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Page updated May 15, 2017

New TKO500 Installation (2017)

What a tight fit! Wow! During my major remodel of the entire car it was time to put my (4 year old in a box) TKO500 in the car. I had already made and welded in the new "spider" and thougth, read that as THOUGHT, it wouldn't be a problem installing it in my MKI chassis. Well, part of that is right. After careful measuring of the old T5 and the TKO500, I found them both to be exactly 24" in body length so I knew it would fit in the existing space. Next, I measured the location of the rear mount. It too would fit with just a sliver of space to the 4" cross tube. So far, so good, all I needed to do was make a 1/2" thick spacer to put under the rear mount to raise the TKO up to meet the correct C/L of the setup. With the help of my buddy Mike, we went to install the TKO. Going up at an angle between the engine and crossmember it was going smoothly until we hit the two top "spider" bars going from front to rear at the top of the tunnel. I hadn't taken into account the width of the TKO case vs. the T5 one, and it was hitting the bottom side of the two tubes. The input shaft was hitting the bottom of the bell housing by just 3/4" and I couldn't get it past. So it was basically wedged between the bars and housing. Hmmmm????

Securing the TKO temporarily, I looked for a solution. TaDa!! I saw the engine needed to be lifted more, so we got a long bar and repositioned the engine higher in the rear which gave me enough room to rotate the TKO over the 4" cross member and get it in position. Next was to lift the engine a little more to level it out with the transmission and then we mated the transmission and engine together, dropped it on the mount and it was done. Whew, disaster diverted. We decided to trim the front edge of the rear mount on the chassis, about 1 1/4" and welded a gusset to strengthen it. That should give me enough room to work with. To be honest, I was pretty nervous when it didn't go in easier. If I didn't put the "spider" backbone in, it wouldn't even be an issue. It'll fit fine in a MKI, and it is in mine.

The MKIII and beyond have a wider tunnel area by about 3" and I wasn't going to give up space for the transmission or backbone system. I also opted to use 3/4" box tubing to make the frame. Mainly because it would mate up with the rear diagonal braces and give me room. Having something is better than nothing, which is what I had, so I wasn't worried about it too much. The only dimension I forgot to figure for was the main body width of the TKO vs. the T5. Not that it would matter because it was going in anyway, I missed having enough room to "squeeze" between the two upper bars to allow the TKO to go in easier.

I'm very happy with the results and know I can still remove the TKO from the bottom without taking the engine out. That was another main goal. Why do more work when you don't have to. That is always how I go about my projects. Not the WOW! it's in, but "how am I going to work on this when it's done". I feel I indeed out smarted myself without even trying. Overlooked one thing but it didn't come back to haunt me.

While doing the rear suspension and having to take it all back out for powder coating, I removed the IRS carrier so I could install new clutch packs and possibly new gears if needed. I will be keeping my 3.27 gear ratio.

The IRS is done and back in the chassis. It is definately a job, and with all the aluminum on, much more tedious. However, I had my wife working the jack while I guided the differential in place. No pictures during this process but it's a "up sideways with axle openings front and rear, through the frame, rotate 90deg and flop the pinion end down and position it". Yep, pretty much how its done. I did install a drain plug in the cover to make oil changes easier.

Differential and Transmission (original build 1999)

I overhauled the differential and installed a set of 3.27 gears. Pictures are of the disassembly process and the completed job. Along with that I went through the transmission to make sure everything was in good shape. This also gave me a chance to clean everything really good. Parts were washed, bead blasted, painted and some clear coated to make cleaning easier. Driveline is in place and not going anywhere.

New Quick Time Bell Housing (2007)

A little safety is not much to ask for and I waited long enuogh. Finally, someone came out with a smaller, lighter and more efficient bell housing to replace the stock aluminum one.

I gave myself an early Christmas present last year (2006) and finally got around to installing it. The Quick Time bell housing was purchased from Fortes Parts Connection and Mike did a great job of making sure everything was included. A new block plate, new bolts (not metric) were included with the bell housing. I must say, this piece is really nice!

I removed the transmission, bell housing, clutch, flywheel and block plate. I pre-fit everything to make sure I didn't have issues. One thing I did was align the block plate to the bell housing to make sure holes lined up. I had to drill a few of the holes a little bigger to accept the bolts. The other thing was to check the fitment of the transmission to the new housing. Also, be sure to use the new centering ring before installing the transmission. The bolts are standard thread so you won't be using your old ones anymore.

The pictures above show the box, parts included and pictures during the install. I have to say this much, it gives you a lot more room to remove and replace the transmission due to the tapered effect the Quick Time bell housing has. That is very much appreciated by me!