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Tremec TKO 5-Speed: An Impressive Transmission With Almost Limitless Options

Tremec TKO 5-Speed: An Impressive Transmission With Almost Limitless Options

The Tremec TKO 5-speed is the transmission that started a revolution in manual overdrive conversions.  It is one of the most versatile 5-speed transmissions in the market today, as well as one of the strongest.  With an impressive 600 lbs./ft. torque capacity it can survive years of abuse and outlast multiple sets of rear tires.  The compact size and design of the Tremec TKO also makes it a great replacement transmission for anyone looking for an overdrive gear.  

The Tremec TKO is designed as a 4-speed replacement and will fit nearly any factory GM and Ford 4-speed bellhousing.  The design of the input shaft also allows the use of the factory mechanical clutch linkage.  With multiple shifter locations and aftermarket shift lever adapters, you are able to match the shift lever location up to many of the factory 4-speed consoles to keep a clean original look in the interior.  

Tremec TKO 500

There are also multiple gear sets available to allow you the ability to better match the transmission to your existing rear gear ratio and rear tire size for maximum performance and optimum cruising RPM.  Bowler Performance takes pride in the fact that we are a Tremec Elite distributor with the ability to provide you a complete conversion package to fit your needs.

Over the years, and as popularity of the TKO swap has increased, so has the availability of direct fit swap kits for many of the popular hot rods and muscle cars. This has created a whole sub-market of components specifically for the Tremec TKO transmission swaps.  We are seeing specific clutch kits, hydraulic release bearings, vehicle specific hydraulic master cylinder kits, custom bellhousings, transmission crossmembers, and many other parts coming back into reproduction to accommodate swapping a factory automatic car to a manual.

Even though there are only GM and Ford specific models of the Tremec TKO, there are still options to utilize either version behind other brands of engines.  With the wide array of custom Quick Time Bellhousings the options are almost limitless for bolting up a TKO in your ride.  

Hot Rods Lineup

The Tremec TKO features a 26 spline input shaft and 31 spline output in all models except for one Ford version that still uses a 10 spline input for greater flexibility on conversions.  Each model of the Tremec TKO comes equipped to operate an electronic or mechanical speedometer as well as a reverse light switch.  The transmission mounting pad is also GM and Ford specific to allow you to use existing isolator mounts.  

Depending on the application you are doing, the swap in some modifications may need to be made.  The Tremec TKO is a very universal fit unit, so keep in mind that not all transmission tunnels are large enough to accommodate it.  Some of the more common cars we see needing tunnel modifications are the GM A-Body , 64-70 Mustang, 63-67 Nova,  and most all the older Mopar muscle cars.  

The extent to which you need to modify the tunnel is different for every installation.  You just never know what your car may have been subject to in the past, so there’s no direct formula to get the proper fitment.  Our advice is to just make sure you make enough room to get the transmission installed at the correct driveline angle while still allowing clearance for some vibration and torque twist.

Tremec TKO 500

 As good as the Tremec TKO is, you knew that we would still find the limits and figure out a way to push past them.  When the popularity of the TKO exploded so did the demand for upgrades.  There are several internal upgrades available today that help extend the max RPM range at which the transmission can shift.  The most popular are the brass shift fork pads, brass shift stub cup, and carbon fiber lined blocker rings.  

Here at Bowler Performance we also offer an option to modify the shift rail system for crisper shifts and better gear engagement. The upgrades can be done in various stages, but we’ve found that if you’re going to do a little, you might as well go all the way.  

Tremec TKO 500 5-Speed Transmissions for Sale

It’s been over 20 years now since the TKO revolution began and we see no signs of it slowing down.  As more and more enthusiasts realize the benefits of an overdrive, not just for fuel economy, but for less noise and more comfort, we will continue to see the Tremec TKO and big brother the T-56 Magnum getting swapped into every variation of vehicle.  The aftermarket will continue to grow and support more and more direct swap applications making the conversions even easier than ever.   There has never been a better time to make the jump to overdrive than right now.