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.

Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

31 thoughts on “Hate your Automatic Transmission? Swap it to a Manual!

  1. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!


        1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!!

  6. Hi I have an 02 galant im desperately trying to make manual can u please send me the specs and parts ill need and thank you in advance either way

    1. Also have an 8G Galant ES (2002). trying to swap for a 2.4l 5 speed tranny and engine. and if its as easy as you say it is, I’ll do it. please send parts list!!!

  7. hey i was wondering where you were able to get the clutch pedal assembly you installed and if you know what cars use that exact same model of assembly. i have a 03 eclipse and the assembly is broken, useless, not repairable, to me and i am desperate to find a new one or used one but i am having harder time than Frodo trying to get the ring to the volcano in the lord of the rings. any help in finding one would be greatly appreciated thank you

    1. Hi Jose,
      I got all the pieces for my transmission swap on the “club3g” eclipse forum and ebay. I think the 2.4L and 3.0L have the same clutch pedal, but I’m not 100% sure. I’d check out both of those locations, and call up your local junkyards, because you may be able to get one super cheap there. Good luck!!!

  8. Hi, I have a Honda prelude 2.0 manual and have 2.2 vtec automatic, can I just change. A engine and ecu ? :( can buy cheap but not sure if it will gonna work

    1. Hi Bart,
      I know that people often do engine and transmission swaps to Hondas, but I’ve never done one myself, so I’m unfortunately not sure what is involved with it. In general, Hondas are very easy to work on, and their wiring is very logical, so if this is your first major car project, you are at a great starting point. I recommend joining http://honda-tech.com/ because it is a great source for info on projects like this. The members that will surely be able to guide you on this.
      Good luck!

  9. Can you tell me who does auto to manual swaps on 93 gmc 1/2 ton in Las Vegas or California and could give me a ballpark figure on cost.

  10. hi jeremy,
    I know you dont have the galant anymore but I was curious if you ever found a trim piece that would fit around the gear shift, and if so which model has one. also were you ever able to to use a shift boot.

    1. Hi Steve. I bought a universal shift boot on ebay, and somehow attached it to the bottom side of the factory automatic console. I don’t remember exactly how I attached it, but I know it looked 100% factory when I was done. I miss that car a lot. I’d love to have another 8G galant, but with AWD. I don’t necessarily need a turbo or anything (though it would be nice), but that 4G64 engine with the 5 speed was a great combo. It always ran perfect, never left me stranded, got terrific MPG, and was big enough to hold a bunch of people. Someday…

        1. Hello – It has been a long time since I did this transmission swap. I honestly don’t remember if the 2000 and 2001 is the same process. I vaguely recall the computer being different, so you may need to change something in that area to make it work. The 3G 2.4L Eclipse transmission should physically bolt up to your galant 2.4L.

          Good luck with the swap!

  11. Hi Jeremy. the Eclipse transmision ! it fit eassy in the galant ? and another question galant 2000 and 2001 are the same ?

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