Project Novakane Transmission and Clutch: Shifting Into The Future
Tremec T-56 Magnum and RAM Clutch Install
Say it with me, “Six speed.” Doesn’t it just roll off of your tongue? When you think of a performance car or truck, what are the first few things you think of? High-horsepower engine. Check. Impressive handling. Check. Manual transmission. Absolutely. We couldn’t possibly put on a skirt and opt out of a manual transmission when it came time for us to back our blown LSX376 engine with a tranny. That’s like calling a stock pickup a muscle truck just because you slapped some SS stickers on it. Project Novakane’s persona is that of unadulterated fun. Performance is the first and only thought, not afterthought, and for that reason, we contacted Hurst Driveline Conversions for one of its Tremec T-56 Magnum kits. Hurst Driveline Conversions is one of the nation’s top Tremec dealers and they have plug-and-play manual transmission kits for popular Chevy muscle cars and ’60-’72 Chevy C10s, custom setups for street rods, and basic kits containing the major components for a late-model truck like our ’04 GMC Sierra. Dozens of upgrades are available once the initial kit is decided upon and your project truck will have everything it needs once the order is placed with Hurst Driveline Conversions.
If you’re a little confused by seeing “Magnum” after the popular T-56 reference, that’s because Tremec’s parent company, Transmission Technologies Corporation (TTC) released the bad boy of bad boys in 2009 and the world of custom car and truck builders embraced the new beefed-up tranny with open arms.
The Magnum provides 700 lb-ft of torque capacity thanks to upgraded internals that include a stronger input shaft, redesigned shift forks, and a bolstered one-piece countershaft to resist distortion. These and other improvements provide the strongest, smoothest, and most precise-shifting transmission Tremec has ever offered. A similar version of this trans can be found in the Corvette ZR1, and we couldn’t think of a better way to propel Novakane than by a six-speed manual designed to take street and track abuse.
With the transmission choice locked down, we moved onto the next vitally important decision—choosing the clutch setup. Whatever clutch we opted for needed to be incredibly strong, have excellent pedal feel, and provide good feedback for engagement. We met all three of our requirements once we found RAM Clutches new Force 10.5 street dual disc setup. Engineered by former racers who understand the high demands a clutch will be asked to perform when backed to a high-horsepower engine, the team at RAM created a dual disc setup. The Force 10.5 dual disc features a poly-coil hub for high-torque applications, three strap system to locate the floater plate eliminating the common floater plate rattle, and as a bonus, the kit includes a billet flywheel that is balanced and ready to rock and roll. For better engagement, we stepped up to RAM’s hydraulic release bearing as well. Now that we had all of the parts, it was simply a matter of bolting everything to our LSX376.
Editors Note: This truck is going to be used as a performance truck and will not be used for towing. Tremec does not endorse the use of their transmissions in trucks that will be used for towing.