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Old 03-04-2008, 09:28 PM
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Default Auto To Manual Swap Procedures

Okay, first off, I apologize for the fact that there will be few pictures in this guide. As I did this swap I didn’t always have access to a camera and was more interested in getting it done than getting it filmed. But, I do have some pics here and there to show, and what I don’t have I will describe in great detail.

Getting Started:

The main question you have to ask yourself is whether or not the swap is worth it. It won’t be cheap, and depending on what route you take it could cost well over $2000 for parts and labor. So, you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it to put a stick into your car or sell yours and buy another car (Altima or other) that already has a stick in it.

The next question you have to ask yourself is whether you are going to do the swap or have a shop do it. Assuming you can find a shop that will do the swap, it will probably cost over $1000 in labor, minus parts of course. It would be much cheaper to do the swap yourself, but the next question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you can do the swap? You have to be somewhat mechanically inclined in order to do it.

Besides that, do you have the tools? The space to swap? An extra car to drive? Someone helping you? The money? Most of all, do you have the time? If you work eight hours a day, you might not want to come home and work on the car, in which case the car could sit for a while. There are so many variables. You have to look deep into yourself and seek your answers within.

What To Buy?
Obviously you are going to need the manual transmission parts, but let’s start with the cake, the manual transmission. Depending on what year of car you have can depend on what transmission you get. The 93-94 manual transmissions came in open differential (code A) and Viscous Limited Slip Differential (code V). The 93-94 transmissions did not come with a crank angle sensor, which according to Chuck34GBoro should do no more than cause the Check Engine Light to come on. The 00-01 transmissions came with different gears, much shorter gearing than the old transmissions. The SE models supposedly came with even shorter gearing.

Something to think about is whether or not you will be buying parts separately, or getting a complete swap car. I chose to get a relatively cheap swap car to just pick off the parts from. This was a great idea for me because it allowed me to learn the process of taking the car apart on a car other than my own, in case I messed something up. It also allowed me time to play around with the car and still drive my car until time came to work on it. Some people may just want to buy the parts new, and that is okay too because I will post pics of the separate parts needed for the swap. It might be cheaper to just get the parts themselves, depending on if you can find a decent parts car for relatively cheap or not.

The next thing to consider is whether or not you will be re-wiring the car. It’s not necessary, as I did not rewire my wiring harness with a manual transmission wire. Chuck34GBoro did rewire his. According to him, the injector relay is different depending on the year and independent of the main engine wiring harness. This is something else to consider when looking for parts/parts cars, to get a wiring harness of similar year.

Finally, this is the time to buy some nicer performance parts you might enjoy. Want a nice ACT clutch? B&M Short Shifter? Stillen Flywheel? This is the time.

Parts List as per Sassan and Topnotch Til I Die (modified from original FAQ):
clutch pedal
clutch master cylinder
hydraulic lines from master cylinder to slave cylinder
manual tranny
manaul axles
shifter linkage
shifter holder
rear motor mount bracket
manual ecu
**** make sure the counterweight is cut off the frame of the car after the conversion****

optional parts include:
clutch neutral safety switch
clutch start switch
manual wire harness

parts from auto that work in manual include:
tps sensor
automatic ECU

Just a note on the above: the automatic flywheel will NOT work with the manual car. The ring gear on the automatic does not come with the flywheel portion of the equipment. Also note of this: the flywheel bolts are longer on the manual transmission than the automatic bolts.

In addition, you might want to get yourself a manual pilot bearing/bushing; it helps you install the clutch with the clutch alignment tool. You should get a new one with an ACT kit.

Also note: the shifter plate around the automatic shift lever and the plate underneath are both different than the manual plates. You will need these too.

Also note: the manual ECU is NOT necessary, the automatic ECU will work, but will throw codes. You might want one though if you plan on doing a complete wiring harness swap. Once again, depending on the year of your car, you will want an ECU from that year, taking into account things like 93-94 or 95+, OBDI or OBDII, and so forth.

The auto starter DOES work.

Also note: if you are buying an older model transmission with VLSD, you will need VLSD axles.

Finally: you are taking the crossmember out, so it might be time to get some new motor mounts, and get Taz’s motor mount inserts for your car (or poly-fill them if you’re into that kind of thing…). In addition Energy Suspension 95-03 Maxima Front Lower Subframe bushings will work on the Altima crossmember (at least the front two that is, see my thread in the General Forums).

Tools Needed:
I am not going to go into each little socket head, wrench size and so forth for the swap, as I cannot possibly remember all these parts, so I will give a general idea by telling what tools I used.
Craftsman Wrench Set (12 Piece, 7mm-18mm)
Craftsman 11-piece Standard Socket Set (?-?”)
Craftsman 9 Piece Metric Socket Set (10-18mm)
3-piece socket extensions
3/8-1/2” drive adapter
1/2-3/8” drive adapter
Breaker bar
Craftsman 75lb/ft Torque Wrench (the only one guaranteed forever by Craftsman!)
Needle nose pliers
Screw drivers (flathead and Philips, large and small ones too)
500lb/ft Stanley Impact Wrench
Air Compressor
Hose and Fittings
Stanley Deep Drive Impact Gun Socket Set from Walmart (all 1/2" drive)
36mm Impact Socket (1/2” drive) for axle nuts
Dremel cutting wheel
Dremel filing tools
Electrical Tape
Needle nose pliers
Rubber mallet
Some type of jack for lifting and lowering the transmission
Jackstands x5: two for the rear tires, two for the front, one to hold up the engine (10 jackstands total if you have a swap car)
Slide hammer for removing the automatic pilot bearing (best to rent one from Autozone, wait until the day you need it too)
Axle seals

I used ziplock bags to hold all my little nuts and bolts that were removed, and I used sticky notes to keep track of where these went. Be sure to use detail to ensure you remember exactly where all these little parts go, because they will add up fast. In addition, I used scotch tape and sticky notes to make sure I knew where each wire and connection went that I disconnected; very good idea for when you get into the interior and start removing wiring.
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Last edited by Red Lion; 03-04-2008 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:29 PM
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Manual Car Parts Removal:
Let us begin by explaining the removal of parts from the manual car, in case you have a swap car.

Lug Nuts and Axle Nut:
The first step is to loosen the lug nuts, then loosen the huge axle nut. It’s easiest to do this while the wheels are on the ground or they will spin while the car is in the air. First you have to take off the cotter pin and the clip behind it. Easy enough, a pair of pliers will work to get those off.

For taking off the huge axle nut you will need a 36mm socket (found only in 1/2” size). A breaker bar and this socket could take off the nut if you have enough weight to stand on the breaker bar and knock it loose, but there’s a chance you could break the breaker bar. It’s best to take out the air tools for this. It should take between 200-300lb/ft to break it loose.

Lifting the Car:
I began by lifting the front of the car first, placing jack stands near the sides under the door, behind the control arm and next to the suspension subframe. This gave plenty of room to work in the important areas. Be sure to lift the car high enough that you will be able to pull your transmission out while it’s on the jack. The manual transmission is about 15” tall from its lowest point to its highest point. I then jacked up the rear from the suspension subframe and placed stands there. Remember, never work under the car without jackstands, because you’re going to have a lot going on down there and you wouldn’t want to accidently knock the car off the jack.

Removing the Top Parts:
You can begin by removing the components up top first. This includes the battery, its tray, the air box/filter, MAF, and air hose.

The battery is easily removed. Disconnect the two connections, and remove the battery tie down, loosening the nuts on the tie down. From there, take out the battery, and take out the plastic tray underneath it. Underneath the plastic tray is a metal holder, with four bolts (12? 14mm?) connected to it; three on the tray, and one near the fender. Remove these, then remove the two bolts (10mm?) holding the fuse box closest to the engine. There is also a plastic piece behind the battery that should also be removed.

The air box is removed first by removing the four bolts that go through the MAF into the air box. Remove these (10mm I think?) Be careful when removing the MAF not to bang it around too much. There should be an Air Intake Temperature sensor that connects to the side of the air box; disconnect it. A little gasket that the bolts connect to will fall off the side inside the air box; don’t lose it. Even easier would be to just disconnect the sensor up top and leave this portion hanging on the air box. Once you have some leverage, open up the air box by its four clips and take off the top and take out the air filter. There should be three bolts holding the air box to the fender on the underside; remove these.

From there you need to remove the air hose. There should be a plate connecting it to above the transmission mount. Remove this plate, and disconnect a few hoses to remove the air hose. Don’t forget the little thin hose towards the back that needs to come out too. Use a pair of pliers to pull the clips on the hoses to remove them, and use a flat head screwdriver on the clamps.

All done for now.

Removing the Transmission:
1) Drain transmission (drain plug and fill plug)
2) Axle Removal
3) Starter/Electronics removal
4) shifter linkage removal
5) underside bolts x4 (14mm?)
6) rear motor mount bracket bolts x5/6 (14mm)
7) top/front bolts x4 (14mm)
8) motor mount bolts (14mm), crossmember bolts (17mm) and last two rear bracket bolts (14mm)
9) transmission mount and bolts (14mm)

First and foremost we start by draining the transmission of gear oil. BE SURE to have a plastic tarp of some kind underneath the area you are working at; you can buy a cheap one at Walmart and it’s worth it not to get grease/oil in your driveway. There is a small drain plug on the underside of the transmission (shown in below pic in green), so be have your basin below and be ready for it to pour out. Old gear oil smells very badly, so try not to breath it in. It might help to open up the fill hole to allow for quicker flow (shown in below pic in red). (Pictures courtesy of SHAWN’s page).

Axle Removal:
You should have removed the huge 36mm axle nuts before you lifted the car. So, now you just need to remove the axles. This starts with the passenger side, which is connected to the chassis via three 10mm bolts holding it to a bracket housing. Remove these with a socket or wrench.

From there, you should disconnect the knuckles from the strut. With a little sleight of hand, you should be able to remove the axle from the knuckle without removing the ball joint OR the tie rod ends from the knuckle. I did. You’ll have to be careful not to mess up your ball joint by letting it just hang there, but you will need to lower the assembly and work with it to get the axle out of the knuckle. You might have to use a rubber mallet to knock the axle out of the knuckle, but be gentle. It shouldn’t take a lot of force to remove it.

From there you can simply pull out the passenger side axle. The drive side has no bracket holding it in place, but it does take a little more pulling force to unclip it from the differential housing. So, once you’ve repeated the above steps to get it out of the knuckle, just give it one really good hard pull and it will come out.

Starter and Electronics
The next best place to start is to remove the starter and other electronics from the transmission. You don’t have to take it all the way off, but you do have to unbolt it from the transmission. There are two 14mm bolts up top that connect to the starter; they are towards the rear of the transmission bell housing on the top side. One of them might be hard to find as it could be hidden under the black wires. Both of these will probably need extensions to get the socket to reach them.

Further back and lower than the starter is your speed sensor. It might be best to try to grab it from under the car. It’s just plugged in and you need to remove the plug. A pliers come in handy for removing various plugs.

Towards the middle of the transmission is a lone, sole plug coming from up under the transmission that needs to be disconnected. Simply remove this plug.

Towards the front of the transmission bell housing is the crank angle sensor. Once again, a simple disconnection (not on 93-94 transmissions).

Not an electrical connection per say, but I removed the clutch slave cylinder from the transmission. There are two 14mm bolts holding it to the transmission. I removed it and set it up somewhere where it wouldn’t dangle
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:37 PM
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Transmission Bottom Bolts and Rear Bracket Housing:
Now comes the fun stuff. There are a couple of ways to take the transmission off; you can remove the top bolts first or the bottom bolts first; you can remove the crossmember first or wait until you’ve got the transmission disconnected.

When removing the transmission, I chose to loosen the bolts on the bottom first, as this way I had room to work under the car without worrying about the engine/transmission falling on me and gave me plenty of space to get to some of the hard to reach bolts towards the back of the transmission.

Disconnect the shift linkage from the transmission first. There is a lone long bolt (10mm?) and a nut going through the shift linkage rod that connects to the transmission. Remove it first and get some room. Next to it, on the support rod, there are two nuts at the very top that hold the support rod to the rear motor mount bracket; these also should be 10mm nuts, so remove them and pull the shift linkage out.

There are four bolts on the underside of the bell housing going from the engine into the transmission, and some of them are kind of hard to reach. Your best bet is to use an open-ended wrench and slip it around the bolts and pull. They shouldn’t be too hard to remove. One will not be able to come out until the crossmember is removed, so don’t worry about it yet (should be the one furthest back towards the rear motor mount).

From there I began taking out bolts from the rear motor mount and its bracket. Some of these will need extensions to remove them from various parts of the transmission. There are 6 total bolts/etc. connected to the rear motor mount bracket and you should be able to remove at least 3 if not 4 right now. There is 1 bolt at the very top of the bracket, under the starter. There is an electrical connection also towards the top of the bracket, and should be connected with a screw with a 10mm head on it. There is 1 long bolt going through the motor mount; you may not be able to remove this one yet until some weight has been taken off the mount. In front of it there is 1 very long bolt going through the bracket.

There are two last bolts: one is connected on the underside of a little lip on the front of the bracket, connecting it to the engine. You probably won’t see this bolt until you take the crossmember off. Finally, there is a very small housing on the driver’s side of the bracket, near the shifter linkage parts, that contains the final bolt which connects to the transmission. You won’t be able to get to this bolt until the crossmember is off and the motor mount out of the bracket. This one will need an extension to get the socket head into the housing.

Transmission Top Bolts:
If you haven’t put your jack under the transmission by this point it would be a good idea to do so now. In addition, you might as well put your jackstand under the engine. I set mine underneath the oil pan, being careful to position it so that it doesn’t hit the drain plug on the oil pan.

There are four bolts connected to the top of the transmission: two are actually on top and to the left of where the starter bolts were. These are somewhat hidden under the engine harness and wires, so you’ll have to search around for them, and these too will require using a socket extension to get to them.

The last two bolts are towards the front of the car near the fans and near where the Crank Angle Sensor was located. You might be able to reach one from the top and one from underneath.

Removing the Crossmember:
First of note, I left the motor mounts attached to the crossmember and removed them as one piece. If you didn’t get that rear motor mount bolt connecting through it to the transmission, now’s the time to get it off if you can. Jack up the transmission to take some weight off that rear mount to help in removing it.

The next one to take off is the bolt going through the front motor mount. Also a 14mm bolt with a 14mm nut on the other side, I put a wrench around the nut to hold it from spinning as I loosend the bolt. Otherwise, the bolt will just keep spinning the nut on the other side.

After those were removed, I went at the underside bolts. The crossmember has two 17mm bolts up front and three 17mm nuts in the rear. The three in the rear require a deep-drive, so when I bought my impact socket set I choose a deep-drive set to be able to reach parts like these.

If you’re not too large of a person around the belly and you have your car jacked up high enough, you can crawl around back from under the front doors to reach these bolts (paranoia and security made me not want to be underneath the crossmember and engine at this point, especially since I had a jackstand underneath the engine making it hard to get back there).

I simply took my air gun and the 17mm deep drive and took the rear bracket nuts off first, then went up front and took the two up front off. You don’t have to use an impact gun but the bolts might be rusted on and therefore more difficult to remove, so the air tools helped a lot. Not to mention all the jacks/stands underneath and you won’t want to be forcing weight on the car one way or another with the breaker bar.

The crossmember should just come right off. Set it aside and now you have two last bolts to get. Those two connected to the rear motor mount bracket? Yeah, those. As stated, there’s one going up through the frontal lip of the bracket from it’s underside connecting the bracket to the engine. The other one is in the very small housing connecting the bracket to the transmission and will need an extension to get to it. Remove these and you are almost set to take out the transmission.

Transmission mount:
The last part holding the transmission in place is the transmission bracket located next to the fender on the driver’s side. There is another long mount bolt going through this bracket and transmission mount, and four bolts connected from the mount to the transmission. I couldn’t get a very good angle just yet on those four bolts, so I removed the bolt going through the mount to the bracket. Like the front motor mount, it is a bolt going through the mount with a nut on the other side, so you will have to hold the nut in place with a wrench to loosen the bolt from it or it will turn.

Once you have this part out, you can start lowering your transmission little by little. Lower it just enough to get some angle to remove those four bolts from the transmission mount from the transmission.

You should now be able to fully remove the transmission from the engine. It might take some angling and maneuvering to get it disconnected from the engine, but it will get out. Be mindful of the lower suspension subframe and the lower control arm when trying to remove the transmission. I even removed the plastic piece covering the inner fender from the engine bay to get some more room to work.

Simply lower the transmission out and pull it through the front. Take note too that there is still gear oil in the differential housing so make sure not to spill or leak it out when moving it. For note, the manual trans
mission weighs about 88lbs.

Removing the Clutch/Flywheel/Pressure Plate:
The pressure plate is the first part we need to remove, and we remove it from the flywheel. There should be about 6 or 8 bolts connecting it to the flywheel (10mm?), and you will probably need to hold one bolt with a wrench while you remove another one so that the assembly does not spin while you pull on them. Be sure to remove the bolts in a cross pattern as recommended by the Full Service Manual. Also, be ready to catch the clutch as well, as it will just fall out when the pressure plate is removed.

Next is the flywheel, which has four 19mm (?) bolts connecting it to the transmission. These are on pretty tight and I used the air gun to remove these as well. Once these parts are off, you can use a puller tool to remove the manual pilot bearing/bushing if you need it, unless your clutch kit came with one.

Be sure to save the mounting plate/gasket that fits behind the flywheel that sits between the engine and transmission. I believe it’s just a little different on the manual than the automatic.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:39 PM
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Interior Removal:
Before we remove the clutch piping, it would probably be easiest to remove the clutch master cylinder, which will require removing the brake master cylinder and both will require removing the pedal sets. So, let’s start with the interior. NOTE: all interior pieces require a Philips screwdriver.

While I can’t remember exactly the number of screws to look for, I do remember the order in which I removed everything. So, you have to use your judgment to figure out where each screw is at. If you’re doing an auto to manual swap, you should be able to figure this out!

1) Glove box
2) Panel under steering wheel
3) Shifter trim
4) Black Center Console (with ashtray)
5) Center Console/Box around ebrake handle
6) Silver/Metal bracket for CD player, lighter, ash tray (including electrical connections)

Though I removed most of my dash including the gauge cluster and bezel and wood trim, now that I think of it you really don’t have to remove more than these pieces to get to the important stuff of the manual swap, so there’s not really a need to remove the rest (there might be if you are doing a wiring harness swap, but I figure those doing that can figure out the rest).

There are two pedal sets you’re going to go for here, the smaller brake pedal and the clutch pedal. You don’t have to remove your steering column to take out the brake pedal, because if you remove your brake master cylinder/etc. you will have room to take out the pedal easier. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

So, first let’s start by removing the brake pedal. There are two electrical connections that you need to disconnect, a blue and a brown wire. Take these off and then start removing the pin/clip that hold the brake pedal to the brake booster extension. It consists of a small pin going through the pedal (bracket) and fork coming from the brake booster, and being retained on the other end by a small clip. Pull the clip out and then pull out the pin; I used a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Next step is to remove the four nuts holding the pedal bracket to the firewall. Remove these using an open-ended wrench. You are going to have to lie on your side and on your back with your legs out the car door to get good leverage, and you’re probably going to have to find yourself rather surprisingly limber with your hands and arms, but you can get these nuts taken out. Finally, there is one last bolt, up above the two wires you disconnected. It’s far up there, so you’ll need an extension to reach it.

For the clutch pedal, the same goes. There is one large bolt at the very top you will need to disconnect with an extension. The clutch pedal also has two wires connected to it that you will have to disconnect. Also, the clutch pedal will also have a pin/clip going through its bracket and through the holder fork from the clutch master cylinder. Disconnect these in the same way as the brake pedal bits.

Now, you can’t remove either of these parts yet, but hold off and go back to the engine bay, and start working with the parts there. Then you will come back to remove both.

Brake Master Cylinder and Brake Booster:
First thing you will need to do is disconnect the brake lines going into the brake master cylinder. Each line is connected to the master cylinder via 10mm heads which need an open ended wrench to disconnect. Pull these out (there should be four total) and make sure you have that tarp under the car as it will loose brake fluid. From there, there is a small wire connected on the passenger side of the master cylinder. Disconnect it.

Next there are two nuts connecting the master cylinder to the brake booster. Remove these (12mm?) and start removing the brake booster. First you will have to disconnect a hose up top and then start just (carefully) maneuvering the brake booster out of its area until it is freed. Be careful with the metal lines all around it.

Clutch Master Cylinder and Piping:
The clutch piping is connected to four places: the slave cylinder, further down the slave cylinder line on a metal bracket connected to the fender, a bleeder line on the underside connected to the fender via bracket, and finally at the clutch master cylinder.

The slave cylinder comes off the transmission easily with a 14mm socket. From there you will go down the line towards the bracket where you will disconnect the bracket closest to the fender. It should take two 14mm nuts holding it in, so remove those. From there, along the fender and towards the front of the car is another line (bleeder valve) that needs to be removed as well, being held on a bracket to the fender with 3 10mm screws. Take it out as well.

Now follow the line back up to the master cylinder. With the brake booster out of the way, you should be able to get a 12mm (?) wrench over the two nuts holding the master cylinder to the firewall. It will take you a little patience to free it, but the nuts are removed you should be able to pull the master cylinder free from the firewall (clutch lines and all). As usual, be careful not to bend or flex the clutch lines too much freeing these parts.

On the inside, both pedals should be completely freed, and you can remove them. Before, you would have needed to move the steering wheel to remove the brake pedal but now it should come loose with a little maneuvering.

Shifter Linkage:
When you removed the transmission, you should have already disconnected the shifter linkage parts from the transmission and mount. Now, you will have to take them off the car. On the underside, I first removed the rubber exhaust hangers closest to the catalytic converter (this involved two 12mm (?) bolts, along with washers). This let the exhaust hang a little, but I then disconnected the three nuts holding the down pipe to the exhaust manifold (you will need a deep drive socket for this) followed by one long bolt holding the down pipe to a bracket under the engine. Once you’ve done this, the exhaust will hang enough to give you access to the shifter stuff above the cat.

Now, you will need a 10mm socket to remove the five 10mm bolts holding the heat shield to the chassis. Be careful removing them, as the one in the middle was very rusty and broke when removing it.

With that out of the way, you should be able to clearly see your shifter linkage, including the bottom of the shifter. Here is a diagram of the assembly (thanks Kettnerc).

There should be two nuts up top on the shifter plate holding the front of the plate to the car. Remove these. The next are two nuts on the bottom side holding the rest of the plate (and the rubber shifter bushing and bracket to the car). These two were a very big pain because they were rusted and broke as I was trying to remove them. Actually, they were rusted to the bolt and consequently began turning the bolt with them as I tried to remove them. If you have to cut them off, do it, but be careful of keeping the plate up top and bracket underneath in one piece.

You can now drop the entire shifter assembly out as one piece, no need to take it apart (unless you an installing a short shifter, in which case read the instructions provided by the SS maker).

That’s it! You’re done with the removal of parts from the manual car! Now, it’s time to move on to the automatic car!
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:42 PM
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Automatic Car:
Now that you know what to do with the manual car, you basically need to follow the same steps with the automatic car.

The steps go like so:
1) loosen axle nut and lug nuts, then take car off the ground (leaving clearance for the transmission)
2) remove the battery, air box and air hose
3) take off transmission, starting with axles, then starter and sensors, then motor mount bracket bolts, bottom bolts, top bolts, crossmember, then transmission mount and transmission
4) remove the torque converter on the transmission, instead of clutch/pressure plate/flywheel
5) remove auto pilot bushing
6) remove interior
7) remove brake assembly, brake pedal
8) remove shifter and shifter line
9) remove counter weight

The first note is that the auto transmission has it’s own “oil pan” that needs to be removed as well as having the fluid drained out the drain plug.

Also, the automatic has four sensors where the manual only had one. Disconnect these carefully. Also, at the front of the engine bay, there is a line connecting to the transmission that runs through the firewall, telling it when it is in park, neutral, reverse, or drive. Disconnect this line.

Also, there are two lines going from the auto transmission to the radiator. You can simply remove these lines from their connection point to the transmission (while spilling a little AT fluid). They can stay on the radiator and don’t need to be removed, they won’t leak or anything. They just cooled the AT fluid.

Note about taking out the transmission itself: it’s large. Much larger than the manual, especially towards the rear of the engine bay. In fact, mine kept hitting the suspension subframe when I tried to pull it out. Your best bet is to take off the plastic fender lining around the area where the axles went through, then try to pull the AT out and to the side. It will take a little patience and a lot of finagling to get it all the way off. But, it obviously can be done.

On taking out the torque converter, there is a small plate on the underside of the engine that you need to remove in order to disconnect it from the ring gear. Plate is shown here:

It’s rather hard to disconnect these four 10mm(?) bolts from the torque converter without and air gun, but unless you have an air ratchet it’s hard to get the air gun lined up to get to these bolts if your air gun is too large (due mostly to it hitting the underside of the engine). So, I used a breaker bar and had to hold the torque converter with my hand to keep it from moving too far in one direction as I tried to loosen the bolts. On a side note, this thing is freaking heavy, and it will fall on your head if you aren’t careful of where you’re positioned at. So, have someone there to hold it for you.

On removing the auto pilot bushing/bearing, go get a puller tool from Autozone or wherever (rental is like $140 but refunded in full if the tool is returned). You should have an idea of how the tool works when you see it, but you basically put it inside the hole of the pilot bushing until it grasps the little lip on the rear side of the bushing. From there, just pull until it comes out. I wiggled it out by pull out and up, then out and down, then out and side to side, until it finally came loose.

On removing the shifter and line, there is a line going from the transmission through the firewall that tells whether or not it is in park, drive, etc. You can remove this line; I cut mine off at the firewall point. On the interior, once you have removed this, you can disconnect the parts coming from the shifter. There should be a pin-like connection that goes from the shifter to the ignition (when you pull it, you’ll hear a click). You can remove this as well. The whole assembly should come out through the top.

If your transmission is a different year, you might want to replace speed sensors on the transmission. It’s the large sensor to the rear of the transmission on the outside top of the differential housing. I used the old one from my auto and have no speedometer problems.

Lastly, there is that large counterweight you probably noticed that is towards the driver side of the underside. I took out my dremel and cutting wheel and went at it. Took less than ten minutes to get off if you know where to cut.

Installing the Manual Parts: Cutting a Hole Through the Firewall
The first thing I did was cut a hole through the firewall. You should see a cut-out area in the plastic lining where the master cylinder goes (mine had the area cut out), even though there is no hole there yet. First thing I did was (from the inside) mark the two points where the bolts on the manual pedal would go out the firewall. I did this by first taking some transmission grease to use as a marker and put it on the tips of the two bolts coming off the bracket. I then lined up the pedal/bracket as best as I could and pushed the two bolts to the firewall, making two dots on the firewall where the bolts should go through.

I then took the clutch master cylinder and measured the distance between the two bolt holes on the master cyl to the rubber round part of the master cyl that would be going through the firewall. This gave me an idea of how much distance I would need from the two dots on the firewall to where the master cylinder hole should go. I also measured the diameter of the master cylinder rubber circle to give me an idea of how big to cut. I then made marks on the firewall of where the rubber part should go through, using the distance measured from the rubber part to the bolt holes, so I would not cut further or larger than the hole needed to be.

From there, I took my dremel’s cutting wheel and cut an X hole through the firewall at the two bolt points and then made sure they were where they should be by again lining up the pedal bracket and bolts make sure everything is okay. I then took a large drill bit and drilled through the small hole, opening it up wide enough for the two bolts. I checked again and made sure everything was lined up.

After that, it was a matter of making a large enough hole in between those two for the master cylinder to fit through. From there, I just started cutting in as best a circle as I could with the dremel cutting wheel. It doesn’t take a long time for the cutting wheel to go through the firewall, but I had to clean up the holes and make sure there was enough room.

After I got the hole cut, I used the dremel sanding wheel to file down the jagged edges of the firewall hole to make sure it wouldn’t catch the rubber part of the master cylinder. I also took black electrical tape and put some tape around the rubber part of the master cylinder just in case. I then hooked everything up, starting with the clip and pin on the bracket and fork, then the bolt up top on the bracket, then the master cylinder to bracket bolts in the engine bay.

When installing the clutch master cylinder, put it through the firewall and make sure you get a bolt or both connected through the master cyl, but don’t tighten the nuts yet. Make sure the fork from the master cylinder holding the clutch pedal is lined up to the pedal. You might have to pull the assembly closer to the pedal to get it lined up correctly. Once you have this, put the pin through and then put the clip on to make sure it’s all secure.

Also of note: the cloth lining around the firewall WILL catch fire. Not a very big fire mind you, we’re not talking an out of control inferno, but the dremel cutting through the metal creates a lot of sparks, and the embers can catch the cloth and glow, so make sure it’s all put out when you’re working there.

Also of note: you should be able to install the master cylinder with all the clutch lines still connected as one, without having to have removed them from the little brown mating point or from the master cylinder. Be careful not to bend the lines too much installing the master cylinder, just like when taking everything out.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:43 PM
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Brake Pedal, Clutch Lines, etc.
After this, I reconnected the brake pedal. First thing to do was set the brake booster through the firewall (making sure I was careful with the metal lines around it again), and connecting the bracket to the pedal via clip and pin again. This was kind of difficult because first you have to make sure the pedal bracket is resting over the four bolts going through the firewall from the booster, so you have to push it through and make sure the pedal bracket is able to fit over these and get at least one nut over a bolt to make sure everything hangs on. You also have to make sure the fork from the booster to the pedal was lined up, as you had to do with the clutch pedal. Otherwise, you can’t really get it to fit once everything is bolted up.

Once the fork is connected to the brake pedal, start putting the nuts on the bolts and tighten everything up. Once again, up top there is that bolt very high up holding the bracket up, so get the extension out and connect it all. Don’t forget to connect the two sensors at the top of the bracket as well.

Back to the engine bay: start by reconnecting the hose to the brake booster, and follow by reconnecting all the metal lines around the brake master cylinder to it. Next, bolt up the brake master cylinder back to the brake booster, and reconnect the little sensor to the master cyl and you’re good to go in this aspect.

The next step is to reinstall the clutch lines thus far. Obviously you cannot connect the slave cylinder just yet, but you can have it hanging out of the way while you connect the bracket to the fender wall (mine had two little plastic pieces covering up where the bolts for the bracket should go through, remove these). Connect this bracket, then connect the bracket furthest to the front of the fender. Two 10mm bolts should connect the bracket if you didn’t disconnect the line from it’s bracket.

Now it’s time to install the transmission!

Clutch, Flywheel, Pressure Plate, and Pilot Bearing!:
First thing to do is connect said assembly. I started by taking the manual pilot bearing and sort of sticking it up to the hole and pushing it in a little, then taking a hammer/mallet and lightly tapping it until it is flush with the outer most part of the ring there.

From there, I installed the flywheel. I had to take the air gun out and connected them to flywheel bolts (they require a lot of torque, see below). I then put the clutch alignment tool through the flywheel and manual pilot bearing, and fit the pressure plate over the tool and connected it to the flywheel (6? 8? 10mm bolts). Connect these in a cross pattern. Remove the clutch alignment tool and the clutch will rest there.

While you’re at it here, reconnect that small back plate on the underside of the engine that you used to get to the torque converter bolts. In addition, now’s the time to put that gasker/mounting plate from the manual transmission back on and fit it over the two holes the extend out a little from the engine.

Transmission Installation:
Now it’s time to take your transmission and put it on your jack and jack it back up to the engine. It’ll take a while to align it if you have no one helping you, but it’s possible (I did it by myself, took about an hour). The main hardship is aligning the bolts since the transmission should be level but the engine should be at an angle resting on the jackstand and leaning probably backwards due to the car being jacked up.

The key is to lean the transmission as best as you can and get at least one bolt (preferably one of the long top bolts) through the transmission and into the engine. From there, rock it and push it and lean it as best as you can until you can get another bolt through (up top is still where to try it). It might take a while but you can get it. Once you have it connected, start tightening the bolts up to the engine. Check torque specs below.

Once you have all bolts (top and bottom) connected, put the manual transmission mount back on the transmission and jack up the transmission (and the engine with it) to connect it to the bracket on the fender. Once you have done this, the assembly should be able to just hang there, though I recommend leaving the transmission jack under it just for security. But, you can now take the jackstand out from underneath the engine and you will have more room to work with the bracket bolts.

Crossmember and Motor Mounts:
I then went on to install the manual transmission rear motor mount bracket in those two areas that were a pain to get to: the bolt going through that small housing on the bracket into the transmission, and the bolt under the bracket that goes up into the engine. Once these have been connected, it’s time to go at the crossmember.

The crossmember is a bit tricky too. Since your engine/transmission are no doubt leaning, you might have to try to jack up the front or rear of the engine to push one side one way forwards or backwards to meet up with the motor mounts. Another option is to get a friend outside the front of the engine bay and pull or push the engine one way or another (grabbing from the valve cover) to help you align it all.

I first connected the rear of the crossmember to the three studs coming out back there, but I didn’t tighten the nuts yet so I could have some room to move it all. After this, I did most of the rocking to get the motor mounts aligned to their brackets. I connected the front motor mount first (bolt through the hole), then aligned the rear to its bracket and connected it as best as I could, and finally bolted up the front bolts and connected the rear nuts.

Now, it was time to reconnect the four bolts/etc. connected to the rear motor mount, including the really large bolt in front of the mount, the bolt up at the top, and the little electrical connected at the top of the bracket.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:44 PM
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Electrical Connections:
All that was left was the starter and the electrical connections. There should only be two sensors (depending on year) to connect, including the crank angle sensor up front and the speed sensor in the rear. On the crank angle sensor, it sat higher up on the auto trans that it does on the manual, and as a result the wiring harness portion that held the crank angle sensor wasn’t long enough to go down to the connection. I had to cut the black wrap holding the three sensors back (without cutting their wires) to give me some length to the CAS and get it to connect to the sensor housing.

The only other wiring left to do is to short the wires that go to the starter that allow the car to turn on, and hook up the wires that give you reverse lights. See, on the auto, these wires plugged in and told the starter not to start unless the car was in park. In order to override this, you cut the plug off and splice the two wires there together. Here’s a picture to show you:

This plug contains two black wires, one black and yellow and the other black and white. After you have cut the plug off, take these two wires and strip them back enough to reveal the copper wiring, then take the wiring and wrap it into the other. This will short the connection so the starter will start the car without looking for “Park” or some other gear. This is more for those of you who have not done a wiring harness swap.

On connecting the reverse lights, there is one lone plug that comes from around the underside of the manual transmission. You need to cut this plug off to reveal four wires: a blue wire, a blue/red wire, a blue/white wire, and a lone black wire. They can be seen here on this diagram (thanks to YouCantCatchMe for the diagram):

Now, there should be a plug (out of the four plugs that were coming off the auto harness) with seven wires coming off of it: two dark green/black striped wires, a dark green/white wire, a light green wire, a light green/black, a light green/orange, and a brown wire (the colors are different on the 2nd gen and 97.5 wiring harness). These are the wires you need to connect from the manual transmission to the auto harness on a 93-97 Altima:

5 speed trans side ............................. Auto Selector Side

Blue/Red -------------------------------Brown
Blue -----------------------------------Green/White
Blue/White -----------------------------Green/Orange
Black -------------------------------- Dark Green/Black

On a 97.5 or 98-01, you need to connect these wires:
Blue/White ---------------------------Grn/Orng
BLK ------------------------------------BLK
Blue/REd -----------------------------Yellow
Blue ----------------------------------Green

PLEASE NOTE: there are TWO Dark green/black wires coming off the auto harness on a 93-97, so you need to try one out and if it doesn't work try out the other.

That should be all the electrical connections you need to do for now. The only wiring left to possibly do would be hooking up cruise control, which I have not done and will not do. I leave this to the soldiers of tomorrow to find out for themselves.

Installing the axles:
Reverse the install order, and be sure to replace your transmission/axle seals. I didn’t replace mine, and it leaked gear oil out. Not good. So be sure to replace the seals when you put the manual axles back in. Connect the passenger side to the bracket housing with the three 10mm bolts. On the driver’s side, give the axle a good push until you hear/feel it click into the housing. Good to go. Now put the axle splines back into the knuckle as you did before and reconnect the knuckle to the strut. Be sure to torque these to spec. You will need to get an alignment after all this is over.

Shifter Linkage:
On the underside, I reconnected the shifter linkage first by putting the plate over the hole and putting the shifter assembly up through the hole. Once there, connect the bushing bracket and connect the nuts in the interior. I then took the shifter support rod and hooked it up to the rear motor mount bracket, following this with connecting the shifter linkage to the transmission.

A note about the shifter: as told to me by Rush0, if you tighten the bolt up that goes though the shifter to the shifter linkage too hard, it will make shifting into gear a little difficult. So, don’t have it too tight when you connect everything.

Now it’s time to put the heat shield back on, connecting the four or five bolts (the middle bolt always tended to break off when I took it off). Raise your exhaust and bolt up the bolt to the bracket up front, then connect the down pipe to the exhaust manifold. Finally, connect the two rubber exhaust hangers again.

You are now done on the underside.

Air Hose, Air Box, Battery and Interior:
Now, all that’s left mechanically is the top. Just as you took them off, reconnect the air hose, air box, and finally the battery.

Before you go try your car starting, be sure to put in five quarts of gear oil into the transmission. Make sure you have the drain plug in before you do this. In addition, it would be a good idea to go ahead and put some clutch fluid into the master cylinder. Once done, have a try and start the car to make sure it runs. Shift the gears to make sure it shifts too. If it’s all working, you’re good to go.

After all this, re-install your interior just as you took it apart. Of note, on the other side of the panel under the glove box is the automatic computer; you can remove this now as you won’t need it anymore.

All that’s left is to put the car back on the ground. Put your wheels back on and the lug nuts back on. Get your air gun out and put the axle nuts back on (with cotter pin/etc) and tighten the lug nuts again. Before you drive the car, you will have to fill the brake fluid and bleed both the brake and clutch lines.

You should be good to go now. Give it a whirl and make sure it all works.

And congratulations; you just did one of the hardest (even called impossible by some people I knew) jobs that you can do to your automobile. You should feel proud of yourself.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:46 PM
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Socket Sizes in MM for the Job:
14 mm for the main tranny bolts
12 mm for the bracket bolts (rear motor mount to tranny to crossmember)
19 mm for the flywheel bolts
10 mm for the linkage bolts
17 mm for the crossmember bolts
36 mm for the axle nut
21 mm for the hub nuts
17 mm for the strut bolts
19 mm for the upper motor mount bolt
10 mm for the 8 clutch plate bolts
14 mm for the brake line bolt

Torque Specs:

Axle Nut ............................... 173-232
Strut-To-Steering Knuckle Nut ........... 87-108
Wheel Lug Nut ............................. 72-87

Altima ................................... 22-30

Slave Cylinder Mounting Bolts .............. 22-30

Transaxle-To-Engine Bolt
Bolt No. 1 & 2 ......................... 29-36
Bolt No. 3 & 4 ......................... 22-30

Flywheel Mount Bolt (M/T) .............. 105-112

Oil Drain Plug ............................. 22-29

Engine Mount-To-Cylinder Block Bolt ........ 32-41
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:38 AM
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Used a NON-Crank Angle Sensor equipped Transmission (1994 SE) in my Auto 1996 GXE.

Car Cranks Fine.


p.s For those who remember my Username from when the .NET was really the .NET - YES, after all these years, the Altima is still here.
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Old 04-27-2008, 05:59 PM
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good to hear! get any warning lights or CEL's
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:00 AM
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Yep Engine light was on before the swap since it's been throwing a lean code due to my intake gasket. I still have my Auto Harness so I know it's picking up the shift sensors! Car cranks without hitting the clutch though LOL.

I haven't driven it yet because the Manual Tranny mount is on back order so it's just parked up in the Garage!

Props for the Reverse Wiring - we used it, and so far the speed sensor works because after jacking up the car and going through the gears, the speedo is moving.

-Kevykev (Altimas.Net Member #50 (1999) < LOL
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Lion View Post
The only wiring left to possibly do would be hooking up cruise control, which I have not done and will not do. I leave this to the soldiers of tomorrow to find out for themselves.
Hey Red how's it going? Were you aware of anyone figuring this part out? I thought I saw it a while ago, but I can't find it again...
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 05-21-2008, 12:22 PM
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you know, I'm not totally sure about the cruise control because for a while I still had it on my car even after the swap, and then for a while it went away, go figure. If you took out an FSM and traced the cruise control wires you should be able to find all the connections and if one of them is on the transmission or plugs around the transmission you'll know which it is.

And the more I think about it, the cruise control should have less to do with the transmission and more to do with the engine and speedometer, you have to purposely put the transmission into the desired gear THEN hit the cruise control buttons, which tell the engine to maintain a certain RPM.
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