Auto to manual conversion

Other than replacing the entire transmission, installing a clutch, release bearing, clutch pedal, gear selector, and 5-speed brake pedal, what all is involved in this procedure?

It is just a contingency plan I have on the books in case my '99 Accord’s automatic decides to take a dump on me one day (I’d rather be driving a manual anyway).


Your Honda’s auto-tranny WILL take a dump and that event WILL total the car. Converting to a manual shift is really not an option. By the time you were finished, it would cost more than rebuilding your automatic. If you could buy and store a wrecked '99 Accord stick shift as a parts car, then MAYBE it could be done economically if YOU do all the labor…

I agree with Caddyman, thats WAY too much work. Dont forget you will also be hanging shift linkages too. This isnt a rear wheel drive where the shift lever comes right up through the floor between the front seats. I would rebuild the automatic.


It is not worth it to make this conversion. Don’t bother.

All three responses above are from people who know what they are talking about. You can add my opinion, which is the same as the others, so you can have the opinion from someone who knows less and still says it is a bad idea.

I’ll offer up this: it’s not impossible. If you do enough research, source most or all of the parts used, and are mighty handy with a wrench, you can do it. I know of some pretty slick auto - manual conversions done on Thunderbirds with transmissions that were never even meant to be in the car.

With that said, the other posters are correct that in the long, short, and middle run, it’s probably cheaper and easier to find one with a manual transmission. Maybe you should be doing that now while you can still sell your car? It’s pretty hard to get any money out of a car without a working transmission.

I think this is a way bigger job than you realize. Just hanging the clutch petal underneath the dashboard will be a killer. Have you ever tryed getting on you back and try to work on anything under there?

If you want a stick, sell the Accord now while the tranny is fine. Sticks are more rare than auto’s but they are out there and usually costs less than the auto equipped ones. You may end up with a nice Accord with a 5 speed and have some money left over in your pocket.

Thanks everybody. For the record, I have some piston-head friends who would be willing to help with the labor, as long as it is actually possible to do.

I’ve seen two conversions of 1953-54 Chevrolets from the automatic to the standard shift. This conversion involved the installation of a clutch. In both cases the steering column was swapped out because the shifter was on the column. I think that the gear ratios in the differential were also different between the Chevrolet PowerGlide and the standard shift. Even at that tine (early 1960’s) I didn’t think that the swap made sense, even though salvage yards had plenty of parts to make the conversion. Parts would be harder to find today, because most Accords are sold with an automatic transaxle.

Besides that, I am certain that today’s Honda automatic is much more efficient and a much better transmission than the Chevrolet 2 speed PowerGlide. I have made up automatic to manual shift kits for those who like to shift gears. I go to WalMart and purchase a plumber’s plunger with a short handle. I then visit the automotive section and buy a gearshift knob. I attach the gearshift knob the the handle of the plunger and attach the unit to the floor between the seats. One can “shift” the car as often as one likes. I usually charge $1000 for this conversion kit, but if one acts today, I’ll sell a kit for $500. That’s not all-If one acts today, I’ll throw in another kit for free for that second car.

I suspect that about the only good thing about the idea is that in all probability, all the bolt and screw holes you need will be in the right places and will be threaded properly. My guess is that the problem will turn out to be stuff in places that you won’t think about initially that needs to be different for the manual transmission.

Why not make plan B replacing the transmission when it goes with an automatic transmission from a junkyard, and consider the manual if, and only if, your auto transmission dies and you can’t locate a replacement automatic transmission? In all likelihood, by the time your transmission actually fails you simply won’t be inclined to replace the transmission at all and you’ll just scrap the car.

You really need to go to an Accord board. I an sure that you will find someone that has done it. If you are lucky, you will find several people that have done it and have shared their adventure or ordeal. If you are really lucky, some relatively obsessive has documented to process including pictures and lists of stuff you need to have.

I am going to be more postive than the others and assume that you have a second car, a garage and are looking for a hobby. If that is all true, do your research and have fun!

As far as other needed parts, you will need a different radiator. This type of work can be done for your car it is not cost effective in the least. It is a good option if you redoing some good old American iron.

Here is the most economical and reliable way to do it in two steps.

  1. Sell your automatic Accord.
  2. Buy a manual Accord.

Another consideration that has not been mentioned is that you might want to ask someone who knows if your engine control electronics are also connected to your automatic transmission. On newer cars they are.

That is what I was also thinking, and I suspect that you would also have to change the ECM, in addition to the radiator and the differential.

If this was 1952, the conversion would be labor-intensive, but probably not cost-prohibitive. On a modern car, the cost of this conversion would likely exceed the book value of the car.

Back in the late 70s I helped a buddy do this on a '65 Chevelle . . . and it was way more clearance than an Accord . . . no electronics to fool with . . . parts were (still are) cheap for Chevy mods . . . and it STILL was a big pain. Guess what? Never seemed to shift like a factory four-speed, hung-up at times, just never seemed to work right, or at least wasn’t worth the effort we put in. I agree with the others . . . get a 5-speed Accord if you want one, don’t try the swap. Rocketman

Well, perhaps I will contribute the one lone “easy” auto-to-manual story. There used to be a guy in Washington somewhere that ran a Mercedes wrecking yard that would sell you kit that contained everything you needed to convert a 123-chassis diesel Benz from an automatic to a manual and some xeroxed directions. We did a friend of mine’s old 240D with a blown transmission in a weekend and it was surprisingly easy-- all the holes and everything were there for the manual, so it really was just a matter of bolting everything together. I don’t remember what the kit cost, but it was a lot less than a rebuilt Mercedes automatic!

I imagine it is significantly more difficult in a late model Honda, though. Since you’re not in a hurry, it might not be a bad idea to advertise on craigslist or somewhere that you’d be interested in a swap for a manual one (or similar car)-- even though newer manual Accords are rare, I think there’s a lot more people who get tired of the manuals and want to swap the other way.