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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Transmission Swap

Hello all,

I was wondering how difficult it is to do a transmission swap. I have had a transmission rebuilt with stronger internals to make it similair to a sister tranny (i.e. 5l40e to 5l50e internals) but I haven't done a swap to say a 6l80e. This is my first vechile that I would be heavily modifying with electronic safeguards.

I understand the tranny housing has to mesh with the engine but is there issues with say the wiring harness, TCM, and/or the ECM even recognizing the the new Transmission? Can this be corrected by tuning or reflashing the firmware of the ECM to accept the new tranny?

I have read past posts discussing manual changes but I am driving an automatic. I understand that DDM posted that the 5l40e can handle quite a bit of hp without being built but I am curious since this is my first turbo and first time considering doing major modifications. Thank you for reading.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 09:30 AM
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I have no idea but don't want you to think people aren't reading this post. I would contact Dave Gilbert at Performance Auto Werks or Dave at DDM or some of the folks on Facebook under the Kappa Swap group (whole group on doing engine swaps) and see what they say.

I don't know what your power goals are but I do know our automatics can handle quite a bit of power.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Robotech View Post
I have no idea but don't want you to think people aren't reading this post. I would contact Dave Gilbert at Performance Auto Werks or Dave at DDM or some of the folks on Facebook under the Kappa Swap group (whole group on doing engine swaps) and see what they say.

I don't know what your power goals are but I do know our automatics can handle quite a bit of power.
I don't have power goals at the moment. It sounds like I should talk to the experts to see what can be done.

I am interested in a paddle shifter transmission. It may not be practical to convert our platform but I think an extra gear might be worth it as well. When looking at the prices for used transmissions out of totalled cars it appears to be the same cost to transplant a tranny as working within the original 5l40e and upgrading the internals.

This all being said the extra cost will be in modifications to mate the tranny, driveshaft, and diff.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by SkyLine08 View Post
I don't have power goals at the moment. It sounds like I should talk to the experts to see what can be done.

I am interested in a paddle shifter transmission. It may not be practical to convert our platform but I think an extra gear might be worth it as well. When looking at the prices for used transmissions out of totalled cars it appears to be the same cost to transplant a tranny as working within the original 5l40e and upgrading the internals.

This all being said the extra cost will be in modifications to mate the tranny, driveshaft, and diff.
I want to say someone was working on doing a paddle shift conversion on our cars but IIRC the last I heard of it was several years ago. Has to be the right transmission and then you have to get the logic down to accept the shift commands which may require a new BCM or something. I remember it not being an easy task. Getting the tranny physically in the car was cake compared to what else they were trying to do.

Be sure to check out our sister site solsticeforum.com and the kappaperformance forum as well as a lot of the Pontiac guys do this kind of thing. Never understood why the Sky never attracted many from that crowd.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Be sure to check out our sister site solsticeforum.com and the kappaperformance forum as well as a lot of the Pontiac guys do this kind of thing. Never understood why the Sky never attracted many from that crowd.
I am not sure if you mean the crowd on the pontiac forum is larger or that they stay on their forum and don't check much on this forum. If they have more people that makes sense when I was checking the amount of skys vs pontiacs it seems 2x of pontiacs were built to our skys. Opel GT roadster was like 7k or something.

I realize it will probably be a difficult task and might not be worth it but my idea is to be able to "force" the tranny to downshift before hard turns and to keep it in the gear as I am completeing the turn. Additionally, faster shifts would be wonderful.

I did not buy a manual because I know I am not that great with multiple shifts and am more than likely to miss a few shift or ride the clutch while tracking it.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 01:51 PM
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Robo is correct that the biggest headache in changing the transmission is probably going to be getting the control modules to talk to each other.

Have you tried the "I" setting?

John
Lexington, KY
Sky NA 2007 Midnight Blue
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Last edited by JohnWR; 06-26-2019 at 02:04 PM.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyLine08 View Post
I am not sure if you mean the crowd on the pontiac forum is larger or that they stay on their forum and don't check much on this forum. If they have more people that makes sense when I was checking the amount of skys vs pontiacs it seems 2x of pontiacs were built to our skys. Opel GT roadster was like 7k or something.

I realize it will probably be a difficult task and might not be worth it but my idea is to be able to "force" the tranny to downshift before hard turns and to keep it in the gear as I am completeing the turn. Additionally, faster shifts would be wonderful.

I did not buy a manual because I know I am not that great with multiple shifts and am more than likely to miss a few shift or ride the clutch while tracking it.
No, I mean that for whatever reason, more Pontiac owners are into modifying the performance level of the platform and doing this kind of crazy stuff to the car. The Sky group has some like that too, but certainly not nearly as many as the Pontiac owners. Most of the guys that do that kind of stuff with the car stay on that forum and don't come here much. Many of our members here are members there also and visa versa...which would seem kind of self explanatory. Like me though, even those members who are members one both sites stick mostly to their model site for whatever reason and rarely visit the other site. I think the number who do so regularly could be counted on your hands.

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Have you tried the "I" setting?
If you haven't, give it a shot. I'm not sure how it will work on track days but on twisty mountain roads it's a great setting.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:29 PM
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Speaking as one of the fingers on Robo's hands...

I have heard of TCM 'tunes' for our cars. No personal experience (I have a manual) but maybe worth investigating/doing a search?

Owner of "Campbelle", a Brazen 2008 GXP ... with mods piling up...
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TomatoSoup View Post
Speaking as one of the fingers on Robo's hands...
That you most certainly are...LOL You know, no matter how I word that it is coming out sounding so wrong. LOL


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 06:53 PM
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Set it to "L" and forget it when tracking or autocrossing. The engine will always be in the heart of the powerband. It actually works pretty slick. With many GM trannys, L is first only, 2 is first and second, etc. Our car will shift appropriately to fourth and I assume fifth in "L", if you have the speed.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kansas Bill View Post
Set it to "L" and forget it when tracking or autocrossing. The engine will always be in the heart of the powerband. It actually works pretty slick. With many GM trannys, L is first only, 2 is first and second, etc. Our car will shift appropriately to fourth and I assume fifth in "L", if you have the speed.
I was under the assumption that the different settings limited how many gears the transmission would use. To adjust the range between shift points would increase but "L" allows for all gears? Is it the Sky's version of a "Race " setting? Coming from OBD1 alot of the electronic controls were not present and many times a simple redirection, transitor, or switch could trick the sensors.

I have seen the TCM tune on the WERKS website. I am interested but am unsure if it is worthwhile. I guess I need to track it and just see for myself.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyLine08 View Post
I was under the assumption that the different settings limited how many gears the transmission would use. To adjust the range between shift points would increase but "L" allows for all gears? Is it the Sky's version of a "Race " setting? Coming from OBD1 alot of the electronic controls were not present and many times a simple redirection, transitor, or switch could trick the sensors.

I have seen the TCM tune on the WERKS website. I am interested but am unsure if it is worthwhile. I guess I need to track it and just see for myself.
I autocross in "L", and it will upshift near redline, and downshift when the lower gear is below redline. It downshifts when appropriate when you slow for a turn, and is already in the proper gear to accelerate after the turn. "I" gives more aggressive than normal shift algorithms, but it will downshift when you roll into the throttle after a turn. On the road, I have gone to 4th gear in "L", but haven't had the speed to see if it will go to 5th.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 12:40 PM
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This is great information! I didn't geat this interpretation from the manual at all.

Dwaine

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 01:59 PM
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This is great information! I didn't geat this interpretation from the manual at all.
Yeah, the manual kind of leads to different assumptions about how it works. On a similar note, the manual doesn't tell you what happens if you hold the ESC button down for 5 seconds - it cancels traction control and stability control completely. ABS is still active, though.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 03:20 PM
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Actually, I think this is paraphrased, but more-or-less directly from my owner's manual:
Quote:
>On powering the car, ESC and TC are both on.
>Pushing the control button once turns TC off, but leaves ESC on. The traction control light on the DIC will be on.
>Pushing the control button twice within 5 seconds enables Comp Mode, turns TC off, puts ESC in a limited mode, lights the TC light and sends a "Competitive Mode" message.
>Pushing the control button and holding it for 5 seconds (it seems longer) turns both TC and ESC completely off, lights the TC light and sends a "ESC Off" message.
>Pushing the control button again (after 5 seconds) will turn TC and/or ESC back on and the TC light off.
Unless it was the service manual. I know it was one of them.

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Last edited by JohnWR; 06-27-2019 at 03:23 PM.
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