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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought an El camino with a 427 and a Richmond 5 speed. I've never owned or worked on one of these transmissions before and don't know much about them other than it has a 1:1 5th gear.

This unit shifts OK, but not buttery smooth like some of the Muncies I've owned. It takes a lot more muscle to row the gears and with a 3.73 rear gear, this car needs to be shifted VERY quickly.

Is this tough shifting normal? If not, what can I do?
 

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I ordered this car new with a factory 5sp.
About 18yrs ago I replaced the original 5sp with a Richmond 5sp and replaced the original engine with an Olds 455. Haven't touched it since.
Yes, the R5sp is a little more "stiff" than a Muncie, but, by the same token, it is also more positive when shifted into each gear. The stiffness is more pronounced when cold, but once it warms up, its fine, although still more "positive" when changing from one gear to another. When you put the Richmond in gear--------------------you know it's in gear!





 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm buyin your story Tom because I believe you, but I've never heard of this Oldsmobile 5 speed deal. Can you elaborate?
 

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I'm buyin your story Tom because I believe you, but I've never heard of this Oldsmobile 5 speed deal. Can you elaborate?
Jimmy,
The 1976 Cutlass was the first year that a FACTORY 5sp was available in a Cutlass. Also, 1976 was the LAST year for an Olds 455. I special ordered my 76 Cutlass BRAND NEW about Mar of 76. There was no longer a 4sp available in a 442. Also, 1975 was the LAST year for the Chrome metal 442 emblems. In 1976, the 442 pkg included a BIG, long vinyl 442 decal along the lower portion of the side of the body. Also, a big, vinyl 442 emblem on the trunk lid. :sad: No way was I going for that!
To get a 5sp in 76, it could ONLY be had with the smaller engines. If you wanted a 455 in 76, the turbo 400 was mandatory. Period! :sad: I wasn't going for that either. Accidently, I learned about the 5sp, ordered it. The Cutlass S body (mine) was the El Cheapo body, which was also the body used for a 442. So, I ordered a Cutlass S (as you see it in the picture above), and more or less equiped it like a 442, wheels, trim (didn't want buckets), sport steering wheel, AM-FM 8-track stereo, tilt, clock, light pkg, etc, etc (but no 455). By 87, I had already gone through 3 of the light duty B-W 5spds and decided that was enough, plus, the car needed a BIG engine. The B-W (the build sheet calls it an M75) wasn't going to stand up behind a 455, so, I began to search for something else. That's when I came across the Doug-Nash 5sp (which is now Richmond). Built a healthy 455, put in a R5sp to replace the weak B-W, haven't touched it since 88.
Below are pictures of my ORIGINAL owners papers with my name on it (PH&H is the leasing co it was delivered through), plus pg18 of my 1976 owners manual with the 5sp shift pattern shown.





In 1976, 59,179 Cutlass S's were built. There were 946 of them with a 5sp.
Now, just for the heck of it, in case you need more convincing, go into your friendly auto parts store (Autozone, NAPA, O'Reilly, etc) and inquire about parts for a 1976-79 Cutlass with a 5sp tranny, for example, inquire about a clutch for one. The parts guy will look it up on the computer, and bingo, it will show up!
 

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By the way, the 455 under the Cutlass S emblem is my personal touch.
Those numbers are individual 454 Corvette hood numbers. :yes:
 

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I just bought an El camino with a 427 and a Richmond 5 speed. I've never owned or worked on one of these transmissions before and don't know much about them other than it has a 1:1 5th gear.

This unit shifts OK, but not buttery smooth like some of the Muncies I've owned. It takes a lot more muscle to row the gears and with a 3.73 rear gear, this car needs to be shifted VERY quickly.

Is this tough shifting normal? If not, what can I do?
I have two of the Richmond 5 Speeders. One is running synthetic oil and the other has Dino oil (90 Weight). One is in a 66 Vette and the other is in an A-body. The synth lubricated unit in the A-body shifts much easier than the Vette does. A factor in the Vette shift effort is also the fact that the Vette lever is short, much shorter, than the A-Body lever. I had the Vette unit filled with Synth oil and it shifted MUCH easier than it did with the Dino oil.

As for working on the trans they are really easy to work on. The unit can be entirely diasssembeled with only wrenches and a snap ring pliers. Everything including gears and bearings can be pulled off the main and counter shafts with just the snap ring pliers. The input bearing on the input shaft may sometimes require a press to disassemble or reassemble.

You can even select optional gear ratios and install them by replacing the drive and driven gear for a give speed. As an example the standard first gear ratio is 3.27 but you can load in 3.08 by just swapping in ONLY two required gears for the 3.07 ratio
 
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