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What Is A GSR Transmission And How Much Does It Cost To Rebuild?

Many people would love to get their hands on a quality GSR transmission with little to no mileage on it and minimal wear and tear. They are pretty in demand but the supply of great used GSRs is super limited.

GSR Transmission
Source / Honda Tech Forum

This begs the question, is it better to buy a used GSR or to rebuild one (sometimes from scratch)? But first, what is the GSR transmission, why is it so possible, and how much does it cost to rebuild? We are going to cover all of that and more.

What Is A GSR Transmission?

The GSR transmission is a four-speed manual transmission developed and manufactured by Honda in the early 2000s. The GSR has a solid reputation for pushing the absolute limits of power and performance (at the time) and was regularly swapped into other race cars where possible.

GSR Transmission
Source / Honda Tech Forum

Honda has always been beloved by car fanatics for their adaptability and customizability, and it is important to remember that will go both ways. Ripping parts out of Honda to beef up other cars isn’t super unusual.

GSR Transmission
Source / Honda Tech Forum

The GSR is designed with racing, or speed at least, in mind. It has friendly shift points that make it easy to quickly and accurately select the right gear for the moment. When it comes to racing, quick gear changes are needed and there is no time for farting around trying to find the right gear. This doesn’t mean that the GSR is likely to slip gears or that you can easily force it in. On the contrary, it helps guide you to the right gear almost seamlessly.

Can I Buy A GSR Transmission Second Hand?

There are absolutely GSR transmissions kicking about to this day. It is important to remember that these transmissions were manufactured in the early 2000s, potentially 20 years ago, so they may be pushing the limits of their life expectancy.

GSR Transmission
Source / Honda Tech Forum

While a near-new GSR will crop up every now and again they are snapped up pretty quickly and you will definitely find that it is a seller’s market. If you happen to find a good, used, GSR with very low mileage then you could be forced to pay through the teeth to get it.

How Much Does It Cost To Rebuild A GSR Transmission?

To fully rebuild a GSR will probably set you back about a grand. $1000 for a rebuilt transmission from the year 2000 might sound a little steep but there isn’t really any way around it. Even when using the “cheapest” parts this transmission will set you back a thousand big ones. Some people elect to spend a little more and get some better pieces. It is cheapest if you simply swap out the synchronizer on an old transmission and go from there in many cases.

GSR Transmission
Source / Honda Tech Forum

Some people elect to get top-of-the-line main shaft synchronizers but only go with the stock spare countershaft. Some people go hard on both. It is really up to you, but there is no way around spending $1000 and you could potentially spend close to $1500. More if you are unable to do the work yourself. You’ve also got to consider that there are some special tools that you will need to perform the rebuild that you may end up having to purchase that will eat into your budget heavily.

What Tools Will I Need For A GSR Transmission Rebuild?

If you plan to rebuild the GSR transmission by yourself then there are a few tools that you really can’t do without. And a few that might come in handy but can be missed in part if you are willing to take “the long way round” so to speak. Here are the absolutely necessary tools followed by some bonus recommendations:

You Will Need:

  • 2×4 Block of Wood (x2)
  • 1/2 Inch Ratchet (x1)
  • 3/8 Inch Ratchet (x1)
  • 10mm 3/8 Inch Deep-Well Socket (x1)
  • 12mm 3/8 Inch Socket (x1)
  • 14mm 3/8 Inch Socket (x1)
  • Needle Nose Pliers (x1)
  • Razor Blade (x1)
  • Tube Of Honda Bond (x1)
  • 8 Inch to 17 Inch Pry Bar (x2)

You Might Need:

  • 3/8 Inch Extensions (x1)
  • 1/2 Inch Extensions (x1)
  • Dead-Blow-Mallet (x1)
  • Torque Wrench (x1)
  • Magnet (x1)

How Long Will A Secondhand GSR Transmission Last?

Most transmissions tend to last between 80k and 150k miles. Though, well-maintained transmissions can last as long as 200k miles. Since we are talking about a GSR transmission you will likely find that it has undergone some pretty serious wear and tear.

A well-used, especially race-used, GSR transmission will probably last for about 100k miles even if it has been well-loved and well-maintained. Since you don’t really know what the previous owner(s) have done to it you can’t know for sure and any secondhand GSR tranny is a gamble.

How Long Will A Rebuilt GSR Transmission Last?

If you are actually rebuilding the transmission yourself you will get a far superior life expectancy out of it. Building it yourself may cost a little more than simply buying one secondhand, but it is going to last far longer.

GSR Transmission
Source / Honda Tech Forum

And you can be sure what maintenance has been performed on it. You could easily get 100k-120k miles out of a rebuilt transmission. Which is normally enough to last about 10 years.

Is It Better To Buy A GSR Transmission Or Rebuild One?

It is almost unequivocally better to rebuild a GSR transmission than rebuild one from scratch. However, given it can cost twice as much (not including labor) that might not always be an option. If money is no object, go for the rebuild. If you can’t quite swing it, buying secondhand and purely swapping out the synchronizer may be a good move.

Conclusion

So now you know what a GSR transmission is and how much it will cost to rebuild one, do you think it’s worth it? Is it something that you might pursue as your next car project? If it is, it can be highly rewarding and can greatly increase the resale value of the car. Or you can have a blast burning rubber and running the new transmission into the ground. The choice is yours, of course!

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