The Legendary Tremec T56 Transmission Evolution To The TR6060

Posted by at 19 August 2021, at 12 : 24 PM

The Legendary Tremec T56 Transmission Evolution To The TR6060

The advantage of working with Chevrolet engines and transmissions is indisputably the high levels of interchangeability of their parts. Over the years, Chevy engineers have made it relatively easy to swap transmission components until the T-56 6 speed manual transmission. The T56 was initially built and designed by BorgWarner for use in the 1992 Dodge Viper. In 1992, General Motors began using the T56 in the famous f-body Pontiac Trans-Am and Camaro Z28 models. Regardless, the transmission didn’t actually become “famous” until the late 1990s when it was paired with the LS engines. During that time, the T56 drew a lot of attention from car enthusiasts for several reasons. One of the most notable is that the T56 featured two overdrive gears that could handle a substantial amount of torque and could easily be swapped into other Chevy vehicles. Later, in December of 1996, Tremec bought the T56 manual transmission produced by the BorgWarner, and from 1998, Tremec began to build it but retained the internal specification of the system. The Tremec T56 transmission eventually became known as the best performance 6-speed manual transmission ever produced at the time.

You can still find the T-56 in the 2004-2006 Cadillac CTS-V, 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO, 2000-2004 Mustang Cobra R’s, 1997-2004 C5 Corvettes, 1992-2007 Dodge Vipers, 2004-2006 Dodge Ram SRT10, 1992-2002 Pontiac Trans Ams, and 1992-2002 Chevrolet Camaros. Even though these transmissions were produced years ago, you can still find cheap quality used T56 transmissions for sale like these

Tremec developed an aftermarket T-56 that replaced the T5 components used in earlier Firebirds, Camaros, and Mustangs. The transmission is a direct bolt-in that needs some modification to the exhaust system driveshaft and cross member. Most importantly, the T56 is the best for most car enthusiasts because of its reasonably priced and readily available parts supply, ease of installation, extremely smooth shifting, and high torque rating.

In Chevrolet models, the transmission is rated to handle more than 3200 pounds of GVW. Further, it is mounted longitudinally and is a six-speed with an approximately 450 ft/lbs torque capacity. Such torque exceeds most applications. However, they can easily be modified to handle a rating of 700 lb-ft and 850 horsepower.

The entire transmission casing of the T56 was made of aluminum. Such a construction made the transmission lightweight, perfect for performance applications. In particular, the T56 transmission had a dry weight of approximately 115 pounds and a fluid capacity of only 4 quarts. The gear ratios provided by the T56 transmission vary depending on what vehicle it came in. In most cases, the first set of gears includes a 2.97 (1st gear), 2.07 (2nd gear), 1.43 (3rd gear), 1 (4th gear), 0.8 (5th gear), 0.62 (6th gear), and a reverse gear of 3.28. The second option includes a 2.66 (1st gear), 1.78 (2nd gear), 1.3 (3rd gear), 1 (4th gear), 0.74 (5th gear), 0.5 (6th gear), and a reverse gear of 2.9.

The length of the T56 transmission varied based on what the transmission came in. For instance, the length of the outer shaft of the transmission was between 26.4 to 29.4 inches. The T-56 was customized specifically for the Original Equipment (OE) application. That implies that sometimes it became undesirable and impractical to achieve shifter locations. In particular, the T-56 had poor gear ratios that needed customized consoles for a proper fit. It became debilitating to cut the tunnel for a proper fit, meaning car manufacturers had to use custom consoles.

Furthermore, the transmission had impractical speedometer provisions for classic application. Due to that, most people needed a solution to issues such as enhanced shift quality and increased torque demands. Fortunately, Tremec responded at the right time.

T56 evolution to TR-6060 transmission

In 2004, Tremec started to work on developing a new and better replacement for T56, a daunting task some would say. The company debuted the TR-6060 6-speed transmission in 2007 on the Ford Shelby GT500 that most car enthusiasts loved. By 2008, it had exceeded the T56 in mostly all performance applications. The new transmission featured one reverse gear and six forward speeds. Typically, manufacturers synchronized forward helical cuts, but the reverse gear operated using a fully synchronized constant-mesh system.

T56 has tapered roller bearings that help to support the countershaft and main shaft, and the speed gears ride over needle-like roller bearings. The bearing supports high-speed performance, improves shifting, and reduces parasitic drag losses. Further, the reverse idler gears appear in a constant mesh to minimize noise and shift effort when you engage a reverse gear. The clutch adapter plate helps to enhance the strength of the T56 when responding to high torque loading.

The Legendary Tremec T56 Transmission Evolution To The TR6060

The TR-6060 uses two-piece speed gears where the Tremec manufacturers machined and forged the gear and clutching ring separately. After that, the parts are laser-welded and interface-fitted together. This kind of construction helped to eliminate the previously wasted space in the T56 transmission design. Also, the gears have machine clutch teeth for the minimized potential of gear block-outs and precise gear engagement. For instance, the first gear of T-56 measures 0.98 inches thick and 4.9 inches in diameter. On the contrary, the first gear of TR-6060 is 4.9 inches (diameter) and 1.19 inches (thick). The difference of 22 in thickness helps in delivering greater strength. The scenario is similar for all gears. In the output shaft, TR-6060 has a 31-spline shaft with a diameter of 1.36 inches. However, the TR-6060 transmission from the late model Camaro SS cannot be swapped directly with the T-56 in a 4th generation vehicle. In this case, the tail shaft lacks torque arm mounting points, the bell housing/front plate is different, while the shifter location is incompatible. Further, the designers improved the input shaft by introducing larger bearing hardware than that of TR-56 to assist the transmission to endure an increased torque. Therefore, the engine-transmission could offer a torque of between 600 to 750 lb/ft.

TR-6060 has more robust and larger 3-4 synchros. In particular, the synchro measures approximately 4.760 inches (diameter), while T-56 has a synchros of 4.115 inches. It also has fine tooth gear angles (64 teeth) compared to the former, T-56, with 36 teeth. The T56 employed a hoop-style retainer to ensure that the three stamped steel keys remained intact as manufacturers tried to exalt equal pressure at the three-circle points. Such a strategy worked well, but the design was associated with an uncontrolled movement that dislodges the keys in extreme cases. Although the friction and blocker rings in TR-6060 have a narrow design, it uses triple-cone synchros on the gears 1-4 and double-cone synchros on 5-6 gears that assist in offering the transmission a smoother feel.

The friction materials in TR-6060 vary in application, but most of them are made of sintered bronze. However, the T56 used various materials such as carbon. Most importantly, TR-6060 handles friction in multiple ways. For instance, the synchronizers have fine-pitch splines, sintered hubs, and ball struts to minimize friction. There is also an anti-friction plunger that eliminates friction at the shifter system. However, the transmission is expensive, and you might experience some resistance from the first and second gears during cold seasons. Fortunately, it works well, especially during warm seasons.

The Tremec TR-6060 transmission became the answer to the most recent staple of many automotive industry-built performance vehicles, including the Chevrolet C6 Corvette and the 5th generation Camaro models. The transmission has its roots in the unforgettable T-56 six-speed manual transmission. However, it was designed for more powerful engines capable of producing a torque rating of up to 700 lb-ft.

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