro transmission is that the tailhousing mount is tilted approximately 20 degrees.  This makes mounting the transmission to the standard B crossmember more difficult.  There are vendors who will machine the rear of the tail member so it is flat again. This is probably the best way to go.  Being the low budget person I am, (not to mention I'm having fun with my new welder), I made a bracket to weld to the rear crossmember to accept the stock Camaro transmission mount.  The first step was to cut off the existing B trasmission mounts leaving just the crossmember without any bracketry.  A cutting wheel on a grinder works very well.  It took several attempts to get the bracket in the right position on the crossmember.  Originally, I was determined to center the mounting hole in the middle of the crossmember.  Later, I realized that the mounting bolt on the Camaro pad is actually offset from the center line of the transmission.  The adapter is just made from a single piece of thick sheet metal welded to the crossmember.  The actual rubber mount also has to be modified.  If you look closely at the rubber Camaro mount you will see "dog ears" by the mounting holes, cut or grind these off.  It is necessary to remove these so the mount will set inside the crossmember.  It is also necessary to drill a 1" hole in the bottom of the crossmember so you can attach a nut onto the rubber mount.    Utilizing non-AC mounts and using the slotted holes in the rubber mount for adjustment, I was able to utilize the existing frame rail mounting points for the crossmember.


Shifter

I did not receive a shifter with my transmission.  I found a Hurst Competition Plus shifter over the internet for $50.  It was originally used on a Ford T5 but the only difference is the position of the mounting holes.  The GM T5 pattern was smaller, so it simply required redrilling the holes.  These typically go for much more so I was very pleased with the purchase.  It even came with the original box and instructions.  Any of the GM shifters will work, stay away from the Camaro shifters as it will have the angle in the shifter.  Best bet is to find a used Chevy S10 shifter and cut the shifter to the correct length and rethread to screw the knob back on.

 

 


Flywheel Selection

Depending on the type of engine you buy, you may very well have to throw away your flywheel.  It turns out the flywheel that came with my Olds block, was for an automatic transmission, also known as a flexplate.  The difference can be seen in the following picture.  The flexplate is on the left, this may be obvious for some of you, but I was initially confused when I purchased the engine.  I ended up buying a used flywheel from a list member for $50.   After attempting to redrill the flywheel to match the Camaro clutch set I purchased, I discovered this was a fairly difficult task with just a hand drill.  I ended up taking the flywheel to a machine shop where they drill and tapped for the new clutch, and resurfaced the flywheel.


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