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6-speed for pre-97 cars - where and how much?

16 August 2001
Broken Arrow, OK, USA
I realize that I can go to a Short gear setup + the highest numerical (lowest ratio) rear end for several thousand bucks, and probably knock a bunch off acceleration times. But I really rather have a six speed. Any input as to how to proceed?

Sheldon (suffering through life with only 5 ratios)
Well... Part of the problem with going to a six-speed is that it's tough to find used ones, and the new ones are expensive (around $7K, I believe, and that doesn't include labor).

At the same time, the '97's are now four years old and have declined some in value. It's not unusual to find them for mid to upper fifties. And, in addition to the six-speed, they have a host of other improvements, including the bigger engine.

On a cost-effectiveness basis, thanks to both these factors, it's getting easier to justify trading in on a '97, and tougher to justify retrofitting the six-speed to an earlier car. Doesn't mean you can't do it, but there's more of an economic case for just trading in on a newer car. Or, as you note, going to the short gears and R&P is another option.
If your 5-speed is in good shape, you can usually sell it so that the net cost for the 6-speed tranny and conversion kit is around $2000-$3000 before labor.

As for how to proceed... find a 6-speed tranny (you can order new from Honda, but a refurb from Comptech, buy used, or maybe check w/ Mark Basch and see if he has any refurbs), buy the conversion kit from Comptech, then take it all to a shop you are comfortable swapping out the tranny.
Actually, a new 6-speed is more like $4-5k with a friendly discount (I think cost is around $3700). Relatively speaking, a bargain for NSX parts.

Something not mentioned is the clutch & flywheel which I think must also be replaced. Mark says the Dali "Feather light" with beefed up dual disk pack won't work, so you need the single disk combo or his high-dollar triple disk.
I had no luck coming up with any used 6 speeds. Good luck guys and let me know if you find any.