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Installing a Jeep AX15 5 Speed Trans to SBC (with pics)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by chevymike, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. chevymike
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 266

    chevymike
    Member

    Well, I thought I would contibute to the HAMB by sharing my 5 speed trans swap in my '65 C10 truck. I know everyone is looking for new/cheaper ways to get a 5 speed and after my research, I felt the Jeep AX15 trans was the way to go. They are stronger than a GM T5 and is a mid placed shifter location, unlike a Camaro T5 but not as far forward as a S10 T5. Seemed perfect for my needs. Do NOT confuse this with the AX5 trans, as it's a POS low power trans. Make sure you get an AX15, ideally from '92-'99 from a 4.0L 2WD Jeep Cherokee (get the slip yoke too!)

    Novak Adapters make a very nice, high quality adapter that allows you to use a stock GM bell housing and clutch assembly. My truck was setup with an 11" clutch pack and is the earlier 10 spline, 1 1/8" input shaft. Bell housing was an orignal truck style cast iron type but this will work with any old 4 bolt style GM bell housing. You do need to drill out the 4 mounting holes in the bell housing so it will bolt to the adapter from the inside, so don't use some rare housing. Luckily my truck iron housing already bolted from the inside on the lower bolts so I only had to drill out the upper ones.

    Here we go...

    AX15 with the Jeep bell housing removed.
    [​IMG]

    Novak Adapter plate. They also supply an adapter pilot bearing. Get the correct one based on the year of the AX15.
    [​IMG]

    You must remove the front cover/throw out sleave to modify it, per instructions
    [​IMG]

    You need to cut the stock snout off. I clamped to a piece of angle iron to hold it vertically and a band saw took care of the rest
    [​IMG]

    Reseal the cover and this is what you should have now
    [​IMG]

    With the adapter and new throw out bearing sleave installed. The adapter puts the input shaft at the same length as a GM input shaft
    [​IMG]

    Bell housing bolted on. This bolts in from the front side so the whole assembly had to be put in as one unit
    [​IMG]

    Mocking the trans into place
    [​IMG]

    Adapter pilot bearing installed, flywheel resurfaced and new RAM clutch installed
    [​IMG]

    Don't forget the throw out bearing and arm
    [​IMG]

    I had to build my own cross member and had the driveshaft modified.
    [​IMG]

    Well, that's about it. Most everything else is like a standard trans install.

    One thing to note, there are electronic and mechanical speedo drives. They interchange. Mine had an electric one and I put in a mechanical. It matches up to the GM cable. I still need to get the right speedo drive gear to calibrate things but I will do that when I swap in my new gauges.

    Hope you enjoyed this and find it helpful.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  2. ssffnomad
    Joined: Jul 23, 2008
    Posts: 731

    ssffnomad
    Member

    Nice Work, Thanks for posting info. Could you please measure Shifter location ?
     
  3. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,203

    Truckedup
    Member

    Interesting,and they are a decent tranny except for the low first gear...
    In my off topic life I'm a Jeep Cherokee nut.I have two 1999 5 speeds as daily drivers,grandson has a jacked up 5 speed,his mom and daughter have auto tranny XJ's. But you have a two wheel drive tranny shown.I have never seen a two wheel Jeep ,no one wants one around here unless it's a 4x4
     
  4. chevymike
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 266

    chevymike
    Member

    ssffnomad - next time I am under the truck, I'll get some measurements.

    Truckedup - Yep, 2WD Cherokees were built from just about the beginning. Depending on the area you live in, they may or may not be common. More snow, less likely to find them. :D
     

  5. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,203

    Truckedup
    Member

    I believe the same basic tranny with maybe slightly different gear ratios is found in Toyota PU trucks.Lots of rusted to a nub later model Toyota two wheel drive' s in junkyards.
     
  6. chevymike
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 266

    chevymike
    Member

    Not Toyota PU's but Toyota Turbo Supra's. They use a variant of it as does Dodge Dakota's. Not 100% sure on what model's the adapter works with but a call to Novak Adapters would clear that up.
     
  7. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,168

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I have this very trans and Novak adapter setting on my shop floor as I type this, going into my '40 Buick behind the straight 8. The Ax-15 in 2 wheel drive configuration is more frequently found in Dodge Dakota pickups as well as the Cherokee.

    And yes, the trans is a kissing cousin to the Toyota Supra unit, as they are all Aisin built..........Aisin is partially or wholly owned by Toyota.

    Ray
     
  8. ssffnomad
    Joined: Jul 23, 2008
    Posts: 731

    ssffnomad
    Member

    Could you please measure Shifter location ? Thank You <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
     
  9. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,624

    73RR
    Member

    From the center of the shifter to front of the gearbox = 12"

    Side note, the AX15 was used in Dakotas from about '86 thru '94. Be aware that there is also a similar looking Pugeot built unit that was used...scrap value only!!

    .
     
  10. ssffnomad
    Joined: Jul 23, 2008
    Posts: 731

    ssffnomad
    Member

    Couple of Questions
    1) Are AX-15,s Mechanical and Elec Speedo ?
    2) Close Shifter lenght as T5 Camaro/S-10 w/S-10 tail ? I was told S-10 Mech Tailshaft are getting hard to find ?
    3)Does anyone know overall size of AX-15 compared to T-5 ?
    "Thanks to all" for info.
     
  11. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,624

    73RR
    Member

    I can't offer any comparisons to gm stuff since I don't allow that stuff in the shop...:D
    The Ax15 speedo assembly is 100% interchangeable with other Mopar assemblies like a 727 so don't fret about the electric unit.

    I 'think' that you'll find the AX15 a bit bulkier than the t-5, but that just means that the internal stuff is bigger.

    .
     
  12. mphudak
    Joined: Jul 30, 2010
    Posts: 176

    mphudak
    Member
    from Atlanta

    I wouldnt put a ton of power into an ax15 unless it is built. For those that dont know much about these trans they are a toyota design. Basically to build one you interchange alot of.the toyota parts from the supera and truck trans (turbo r151 iirc). Ive seen them built to handle over 350-400hp. Keep in mind that a stock 4.0 jeep is around 190hp.

    I have an off topic cherokee i bought as a 2wd with the purpose of converting to 4wd. I sat on the 2wd ax15 for almost a year and practically gave it away. Ive put my 4wd through a lot in rockcrawling and love it. If you need you can interchange the 1st gear and counter shaft with a r151 and get a 4.3 1st gear.

    5spd cherokees are rather rare as production was fairly low. Ax15 came behind the 4.0s from the early 90s to 99. The early ones have internal slave cylinders and different dia input shafts at the pilot bearings. The 2000 and 2001 have nv3550s and are very hard to find. The 80s peugots ba10s are junk. Easiest way to tell the ba from the ax iirc is that the ba case splits lengthwise down the trans. As said the ax 5 are weak and came behind 4cylinder cherokees.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  13. C/Gas55
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 134

    C/Gas55
    Member

    Same here. No pix showin...
     
  14. pzary3233
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 59

    pzary3233
    Member

    I know I am bringing this up from the dead, but I'd love to see if you have your bench back in the truck and where the shifter position is compared to the bench.
     
  15. chevymike
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 266

    chevymike
    Member

    Good idea. I'll get some shots and post up.An update, so far, so good. I love the gear spacing and OD is great on the freeway. It's a little whiny but it does have 160,000+ miles on it and I have no sound deadening or carpet, so that is not helping.mphudak - thanks for posting that info. Couldn't say it better.
     
  16. pzary3233
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 59

    pzary3233
    Member

    I had been researching the MA5 (the Aisin tranmission made for GM in the Colorado and Solstice) and came across your thread. I originally wanted to put an R154 in my LSx powered BMW M3 but went with a T56 for the "ease of the swap". However my old '63 C10 is a different story. I have time and want to explore this some more. The AX15 seems to be a good candidate and it's CHEAP! The AM5 can use a stock 26 spline clutch and the shifter is close to a Muncie as well. However people don't beat on those transmissions as much as the AX15s. I think the Jeep Rockcrawlers speak loudly enough to the abuse these transmissions can take.

    What clutch did you use? I assume your GM 10 spline worked from what you wrote?
    Edit found this: AX15 2wd input shaft - 10 spline 1.125", 0.75" pilot , 7.5" length. Does this jive with what you've seen?

    The other thing I was wondering about, how does it shift in higher RPMs? The NV3500 that comes stock behind the 4.8 in newer Silverados does not shift well above about 4500-5000 RPMs. Everyone seems to complain about the 2-3 shift the most. btw, you can get a GM NV3500 in a C2500/C1500 Truck and in the 99 up Silverados if you are going LSx. While my truck may not be a street bruiser by any means I would like to be able to wind out the 327.

    Here is what I had gathered as far as information on the swap on LS1Tech:
    http://ls1tech.com/forums/16264931-post23.html
     
  17. pzary3233
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 59

    pzary3233
    Member

    I had a whole post all typed up and submitted, but then it said that I had to wait on moderator approval we'll see if it shows up.
     
  18. Greg55_99
    Joined: Mar 3, 2009
    Posts: 39

    Greg55_99

  19. chevymike
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 266

    chevymike
    Member

    Yes, used a standard 10 spline GM clutch. As for the pilot bearing, there are two different sized input shaft noses. Earlier AX15's at the 3/4" on and later ones have a slightly larger one (don't recall the size). Novak Adapters makes both of these available. Mine was the larger of the two sizes.

    Shifting has been fine, both low RPM and higer RPM (4500-5000). The stock shifter is a little slow but Hurst and B&M make an aftermarket unit that is supposed to cut shift throws about 50%. That would definitely help if you want to speed shift.

    The rear suspension setup on my truck is a "hack" job of the PO and only has a couple leaf springs and dropped shackles from a later truck (likely whatever the axle came from). If I really get on the gas, the rear hops so bad I am likely going to break something so I am fairly easy on things when driving. That said, I did pull hard from a stop light and shifted quickly into 2nd and totally broke the tires loose. That was about a 5200 RPM shift.

    This is no Tremec TKO-600 like I had in my '69 Camaro but it only cost me about a 1/3-1/4 the cost to do. Way better than the SM465 I had in there. :)

    I'll try to get pics this weekend of the bench seat.
     
  20. pzary3233
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 59

    pzary3233
    Member

    Great build thread, I'm going to have to show that to a friend of mine who is doing a 6.2 swap into his Colorado.

    Somehow you got a 26 spline input shaft on your Ax15? Since yous aid you used an LS1 clutch and LS6 pressure plate?

    How did you find that it shifted in higher RPMs?

    I agree it's not a TKO, I've heard some issues with the TKOs on the 2-3 shift not wanting a smooth shift. I actually like my Richmond 5 Speed better in my '68 Firebird. Kiesler is building the T45s for use in GM vehicles now and I thought that might be a cool alternative as well. still... I like the 1.4 the cost of a TKO option a lot more. I also agree way better then the SM465
     
  21. cgreen1946
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 2

    cgreen1946
    Member
    from Dallas

    B&M and Hurst both make short(er) shifters for the AX15.... designed to fit in the jeep TJ's i love my Hurst unit, makes it way more fun to run thorough the gears....
     
  22. So what did all this cost? Adaptors are not cheap.
     
  23. chevymike
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 266

    chevymike
    Member

    All said and done, I had under $1200 invested. That included the used trans, adapter, new clutch/pressure plate, resurface flywheel and shorten driveshaft with new u-joints and carrier bearing.My original clutch assembly was toast so I was replacing that regardless of trans so knock about $300 off if your clutch is good.

    One thing to note, make sure you get the slip yoke for the trans as I found no less than 5 different yokes for Cherokees. Lucky I have a Jeep salvage yard local but I ended up having to take the trans down there to get one to match up correctly. Would have been easier had I gotten it with the trans.
     
  24. chevymike
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 266

    chevymike
    Member

    Actually the issue I have heard about the TKO shifting problem has almost always been found to be installer error. TKO's are VERY critical regarding runout of pilot bearing. You must dial in the bell housing to get the runout ideally under .007 off the input centerline. I spent a great deal of time making sure I was dialed in and had zero problems with shifting. I was running a ZZ4 engine and drove it hard.

    This is what I had it in (sorry, not HAMB friendly)
    [​IMG]
     
  25. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,624

    73RR
    Member


    I sure hope that you mean .007" TIR (total indicator reading) which would give you a parallel misalignment of 0.0035".

    ALL bellhousings/transmissions should be under .007 TIR or expect to loose bearings or front pumps.

    .
     
  26. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,667

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I run a Jeep 4.7l stroker in my OT/DD. It puts out 277hp and 339lbft of torque. Add another 100 to each number at the push of a button. I bang the rev limiter almost daily.

    For the last 110,000 miles I have been running all that through, get this, a BONE STOCK AX15, that had 70,000 miles on it when I put it in there. Not a peep yet, and I am anything but dainty with it.:eek:

    The AX15 has an electronic speedometer. This is NOT a problem, as the driver for the sender is a retrofit to the existing mechanical drive case. case. Pull the retainer and the sender and you will find a drive/driven gear set in there, just like a good old mechanical unit. You can grab an older mechanical drive and put it in the place of the electronic one.

    Electronic drive:
    [​IMG]

    Mechanical drive:
    [​IMG]

    Direct interchange. Since these are commonly used in vehicles with non-stock tire sizes, there are plenty of drive/driven speedometer gears available to get your speedometer correct, in short order.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  27. RagtopBuick66
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,182

    RagtopBuick66
    Member

    Weren't the Commanches most commonly 2WD? Was that the same tranny?
     
  28. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,168

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Yes, if a 6 cylinder model........

    Ray
     
  29. pzary3233
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 59

    pzary3233
    Member

    Had a Solstice come through the shop and did some measurements on the MA5 out of it.

    This is the same basic transmission as the Jeep AX15.

    Got a few measurements. I'm going to find my T56 clutch and input shaft and see what might work there.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Probably NOT an accurate measurement because there is not a flat spot on the front plate.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  30. derbydad276
    Joined: May 29, 2011
    Posts: 1,324

    derbydad276
    Member

    wow this thread has been hijacked ...

    when did o/t jeeps amd bmw's and camaros become traditional?

    by the time you go through the hassle of getting special machined bastard adaptor plates what have you saved?
     

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