McLeod Muscle 5 speed install. - Chevelle Tech
Transmission & Driveline Transmissions and Differentials

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post #1 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 19, 8:38 PM Thread Starter
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McLeod Muscle 5 speed install.

Well folks, I took the plunge and bought McLeod’s 5 speed. It’s going in an original 1970 4 speed SS396 with center console. I got the Muncie M20 out of the car today and I’m setting up to find concentric on the bellhousing tomorrow. The instructions only ask for concentric. Not parallelism. I called McLeod about it and was told to follow the directions that come with the transmission.

My first impressions of the transmission are that it is only slightly bulkier than the M20. If you have a center console the shifter measures exactly where the original is. So I have every reason to have confidence about shifter location lining up.

I have replaced all the body-to-frame mounts with urethane pucks from Energy Suspension. The top shifter rail and top plate are a bit tall but the overall case is convex from top center to the top starboard and port side of the transmission.

I currently have the original 402 big block in it with a Comp hydraulic roller and Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap. It dyno’d at 420hp and 500tq with the stock oval port heads (no head work) It’s an L34 package and perfect for the McLeod with 500/500 restrictions on HP and TQ. It also has the original 12 bolt with 3.31’s in the back.

I’ll post more as I go but will get pics of a side-to-side comparison ASAP. I went with this transmission because of the narrower top than a TKO. I know those are better built but didn’t want to take a chance of having to cut the car to make it work. McLeod informed my that they designed the case with GM A-bodies in mind.

More to come guys! Thanks.
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post #2 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 19, 9:29 PM
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Re: McLeod Muscle 5 speed install.

Check and set parallelism first then concentric. Clean the mating surfaces first and run a soapstone over it to check for burrs and irregularities.

I'm really interested in how that trans works out for you. I haven't had a chance to install or drive one yet.

Which clutch package, flywheel and bellhousing have you chosen?

Which pilot bushing does Mcleod suggest?
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post #3 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 19, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DUTCH MAX HEADWORK View Post
Check and set parallelism first then concentric. Clean the mating surfaces first and run a soapstone over it to check for burrs and irregularities.

I'm really interested in how that trans works out for you. I haven't had a chance to install or drive one yet.

Which clutch package, flywheel and bellhousing have you chosen?

Which pilot bushing does Mcleod suggest?
I plan on cleaning up the flat surfaces with scotch brite pad and and high grit sandpaper then filing flat what I need to to get the block surface as flat as possible.

I asked McLeod about parallelism but they said to follow what’s in the instructions. I don’t have a dial indicator with the plunger on the back of it, so I’m not real enthused about finding parallelism but I guess I have to bite the bullet and work that out somehow. I just don’t know where to get shims for it. Grainger only shows them in bulk quantities an I know I’ll only need a few for my application.

I have the McLeod Super Street Pro clutch and pressure plate kit for 26 spline. I also asked McLeod if it was fine to use the stock z-bar clutch linkage and was told I could. I’m also using the stock 621 bell housing. The car has Chevy High Performance Parts flywheel for internally balance big blocks.

They don’t specify what kind of pilot bushing. Step 11 in the instructions say “Install pilot bushing.” Not a pilot bearing. I have a new bronze bushing from Summit that I will install while doing the assembly.

I have read on multiple sites about the early teething problems from this transmission but have seen reviews of them being remedied and performing quite good now. However the instructions specifically say DO NOT install slicks on your car with this tranny. Even though it’s rated for 500/500 it’s still just a hulled up T5 with a higher performance gear set, but not designed for racing. Just spirited street cars with street tires.

More than anything I want to check fitment for the tunnel. I think I might even be able to use my stock crossmember. Possibly the drive shaft too. It uses a TH400 output spline which I will need to get changed for the yoke.
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post #4 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 19, 11:03 PM
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Re: McLeod Muscle 5 speed install.

Sounds like you have a good plan

Check that pilot bushing, make sure its not magnetic. If it sticks to a magnet throw it away and get a non magnetic Oilite bearing like this one. National PB656HD Clutch Pilot Bushing https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0052XNF...v_ov_lig_dp_it When you get that, do the magnet test too just to verify.

Install your bearing then check the installed dimension. You should have .002 to .003 clearance on the trans pilot shaft. If not a .593 reamer is available for about $20,00. I'm assuming Mcleod stayed with a .590 size on the pilot input shaft.

Your flywheel should be new or resurface if used if you intend to install a new clutch set up.

Install your flywheel, then hold the clutch disc up to it to make sure it clears the flywheel mounting bolts.

Just figured I would throw in some easy checks to help you avoid issues down the line.
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post #5 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 12:07 AM
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FYI, my McLeod clutch kit came with a magnetic pilot bushing, tossed it in the trash

1974 chevelle with 73 laguna nose sbc 357 Brodix IK180 heads Comp Cams XE274H Edelbrock RPM airgap 650 AED double pumper, M20 muncie, Truetrac with 3.73s
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post #6 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 9:22 AM
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Re: McLeod Muscle 5 speed install.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfherder396 View Post
I don’t have a dial indicator with the plunger on the back of it,
https://www.harborfreight.com/1-in-t...tor-63521.html

May not be the case with Mcleod but I installed another brand 5 speed and had to use an extended pilot bushing as upon measuring found the input shaft was only engaging the standard pilot bushing approx 1/4 inch. After talking with Jody he said the input shaft should engage the pilot bushing at least the same dimension as the the diameter of the input tip. Which on my transmission is 5/8.
How are you going to measure the concentric if you don't have a set up like the Harbor Freight item?
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post #7 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 10:06 AM
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Re: McLeod Muscle 5 speed install.

Jody has a shim set for setting up your bell housing. He also has anything else that you may need. He is a McLeod dealer and can help with any questions. https://www.facebook.com/Jodys-Trans...0356082386900/
This is the best offset dowel set that I have found. https://www.robbmcperformance.com/products/dowels.html


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post #8 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blm View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfherder396 View Post
I don’t have a dial indicator with the plunger on the back of it,
https://www.harborfreight.com/1-in-t...tor-63521.html

May not be the case with Mcleod but I installed another brand 5 speed and had to use an extended pilot bushing as upon measuring found the input shaft was only engaging the standard pilot bushing approx 1/4 inch. After talking with Jody he said the input shaft should engage the pilot bushing at least the same dimension as the the diameter of the input tip. Which on my transmission is 5/8.
How are you going to measure the concentric if you don't have a set up like the Harbor Freight item?
I actually have that dial indicator from Harbor Freight. The indicators with the plunger on the back of the dial seem to be what’s needed for checking parallelism.

I will make my dial indicator work. I just need a pack of 3/8” shims for the bell housing.
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post #9 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Here are the pics of the Muncie and The McLeod side by side for comparison. The input shaft on the McLeod is about a 16th shorter than the Muncie. Will I need to use a longer pilot gearing for that difference?

The shifters line up nearly perfect. The trans mounts are off quite a bit, by around 2”. But the plate on the McLeod has 1 1/4” slots to bolt the mount to. You can barely see the Muncie trans mount it the pic of the trannys from the driver side is of them. Thanks

I am scratching my head about the shifter itself on the McLeod not have splines line the typical Hurst shifters. Will I have to get a new handle for it? Thanks.
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post #10 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Oh... And I hate the spell check on my phone. It’s making me look like I never took an English class in my life let alone graduate from college.
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post #11 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 1:40 PM
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Re: McLeod Muscle 5 speed install.

[QUOTE=Nerfherder396;11091874]I actually have that dial indicator from Harbor Freight. The indicators with the plunger on the back of the dial seem to be what’s needed for checking parallelism.
[QUOTE]

That indicator can be used to check the parallel. It is actually harder to set that indicator up to check concentric then it is to check for parallel.
Is the Mcleod trans supposed to fit an A body without trans tunnel mods?
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post #12 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 2:06 PM Thread Starter
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Holy crap guys!!!! I decided to do a test fit before I go any further with concentric and parallelism. It fit with no mods at all. The round fixture of the shifter base does touch to shifter hole on each side of it, but it does fit. I can massage that area of the shifter hole but I see know reason to rip out a cutting wheel or even tip snips. I took pics of it both in the car and under it. It should also clear my center console.

I was even able to use my original cross member and trans mount. Rarely does anything fit like this for me. I still have to do concentric and parallel, but I feel confident with this now.
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post #13 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 2:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfherder396 View Post
Holy crap guys!!!! I decided to do a test fit before I go any further with concentric and parallelism. It fit with no mods at all. The round fixture of the shifter base does touch to shifter hole on each side of it, but it does fit. I can massage that area of the shifter hole but I see know reason to rip out a cutting wheel or even tip snips. I took pics of it both in the car and under it. It should also clear my center console.

I was even able to use my original cross member and trans mount. Rarely does anything fit like this for me. I still have to do concentric and parallel, but I feel confident with this now.
Wow that’s awesome! This is one of the transmissions I was looking at but the OD gear seems too steep for me

1974 chevelle with 73 laguna nose sbc 357 Brodix IK180 heads Comp Cams XE274H Edelbrock RPM airgap 650 AED double pumper, M20 muncie, Truetrac with 3.73s
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post #14 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 2:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JF74chevelle View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfherder396 View Post
Holy crap guys!!!! I decided to do a test fit before I go any further with concentric and parallelism. It fit with no mods at all. The round fixture of the shifter base does touch to shifter hole on each side of it, but it does fit. I can massage that area of the shifter hole but I see know reason to rip out a cutting wheel or even tip snips. I took pics of it both in the car and under it. It should also clear my center console.

I was even able to use my original cross member and trans mount. Rarely does anything fit like this for me. I still have to do concentric and parallel, but I feel confident with this now.
Wow that’s awesome! This is one of the transmissions I was looking at but the OD gear seems too steep for me
There is room to spare on the top sides of the tranny. I can get my hand between the transmission and the body on both sides of it. Hot Rod magazine did an install of this 5speed a while ago in a G body Malibu and that’s what made me decide to finally pull the trigger on it.

I will take my time doing parallel and concentric and will update again on how it drives. I’ll call Jody for all the miscellaneous parts I need for it to work. Thanks fellas!
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post #15 of 85 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 19, 6:20 PM
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Question Re: McLeod Muscle 5 speed install.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfherder396 View Post


Well folks, I took the plunge
and bought McLeod’s 5 speed.


Where at & how much?

Enjoy!
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