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Triumph TR6 - 5 speed conversion

Progress report on my Toyota 5 speed transmission conversion...

The kit is from Mr. Herman den Van Akker, California.
I'v completed the installation but have not fired the engine - just completing a rebuild - but here are a few notes to this point...

The vendor is a great guy in terms of being available for discussion and telephone support during the install. The quality of the components looks very good, the design is simple and the documentation is excellent.

The potential problem area has to do with the hydraulic throwout bearing option. The detailed measurements needed to calculate the number of shims to install between the transmission and the TOut bearing must be very accurate - not much room for error. Further, the "feel" of the hyd Throw out might not be for everyone as there isn't much more than about an inch of pedal travel used to disengage the clutch. Any more than that and the hyd system blows a seal and you must pull the transmission out and replace the part. In order to restrict the pedal travel you must install a bolt through the firewall as a mechanical stop. I kind of liked the heavy mechanical feel of the shaft/fork arrangement but opted for the hydraulic option (extra $200 USD) just due to my adventurous spirit....

John Parfitt
Calgary, Canada.
John Parfitt

Don't confuse the total travel of the Throw out
bearing as being the total travel of the clutch
pedal. I have a hydraulic TO bearing and I find it to be very accomidating. I use the stanard Triumph Master
cylinder with full pedal travel and this moves the
TO bearing less than half an inch to engage/disengage
my Centerforce clutch. The throwout bearing is made by
Tilton. Both these companys have great web sites.
Christopher Trace

I can see some definate advantage in this. Was driving today on a very twisty road and would havw loved a shorter pedal throw for shifting. May take some getting used to, but think you'll get to like it. Peter
Peter Gooch

Adjusting the hydraulic throwout bearing...

I was mistaken about the hydraulic clutch adjustment. After talking with Herman this evening I went out and adjusted the clutch with the car up on blocks and the engine running.

This hydraulic throwout is beautiful and smooth. The concept is that there should be a slight amount of preload on the clutch. This is accomplished by using the correct number of "shims" between the throwout bearing and the clutch at assembly time.

Then the clutch pedal should have a mechanical stop (bolt through the firewall) adjusted about 1/2 inch beyond the clutch release point.

In total there is enough pedal travel to give a nice "feel" but not as long a travel as the stock TR6 mechanical arrangement.

I still haven't driven the car. Herman says the 5 speed conversion "transforms" the car.

I'll tell you this in regards to the smoothness of a modern 5 speed - I started with a Toyota W58 transmision from the junkyard. I took the outer casings off the Supra 5 speed and cleaned the transmission in my parts washer. Inspected and re-assembled and added Red Line oil.

This transmission is so smooth I can shift gears without using the clutch and not so much as a nick or a grind. Amazing. Going to be a blast to drive.

John Parfitt

John Parfitt

I'm trying to find a TR6 owner in the Toronto or Ontario area who has the Toyota 5-speed conversion. His name is Chris Redman. Anybody know of him ? Will you send me his e-mail address, phone number or street mailing address ?

Don Elliott, Montreal, e-mail :-
Don Elliott

Don E. -Where in heavens name have you been? Some long road trip to a car show somewhere?
Don k


I am looking at this conversion for my 250 and have pm'ed you some questions concerning the shift mechanism from the Toyota transmission.


Don K - Yes, I was away, but not in a Triumph. I was in England for 3 weeks - then a week in France. On Monday 16th, I'll be driving "TRusty" down to Auburn, Indiana (about 1500 miles) for the TRA (Triumph Register of America) Nationals. It's being held next to the Museum for the Cord, Dusenberg and the Auburn.

On the 22nd, I hope to see "The Great Race" on their way from Lima, Ohio to Kokomo, Indiana. The oldest car is from about 1906 or 1908. I want to go cheer on my friends, Steve and Janet Hedke from California driving "Scrappy" one of the newest cars in the event, a BRG smallmouth 1957 TR3 with Yellow racing stripes.

On the way home, I'll stop off at Mosport for the "Triumph Challenge Races" being held there from June 26th to 29th.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A, Montreal, Canada
Don Elliott

5 Speed Conversion Driving Impressions - 100 miles

I was cruising down a desolate Alberta foothills road at 70 mph turning 2500 rpm in 5th, enjoying a sunny day in my TR on her maiden voyage after almost two years up on blocks.

To put things in perspective; after missing last summer's driving season and doing without my car for almost two years, any TR would have put a big grin on let alone a 5 speed TR.

But let me tell you this conversion is a thing of beauty as it transforms the car into something that seems to always have more available. In a 140hp TR like mine, you run through the gears, throw it into 5th and you are still accelerating after 80 miles per hour with a top speed that seems too high for the chassis.

The hydraulic throwout system is smooth and the total pedal travel is about 40% shorter in distance compared with the stock system.

Put it all together and the car just feels more capable in spirited driving and cruising and feels no less a TR6.

I have to admit though - and this is a real credit to the Triumph engineers - the Triumph 4 speed is a bit more precise than the Toyota but the Toyota synchros are better.

Now I double-clutch on downshifts out of habit and because for the first 100 miles at least, I had forgotten I had right hand on a Toyota.

This HVDA 5speed conversion package is highly recommended by yours truly and I can't imaging owing a TR6 without one.

Best regards,

John Parfitt

John Parfitt

John- Exellent review and is seriously in my plans

Don E.- Just read your answer, sorry I missed him He could say hello to a local client who has I think 3 Auburns in that Museum and has bought the run down hotel down the street. Have fun
Don K.

I have not driven one of the TRs with the Toyota 5 speed conversion, but can report that I just returned from a trip to California that gave me a chance to meet "the man." I called Herman van der Akker and went out to his house to see the kits and how things are set up. WOW! This is one well thought out kit. It is basically a bolt in operation for the six cylinder cars. There is a possibility that the driveshaft must be shortened on the four cylinder cars, but he said this was pretty much car specific. My guess is that it would be more of an issue with the solid axle cars and not come into play on the IRS TR4As.

The instruction manual is well written and clear. The quality of the parts is first rate. The kits fits the transmission into the car in a manner absolutely transparent to the outside observer. The shift lever is the standard Triumph part and comes out at the same position, right up through the dash support. Herman has the conversion in his TR250 and I can tell you that I would never have known it did not have a Triumph transmission without being told or crawling under the car.

Only one thing kept me from rounding up one of the kits right then and there. There are multiple shift housings on the various Toyota five speed boxes and the shift adapter must be appropriate for the shift set up on the Toyota box that will be used. There are three types of shift set ups covered by the kit. These are the Celica and truck boxes that Herman addresses on the web site, plus certain Supra boxes. In my junk yard web search playing, it looks like any of the SOHC Supra boxes (up to 1984 for sure) are covered by the kit. The later twin cam Supra boxes have a different shift extension. Herman said that those can be made to work, but you must come up with the shift rail components from one of the boxes his kit covers. He showed me one of these later transmissions he was converting. The advantage, they can handle big horsepower. Then again how many people build 350+ HP TR6 motors and need that kind of box?


Installation Photo's

If any members are interested I have a complete set of photo's documenting the installation. I'd be happy to email the set to those who are interested.

John Parfitt
John Parfitt

Congrats on being back on the road. I can see your grin on your face clear across to Ontario.
Well done on your info this thread. I like the idea of "invisible". I have the OE O/D so now know if it dies there is an option (main shaft for O/D no longer available). Small favor please...let us know the final cost of this conversion?
Rick C
Rick Crawford


Using USD, costs are $900 for the basic kit, there is an option to use an annular slave cylinder and throwout bearing unit for another $220, then you have to throw in the price of the donor Toyota transmission. I have seen them for anywhere from about $100 to $300 around here, there is currently one on ebay for $350 plus shipping under Triumph for use in this conversion, see URL at end of post. Depends on where you get it, what kind of shape is it in, if you decide to go through the Toyota box before using it, etc. Overall, unless you come across the proverbial screaming deal, less than finding an OD Triumph box with all the relays, switches, top cover, harnesses and installing them.

From my perspective, I think that I will pass on the annular hydraulic set up and use the Toyota slave cylinder and lever arm system since the W57 box (5M-GE engined cars) that I picked up came with the bell housing and all of the clutch actuating mechanism (slave cylinder, lever arm, clips, pivot ball, and such). If the box that you find doesn't have all the stuff, then the annular unit may just be the way to go from a cost standpoint.

Note: I am not trying to sell this box for this guy, I think he wants too much for it, especially when you consider that shipping must be added to the price. This is relisting at the same price as before, so I must not be the only one that feels this way. If it was a deal, then somebody would have snapped it up earlier. Let your brain and wallet be your guides before parting with brass for this. You can at least see what one of these boxes looks like without the bell housing. For perspective, it is fairly close to the size of an A-type OD in girth.

My conversion costs were as follows in US Dollars

Herman's kit: $900
TOut Hyd Bearing: $220
Ship to Calgary: $ 30
Transmission: $ 50
Trans Gasket kit: $ 20
My labour: $ Priceless
My wifes approval $ suprising!
Total: $1,220

On the 5 speed; I have access to an almost unlimited number of W58's from the local pick-your-part yard.

I spoke with the local Toyota experts - a guy who has a 500hp Supra show car and they said the things are bullet proof. You take the aluminum housing off, clean the gears and inspect for damage. If there is no damage and the bearings don't play too much then reassemble and away you go. You could have new bearings pressed in but if that is required, just find a better junkyard version.

As far as the current eBay trany - lets put it this way - I wouldn't spend two hours under a Toyota, another two hours cleaning and packaging and a half hour to photograph and create the eBay auction for anything less than about $350 US. It's a reasonable price if you have to buy one.

I'v got about 300 miles on that 5 speed now and it is something else. For you Calgarians on the board I was cruising the Deerfoot at 100 mph behind a BMW the other night.... the five speed makes the TR truly fast! By that I mean your doing those kinds of things without destroying the heck out of your motor.

John Parfitt
Calgary, Canada.

John Parfitt

I would like to know how to identify the Toyota W-58 transmission if it is out of the car. Are ther serial numbers or casting marks?
Ankeny, Iowa
dennis costello


Go up a couple of posts to the e-bay link. There are pictures of the transmission (without bell housing) on that auction page. There are a number of transmissions in the W family, they vary by gear sets and by shifter locations. Lets start with the shifter locations.

There are four types, three of the four convert over with no problem, one has to have the shifter bits from one of the other three types installed to work with Herman's kit. The three that work no problem have the shifter coming up out of the bolt on housing shown in the transmission picture. One has the shifter "pagoda" biased towards the front, one has the pagoda just about centered and one has the pagoda biased towards the rear. If the pagoda is not over the bolt down portion of the housing with the shifter offset rearward past the bolt down cover and located over the rear slip joint dust shield, that is the fourth "not as easy" to convert version.

As far as gear sets go, I chose a W57. It has the same ratios for 1 - 4 as a W58, but the 5th is not as tall at .86:1 as opposed to the .78:1 found in the W58. If your local junkyard, er uh, excuse me, local automotive recycling center has a searchable inventory, try some searchs on different years and models, (Celica, Supra, etc.) The advantage that the car boxes have over the truck boxes is the gear sets. The advantage the truck boxes have over the car boxes is that there are many newer and lower mileage truck boxes out there. The transmissions themselves seem to have few tracable types of marking on them. The key with the Toyota boxes seems to be knowing what type of engine is was bolted onto, but even then it is not clear cut. Taking the W57/W58 for example, both were fitted to 5M-GE engines in the early twin cam Supra. It was probably a matter of how the car was optioned out that determined which box went into the car. In this country at at least in this part of this country, the W58 seems to be more common than the W57. Bottom line, be prepared to count turns to try and determine which gear set is in the box. Take the gear set info with you when you go looking. Most decent jun..there I go again, automotive recycling centers will have the trans out of the car, but the inventory tag will indicate what it came from and in the case of the Toyota transmissions, the engine type that had been in front of it.

Here are a couple of sites on gear set info:

Here is a reasonably decent automotive recycling center search engine:

You give your zip and car brand, then start searching.

i wonder what # tranny is in the wifes old rusty MR2.
wishfull thinking.


Boy's; I'v got access to dozens of W58's with around 100,000 kms which is nothing for a Toyota. I'll put an ebay auction on for about $300 US. If anyone needs one of these transmissions just let me know.


John Parfitt
73 5 speed.
John Parfitt

Toyota Transmission Failure

I was cruising the BC Coquihala highway in fifth gear after about 2000 breaking miles running at about 100 kms per hour when suddenly the tach burried itself to the redline; the Toyota 5 speed had failed.

I was about 100 miles from my destination with only fourth gear. Shoot.

Made it into the city and had to seriously abuse the drive train to get rolling after about 5 red lights.

The so-called experts are not correct about the Toyota 5 speeds. They aren't reliable with high miles from the junk yards.

What a stupid mistake. I'm now stranded 800 miles from home and looking around for a tranny.

John Parfitt
73 1 speed.
John Parfitt

Here's to hoping that you now have the situation sorted out. If you get the chance, let us know what component(s) failed in the transmission.

A serious bummer, very sorry to hear that after all the work and excitement. I was all set to go that route - now I'm wondering. Peter
Peter Gooch

I now have a rebuilt W58 transmission from Burts on King George in Surry, BC $1,100 total plus tax.

My junkyard transmission suffered a major catastrophic failure of the two main gears - thier teeth having turned into mush.

The question is: What caused the failure? Well, all I can say is gearbox failure analysis is a job for the mechanical engineering crowd so I won't attempt a discussion on that but instead here is the brief history:

- I pulled the gearbox from a 1984 Supra with 190,000 kms from the local junkyard.

- pulled the covers, cleaned the gearbox in my parts washer, inspected and found the bearings had a "bit of play".

- re-assembled the gearbox with new gaskets and added Redline 75-90 gear oil.

- After 2,000 miles the gearbox failed in a major way.

So there you have it - use a junkyard gearbox at your own risk.

Nothing wrong with Herman's kit. I love the setup - just don't cut corners. If you are going to all the trouble and expense - rebuild the darn thing before installation.

Now I'm off to install the bugger - arg...

John Parfitt
73 5 speed.

John Parfitt

This thread was discussed between 30/05/2003 and 08/08/2003

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