Hate your Automatic Transmission? Swap it to a Manual!

Each day of the week, you shift your car from “P” into “D”, feel the thud of your tired automatic, and cringe at the thought of letting a car shift for you.  When you originally bought the car, you thought the automatic would suffice, but you’re an automotive enthusiast for god sakes, and driving an automatic just isn’t the same as ripping through gears at an rpm of your own choosing.   I too was once in your shoes, and I have shared in your daily suffering.  Don’t worry, you are not alone.

It began when I noticed an ominous amount of written warnings from the local law enforcement accumulating on my refrigerator.  Obviously not my fault though; it was due to my car being far too enjoyable to drive, and thus not allowing anything but spirited driving.  Bottom line: I needed something slow(er) and boring looking, which is where my story really begins.

I hunted around a bit and found myself oddly attracted to the fine lines of a 2000 Mitsubishi Galant.  I can’t explain it, so don’t bother asking, or making fun of me.  The only downfall was that they all came with automatic transmissions.  Ah well I thought, and I bought it anyway. I knew that if it got too boring to drive, I would find a way to get a manual transmission into it.  Well, that boring point came on quicker than expected, and before long transmission parts started arriving at my door.  It turned out that “3G” 2000-05 Mitsubishi Eclipse’s were built on the same platform as “8G” Galants and did come with manual transmissions.

Flash forward a couple of months.  I had run through the 5 speed transmission swap in my head about 1 million times and double checked that I had every part that I would possibly need.   I didn’t want to have the car non-driveable for more than a day. (I also had a bet with a friend that I couldn’t allow myself to lose.)

That special Saturday finally arrived, and as crazy as it sounds, the swap was as easy as removing all the old stuff and bolting in the new stuff.  It was smooth, and trouble free, likely due to my obsessive planning.  By the end of my 8 hour non-stop wrench-fest, the swap was complete.  Overall, I couldn’t be happier with it.  Not only did my love for my daily driver improve 10x over, but I gained 5 mpg!  Did I win the bet you ask? Well, I claimed that I could perform the swap in 4 hours, and my friend said 1 full weekend.  8 hours solidified the tie. Ah well.

16 comments to Hate your Automatic Transmission? Swap it to a Manual!

  • Hi blog im from birmingham but im moving to manchester i found this on the search engine,keep the good work up i will add you to my favoroties.

  • Great post, by far the most informative and visually understandable breakdown of this model swap. I am planning my swap for this winter on my 03 eclipse; seeing as the parts are the same, would you be willing to provide me with the list of parts that you needed for your quick install? I do not want the car sitting on stands while I'm waiting for parts to arrive all winter. Thanks for your help
    -Jesse
    dachedda@gmail.com

  • Bryan

    How much did this swap cost you after buying everything necessary for the swap?

    • Hi Bryan, I think it cost me around $1000 in parts. That was several years ago though, so I bet you could do it for less today. At the time, it was really difficult to find a 2.4L 5-speed transmission for a decent price, but I am now seeing them in junkyards fairly frequently.

  • oscar

    I too want to swap tranny on my 02 eclipse but did you have any problems with the computer?

    • My Galant was a 2000, so it had the simpler ECU in it. To be honest, I’m not sure how the 2002 computer would react to the manual trans swap. Check out thegalantcenter.net or club3g.com . There is quite a bit of manual transmission swap info in both of those forums.

      • Alec

        Jeremy, how easy was it to wire the lights and sensors from the automatic transmission to the manual? I am interested in doing a swap on a ’00 Galant myself, and am concerned that there will be a huge harness from the automatic that won’t work with the new manual. What did you do with the TCU from the automatic, and how does the engine computer respond on your ’00 to the engine swap (I don’t want the service engine light or some other warning light to illuminate)? The engine computer reacting to the swap, and wiring the manual transmission to the original automatic connections are the major concerns preventing me from swapping my transmission at the moment, let me know if I’m freakin’ over nothing, or if there was some sort of issue you ran into (or a trick that made it easier)? Let me know! Thanks!

        Alec

        • Hi Alec,
          The wiring is simple. First, you jump the neutral safety with a short piece of wire, to allow you to start the car. Then you wire the back up lights to the manual transmission. It is a total of 4 wires to mess with, and really easy to do. The beauty of the 2000 model is that the computer doesn’t care what transmission you have. I never had a check engine light. I just got 5 more mpg, and a way more enjoyable vehicle. The never wired up a clutch switch, so technically you could start it with it in gear. That is a bit scary, so I would recommend hooking one up. I have since sold the car, but I loved every second of owning it. It was just time to let it go and move on to something different. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Brenton

    Thanks for the guide. Im planning on doing the “upgrade” to my 02 eclipse and was wondering if you could send me a list of parts that you needed to buy for this. thanks

    blood_moon33@hotmail.com

  • Victoria

    Hi!! So I was wondering if you happened to remember that list of things you needed to switch the automatic to a manual? I have a 2010 Galant, but it definitely needs to be a manual! I was also wondering how easy do you think the parts would be to get for a 2010?

  • Brandon E

    hello i want to do the same thing to my 2000 galant es but i have no idea how to get parts or want to even do to my car so if you can give me a list of parts i would be most thankful

  • Luke

    hi, i have an 02 galant that im planning on swaping out the engine but decided to go ahead and change the tranny first. could you send me a list off all the parts you needed to complete this swap? your help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Alane Schroeder

    I just bought a 2000 gallant. The gas gage was well beyond E, and I put $50 in the tank to fill it up. 50, yes, 50 miles later, it’s empty? What would cause that? I’m very concerned, as I am unemployed and my son starts a job Sunday, that he will travel 14 miles round trip in this car. Help, please!!!

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