Ed's Projects














Hyundai Tiburon Automatic to Manual Transmission Conversion

At the time of writing this (May 2017) my car is / was an automatic 1998 Hyundai Tiburon. I came over to Canada the previous year and needed a car, my intended choice was a manual but this car came along at the right price and mileage. The brakes were warped which is relatively common with an auto, even more so that this car had quite a tight torque converter and required me to feather the brakes a lot. The biggest issue was that the car would jump down two gears causing the engine to hit the limiter, really not good at all. One of my projects was to make a paddle shift system for the car, this project worked but by this time I really hated the auto box.

So I went to a local scrap yard and pulled a manual transmission from a 2003 model, I guess this was a little brave since they were two different generations of body and engine. I will try to cover all of the parts needed too, some are a little less obvious than others. So a conversion from a 2003 standard box into a 1998 Hyundai Tiburon you will need.

Standard Transmission

Gear lever and shift cables.

Shift mechanism on gearbox.

Master cylinder, slave cylinder, clutch pedal, fluid reservoir and metal clutch fluid line.

A 1998 flywheel (or modified 2003 as you'll see later).


A 1998 subframe and mounts (or modify automatic subframe to fit gearbox, still need mounts however).

Standard starter motor - yes they are different.

Note: You do not need drive shafts, a standards are slightly longer but the auto ones are long enough in the 1998 model.


The tools needed;

11mm ring spanner for clutch line

10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 21 and 32mm sockets

A 12" ratchet and 24" ratchet

Ball joint separator

100ft/lb Torque wrench and T60 socket

19mm ring spanner.

Long flat end screwdriver.

Transmission jack and two axle stands.



I did my best to log the conversion however I did miss a hell of a lot of images out, easily done when your busy. The first step was to install the clutch pedal, since this car was automatic it required me to drill out the holes. Before you choose to drill the pre-marked holes, don't, I did and they turned out to be slightly different to my pedal, I elongated the holes but it took me more time than necessary.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission ConversionHyundai Tiburon Transmission ConversionHyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion





















The automatic will have a much wider brake pedal, there are two options, get a standard brake pedal or choose the cheaper method and cut the existing one in half. I'm not sure if the accelerator pedal is different either but it seems to sit really low in the auto making it impossible to heel-toe down shift, if you need to. Note: the box and wiring is the automatic transmission control module which needs to be removed before you can fit the clutch pedal, hence it's hanging in my foot well temporarily.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The clutch pedal in place, the clutch switches are not needed, you could wire them into the harness so you can't start the car unless the pedal is pressed.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The master cylinder installed, a plastic bag placed over the top to prevent dirt, this was done a week prior to the conversion as the car is my daily driver. I would recommend an all aluminium master cylinder and not one of the plastic ones, the reason is that the bolts hold the clutch pedal in place, aluminum is a lot sturdier / stronger than plastic.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The pedal complete. One thing to note is that master cylinders don't come with the eye that attaches to the pedal, I had to drive back over to the scrap yard to retrieve this part.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














Now for the major work, firstly I loosened the drive shaft nut, placed the drivers side on stands and removed the wheel. Only one drive shaft needs to be removed when changing a transmission / clutch. Drive shaft nut is 32mm.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The ball joint nut needs to be loosened, ideally with a 19mm ring spanner, the nut is accessible if the drive shaft is pushed inwards.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The hardest part of the conversion was dealing with the ball joint, I bought a pickle fork and spent hours trying to pop the joint while damaging the boot seal in the process. I then bought a tool known as a "ball joint separator" which popped the joint in minutes, while I've never used one of these in the past I would never do a ball joint again without one.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The plastic splash tray needs to be removed, these are all 10mm bolts.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The transmission fluid drained, remember to place the plug back in as you'll be surprised how much oil remains in the torque converter.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The transmission oil cooler hoses need to be removed on the transmission side, there's plenty of oil in the cooler so be sure to plug the tubes. All of the electrical connectors need to be removed, not forgetting the speedo sensor at the back of the transmission. The oil filler tube for the transmission must also be removed. The air filter and battery box are also two items to be removed.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














There is a second plug to drain the oil in the differential, it is also automatic transmission fluid.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The drivers side drive shaft needs to be removed, using a 18" screw driver I popped it, there are slots in the drive shaft itself so this is really easy to do.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














There a few ways to remove the transmission but I suggest using a low profile transmission jack, they are expensive, I didn't have one but will certainly buy one when it comes to replacing the clutch again. My method was to use a cheap trolley jack, it only cost 25 CAD and then I bolted a piece of wood to it to stop the transmission from sliding.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The subframe bolts were loosened and then the jack placed under the transmission.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














A ratchet strap was placed over the top to secure it to the jack, this is a must.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The starter motor was removed, two long bolts hold it in, they are both 14mm. I then placed a strap around the passenger side drive shaft and secured it to the top of the engine, it just makes removing the transmission a lot easier.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














Another six bolts hold the transmission to the engine, before removing I jacked up the transmission and placed a stand beneath the engine as once the transmission is removed only one mount holds the engine. Three 14mm bolts underneath are removed along with another 14mm at the back where the passenger side drive shaft is. Lastly two larger 17mm bolts are removed at the top of the bell housing. I pryed a gap between the engine and transmission before popping the passenger side drive shaft.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














Pulling the transmission with the torque converter attached would end up with a lot of oil on the floor so instead the torque converter must be unbolted from the flex plate. A 17mm spanner has to be used to loosen the bolts and then simply "flicking" them with a screwdriver will unscrew them further. There are a total of three bolts, the engine can be turned over with a socket on the crank pulley to access the bolts.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The transmission mount must be removed, I first started with the bolts on the inside wing, they are covered by four rubber bungs. Off the top of my head they are 14mm, a total of four.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The mount is removed from the transmission, three bolts of 17mm. The last part I removed was the shift selector cable, this can be done in the first stages.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The jack is lowered to allow the engine stand to take the weight of the engine, the transmission is pulled from the engine while being lowered a bit at a time. If you chose to use a trolley jack then you will have to drop the transmission off the jack and drag it from under the car, otherwise you would have to remove the bumper. Ideally if you chose to use a low profile transmission jack then you will have no issues at all.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














The flex plate has to be removed from the crank shaft, I found that a 17mm socket, not a hex one but those with all the cutouts in them fit the crank bolts perfectly, otherwise the ideal socket would be a torx T60.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














A screw driver was wedged between the flex plate and the engine to stop it spinning, the bolts were relatively easy to loosen and remove.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














I got the flywheel and clutch from the 2003 donor car, they both looked to be almost new but I chose to have the flywheel resurfaced.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














Then I hit a big problem, the flywheel would not fit. I assumed that if the clutch and transmission was the same that the flywheel would be too, this was not the case. The nose on my engine, the 1998, also known as the beta has a diameter of 41mm whereas that on the 2003, the beta 2 model has a nose diameter of 36mm.


Hyundai Tiburon Transmission Conversion














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