Auto to Manual Conversion Idea...
I've been checking into this forum for a while in the hopes that someone would have some good info regarding swapping a manual trans into one of these cars... but so far the only thing I've seen is an overwhelming response that says "sell the car and buy a GXP w/ a manual" People have gotten quotes of up to $7000 for the job, but that seemed a little high to me, so I did my own checking and have come up with what I think is the most reasonable (and least expensive way) to convert a G8 to a manual.
First up, my idea only applies to those willing to do the work themselves. If you are going to have somebody else do it, then this may not work for you (it could, but I don't know how much labor it would take so I can't guess the cost for that alone).
My first step was to actually determine what the cost of just selling my GT and buying a GXP would be like most people suggest... Well according to Kelly Blue Book, the difference in price between the two vehicles is currently around $7500. This is assuming I sell my vehicle outright (not trade it in), and then buy the GXP from a private owner. If I traded my car (and got trade in), then paid retail for the GXP, that "cost" to upgrade would nearly double. Where I live I'd also have to pay sales tax on the vehicle. That would be roughly $2300 at my local tax rate. Then I have to consider the cost of financing the GXP. Given that I got my G8 when GM was doing 0% financing, ANY interest rate for any amount financed would add right on top of the "cost" of upgrading to a GXP. This finance cost could easily be another $3000 - $4000 depending on the loan terms. I won't even get into being "upside down" on the loan on my current '09 GT, nor will I consider the money I've already lost in depreciation, or the higher insurance cost over time of the GXP.
Needless to say, the actual cost of selling my GT and buying a GXP would easily exceed $10k (in my personal case it would be over $15k if I did it at current market values and interest rates). Suddenly spending even the $7000 I've seen quoted on this site to convert to a manual seems like a pretty good deal! But I think you can get it done cheaper.
Rather than just try to swap in a manual and deal with all the wiring headaches, programming, etc... why not just swap in an entire LS3/manual take out from a new SS Camaro? The Camaro and the G8 drivetrains should interchange effortlessly. I have talked to a couple of different salvage yards, and the going rate for an extremely low mileage (less than 5000 miles) LS3/manual take out is about $11k shipped to your door. This always includes all the wiring, accessories, hydraulics, pedals, etc. I'm guessing as these cars get extra mileage, the cost will slip to well under $10k shipped. If you look at the price for a L76/A6 combo out of a G8 GT, itís currently around $6k. So even if you could only get 1/2 of what you paid for the Camaro powertrain for your take out, you are at a cost closer to $5k to install the manual WITH a more powerful engine.
$5000 is still a lot of money of course, and you'd still have to likely get a diff. with a 3.45:1 ratio (though you could once again sell you're to offset some of the costs), and likely a few other little things like a driveshaft and a shifter plate for the interior, but with the LS3 you would be adding 65 hp (that is still factory smooth) and additional torque. So in a way you are adding hp mods at the same time as the manual swap. I don't know if I consider this a freebie since you are paying for it... but its more power AND a manual for less than people are getting quoted for the manual alone. That has to count as some type of value to the swap.
If the power increase is not desired, then you could also source a salvage drivetrain from a Commodore from Australia (can be found on ebay). These drivetrains are less expensive than the LS3/manual combo, but would have higher shipping costs. I'm positive it would still be less expensive than the LS3 sources locally by a couple thousand bucks.
In all cases, buying a complete take out w/ engine solves all the headaches with wiring and programming. It would work like a factory engineered package because it is one. Plus I think that the drivetrain out of the G8 would be easier to sell to someone looking to retro-fit it to an older car than just trying to sell the old A6 by itself. Of course itís a lot more work to remove an entire drivetrain from a labor standpoint, but the problems encountered should be manageable.
For those considering "upgrading" to a GXP as the only option because they can't stand the automatic any longer... I suggest they consider the entire cost of the moving to the GXP verse the cost of the swap. I know in my case the costs aren't even comparable to make it worth buying the GXP. Sure there are other upgrades to the GXP, but are they worth the extra costs. This is not an insult on the GXP, as I wish Iíd done one from the beginning tooÖ but if you already have the car with an auto, I think this is a better option.
I'm not in the position to be the first to try it (unless there is someone generous to donate the money to me for "research and development" of the concept), but I will at some point. Iíd be happy to help somebody locally do it sooner.
What do you think? (sorry for what is a really long first post).
'09 G8 GT (Stryker Blue) - SOLD
'01 Formula Firehawk (Black) - SOLD
'99 SS Camaro (Hugger Orange) - SOLD
'67 Mustang Fastback (Blue)