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i put a TKO 500 in my 77 back in June, I put 1500 miles on it softly before I started being hard on it. it was always difficult to get into 1st gear. I now I have about 4k miles on it and its grinding, any quick tips before I pull it and send it back to keisler? it grinds when I shift it quickly into 3rd, 4th and when im downshifting to pass someone from 5th to 4th. I did the run out check with the bell housing and crank, it had .002 difference. I changed the fluid 4 times now, only using GM syncromesh fluid.
My vote is that something is not right with the trans....send it back. I had a TKO 500 behind a mild build 350 in my '71 SS/RS Camaro and I had no issues with the actual trans. My only slight issue was a little grind going into reverse, but that was due to the fit with the factory 4-speed center console that I was using.
If you switched to hydraulic clutch, try bleeding it. If you have the standard OEM clutch, try adjusting it. If you're out of adjustment, its not uncommon for GM clutch forks to bend....
That sucks that you're having problems we all know those kits aren't cheap!!!
Since you changed from a auto to the manual you might want to check the entire unit. Pedals, frame mounting for the z bar and everything else that had to be replaced. You should still have my number (I bought the heads) if you need some help.