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Thread: Manual to Auto Tranny Swap Questions

  1. #1
    Van Fan lokismind's Avatar
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    Manual to Auto Tranny Swap Questions

    Firstly I hope you all had a good xmas.

    I'm toying with the idea of changing my van from a manual to an auto.
    So i thought I should do some research first.
    Now I know that you all aren't going to give me perfect answers unless you happen to own a 95 Spacia yourself.
    Currently it is a YR22 4Y 2.2ltr 5 speed manual.
    So things I want to know.
    Is this actually possible?
    Apart from the obvious being an automatic transmission what am I likely to need?
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Scott

  2. #2
    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Manual to Auto

    Okay, I'm going to assume this is a 2wd......right? This change is easier than going the other way (auto to 5 speed), but not without it's challenges. Assuming your 95 is the same as our 86-89 vans, you will also need the drive-line for an automatic & the automatic shifter mechanism w/control cable. There will also be some changes required to the wire harness (neutral safety switch vs clutch safety switch) & you'll need to wire in an OD relay. The gear ratio on automatic transmissions is different, so unless you also swap the 3rd member components, you'll end up with lower engine RPMs at cruising speed. This also means you won't have as much torque at take-off & lower speeds. If you don't mind losing the low end torque, this may not be bad as it would off-set your need for over drive (ignoring that aspect will make the job easier).

    As you mention yours is a 95 and therefore brings up other concerns. In 91 Toyota started using electronic shift automatic transmissions. Not sure about foreign (to us) markets or if it even affected the Spacia, but if you end up with one of these, it will further complicate the job. Electronic shift will require swapping the ECU and running extra wires between it and the transmission. It might also require rewiring the ECU pin positions at the harness connection point. Tim

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    Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    I have an 85 with all the bells and whistles. Trouble is that is has a manual transmission and I want an automatic. Does anyone know who would be capable to swap the transmission for an automatic? I have heard of it being done. I know it would be expensive but I just haven't seen any Auto transmission vans as nice as mine come up for sale. I think it'd be worth the cost.

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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    I'm pretty sure manual vans are more valuable than automatics. They're definitely more rare and I'd certainly pay more to have a manual. My advice would be to sell your manual, then buy and really nice automatic and pocket the leftover cash.

    The alternative will be much more expensive and stressful.

  5. #5
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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    I'd much rather have a manual in my 85. I have the auto in my 85. I don't like the ice maker though.

    Here's mine: http://redding.craigslist.org/cto/5629868036.html

  6. #6
    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    Hi Merkley,

    I know you've been talking about this and/or trading for an auto van for a while. Switching to an auto is easier than going the other way, but still quite time consuming (or expensive if you're paying somebody else to do it). If I were doing the job I would want a donor vehicle present. When making swaps like this there are always lots of small things to consider, so having another vehicle already set-up with the parts you need is practically a necessity. Just off the top of my head, here are some of the things I can think of (and I'm sure there's things I'm forgetting).

    Auto Transmission
    Drive Shaft (autos and manuals use different lengths)
    Differential (unless you don't mind power issues off the line). Auto vans have a 4.77 gear ratio, manual vans have 4.3
    Radiator or an after market external transmission cooler (autos have a transmission cooler built into the radiator)
    Transmission cooler lines
    Automatic Shifter w/cable
    Wire harness parts (autos have a neutral safety switch, manuals have a clutch safety switch that enables a starter relay)
    Torque converter
    Flex plate (manuals have a flywheel, autos have a flex plate)
    Dip Stick w/tube extension
    Overdrive relay and harness

    There will be other smaller parts and issues (nut & bolt type things). None of those will amount to much if you have a donor van to rob from, but can be a very big deal (time wise) if you're scrounging them up from other sources.

    Bottom line? Unless you're a tinkerer and have lots of time, the inclination, and a place to work, it's not worth it. If you're willing to pay a reputable mechanic more money than what the van is worth, then it could also be worth it.

    In regards to the "worth it" statement, that is a subjective thing (the worth of something depends on the person). These vans are increasing in value, and when value makes it to about double what it is now, things that don't currently make sense, may start making sense (dumping 3 or 4 grand on something worth 10 grand or more can make sense).

    For now I would recommend continuing your search for a van with an auto. If Rufus will consider swapping, then that could be a far better solution. Good luck! Tim

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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    Wow, if yours had the sunroof and moon roof like mine i'd do a straight trade in a heartbeat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    I'd much rather have a manual in my 85. I have the auto in my 85. I don't like the ice maker though.

    Here's mine: http://redding.craigslist.org/cto/5629868036.html

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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    tim,

    thanks for all that information.

    I'd be happy to spend much more than the van is "worth" on the market. I don't just have these vans because of market value, I actually really like them. I don't care about resale. The plan is to keep it. I'd spend 5k if someone would do it.

  9. #9
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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    Maybe swap with Rufus and if you really want the sunroof then take it to sunroof shop and have one installed. That'll be waaaay easier and cheaper then the laundry list Tim just provided

  10. #10
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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    i thought about that. mine also has power everything. Literally has every option that was available. even without those things it's still tempting.

  11. #11
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    Re: Manual to Auto Transmission Swap

    Maybe you and Rufus could get together and swap parts over. You each have all the parts the other would need to do a swap. Then you'd both have everything you want and nothing you don't.

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