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Discussion Starter #1
I’m looking to convert a car from auto to manual. It’s a 65 coupe with a 408 stoker, around 450-500hp. What’s the least expensive way to convert to a manual?


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Something doesn’t compute when you mention a 500 horsepower motor and a cheap trans swap. If truly making that power, you might rethink your “cheapest route possible” idea.
 

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Are you going balls out Saturday night boulevard cruiser with little highway cruising? Or do you want it all? There is no "cheap" at 500HP in a Ford.
 

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You could go with a 4spd toploader, a multitude of 5spds or even a 6 spd transmission if you wanted to. I'm not sure what a decent 4spd toploader is going for today but have to assume a decent one is probably going to be $1,500 or more. I had a 4spd toploader in a 68 mustang but wasn't a fan when driving it on the freeway at 70mph because it would be spinning over 3,500rpm. That is the joy of having a transmission with an overdrive in it. They make a bunch of different versions of the T5, including the Tremec TKO. I wouldn't go with a stock T5 transmission if you're going to be at or over 500hp but you can have one that's built to withstand that amount of power. The company below makes a couple different versions of their T5, one supports up to 420hp for $1529 or they make one for 450-500hp for $1,990. The nice thing about one of those is that it's not a Tremec TKO, which is bigger and wider and you'd have to modify your floor pans, this would drop right in. The Tremec TKO and 6 speed transmissions are also more expensive, I believe they're in the $2,500+ range and I'm not sure why you'd need a 6spd in an early mustang, especially if you don't do a lot of freeway driving. The other advantage of the T5's linked below is that they put the 2.95 first gear in them as opposed to the stock T5 which has a 3.35 first gear. Because of this, you can stay in first gear a good deal longer than you would with the higher 3.35 first gear.

 

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People do that?!


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Yes they do. We have one stick vehicle in the motor pool and when it's gone they are banned from the property and any trespassing will be shot on sight. Even a shuttle shift tractor is not welcome. Some get enjoyment out of flailing about while driving while I prefer to pull away from a light and the guy next to me playing with the superfluous controls in his car.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Something doesn’t compute when you mention a 500 horsepower motor and a cheap trans swap. If truly making that power, you might rethink your “cheapest route possible” idea.
I never used the word “cheap.” I mentioned the motor and HP for a reason - I am looking for suggestions/ideas that will reliably manage that power. But I assume there are certainly still various price points to accomplish that goal... I mean I could always just grab a magnum from American Powertrain and not worry about the power, but that’s a very expensive proposition. I am asking for actual suggestions of economical ways to have a good manual tranny with that motor.


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Your stuck in Tremec TKO land or T56 if you want 5-6 speeds. If 4 is ok, the venerable toploader is hard to beat, one of the best shifting trans I know of - man you can beat the daylights out of one and it just keeps on ticking. For Tremec, Your choices are to shell out big bucks for a TKO that has been milled down to fit, do a motor drop adn relocation or modifiy the trans tunnel.

One last option is to have someone with a less powerful motor and a Tremec trade motors with you so you can use a T5, PM me if you want to swap motors ;o)
 

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Ianellis, are you in a hurry ? This will be easier if you have time to shop. Forget any derivative of a T5, they can't live at that power level. Don't care WHO makes it or what they claim, The 3 inch shaft spacing will not live with that kind of power. Start shopping for a Tremec 3550 or a TKO. That will live. LSG
 

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Wide ratio toploader would be a way to go. With the torque you have in a stroker a 3.25 gear will be no problem. That will get you 3k rpm's at 70 mph, not too bad.
 

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Another vote for 4 speed Toploader.

Your car was designed for that tranny, and it's an easy swap.
 

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I agree with toploader. At 450-500 hp not many of the new "cheap" transmission will handle the power. T5 definitely would get grenaded over time no matter how it is built and the built ones cost money. T-56 and it variants (tr6060 and ect) 'can handle the power but are not cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sounds like most agree top loader is the most Econ way to go, but if I want higher gears for highway cruising I need to go TKO or T56?


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I would go with t56 or variant. TKO are very strong but notorious for crappy shifting. I think they don't have as many problems with newest ones but unsure. And TKO are more expensive.
 

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There are also other less-known options like the Richmond 6-speed...but in the end, any transmission that will reliably handle the torque is going to run you close to $3000...except for the 4-speed Toploader....however, depending on how much highway driving you do, you may spend more in gas over time with a toploader vs. a 6 speed anyway.
 

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Sounds like most agree top loader is the most Econ way to go, but if I want higher gears for highway cruising I need to go TKO or T56?

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The most economical way to go is to develop the tolerance for an engine running at 3-3500k. In fact, I think the sound of a Ford V8 at that rpm is friggin' brilliant. Plus, at 70 mph, most of that noise will be behind you. The engine, built properly, will take the revs, and it isn't he end of the world to run it like that.
 

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There are also other less-known options like the Richmond 6-speed...but in the end, any transmission that will reliably handle the torque is going to run you close to $3000...except for the 4-speed Toploader....however, depending on how much highway driving you do, you may spend more in gas over time with a toploader vs. a 6 speed anyway.
I kinda have a spare Richmond that I have considered putting in the Mustang. It's a GM model so, that's a barrier but could be dealt with.

Bigger issue, I've never found an example of anyone who had come up with a good shifter arrangement for the Richmond in the mustang that didn't involve cutting up the trans tunnel pretty severely. It just did not appear to be the right application. Did I miss something?

I don't mean to hijack the thread, just saw this and thought I would ask.
 
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