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Old 09-25-2003, 07:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Posted September 14, 2001 by Jugglez

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Alright first off, this is NOT a "how-to" on manual conversions, this is simply a guide to help you through the process. Outlined below are the parts involved, most of the steps required, and tid bits of information to help you along the way.

There has been debate over whether an auto-to-manual conversion is even worth the time and money, but I will not get into that here. This article deals with a hydraulic tranny conversion, all '92-up Honda Civic's use a hydraulic transmission, while pre-'92 Honda Civic's use a cable tranny. Please keep that in mind.

Well, having gone through this conversion myself while doing my motor swap at the same time, I can tell you that converting from auto to manual is no easy process. Collecting the parts was time consuming, and getting the parts installed turned out to be a much greater task. I contacted 6 reputable local shops for install quotes, and 5 of them didn't even want to do it. "...too time consuming..." and "...too much work..." was what they said. One shop owner said it would take him 3 weeks to complete the job! Fortunately for me I did find a shop that was willing to do it, and they were experienced at it too!

So let's begin!

Subject vehicle: '92 Honda Civic Ex Sedan, D15B7 motor, automatic D series tranny, stock auto ECU
Engine Swap and Auto-to-Manual Conversion: B18B1 motor, manual LS tranny, and stock manual ECU from a '95 Integra RS
Here are the parts you will need for the tranny conversion:

Manual tranny
Manual ECU
Shift linkage
Intermediate shaft for manual tranny
Clutch/brake/gas pedal assembly
Clutch master cylinder
Clutch reservoir
Clutch slave cylinder
Hydro clutch lines
Shift knob
Shift boot


Manual tranny - you'll need the entire manual transmission including the clutch disc, flywheel, pressure plate, and bearings. If you are doing a motor swap at the same time, hopefully it will already be attached to the new motor, making the install easier. For my swap, I used a stock USDM B18B1 (LS) tranny from a '95 Teg RS.

Manual ECU - this is not completely necessary but is HIGHLY recommended. The auto ecu will work (given that it's the correct one for your motor), however you will run into problems with your speed governor and/or rev limiter. In 4th gear, you'll hit fuel cut-off much sooner than you should. Not a good thing when you're zooming down the 1/4 mile! I used a stock B18B1 manual ecu for my application.

Shift linkage - you'll need the entire shift linkage assembly for your specific application. Since I was going with an Integra motor and tranny, I opted for a shift linkage from a 2000 Integra GSR. Which turned out to be a wise choice. The GSR shift linkage is much better suited for "spirited" driving as compared to the regular Integra shift linkage.

Clutch/Brake/Gas pedal assembly - the clutch pedal is obviously a must, however you will probably want to get the manual brake and gas pedal assembly as well, since the automatic ones are larger and are placed very close together. They also don't provide that sporty race feel that every auto enthusiast craves so much.

Intermediate shaft for manual tranny - it's very important that you get the intermediate shaft (or half shaft) for the MANUAL tranny! The shaft for the auto tranny is not the same. For my motor swap and tranny conversion, I went with both drive shafts from a '95 GSR.

Clutch master cylinder, slave cylinder, reservoir - these can be picked up as a package at a Honda dealership or any used Japanese auto parts store. I got these parts used from a 3rd generation Integra.

Hydro clutch lines - these can be had cheaply by salvaging them off a wrecked vehicle. Or they can be fabricated using thin copper piping that can be bought at Home Depot for $20 bucks or less.

Shift knob - you can easily drive a manual without the shift knob, but why would you want to? Any aftermarket shift knob will work. I recommend Skunk2 or Razo.

Shift boot - now here comes the tricky part: getting the shift boot to fit around your new shifter. Once you get the shifter and shift linkage in place, the opening around the shifter is quite large thanks to the removal of your old automatic face plate. A regular shift boot isn't large enough to cover up this opening. There is a solution however, you can attack this problem one of three ways:
***1) Buy a universal shift boot or have one custom made to the proper dimensions and then glue the boot into place. Be careful though, things can get messy!!
***2) Buy a whole new center console. But make sure you buy one that is suited for your vehicle and is for a manual! And also make sure the console comes with the shift boot holder. This way the regular shift boot for your ride can slide right in.
***3) Say to hell with the shift boot! It won't be pretty but hey, if you're all about performance, who cares?
By the way, I opted for 3), simply because there were more important things to worry about. Getting the shift boot installed is something that can be taken care of later anyways.



If you buy everything above from a Honda dealership, expect to pay high prices. The best places to get these parts at a reasonable price are salvage yards, used auto parts stores, and believe it or not, online classifieds.

In addition, if your vehicle is equipped with the automatic lever position icons on the gauge cluster, you may want to either remove those bulbs behind the guages so they can't light up (cheap way) or you can get your self a brand new gauge cluster without the lever icons (expensive way). Or you can just leave it alone, which is what I did. The lever position icon on my gauge cluster is always in the "Park" ([P]) position.

Needles to say, you will need patience if you want this done right the 1st time. Just collecting all these parts took me over a month. The tranny and ecu came with the new motor, so those were taken care of. But everything else was bought seperately.
When all was said and done, the entire motor swap and tranny conversion took about 3 working days to complete. The car rides as smooth as stock, and appears to be stock until you peer at the guage cluster while going 120km/h only to see the automatic lever icon set at [P]. Personally, I think the time and money spent was well worth it. I will never go back to auto again!!


Well, that's the skinny on an auto-to-manual conversion. Please keep in mind that the info above is based on my own experiences and may not be totally accurate for other vehicles, especially non-Honda's. As always, you should do extensive research before taking on a project as complex as this one. And if you do decide to do the conversion yourself, try to do it with someone who has done it before.

[Update Dec. 2002] For those looking to do a manual conversion only (no engine swap) on either a 5th gen or 6th gen Civic, you may need a manual transmission mount. There have been cases where the auto mount can be modified to fit, however there have been conflicting reports. Some have been able to do this with success while others have not. Trial and error may be required. Why does it work on some and not others? I don't know for certain, my guess would be the flaws in the original manufacturing process of the mount and/or bracket. In my case, the stock B-series tranny mount was fitted with washer inserts to straighten the motor's position. Everything worked out fine.

For more info on auto-to-manual conversions, visit http://hybrid.honda-perf.org. An article can be found here

Thanks Diablo!
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