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Making the Shift - Introduction

One of the “how-to” questions I receive quite often is about mating up a manual transmission to om60x series motors. What works? How much power will it hold? What clutch options are available?

Anyone who has delved into this topic has found an overwhelming amount of information online, but it’s so fragmented that it’s a challenge to piece this puzzle together. Many forums and posts leave out key pieces of intel, like product numbers. It’s easy to find advice: “Just use a Sprinter SMF flywheel conversion kit,” or a “Sachs 765 pressure plate will have enough clamping power for 800 horsepower,” but the devil is in the details…

Without knowing the year, make, model, and sometimes the trim level, it’s hard to know exactly which products to use. Additionally, a lot of forum posts are written by people in other countries where certain vehicle models are much more prevalent than they are in the U.S. I’ve decided to make the transition to a 6-speed manual in my MR300Dcar, and I plan to document two distinct paths pertaining to performance manual swaps that are reasonable to obtain here in the USA.

Based on my research, the “top shelf” option for a Mercedes 6-speed appears to be the 716.6xx manual with a Mercedes Sprinter single mass flywheel conversion kit. This will be Path #1. It’s been almost 30 years since I worked on and drove a clutched car. That’s a long time, so I’m starting with the easiest path to re-entry! I want to identify manufacturers and product part numbers, and I want to get acquainted with manual transmissions again. I also plan to identify which clutch manufacturers, materials and models are out there and how to switch to a Sachs 765 pressure plate.

Path #2 will be a bit more extreme and is intended for serious horsepower. BenzForce relies heavily on its partners and a lot of research goes into my decisions to work with specific companies. Anyone familiar with F-Tune Performance would likely confirm that they bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to the table. After becoming accustomed to the 716.6xx, I plan to swap it out for an F-Tune-modified BMW ZF 6 speed with a Sachs 765 pressure plate and sintered clutch. F-Tune makes custom flywheels and modifies the BMW cases to provide an end-to-end manual transmission solution for high-horsepower cars. The MR300D will get a GS6-37DZ, but I will also import a GS5-39DZ at the same time for resale. F-Tune also modifies models capable of handling more horsepower, but both of these options are highly capable and will meet the demands of most om606 enthusiasts.

Of course, it will take time to source parts and find the time to do the install of the 716. Importing heavy parts like engines and transmissions also takes considerable time, so please stay tuned as I navigate the manual transmission minefield!

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