Project S550 Part 2: Addressing Shortcomings in the Suspension and Drivetrain


While we had everything apart, we also added an Energy Suspension polyurethane transmission mount bushing insert, which slides into the voids in the transmission mount to help reduce transmission movement. The last thing we did while we were in here was to drain the stock fluid and replace it with Royal Purple Synchromesh fluid. Many of our peers have seen good results with this fluid, which they claim has also helped reduce some of the notchiness found in the MT-82.


A big clamp is helpful when installing the bushing insert. The supplied lithium grease along with the clamp help the insert slide into place.
The transmission bushing lubed up and inserted into the transmission cross brace.
Here’s a close up view of the replacement clutch spring and the polyurethane bushing mount.
The fluid swap required three full bottles and a pump to get the fluid back into the transmission.


Although the stock parts could have been reinstalled, we also opted to install a new billet aluminum lock-out collar and a new solid billet shift ball from our friends at Space City Spy. These provide no additional performance benefit, but aesthetically they look so much better than the stock plastic pieces they replaced and further add to the aircraft-inspired look of the interior. The billet collar matches the aluminum toggle switches and the heavier shift ball feels much more solid and deliberate when shifting.

These enhancements have completely changed the shifting experience of the car. Shifting is now tight and smooth, and the 30 percent reduction in throw is perfect. As an added ergonomic benefit, the shift ball also now sits about one-inch lower than stock, which provides a more natural arm position. The Royal Purple fluid swap did help the smoothness, but we have to attribute the majority of the transformation to the Steeda Tri-Ax Race shifter. In full transparency, the only downside to this install (lighter wallet aside) is the slight increase in road noise. This is due to the fact that the Tri-Ax shifter does not reuse the thick stock rubber gasket that seals out road noise from the driver’s cabin. They do include a sheet of Dynamat in the kit, which we did install, but it’s still louder than stock. Regardless, we can say without hesitation that this slight increase in cabin noise is a more than acceptable trade-off in exchange for the performance improvement this combination delivers.

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