I learned how to drive stick years ago, but this was the first car I owned with a manual trans. The gear ratios match up very well with the torquey 355, and made the car much more fun to drive! Honestly, I chose the T5 because my budget wasn't large enough for a T56; my mortgage and family comes first. My friends in the "Manual Monte Cult" coaxed me to add a third pedal and give my left foot some proper exercise. :) A few members helped me locate all the parts I'd need to get my Monte converted!
My buddy Don and I decided it would be best to use the original front holes for the rear bolts on the mount, then drill two new holes 2.5" forward and slide the crossmember up. This gave us just enough clearance by the catalytic converter flange and torque arm mount on the T5.
Don cut the original mount off the 200-4R crossmember, flipped it over, and welded in a plate of 1/4" steel to reach the T5's mounting point.
This is the SpeedDirect upper pushrod sitting inside a MuscleCarsOnly boot. There are dimples for the retaining screws still in the firewall of a G-body, and if your car has cruise control, the hole for the upper pushrod has already been opened for you.
I made up a harness to plug directly into the original reverse light switch. Bob (a fellow MMC member) supplied me with the color-coded wire and a pigtail, which I gutted and crimped new connectors on. Then I made a new WeatherPak connector at the other end to mate up with the plug on the T5. The harness runs under the carpet and out the hole in the floor where the shifter cable came through.
Click here to check out the next stage.