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Discussion Starter #1
I'm at the point of my restoration where I need to send the tranny out to have it rebuilt. Just had the motor redone and the transmission is next. It has the non synchro 3 speed which I believe is referred to in the shop manual as the 2.77. It was rebuilt 37 years ago when I purchased the car and then 7 years later after 60-70k more miles. It's not seen any miles in the last 20+ years but just before I parked it I knew it needed attention again. When asking around for a reputable mechanic, a distance acquaintance suggested I might want to upgrade to the synchronized version. He had done something similar on his 66 and it required changing a few parts so it would bolt up correctly but he said the big advantage was it would last much longer than the 2.77. A 200k transmission versus a 60k mile if you will. I don't mind the non syncro because that's all I've ever known with it and want to keep it as stock as possible but the durabilty has me questioning how to go about upgrading to the 3.03 synchronized. Seems like when I bought the car my dad and I looked high and low for transmissions to replace the bad one that was in it. They were plentiful except none of them would bolt up correctly. Obviously we were not comparing apples to apples and being more familiar with mustangs now I realize we did not have a grasp on what we were looking for but at the same time I realize there is more to it than meets the eye. Can you guys shed some like on my predicament and suggest a path forward?
 

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well i have the 3.03 fully syncroed and i love it am not going to swap any time soon. but i will tell you right off the bat that the 2.77 and 3.03 are completely diffrent driving styles expecialy if you have a non sycro version. let me know if you had any questions about the 3.03 i am also helping some others as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Please elaborate on "driving style". I guess I'm looking for verification that the 3.03 is a much stronger transmission than the 2.77 and it's worth the extra legwork and aggravation to upgrade from the 2.77.
 

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The 2.77 is a simple, lightweight transmission so simple a child could rebuild it. I know, because I rebuilt the one in my first Mustang when I was 17.

I've change a number of these to the 3.03 3-speed, simple in a 66, because all you need is a 67-70 6 cylinder bellhousing, clutch disc, transmission, linkage rods, and a C5ZZ conversion slip yoke.

However, this conversion is now obsolete, because:

By getting a clutch disc, adapter plate, conversion crossmember, conversion shift lever and knob, and the C5ZZ conversion slip yoke, you can install a T5 5-speed transmission, and your car will accelerate quicker, and get better mileage.
 

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I've done a number of these swaps.I have one car that is a 66 6 cyl sprint convertible. I did the swap years ago,I love it, I actually did the whole car 5 lug,8 inch rear the whole deal,but left it a six.I wanted it heavy duty . I understand and agree with the T5 swap but if you aren't going to use the car a ton,it can get a a bit spendy. A 6 cyl. with a 3 speed trans is easily capable of pulling mid 20's mpg (or better)on the highway.So that said if you were too look around you can find a deal on the swap pieces for the 3.03 conversion. Whereabouts are you located? Perhaps someone local to you has stuff laying around? Regardless I would not stay with the 2.77.

I also own two 65-66 v8 cars with the 3.03 transmissions in them. They are good reliable strong transmissions.
 

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The original transmission is noted for having lead bearings and glass gears. I converted my daughter's '66 years ago after I got tired of replacing clutches and repairing the worthless transmission. If you can find a '68 donor car - that is what I would do.

I have the article from a very old Mustang Monthly on how to do it. PM me if you would like me to send a copy.

Another alternative would be to go to a C-4 and put an end to transmission problems. It should last forever and make driving and maintenance more fun. Just my $0.852 worth (inflation adjusted).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the feedback. It's right on target. Once restored I don't see it going back to daily driver mileage that caused the transmission to breakdown the first 2 times. If I rebuild/have it rebuilt now I don't want to have to do it again anytime soon. That's a key consideration in moving to a 3.03. Hopefully I can find the parts I need locally to accomplish the swap and if not then maybe I pursue the T-5. I'm located close to Charlotte and now have an idea of what to look for. How common are the 3.03's in the 67-70's? Weren't most of those either V8's or automatic?
 

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I'd keep my eyes open. The 6 cylinder /3.03 3 speed combo was the standard base drivetrain for 67-70,It seems most Mustangs are v8's these days. You just have to keep yours eyes open for someone with parts or better yet doing a 6 to 8 swap.The last setup I bought(about 1 1/2 years ago)I found through a guy on ebay .He had Mustang parts listed and mentioned that he was going to be doing a swap. I was local I wound up taking a ride,checking the parts out before he removed them,I actually drove the car. A month later he calls me,tells me to come get the parts.I bought the lot for $100. Oh yea he threw in the engine, He claimed he was going to scrap it all anyway.
 

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Thanks for the feedback. It's right on target. Once restored I don't see it going back to daily driver mileage that caused the transmission to breakdown the first 2 times. If I rebuild/have it rebuilt now I don't want to have to do it again anytime soon. That's a key consideration in moving to a 3.03. Hopefully I can find the parts I need locally to accomplish the swap and if not then maybe I pursue the T-5. I'm located close to Charlotte and now have an idea of what to look for. How common are the 3.03's in the 67-70's? Weren't most of those either V8's or automatic?
Maybe 1/3, depending on the year, were equipped with the 200 six. Many were sold with the 3.03 trans, since it was no extra cost. The C4 attached to the 200 was an extra $197.89 in 1967, that's over $1200 today!
 

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I am doing the same thing except restoring a 3 speed back in and ditching the auto someone put in mine. I picked up a 3.03 for $50 that was still attached to a 200. Guy sold me from the block plate back. I would have dropped $50 just on the bellhousing. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need a new bellhousing for the 67. Will a 67 housing mount on a 66? For some reason I remember the 66 blocks having a different bolt pattern. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

I was going to go T5 but I couldn't pass up this deal to at least get a stick back in the car. Look around, especially with everyone dumping their 3's and 200 for bigger with a T5. Ebay has a bunch right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You raise a good question about the 66 block bolt pattern being compatible with the 67 bellhousing. From the other posts and the popularity of the swap I would guess that it is compatible but if anybody can chime in and confirm that would be great.

I'll check out ebay and see what I can find. The AutoFair swap meet is coming up in a couple of weeks at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I plan to look there as well and maybe I can find a good one at a great price.
 

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So how do you tell the difference between a 2.77 and 3.03 transmissions as I’m new to mustangs. I bought a 65 that needed a carb and found a guy that had a 67 with a 6 in it and sold me the complete motor an tranny so could the tranny be a 3.03?
 

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the 2.77 has a top cover with 4 bolts. the 3.03 has a top cover with 9 bolts. thats the easyest way to find out. and if it is a 67 it is more than likely a 3.03
 

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well their are two types of transmitions mine is pretty big it is the light duty model. and how do i know this because my code is a RAN so that means a light model so if you want to get the heavy duty model you might want to get one with a RAT code which is the heavy duty transmition that has a bigger 1st gear.
 

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You raise a good question about the 66 block bolt pattern being compatible with the 67 bellhousing. From the other posts and the popularity of the swap I would guess that it is compatible but if anybody can chime in and confirm that would be great.

I'll check out ebay and see what I can find. The AutoFair swap meet is coming up in a couple of weeks at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I plan to look there as well and maybe I can find a good one at a great price.
If your car has it's original 66 block in it then the parts will bolt on no problem(it's what's referred to as a dual bolt pattern block). There was an earlier bolt pattern block that got phased out some time in 1965 that the later bellhousing will not bolt up to.

You will see the bellhousings on ebay, but they tend to be pricier than at a swap meet.If you are in no rush I'd shop around,I've seen the bellhousings with the clutch fork for as little as $10 (last year at Fords at Carlisle).Average price I feel is in the $50 range,I wouldn't pay more than that.
 

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Great about the dual pattern block. That will help you out alot. Also, the 3.03 has a wide mount pattern. The 2.77's were narrow. This will also be important when you're looking at bellhousings. The 65-66 ones had the narrow mounting plate.





That's my $50 67 RAN S setup find from a barn. A little cleaning and it will be excellent. :D
 

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As long as the block is 66 or later it should bolt right up with the later model bellhousing. The problem is if it's a 65 block. Again maybe someone else knows more, but as far as I know the 66 and later bellhousings that work with the 3.03 tranny won't mount to a 65 block. Maybe there is a adapter for the tranny like they have for the T5 conversions?

I got lucky cause my block is a 78 so in theory it should all bolt right up....tho with my car so far, nothing is as easy as it should be haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the photo. I'll print that and take it with me to the Autofair. What are some other donor vehicles that have the 3.03 transmission / 6 cyl combo that would be compatible? I'd keep my 66 block since I just had it rebuilt but where else might I find one of these transmissions?
 
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