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[Ecotec] VT/VX/VY Manual Conversion tips

DavidPartay

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OK, due to my struggles at finding information, but having only barely found all the information I needed, I'm going to write up this thread to help others.

I'm going to try and list things in order of how it helped me out:


Install the clutch pedal before the 'big day', it is a fiddly and frustrating job, and does not negatively affect the performance of the car before the conversion is done.

Jack the car up off the ground to give you enough room to slide the transmission out. This will also give you enough room to work. Even better if you have a hoist or high ramps.

When removing the tailshaft, jack the back wheel up at the 'Y section' just under the spring support barely enough to enable the wheel to spin freely (if a single spinner). This will allow you to easily and safely rotate the tailshaft in order to remove the bolts.

Make a booking for the exhaust shop the day after you expect to be finished. The exhaust hangers on the manual are completely different to the auto and will NOT fit. It should be safe to do a little driving with the exhaust not correctly suspended but obviously not a permanent solution.

Make sure you have a large variety of extensions for your breaker bar/ratchet, and deep enough sockets.


IMPORTANT: Place a small block of wood between the engine and the crossmember below it to prevent it crushing the power steering hose.

Drain as much fluid as you can from the auto tranny by removing the tailshaft connection out of the gearbox itself after removing the tailshaft.

When removing the gearbox, use the best jack you can (if you don't have a gearbox jack, but if you do, you probably don't need my advice) and a block of wood to support the gearbox. Make sure you have a friend (preferably two) helping you with this to make it much easier and safer!

If you're weak, like me, make sure one of your friends helping you is strong and heavy enough to loosen bellhousing bolts!

Position your oil pan under the front of the bellhousing before you finish removing it as the fluid will start draining quite rapidly from the torque converter

When removing the torque converter, it is held on by three bolts but is quite heavy - I didn't have assistance, but it may be worth getting an extra set of hands to help you out with it.

Before you can completely removing the transmission, there is a dust cover between the flexplate and the transmission. I think this is the converter plate? This will need to be unbolted from the transmission before the transmission can come out.

TIDY UP THE FLYWHEEL: The advice I was given was to make sure it was clean, then use some fine wet/dry sandpaper (I used 600 and 1200 grit) in a flat file to 'polish' the surface and make sure there were no high spots.

To install the flywheel: The specifications on the genuine Holden bolts (Buy a new set - do NOT reuse the old ones!!!) are to tighten to 18 - 22 Nm, then turn an extra 80-90 degrees. This will stretch the bolts. Make sure you tighten them in a star pattern, just like what you do with your wheels. Take your time with this, it is very important that you do this right. Make sure there is no dust or grit, grease or anything on the crank or flywheel.

The transmission itself was fairly easy to install, it slid pretty well straight in. Make sure you install the slave cylinder before you put it out of reach.

Wiring loom stuff: Since I didn't have the manual wiring loom, and the connector plugs on the VY are different to my VX, as of this writing I don't have a working speedo and no reverse lights. This will be fixed ASAP of course. Anyway, to bypass the Neutral safety switch, there is a plug with 5 wires connecting to it. The two you need to short together are the Grey and Grey/Blue wires. I'm not sure which ones are used for the reversing lights just yet. As far as I know, the speed sensor plug should be the same for identical models.

To save frustration, when joining the slave cylinder to the master cylinder, undo the hydraulic line from the master, connect it to the flexible line from the slave cylinder, then connect it back to the master. The clutch in mine feels fantastic after we did several rounds of bleeding the line to get any air out.

To reinstall the tailshaft - get it into position and have your friend help you get both ends into the gearbox and the diff, then bolt the middle section in first. This makes bolting the ends up much easier than trying to juggle the middle section.


And since I'm exhausted, that's all I've really got for the moment... Feel free to ask questions or yell at me for doing it with no real prior experience :). I had a friend help me out, as well as my dad (who hasn't really done much with cars for years but was still invaluable assistance). I started just after 6am (we had some issues so it took a little while to get started) and didn't finish until after 9pm due to problems with the wiring loom. I was a little more unprepared than I thought I would be. We also had to replace a couple of bolts which didn't come with my conversion package - specifically we had to buy nuts for the shifter mounting plate, and bolts with a 6mm thread for the shifter mounting bracket thingy, where it bolts to the chassis.

The most time consuming parts were:

Removing the bellhousing bolts for the automatic transmission - some of them were amazingly difficult to get leverage with, and you need lots of extensions to go along pretty much the entire length of the gearbox to get the top ones out.

Installing the flywheel - don't rush this at all. Take it easy.

Trying to find out how to fix the wiring loom to be able to start the car.


That's all for now! I hope people find this information helpful and I'll try elaborate more on it over the coming week or so.
 

DavidPartay

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Ok, we did the wiring harness last night, and I got the correct dust cover for the transmission from Holden. It was $15.85 with two new bolts. Installing that was a pain, so if you do the conversion make sure you already have the correct dust cover to save yourself an hour - 90 minutes of unnecessary work :)

The speed sensor was the easiest to wire up. I had managed to find a male molex - (close-ended pins) to a small female socket used for internal computer speakers. All we had to do was widen the molex end connectors to fit in the plug for the speed sensor on the gearbox itself, and then the other ends (which were folded up) were a straight fit into the auto speed sensor plug. We taped it all up to hold it all in place and insulate it, and that was it.

The reversing lights were a bit more tedious as the plug on the gearbox is right near the top above the slave cylinder, and I didn't know if they were pins or sockets. They are pins - and we had to use female molex socket pins, and then crush them slightly to make them small enough to be a good fit. The hardest part was locating the pins in the gearbox connector as I couldn't see it, but eventually got it. I tried to take a photo with my phone (which helped clarify they were pins) but that didn't really help in locating them.

To connect the auto wiring harness to this socket, we used some electrical wire with about 1cm tinned - I don't know the gauge of the wire, but it was about 1.5mm after tinning it. These were a good, snug fit into the auto connector. It was quite difficult to plug anything into the 7 pin auto connector, but once it gets past the initial entry point it goes in easily and is a firm fit.

Then we taped it all up and tested the reverse lights - they were working. Obviously we had to take the car off stands to test the speedo but fortunately it's working fine!

Anyway, in the image I've attached you can see the correct wire colours and stuff. (Edited 21-06-20 as the image was not available)

 
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stevoss

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i have just aquired a full conversion from a complete wrecked vt s pac going into a vt exec which has everything needed for the conversion, talking to my mechanic he said the main problem was going to be the brake and the clutch pedal install, did you have to remove most of the bottom half of the dash?? can you give me some more info on that side of it??
 

DavidPartay

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Hi mate, you don't have to do that much at all.

Remove the panel below the steering wheel, and then just get yourself a 13mm ratchet or spanner, a bit of elbow grease, and undo the bolts which hold the brake pedal at the top of its bracket. There is a small piece of carpet trim hiding the grommet for the clutch pedal bolts in the firewall, it will pop out easily towards the inside of the car.

The hardest part was the fact that removing and re-doing the nuts which hold the top brake bracket in place was a real pain, but I'm not particularly strong and if you get the right angle it's more time consuming rather than difficult.

It's a really easy job when you can see how it all goes together
 

DavidPartay

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Hmm, I'm not really sure what you mean so I'll try to clarify:

There are two sets of two bolts that hold the clutch pedal in place. If you look at the pedal bracket, you can get a rough idea of where it will sit. There are two mounted on the firewall, which are hidden under a removable patch of carpet and a rubber grommet. There are two others which hold the bracket at the top for the brake pedal as well, these also need to be removed.

Sorry, I'm a bit scatterbrained at the moment so I'm probably not being very clear! It is fairly easy to work out though. Just grab a torch and have a look around the footwell.
 

stevoss

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got all the gear out today and its looking not too bad of a job.

the guys that supplied everything recommended that i swap the bcm and loom to the manual version, didnt you just swap plugs and keep the same bcm, bypass the inhibitor switch and just matched up the reverse lights?

i also was supplied with the manual ecu and loom was that a huge job? would it just be a matter of disconnecting it all back to the firewall and pullign it through then swapping the loom to the manual then reconnecting? am i missing anything?

if you did have to change the bcm loom i have a feeling that would include removing the dash right? more info would be great, will also be getting pics of everything included in the conversion for future reference.
 

DavidPartay

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Yeah, kept the same BCM and loom.

I'm pretty sure on the VT you can just connect the manual ECU and away you go, or possibly just swap the memcal over if it doesn't work. I don't see any reason for you to actually need to swap the BCM.

But since you've got the manual loom, I would suggest putting the extra time into installing as that way you've got a working complete automatic loom which you can probably get some money for ;).

I don't know exactly how removing and reinstalling the loom goes since I haven't done it myself, but I would say it's something you really need to make sure you take your time with and be patient because I can't imagine that it would be particularly easy or fun.

I'm 99% sure you would have to remove the dash to replace the wiring loom in there. Even if you don't have to, it would most likely turn out to be easier to do so.
 

stevoss

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then what ecu are you using?

tommorrow the fun starts, im going to see if the manual ecu will plug into the auto loom, probably wont but if it doesnt hopefully the bcm will, was reading in the service book that you need to have the same bcm and ecu from the same car otherwise it wont start but apparently it can be fixed at holden. that way i can keep my own keys.
 
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