Articles > How To Install a Five-Speed in Vintage Mustangs

Relaxed Cruising in Fifth Gear

How To Install a Five-Speed in Vintage Mustangs

Relaxed Cruising in Fifth Gear

By Miles Cook

Photography by Miles Cook

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1. A freshly-rebuilt Platinum Torque T5, available from NationalDrivetrain, carries a 12-month unlimited-mileage warranty. These units,basically in new condition, come ready to go except for a T5 shifter.You can go with an aftermarket shifter or simply install a stockFox-body Mustang T5 shifter such as the one we obtained from MustangCountry International.

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2. National Drivetrain also offers a full line of Ram Clutches,which we installed since the car was going to be taken apart. Aclutch-alignment tool is also included. If the existing clutch in yourcar is in good shape or recently replaced, you're all set since astandard early-Mustang clutch will work with the T5 and the CaliforniaPony Cars adapter plate.

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3. These are the pieces you need to install a T5 into a vintageMustang using a stock bellhousing. Available from California Pony Cars,included here from top to bottom are a T5 crossmember, an adapter plate,a T5 yoke, and a new transmission mount. Also shown at left are avintage-style shift handle that bolts right up to a T5 shifter, and avintage-style shift knob with a five-speed shift pattern embossed on it.To complete the puzzle, the yoke is installed on the existingdriveshaft, the driveshaft is shortened one inch, and two holes aredrilled into an existing Top Loader bellhousing--all of which can beaccomplished by a reputable automotive machine shop. We were able tohave the yoke installed, the driveshaft shortened, and the bellhousingmodified by a local shop in one day. California Pony Cars can alsosupply a modified Top Loader bellhousing





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4. Engine removal isn't required to do the transmissionconversion, but we took the opportunity to pull the motor at the sametime and do some cleanup and detail work under the hood. By workingoutside the car, we provide a clearer picture of putting the engine,bellhousing, and T5 back together. Of course, having access to a hoistto do any transmission R&R work is always helpful. Removing the 351W andTop Loader four-speed from this '69 Mustang was relatively easy with theright equipment, such as the aforementioned hoist and an engine hoist.With two people working, the engine and trans were out in about threehours.

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5. Here's the Top Loader ready to be removed from thebellhousing. While this unit shifts perfectly, it doesn't have thecoveted overdrive Fifth gear we think is a great thing for daily-drivenvintage Mustangs.

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6. The Top Loader is removed from the bellhousing by unboltingthe four fasteners that hold it in place.

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7. With the four bolts out, the heavy cast-iron Top Loader isseparated from the bellhousing and 351W engine.

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8. Next, the bellhousing is removed from the engine so it can besent to a machine shop for the two holes it needs to accept the CPCadapter plate.

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9. If your clutch is in good shape and it can be reused, youdon't have to remove it or the flywheel. You can reinstall thebellhousing once the adapter plate is installed. We opted to install anew Ram clutch, which is available from National Drivetrain. Here, we'vealready unbolted and removed the old pressure plate along with theclutch disc. We next removed the flywheel to have it resurfaced for usewith the new clutch.

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10. As we've discussed, the bellhousing needs two holes preciselydrilled into it, which is best handled by a fully-equipped automotivemachine shop. The adapter plate itself serves as a template. The hole atthe top doesn't have threads since a bolt is inserted from the inside ofthe bellhousing into a threaded hole in the adapter plate. The one atthe bottom is threaded, and one of the three countersunk Allen-headbolts supplied with the adapter plate is placed there. The two originalholes for the Top Loader at the left are reused and accept the two othercountersunk Allen-head bolts to hold the adapter in place.

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11. The bellhousing is set to accept the CPC adapter plate withthe two holes shown in the previous photo. Drop it into place, makingsure it sits totally flush on the bellhousing, and thoroughly tightenthe three Allen-head bolts. The bolt shown here being tightened goesinto the threaded hole that was drilled into the housing.

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12. On the inside of the bellhousing, this bolt was threaded intothe adapter plate and tightened. The machine shop also machined a flatspot inside the housing where the bolt is seated.






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13. Here's the complete bellhousing and adapter plate ready to bereinstalled on the engine to receive the T5 transmission. It's a simplesetup, as the CPC adapter plate allows you to run a T5 trans and retainthe original bellhousing, thus the factory clutch linkage. From here,reassembly is just a matter of putting the engine and transmission backtogether as you would if the Top Loader were being reinstalled.

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14. The resurfaced flywheel is reinstalled using the same bolts,which are then torqued to 70 ft-lb with a torque wrench.

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15. The clutch disc is clearly marked "engine side" to ensureit's correctly installed on the flywheel.

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16. With the supplied clutch-alignment tool, the clutch disc isset into place on the flywheel.

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17. The pressure plate is bolted to the flywheel, while thealignment tool holds the clutch disc in position. The pressure-platebolts are torqued to 30-35 ft-lb.

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Top loader four-speed vs. T5 five-speed gear ratios.

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18. With the clutch and flywheel assembled, the bellhousing isreinstalled on the engine.

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19. Using the same bolts, the bellhousing is secured on theengine by thoroughly tightening them.

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20. Now the T5 is installed by mating it up to the CPC adapterplate. It helps to have two people to support the weight of the trans asit's being installed. Try to get the face of the transmission case asfar as possible onto the adapter plate before installing the bolts. Thegoal is to get the transmission's input shaft as far into place aspossible, seating the end of the shaft in the flywheel's pilot bushingbefore final tightening of the transmission mounting bolts.






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21. CPC supplies the bolts to secure the T5 transmission to theadapter plate. Although you can partially use the bolts to help get thetransmission seated, in general, it's best to seat the trans as far asyou can get it on the adapter plate before the final tightening of thebolts. Once the trans is seated, thoroughly tighten the four bolts in across pattern to ensure the T5 is in place, as flush as possible, on theadapter plate. In contrast to the Top Loader four-speed, the thicknessof the adapter plate compensates for the longer input shaft on the T5.

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22. With a quick test fit of the T5 shifter and CPC shift handle,the detailed engine and freshly rebuilt National Drivetrain PlatinumTorque T5 are ready to go back into the car. The shifter is taken backoff the transmission before the engine and trans are put back in thecar. The shifter is then reinstalled with its four bolts and siliconesealant.

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23. With the use of the CPC transmission crossmember,reinstalling the engine in the car is a reverse removal of the engineand Top Loader four-speed. Once back in the car, the CPC crossmemberbolts right up to the T5 trans and in the car.

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24. Before installing the crossmember, we were able to installthe shifter from underneath the car, securing it in place with its fourbolts and a bead of silicone sealant around the base of the shifter. Ifyou do the conversion without removing the engine, you'll likely want toinstall the shifter on the transmission before it's installed in thecar. We waited since we installed the transmission through the enginebay along with the engine and didn't want the shifter to get caught onsomething while the engine and trans were going in.

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25. Using the new trans mount along with the CPC crossmember, itall goes back into place as in the reinstallation of the Top Loader.With three pairs of nuts and bolts, the crossmember is installed withtwo long bolts securing the crossmember to the car, two bolts joiningthe trans mount to the T5, and two more joining the mount to thecrossmember, one of which is shown being tightened here.

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26. Here's the completed installation ready to go with thedriveshaft also reinstalled. The T5 yoke needs to be installed on thedriveshaft (which has been done here), and the driveshaft needs to beshortened by one inch. A good automotive machine shop should be able todo these things, as well as modify the bellhousing. All that's left isto install the CPC shift handle and fill the transmission with DexronIII ATF. All T5s use automatic transmission fluid--not gear oil.

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27. The CPC shift handle (complete with a fake reverse-lockout)installs in place on a stock T5 shifter using the factory handle's two10mm bolts. Once installed with a vintage-looking five-speed knob, thesetup looks great with a new shift boot that will soon be installed onthis car.





Reprinted with Premission.






Miles Cook @ Mustang Monthly

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