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2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT Spyder
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone!

I recently completed an A/T to M/T swap on my 2001 Eclipse GT Spyder that I've been working on for the past several months. I apologize in advance, I don't have any pictures as I was in a rush to complete this project because I would have had to sell the car before moving out of state.

In March of 2020, my auto transmission died on me and left me stranded. I've always wanted to drive my Eclipse as a manual, so I promised myself that if the auto trans ever died, I would swap the car to manual. So that's what I did. I spent several months doing research and trying to source parts, and finally, I was able to get a manual transmission from a local junkyard for about $400. The swap took me about 3 months of working on it off and on between work and waiting for parts. If you've got multiple people around and are an experienced mechanic, I could see this swap being done in less than 2 weeks.

For anyone who's curious, the cost of all of the parts was about $750, I got pretty much everything at a few local junkyards. I also had to buy a hoist and a leveler from Harbor Freight for $250. Fluids and various greases, misc. tools I didn't have, etc. were also another $150 or so making this project cost just shy of $1200. A rebuilt auto transmission near me was between $2500 and $3000, and I didn't want to risk getting a bad auto tranny from a junkyard (mine died at 90k miles), so the swap was the more logical solution for me. :p

Parts Needed
There are several parts you'll need for the job aside from the transmission. Some parts are interchangeable between 2.4L and 3.0L models. These parts are marked with (2.4).
You will need:

  • Manual Transmission (F5M51 for 01 to 03 GT, possibly a different model # for 03+ GT and GTS)
  • Shifter (2.4)
  • Shift Cables (2.4)
  • Clutch Pedal and Master Cylinder with Tubing/Reservoir (2.4)
  • Brake Pedal (2.4)
  • Slave Cylinder
  • Passenger Side Axle Half Shaft (A/T half shaft is about 1/4" longer, it won't mount properly and will put too much stress on the CV joint)
  • Flywheel + Bolts
  • Pressure Plate + Bolts
  • Clutch
  • Throw Out Bearing
  • Clutch Spline Grease
  • CV Axle Grease
  • High Temperature Grease
  • All Purpose Grease
  • Factory Service Manual (found on Tearstone's website)
  • Tie Rod End Boots (You'll likely rip these when removing the tie rod ends from the steering knuckles. I bought a universal pair from Amazon that work great)
  • Engine Mounts (This isn't required, however if you have OEM engine mounts they'll likely rip while taking the engine and transmission out. There's no better time to do them!)
  • Transmission side Engine Mount (If your transmission has the mount already installed, you can disregard this)
  • Axle Nut Cotter Pins
  • Tie Rod End Cotter Pins
  • Exhaust Downpipe Gaskets (The original ones will likely fall apart upon removal and aren't reusable)

In this project I did not swap in a new M/T ECU and M/T wiring harness. I'll explain how to work around that in step 16.

Tools Needed
I did this job with a set of basic hand tools with extensions. Power tools would obviously make this process much faster, but I didn't have access to them.

  • Metric Socket Set + Extensions
  • Breaker Bar (I also purchased an iron tube from my local hardware store to slide over my breaker bar for more leverage)
  • Drill with Metal Bits
  • Engine Hoist (Harbor Freight is a great option here)
  • Load Leveler (Again, Harbor Freight)
  • Jack
  • Jackstands
  • Torque Bar (This is EXTREMELY important, especially when installing the flywheel)
  • Tie Rod End Removal Tool


The Process
It's very likely that this project will take awhile, especially if you are missing any parts. Make sure to find a place that you're able to keep your vehicle for awhile.

Step 1: Interior

You'll need to remove the center console to get access to the shifter and shift cables. I also removed my dashboard for better access to the two 10mm bolts that mount the shift cable bracket to the firewall. I still didn't have great access, so this probably isn't something you need to do. Step-by-step instructions on how to fully tear the interior down are in Group 52A in the factory service manual.

Optional Step: Remove Body Panels

A detailed process to remove the front bumper, hood, and quarter panels can be found in Group 51 of the factory service manual. I removed these to get better access to the engine bay and so I wouldn't damage them while removing the engine.

Step 2: Fluids

  • Break the wheel lugs while the car is on the ground.
  • Jack the car up on jack stands in a convenient place. The car will remain here for awhile.
  • Put something behind the rear wheels to prevent the car from rolling back at all (in my case two large rocks). Give the car a good shake to make sure it's stable.
  • Remove the front wheels and place them underneath the vehicle (so that if the car falls, it falls onto the wheels and not you).
  • Grab something to drain your fluids into, such as a 5 gallon bucket. Drain the engine oil, coolant, and A/T fluid, crack open a beer while the fluids drain (approx. 30 mins).

Step 3: Wiring Harness and Hoses

  • Remove the air intake, battery, and any easily removable items. The coolant should be drained, so you can go ahead and remove the overflow reservoir.
  • Start disconnecting all electrical connectors attached to the engine and transmission. This process is described in detail in Group 11C of the factory service manual.
  • Next, disconnect the accelerator cable, the singular shift cable on the auto transmission, and move on to hoses.
  • Disconnect all vacuum lines.
  • Disconnect all coolant hoses. These will likely still have coolant in them, so make sure to keep your bucket handy and under the vehicle.

Step 4: Axles/Suspension/Drive Belt System

You should have just a few things left to disconnect before removing the engine.
  • Start by disconnecting the A/T coolant lines from the radiator, and remove the radiator to give you more room. The transmission coolant lines will not be used for the manual transmission, so you can either leave the holes to the radiator open or plug them if you might swap back to A/T in the future.
  • Under the vehicle, disconnect the exhaust downpipes. Some penetrating fluid is crucial here.
  • On each side, remove the brake disks, calipers, and brake pads. Also remove the brake dust shield that's held in by 1 10mm bolt to give you more access.
  • Hang the brake calipers on the strut spring.
  • Remove the cotter pins for the tie rods and using a tie rod end removal tool, remove the tie rod ends from the steering knuckles.
  • Remove the cotter pins for the axle nuts and remove the axle nuts.
  • Remove the two bolts that connect the strut to the steering knuckle. This is where your breaker bar will come in handy. NOTE: The steering knuckles should only have the ball joints attached. You do not need to remove these.
  • Partially thread the axle nut onto the axle upside down. Make sure it is above the threads for the axle.
  • Using a hammer or a mallet, pound the axles out of the wheel hubs. The axle nut will prevent the threads on the axle from being deformed. If the axle nuts become damaged, replace them.
  • Slide the axles out of the wheel hub and steering knuckle assembly. This is why the tie rods needed to be disconnected.
  • Remove the two bolts that hold the passenger side axle half shaft to the engine block.
  • Using a pry bar and a hammer, remove the axles from the transmission. This is a real pain in the ass, but keep wiggling the axles in the transmission to dislodge the axle C clips. Keep your bucket handy as some transmission fluid will come out. Pull both axles and if they need CV boots or to be replaced, this is the time to do it.
  • Remove the plastic pieces behind each wheel well to get access to the engine.
  • Remove both serpentine belts. Detailed instructions on how to do this are in Group 00 of the factory service manual.
  • Remove the A/C compressor (if your vehicle is equipped with A/C) and the power steering pump from the engine block. Do not disconnect the hoses going to the compressor or the power steering pump.
  • Move the A/C compressor and power steering pump out of the way, they will remain in the vehicle while the engine gets pulled.

Step 5: Engine and Transmission Removal

On the 3.0L Eclipses, it is much easier to remove both the automatic transmission and engine assembly at the same time unless you have access to a lift.

  • Attach your load leveler to your hoist.
  • Using some large bolts (I got some from my local hardware store), attach each end of the leveler to the hoist points on your engine. There are two of these, one is in the front near the alternator and the other is in the rear to the left of the intake manifold. I would post pictures, but they're pretty easy to find (they look like oval bolt holes that stick up from the engine).
  • Jack up your hoist and remove the weight of the engine from the engine mounts.
  • Remove the bolts that go into the center of the engine mounts. There is one on the passenger side of the vehicle, one attached to the transmission on the driver's side of the vehicle, one in the rear of the engine bay near the firewall, and one in the front of the engine bay underneath the engine.
  • Slowly jack up the engine and remove it. This process is quite tedious, you'll need to constantly adjust the load leveler to get the right angle to remove it. A ratcheting tie down looped under the transmission and attached to the hoist helps level everything out. I removed the transmission mount completely to help get the engine out. Lift the engine from the passenger side of the vehicle first, and slide it out from the driver's side.

Step 6: Removing Transmission

  • With the engine out, I placed a palette on the bottom part of the hoist and lowered my engine onto it, taking care to not have too much weight on the oil pan so that it does not bend or deform.
  • Remove all bolts connecting the engine and transmission bellhousing.
  • Slide the automatic transmission away from the engine and out from the torque converter.
Congratulations, you've removed your transmission!

Step 7: Remove Torque Converter and Flex Plate

  • On the bottom of the engine, remove the two bolts holding a small plate that covers the access panel to get to the torque converter bolts on the rear of the torque converter.
  • Move to the belt-side of the engine. Using a socket, rotate the harmonic balancer until a torque converter bolt lines up with the access panel. Moving the harmonic balancer moves the crankshaft, which in turn, rotates the torque converter.
  • Remove all four torque converter bolts, rotating the harmonic balancer to access each one. I didn't have the issue of the torque converter spinning when I did this, but if it does use a crescent wrench to lodge the torque converter on a bolt (any bolt, preferably a larger bolt) to prevent it from turning.
  • Remove the torque converter.
  • Use a wrench to prevent the flex plate from spinning. Remove all eight bolts holding it into place in a star pattern. Remove the flex plate.
  • Remove the starter plate. It is held in by (I believe) two bolts.

Step 8: Modify the Starter Plate

If you put the new flywheel on, it is a larger diameter than the torque converter meaning that the starter will not properly line up with the teeth on the flywheel. I wasn't able to find this part anywhere, so I decided to modify mine to line up with the manual transmission. I used a Dremel to cut through the plate, however an angle grinder would be much more efficient.

  • Line up the starter plate with the manual transmission and use a couple bolts to hold it in place. You'll notice a place where the starter sits in the manual transmission bell housing.
  • One of the bolt holes on the starter plate does not line up with that on the manual transmission. You'll need to extend the bolt hole to make it mach up.
  • The hole for the starter on the plate also does not match up with the manual transmission. You'll need to cut this to make it match. De-burr the plate so it isn't sharp. If you bend the plate slightly it shouldn't cause any issues, it will flatten when you mount the transmission to the engine.
  • Test fit the starter into the trans bell housing to make sure it lines up.
  • Reinstall the plate onto the engine.
  • Place the flywheel onto the engine and test fit the starter with the flywheel. If the teeth on the starter match up with the teeth on the flywheel, then you have successfully modified your starter plate.

Here's what mine looks like:

[No permissions for picture]

Step 9: Replace Brake Pedal, Mount Clutch Pedal/Master Cylinder

For this you'll need to move to the interior of the vehicle. Again I removed my dashboard, so accessing all of the bolts for the brake and clutch pedals was very easy.

  • Disconnect the brake pedal from the brake booster and remove the brake pedal. The M/T brake pedal is nearly identical to the A/T brake pedal, but the pedal itself is much shorter to accommodate for the clutch pedal.
  • Reinstall the new brake pedal and reattach it to the brake booster.
  • There should be a section of the foam on the firewall to the left of the brake pedal that is cut out and removable. Remove this to reveal where your clutch pedal will go.
  • Under the foam, you'll see a cutout on one of the layers of the firewall. It is three holes. Use these as a template to cut through the second layer of the firewall using a drill with a metal bit (or if you don't want to buy metal bits, suffer like me and do this with a Dremel).

  • If you line up the master cylinder with these holes, it should easily slide through. Slide it through from the engine bay and move back to the interior of the vehicle.
  • Take your clutch pedal and line it up with the master cylinder. This is where your clutch pedal will sit.
  • On the top part of where the clutch pedal sits, you'll find two bolts that perfectly line up with the pedal. These are for the clutch pedal, even though A/T cars don't have one.
  • Bolt your clutch pedal in and mount it to the master cylinder.
  • On the engine side, there are two pieces of silver tape covering two bolt holes. This is where the clutch reservoir is supposed to go. Install the reservoir.

Step 10: Install M/T Shifter and Shift Cables

This part of the process is easily the most difficult simply due to the location of the bolts that mount the shift cables to the firewall. A solution to this is to completely strip the interior of the car down, as these bolts sit right behind the evaporator. I wish you the best of luck.

  • Follow the A/T shift cable to the firewall of the vehicle, and you will find it is held in by a bracket with one bolt on each side. The bracket for the A/T shift cable and M/T shift cables is exactly the same, so no modification is required here.
  • Using a ratcheting crescent wrench (I used ones that have a swivel top) cuss at and remove the two 10mm bolts holding the cable in place.
  • Unbolt the A/T shifter and disconnect any wires connected to it. There are two black lines that go to different places attached to it. Remove these.
  • One of the lines goes to the ignition cylinder in the steering column. It prevents the vehicle from being started unless it is in park. You can remove this, and by doing so, the ignition cylinder will turn.
  • I believe the other line goes to the brake pedal (to prevent the car from getting out of park while the car is moving). Remove it as you will not need it anymore.
  • Install your M/T shifter and shift cables, it is much easier to line up the bracket on the firewall if you have another person holding the shift cables from the engine bay.
  • Cry while you bolt in the bracket for the shift cables.
  • Party like there's no tomorrow because you have painstakingly accomplished the most tedious part of this project!

Step 12: Throw Out Bearing and Clutch/Pressure Plate/Flywheel

I would like to note that this vehicle does not have a pilot bearing. No need to worry about it, it simply does not exist.

  • On the transmission, inside the bell housing, locate your throw out bearing. It is attached to the shift fork and the input shaft of the transmission
  • Look at the rod that holds the shift fork in place. Directly above it, there is a small cap covering a hole that the fork can slide out of.
  • Remove the one 10mm bolt holding the rod in place. You should be able to slide the rod out of the transmission through this access hole. (Note: this bolt snapped as soon as I removed it and I had to extract it using a bolt extractor. Beware). The shift fork and springs will fall out, giving you access to the throw out bearing.
  • Remove the throw out bearing.
  • On the new throw out bearing, lightly grease where it makes contact with the transmission input shaft and where it meets the shift fork. Slide the new throw out bearing onto the transmission input shaft.
  • Start to slide the rod back into the transmission through the access hole. Line up the shift fork and springs and slide it back into place.
  • Using high temperature grease, grease the areas of the shift fork that meet with the rod, as well as the springs to prevent any squeaks from happening. Lightly grease where the shift fork meets the throw out bearing.

  • On the engine, make sure your starter plate is installed.
  • Mount the flywheel to the engine and make sure to use blue thread locker on the flywheel bolts. Tighten the bolts in a star pattern to torque spec. All torque specs can be found in the factory service manual. If the flywheel turns when torquing the bolts, use the wrench trick to stop it from spinning.
(Note: In the factory service manual, there are two plates that go in front of the flywheel [trans side]. I was not able to source one of the plates and the other from the flex plate did not fit. I took a chance and did not install these items).
  • Clean the surface of the flywheel with brake cleaner.
  • Hold the clutch onto the flywheel and slide the pressure plate over it, lining it up with the pins on the flywheel.
(Note: Since this vehicle does not have a pilot bearing, a clutch alignment tool is mostly useless. Use the tool to hold the clutch into place when installing the pressure plate. You'll need to align the splines on the clutch and the transmission by eyeballing them).
  • Bolt the pressure plate to the flywheel in a star pattern and torque to spec.
  • Install your slave cylinder and, using high temperature grease, grease where it contacts the shift fork.
Your transmission is ready to be mounted to your engine!

Step 13: Install Transmission

If you correctly lined up the splines on the clutch with the input shaft, your transmission should easily slide right onto the engine.
  • Slide the transmission onto the engine assembly and bolt it to the bell housing to torque spec.
  • Reinstall the access panel cover on the engine that you removed earlier.
  • Move the shift fork away from the engine side to lock the throw out bearing into the pressure plate. The 3.0L has a pull style clutch system instead of a push style system that most vehicles use.

Step 14: Install CV Axle Half Shaft

The A/T CV axle half shaft on the passenger side is about 1/4" longer than the M/T axle half shaft, meaning that it will not line up to bolt into the engine block. An alternative to replacing only the half shaft is to replace the entire driver's side axle, however I wasn't able to find one.

  • On the A/T axle, remove the CV axle boot clamp nearest to the axle half shaft.
  • Slide the axle half shaft out from the boot, do this over a bucket as they are filled with fluid.
  • Remove the axle half shaft.
  • Clean both the M/T half shaft and the grease from the CV joint.
  • Install M/T half shaft onto the axle/boot and fill the CV joint with CV joint grease.
  • Install a new clamp onto the CV axle boot.

Step 15: Reassemble

You're almost done! Follow the factory service manuals and this guide in reverse to put everything back together again. If you used a master cylinder with tubing from a 2.4L model, no worries! The only part that is different is the part of the tubing that is different is the end bit that connects to the slave cylinder, since the slave cylinders between the 2.4L and 3.0L face opposite directions. Bend the tubing to make it line up.

When reinstalling the engine, lower the driver's side (transmission side) in first and slide the engine over. This is a pain to do with the centermember being positioned where it is. Just fiddle with the engine to get it back into place.
If you replaced your engine mounts (not covered in this guide) with Prothane engine mounts (I got mine for about $80 on Amazon) then some WD-40 or silicone grease will help the engine slide into the mounting brackets. The mount for the transmission is in the same location for both A/T and M/T models are the same, so no fabrication is required to mount the engine.

Make sure to bleed the clutch and make sure everything feels as it should and that you don't have any squeaks or grinds. You may need to adjust the master cylinder a little bit to get it perfect. Fill all of your fluids (fluid types can be found in your owner's manual).

Step 16: Wiring

I found it very difficult to find any concrete information on how to wire the vehicle online to make it start. So, I taught myself how to read the wiring diagrams and wired everything appropriately.
The main principle here is that since the auto transmission is gone, the auto ECU can't get any input on what gear the car is in. Looking at the wiring diagrams, the vehicle must either be in park or in neutral for it to start. Essentially, we need to trick the ECU into thinking that the vehicle is in neutral at all times so it will start. To do this, all we need to do is bridge two pins on the connector that goes to the shift lever on the automatic transmission.

The circuit diagram for the starting system is in Group 90 on page 27 in the factory service manual. I highly recommend looking at this as it gives you a better idea of what you're doing.

The connector we will be looking at is B-41. There are two identical connectors that go to the automatic transmission, this is the one that goes to the shift lever. If you don't know which one is which, the correct connector is the one that has a ninth pin. The pinout is as follows when looking at the end of the connector from the wiring harness:

\ [10][9][8][7]/

If we look at the wiring diagram, when the vehicle is in either park or neutral, pins 9 and 10 will be connected.

--> Bridge pins 9 and 10 to connect the circuit and get the vehicle to start. The vehicle now will think it is in neutral.

I used a paperclip to do this and I bent it into shape, probably not the greatest idea, but it works flawlessly.

If you try to start the vehicle and it does not start, look at the A/T gauge cluster. If the reverse light is illuminated, you bridged pins 7 and 8 instead of pins 9 and 10.

Regarding reverse lights, there is a two pin connector on the manual transmission. This is the reverse light switch. I recommend going to a junkyard and getting the portion of the M/T wiring harness that has this connector. Looking at the circuit diagram (Group 90, page 135) we can see that when pins 7 and 8 are connected on the same connector (B-41), the vehicle is in reverse.

--> Connect one of the wires from the reverse switch to pin 7, and the other to pin 8.

Congratulations! You have successfully manual swapped your Eclipse!


You will have a check engine light. Make sure to run the codes once you have finished the swap. The only codes you should have are pertaining to shift solenoids and the torque converter. I am currently working on a way to trick the ECU into thinking that all of the shift solenoids are there without actually mounting them. I will edit this post if I am successful.

Cruise control will not work. Since the car thinks it's in neutral, cruise control will not actuate. Again, I am trying to find a way around this and will edit the post later on.

On the auto transmission I pulled the shift solenoids and the connector that goes to them so I can figure out how to get rid of the CEL. You might need them to get rid of your CEL, I'm not sure yet.

Remember to break in your clutch!

The manual transmission is quite a bit lighter than the automatic transmission, and the flywheel is lighter than the torque converter. Since the swap, my eclipse feels noticeably faster and I also have much better highway MPG! :p

I can't say for sure, but this process should be very similar on the Eclipse GTS. It should be about the same process for a 01 to 05 Stratus RT, since the Eclipse and Stratus R/T are basically the same car. 8th gen. Galants with 6G72 engines I'm not sure about, the process may be a bit different as well as the wiring.


Special thanks to Tearstone providing the service manuals for this project and all of the other members that have posted info on this topic! I hope this helps you guys out, if there's anything that's inaccurate or needs to be edited just let me know. :)
I'm not really a mechanic or someone who works on cars often, so anyone who's up for the challenge can do it! This guide was how I personally did the swap, what I used, problems I experienced, etc, so some of the information in this guide might not be 100% accurate. I hope the wiring especially helps because there isn't a whole lot online that goes over it!

Thanks again and let me know if you have any questions!

2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT Spyder
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What have you done so far speedometer-wise???
I used the original A/T speedometer and it works flawlessly! Some people opt to get an M/T odometer to get rid of the gear selector icons, really just personal preference. Just know that if you do opt to replace the gauge cluster you’ll need to have it reprogrammed to the correct mileage.
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