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.