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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everybody, this write-up will be detailing my experience performing the ever popular t5 swap. This write up strictly pertains to the conversion of a 1969 Mustang 302 coupe with the C4 automatic to a t5 world class transmission utilizing a stock z-bar linkage and having its original engine. As we all know, many things are shared between all 60’s mustangs, but many changes also occurred and as I am no Mustang historian, I can not attest to the methods employed here working on other model years. I will hypothesize, however, that for 69-70 mustangs, this swap should perform the same.
When I became interested in performing this swap I conducted hours upon hours of study on the subject. While there are other write-ups out there, there was much left to be desired. For one, many of the conversions end up using a cable clutch system or hydraulic, I REALLY wanted to maintain a factory appearance so my endeavor would focus on adapting the mechanical z-bar linkage. I could not find, easily, answers to key points of the swap such as “Where do I drill the hole in the fire wall for the clutch rod?” or even “What size hole is required in the firewall?” which are the exact kinds of questions I will be covering so that others may have easy access to them. I will do my best in explaining how I achieved various aspects of the swap, what parts I chose, and my reasoning for choosing them. If anything is left out, please feel free to ask about it by replying to the thread so that I can answer and others can also benefit. Without further ado, lets dive in.

I started this swap with a factory c4 automatic car, which means there was lots to be obtained. I will try to recall all the parts I used in this build as well as costs at the time of build. This section is an exhaustive wall of text, but very informative as to what parts we need, why we need them, what they cost, and where I got them.

I bought my t5 transmission from a you-pull it yard. I pulled it out of a 1998 v6 mustang. The v6 t-5 trans are rated pretty much the same as the 80’s 5.0 units, and they can be made to work well. Please avoid, if possible, non-world class t5’s, 4-cylinder t5’s, and t5’s out of 1999+ v6 mustangs. Why? The simple answer is less work! The non-world class t5’s from 5.0’s will work, but lack some of the benefits the world class trans use, such as bearings instead of bushings. The 4cyl ones are a bit of an oddball with output shaft sizing and gearing, and the 99+ t5’s do not use a mechanical speedo gear drive! My 98 trans uses an electronic signal converter but still employs a driven and drive speedo gear. In 1999 they went to a hall effect sensor and so the output shaft and tail housing have no means for utilizing driven and drive speedo gears. I bought my t5 for a whopping $150. It works perfectly.

Clutch Pedal: Going from auto to manual, obviously you need a clutch pedal. Luckily, Modern Driveline sells a clutch pedal that will (for the most part) work in the factory pedal assembly. I say for the most, not because of an issue with their pedal but my factory brake pedal, more on that later. The pedal can be purchased from modern driveline for $160 Part #MD-402-6970M-C. Cheap compared to used mustang assembly. And I can vouch for the fact that it WILL work in your automatic pedal assembly.

Clutch pedal pad: You will see a majority of my components come from modern driveline, they do specialize in these conversions. MD has the pad for the clutch, part #MD-411-1076 for $5.95. If your assemblies have chrome trim, you can also purchase that from them as well. Mine don’t so I didn’t.

Roller bearing kit for pedals: This is an amazing upgrade. The original assemblies use some sort of aluminum load bearing surface with plastic nylon bushings that the brake pedal pin pivots on. These can wear severely and also produce a good amount of drag. For only $35 you can purchase the roller bearing upgrade kit. Please do it. You won’t be sorry. Modern Driveline Part # MD-411-1081

Clutch pedal rubber stop: This can be something easily overlooked. This little rubber stop mounts onto the pedal hanger assembly and acts as a bump stop for the clutch pedal. I’m glad I had the foresight to look at the original ford clutch assembly and look for this part. Without it, when releasing the clutch pedal, the pedal will hit metal and make loud clanks. Since manual and auto cars used the same pedal hanger bracket, they all have the provision for this bump stop. All I had to do was push it into place. $1.95 Modern Driveline Part # MD-402-1003

Cross Member: This piece makes the swap a breeze. You will need a new cross member for the T-5. Some people modify the stock one, others fabricate their own. If you have the means, go for it. I have the means but didn’t care to, so for $150, I purchased one from modern driveline. Piece of cake. Modern Driveline Part # MD-6773M-CMT5

T5 Reverse Switch Harness: In this write-up I will show how to utilize the t5 reverse harness switch to make your reverse lights work. Since I bought the transmission last, I bought many items ahead that I may have not needed. My trans I pulled came with the wiring which I could have spliced, but as I didn’t know where my trans was going to come from, I elected to buy the harness. $19.50 from Modern Driveline Part Number MD-700-0001.

Hurst Shift Lever: For this build I elected to go with a Hurst shift lever. This one’s description seemed to fit the bill perfectly and I will attest to the fact that its positioning in the car is beyond perfect. Super comfortable positioning from sitting position. A little pricey at $92.95 but WELL WORTH IT! Modern Driveline Part #MD-320-2040

Shifter Boot: Modern Driveline carries the oem style Hurst shifter boots. PERFECT! Only $24.95. Modern Driveline Part # MD-321-1062-H

Shifter Ball: I elected to go with a classic white Hurst shifter ball. Modern driveline sells Hurst shifter balls in 5-speed pattern. I wanted a 4-speed pattern to have a more “period correct” look. I found my Hurst 4-speed shifter ball on ebay for $24.88.

Shift Boot Trim Bezel: You can buy these new, I bought mine used on ebay for $10.99.

Hurst Lever on T5 Shifter Bolts: These bolts have a special shoulder so mounting the Hurst shifter to the t5 shifter produces a nice attachment point devoid of free play. Only $8.00 Modern Driveline Part #MD-201-2012

Fulcrum Adapter Kit: This kit is key for being able to utilize the oem style z-bar clutch linkage assembly. Fox body mustang bell housings use a cable which pull the clutch release arm toward the engine. The z-bar needs to push the clutch release arm away from the engine. This clever device lets us convert the fox bellhousing to accomplish just that. $43 Modern Driveline Part #MD-401-2001-67

Flywheel Bolt Kit: I didn’t know if the flex plate bolts from the automatic set up would work with a flywheel, and I never checked. I just purchased these new bolts and they worked grand. $17 Modern Driveline Part # MD-403-1001

Flywheel: So, my 302 is mildly built. This car is a cruiser for me and won’t get thrashed. As such, I decided to just use a stock 1969 spec flywheel. I purchased mine New made by Luk from rock auto for $65. Now, my 302 is the original numbers matching block, which requires a 28 oz imbalance. This flywheel is just that, 157 tooth 28oz imbalance. If you are looking for more power or have a H.O block, you may need to research a different clutch set up. Aftermarket flywheels were looking to run upwards of $200 and I wasn’t interested. I did read, however, that some ford f150’s non-H.O blocks used a larger clutch and those flywheels can be used here. That would be up to you to verify and research. OEM 1969 Luk flywheel $65 Rock Auto Part # LFW451

Clutch Kit: I like Luk, used them plenty in other cars and they are the OEM manufacturer for many automakers. Being that this car wouldn’t be thrashed, I went for a stock style replacement clutch kit, a 10” clutch. However, I DID go with a diaphragm style clutch instead of the long lever style. The diaphragm clutch gives a lighter pedal and doesn’t require that heavy pedal assist spring ford originally had in the pedal assembly. I went with a Luk RepSet. So far I’ve been pleased. You may choose whatever clutch set up you think will work for your needs, this one fit my budget and build and even came with an assortment of pilot bearings and bushings. For those that don’t know, the original mustang 4spd and t5 share the same input shaft spline count and thus these clutches work with the t5. Luk RepSet $72.79 Rock Auto Part # 07014

Pressure Plate Bolts: Modern 5.0 H.O cutch systems use dowel pins to locate the pressure plate. It wasn’t until many hours of research I learned that the oem clutch system for a 69 mustang does NOT. Instead they use special bolts with shoulders to locate the pressure plate. I bought mine for $17 from Modern Driveline. If you do not use these bolts, and instead use regular bolts, your pressure plate could be off center causing vibrations and wear. Modern Driveline Part #MD-403-2004

Engine Block Plate: I’ve read, with modification, you can use the auto trans block plate. I’m lazy, so I bought one specially made by Modern Driveline. $35 Modern Driveline Part #MD-401-1106-A

Bellhousing: The fox bellhousing is what you want to use. Maybe if you are able to pull your trans from a fox you don’t have to buy this separate. The junkyards didn’t have any and used ones on ebay were just about as much as a new one. So I elected to purchase a new one rather than deal with cleaning an old grimy one. Maybe you are lucky and have a line on a cheap one. Me, I bit the bullet. $225 Modern Driveline Part #MD-401-1101.

Transmission to Bellhousing Bolt Kit: Again, since I purchased the transmission dead last, I didn’t know what it would come with. I purchased the bolts that go from trans to bellhousing ahead of time. If you pull the trans from a junkyard save them. $13.50 Modern Driveline Part #MD-201-2013

Trans to crossmember mount: Believe it or not, the C4 and t5 use the same trans mount. Since I had previously replaced the trans mount on my c4, I just removed it from the c4 and bolted it up to the t5. It was around $6 from rock auto. Do save the t5 trans mount bolts though!

Speedometer Driven gears: Chances are you will need to change your speedo gear to work with the t5. I went on ebay and purchased a 4 speedo driven gear set to play with so I could calibrate my speedo. They will fit the stock speedo cable perfectly. I bought my set on ebay ford genuine, for $19. You will see them around for about $10 a piece.

7 Tooth Speedo Drive Gear: pre sn95 mustangs (so fox era) utilized a 7tooth speedo drive gear in their transmissions. Sn95 era (94-98) use an 8 tooth. Trying to dial in a gear ratio other than stock on an 8 tooth is nigh impossible. I’ll cover this more later, but do yourself a favor and purchase a 7tooth or 6t speedo drive gear. Lets get this done upfront, so later when you decide to change from your stock 3.00 rear gears to 3.55 you don’t also have to drop the trans and deal with this then. I bought mine ford genuine on ebay for $19

9-1/4 Input shaft kit for pre sn95 mustangs: So, this is only required if you pull your trans out of a 94-98 5.0 mustang or v6 mustang. Because the sn95 was physically longer, ford lengthened the input shaft and bellhousings on those cars to move the shifter back. For our 69, we don’t want that. So, if your t5 came out of one of these, purchase this kit. My kit was sourced from ebay for $112.75 and came with the input shaft, steel bearing retainer, new bearings, shims, and seal. Now, you may be thinking “ WHAT! I can’t change that! That sounds terribly complicated!” It’s not, I’ll walk you through it. It’s easy and worth it considering the v6 t5’s are much more plentiful (spelled cheaper) than 5.0 t5’s.

T5 output shaft seal: While we’ve got that trans on a bench, lets replace that output shaft seal! The factory seal has a dust lip on it that many of the replacements offered don’t. This lip greatly lengthens the life of the seal but is hard to source. I eventually got the part number from TIMKEN, 710426, you’re welcome. Source this from your favorite supplier. I think I found mine on Amazon for $12.

1 5/8 Hole Saw: Hole saw? What for? Well, we need to drill a hole in the firewall for our clutch linkage rod. Not able to find this info online, I measured the clutch rod boot that snaps into this hole and arrived at this number. I later did find a post on some forum where a member measured their factory 4spd car hole and confirmed this is a ford sized hole. I bought my hole saw off amazon as no hardware store, including the home depot, carried this size. $16.15 LENOX brand Part # 1772931

Clutch Linkage Kit: So, I purchased this kit from C.J Pony and I gotta admit I wasn’t very pleased. They pieced together the kit and would send them to me once they received them which was messy. First off, I later read that the equalizer bar they supply is a crappy repro that doesn’t fit stock applications well. Not wanting to be hung up by a crappy z-bar I orderd a scott Drake repro. More on this later. Then my lower clutch rod was missing its lock nuts, and the kit was missing cotter pins and such. I’d suggest piecing it together yourself from somewhere like NPD link. But here’s what we need and I’ll give the c.j pony numbers for what I got through them and costs:

65-70 v8 & 6cyl Frame Bracket: This will be a pivot point for our z-bar. $18.47 CJ # CEBBF1

67-70 equalizer bar: the one I used was purchased from NPD LINK, which is a site I learned about after purchasing the cj kit. This is a scott drake unit. Highly recommend. 7528-2A $68.75

Lower Clutch release lever spring: I ended up going to a hardware store and buying a stiffer version because this one was too weak. $15 CJ pony # C9ZZ7591A

Upper clutch release spring: $13.85 CJ Pony # C9ZZ7523A works perfect.

Clutch Rod Boot: This is the boot that goes on the firewall. $10.16 CJ Pony # C6OZ7A533C

Clutch Release Lever Boot: This is the original boot for a 4spd. We will adapt it for our 5speed. Get it. $17.55 CJ Pony # C6OZ7513C.

Lower clutch rod Adjustable: $18.99 CJ Pony #CRL6

Scott drake Equalizer bar Bushing/Bracket Kit: This has the bushings as well as engine side bracket. $20.31 CJ Pony C5ZZ-7A531-K.

Upper clutch rod: Goes between pedal and equalizer bar $16.99 CJ PONY # CRU3

Clutch rod bushings: Sold as a pair but I later learned you need 3. So buy two pair. $5.99 each CJ Pony # HW1260

1969 ford mustang clutch fork release lever: We need this guy, Its just a replacement release lever for a 69 4spd mustang. I bought mine for $41.35 off eBay.

ATF fluid: 3 quarts, $15 at Walmart. Dexron III.

Bellhousing to motor bolts: The fox bellhousing is slightly different, and we need longer bolts. I went to the hardware store and purchased 4 2” long 7/16-14 grade 8 flanged bolts for the four side mounting points and 2 1.5” 7/16-14 grade 8 flanged bolts for the top two mounting points below the intake manifold. the 2” will bottom out there before securing the trans. $12

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few odds and ends, but I have about $1650 in my swap.


Removing The Auto: The first step is to get that old tranny out of there. I highly recommend investing in ford shop manuals for your 69. Best investment I’ve made. Follow the instructions in your ford manual for tranny removal. A very brief recap of the removal process goes like this:

• Drop pan, drain fluid, put pan back in place.

• Remove dust shield cover for torque converter. Using a wrench on the crankshaft, turn the motor to reveal the torque converter bolts and remove.

• Remove driveshaft.

• Remove shift linkage assembly. You can go ahead and pull the shifter out of the car, we don’t need it anymore. Save the bolts though! We’ll use those for the shift boot.

• Undo the neutral safety switch and reverse light wires from the plug at the fire wall.

• Undo your trans cooler lines running to the radiator. You can remove them completely from the car, we don’t need those anymore.

• Undo the speedo cable from the trans, but leave the speedo cable in the car, its usable on the t5.

• Loosen your e-brake cable and hang it out of the way

• Remove your exhaust system to have more room.

• Remove your starter. Disconnect the battery first though.

• Support your trans with a trans jack and remove the bolts holding the cross member in place

• Lower the trans and separate it from the motor. This can be tough. I had to use a chisel to wedge between the bellhousing and block. Be careful not to score the block. Also be careful of the
torque converter as it can plop out and onto your foot when moving the trans. It’s not light and it hurts. Ask me how I know.

• Remove the flex plate and engine block plate.

Here the trans has been successfully removed from the car

The car is now ready to begin the T5 conversion.

Converting The Pedal Assembly to Manual: Unfortunately it wasn’t really until after my pedal assembly conversion was pretty much completed I had the thought that I should document this conversion for others, so bear with me. You need to remove the pedal assembly to facilitate this change, it makes it so much easier. The ford manual is useful for this but I will summarize the steps for getting the pedal assembly out of the car:

• Remove dashboard from vehicle. Follow ford instructions for removal

• Remove gage cluster from vehicle

• Remove lower steering column knee cover

• Unbolt rag joint from steering box

• Unbolt the steering column bracket at the firewall

• Unplug steering column wiring harness

• Remove steering column

• Undo master cylinder and other bolts through firewall that attach to pedal assembly hanger bracket

• Unplug brake light switch from brake pedal

• Undo remaining bolts and drop pedal assembly out of car

With the pedal assembly out of the car you can now do the roller bearing conversion
This is the clutch pedal offered from Modern Driveline

It is a beautiful piece that went together well. It comes with the pivot rod you’ll need. This is the Scott Drake roller bearing conversion kit I purchased. Do yourself a favor and grab this kit. It’s worth it. It has excellent instructions that are easy to follow.

While the pedal assembly is out, now is a good time to install that clutch pedal bump stop. Actually, looking at the modern driveline photo it looks like the clutch pedal they make has a provision for the bumper to be attached to the pedal. I attached mine to the pedal hanger bracket. Either is fine.

The issue I ran into is this: Apparently Ford made several different brake pedals. There’s a different brake pedal for an automatic car with power brakes, automatic car with manual brakes (which I have), Manual car with power brakes, and manual car with manual brakes. I was cheap and didn’t want to spend the money on a new pedal. Maybe I could have bent my pedal but I opted to cut it. Here’s what that looks like

Without the clearance the pedals would touch. That’s a no-no. In the end it looks fine, I decided for budget I wouldn’t be too picky about that. Here’s what they look like installed in the car and trimmed

Re-install the pedal assembly

Adding the Clutch Pedal Rod Hole:
Since we are hoping to use the factory style linkage in our build, we need to add that hole in the firewall for the rod to pass through. But where does that darn hole go? After extensive research and staring at the assembly in the car I figured it out. All of fords firewalls are stamped with a dimple where the center of the upper pedal rod hole goes, perhaps as a guide for those on the assembly line. Here is a picture of that dimple drilled. I should have snagged a photo before drilling it but it was about at this point I decided I should document all this. If you look in this area of your 69, It’ll be there.

I’d highly suggest drilling this while the pedal assembly is out of the car, Since my engine was also out of the car, I drilled it from the engine bay. This is where we need to use that handy hole saw we bought, the 1 5/8” one. Here’s a picture,

With that chucked in a drill, we can make our firewall look like this

Kinda scary adding a gaping hole, but it’s essentially to factory spec. Here we see our pedal rod poking through

And finally with the dust boot in place, covering that gaping hole;

This picture was taken much later with the z-bar installed so take it as a foreshadowing of our success.

113 Posts
Discussion Starter #2


If you bought a T5 out of a v6 mustang like I did, we got some work to do. If you bought a T5 out of a fox body, you’re missing out on some of the fun that’s about to take place. Skip ahead to Bellhousing Conversion.

Swapping Input Shafts: Lets start with this one. For those of us with the v6 T5, we need that shorter input shaft installed. A good resource for technical information about this is the t5 service manual which Modern Driveline has conveniently linked for us. Check here at this link to download yours. Removal instructions begin on page 4-6. For those scared to click the link, I guess I’ll include a snapshot:

Basically, remove the 4 bolts holding the bearing retainer in place. Set up the trans so its tipping at a decent angle with the rear of the trans up in the air, there are loose roller bearing we don’t want falling into the trans. Maybe have a helper hold it tipped. Separate the bearing retainer and rotate the input shaft, it has a clearance groove that will allow it to slide past another gear and be removed. Make sure you get parts 57-65 out of the trans.

Clean all sealant residue from the trans case so it’s clean

The new input shaft kit looks like this

You need to have the tapered bearing pressed onto the new input shaft. Not having a press myself, my local mechanic did it for cheap for me. The bearing race fits loosely in the bearing
retainer and will get shims behind it to set endplay. NO SHIMS GO BEHIND THE PRESSED ON BEARING. Before we set up the bearing retainer lets install our bearings into the shaft. The inside of the shaft takes loose needle roller bearings. I used Vaseline to hold these in place so they don’t fall into the trans when installing and removing for endplay adjustment. This picture shows the needle bearing install

Following the diagram from the service manual, install the thrust bearing next and then the thrust race, numbers 64 and 65 respectively in the diagram. They look like this

Now we need to set up the bearing retainer. Install the seal in the end with a seal driver, maker sure the side of the seal with the spring on the oil lip is facing the interior side of the retainer. Now install your bearing race WITHOUT a shim into the retainer. It should slide into place. At this time DO NOT apply sealant to the tranny. We just want to check axial endplay. Because I had one, I set up a dial gage. If you have a harbor freight around, they are cheap. The manual wants essentially 0 endplay. So I set up my dial gauge, pushed in the input shaft as far as it would go and zeroed my gage like so

Then pull on the input shaft and read your measurement. Repeat several times to ensure the accuracy of your measurement. I consistently got .028” as my reading. I then used digital calipers to measure all the shims included in the kit and found one dead on

I installed the shim and re-verified. Perfect! As a note, you don’t want too much or really any preload as this will cause accelerated wear. Also, side to side endplay of the shaft is normal, you just want no movement in and out of the trans.

At this time you can apply your favorite sealant to the retainer, install, and torque the bolts to 15 ft-lbs.

Bellhousing Conversion: Next lets convert this bellhousing to accept the fulcrum block. This is the kit I purchased from modern driveline

It comes with a great set of instructions, so follow them. I can’t do as much justice but I will summarize the steps.

Here’s my brand new bellhousing from MD as well

Basically, set your bellhousing on a piece of paper, I used a paper plate. Using a sharpie, trace the circle and cut it out. Fold this circle in half, unfold, the fold it in half in the opposite direction so you have two lines that intersect. Using a straight edge, trace these lines on the paper. Now set it in the center of the bellhousing circle. Align it so you get a line intersecting the center of the clutch fork opening as shown in the picture.

This line will serve as your reference point. The instructions will give you specific measurements for which to mark your holes. They will also instruct you on bit size and countersink size for which to counter sing the bolts.

A side note, My bellhousing had a raised boss that would interfere with the block laying flat. Grind it flush like so

Here’s what the fulcrum looks like installed

You also need to cut away the cable ear on the bellhousing. You can see it trimmed in the above picture. Otherwise it will interfere with your clutch release rod.
Now you may mount your bellhousing onto the transmission. I had purchased new bolts for this endeavor. The torque listed for the bolts from a google search specific to t5 mustangs says 45 ft-lbs and that’s what I went with.

Tailshaft Seal Replacement: Time to replace that seal with unknown mileage on it. How do we get the seal out? I carefully drilled a hole, ran a fat screw into it and used my slide hammer to yank it out.

Here is the Timken replacement

How do we drive the new one in without mashing that sweet dust shield? I went to the hardware store and found a suitable section of pvc pipe and cap. It fit perfectly. 1 ½” diameter it was. Cost like 4 dollars.

Ready for service.

Converting speedo drive gear, why do it?:

So, if you are going the v6 route, do yourself a favor and convert to a 7-tooth or 6-tooth speedo gear. It will make gear changes much easier on you. Here is a ford t5 chart showing gear ratios and relevant driven gears with their drive gears.

And here’s an awesome website for calculating your required speedo driven gear based on rear end ratio, tire size, and speedo drive gear. Speedometer Gear Calculator and Charts - TCI® Auto

So lets walk through a few scenarios. Im going to run my 3.00 ratio with my 8tooth drive gear. According the the calculator, with a tire diameter of 26.1” I need a driven gear of 18.527 teeth. According to the chart, that was never an offered combination. They do offer an 18 and 19 tooth gear you can buy, and since we want 18.5, going wither either will have you off by some factor. But that may be close enough to work. Now lets say you know down the line you want 3.55 or taller, for a 3.55 gear, 26.1” tire, and 8tooth speedo gear, you need a 21.923 tooth speedo gear. You can get a 21 tooth, but a 22 tooth would be closer. A 22 tooth doesn’t exist though! Also, some people use a 23 tooth from a jeep but many claim those gears get chewed up as they don’t mesh!

Now, lets convert to a 7 tooth drive gear, and 3.00 gears. The calculator says I need a 16.21 tooth driven gear. Ford offered a 16t. I can say this is what I’m running now and my speedo reads dead on with my GPS! Now lets say I convert to 3.55 gears. I need a 19.18 tooth driven gear. I can get a 19tooth from ford, so we are in the money. What about 3.73’s? 20.156 is what the calculator computes, ford sells a 20 tooth, we’re good. How about the famous 4.10’s? Nope, we need a 22.15 tooth gear. Doesn’t exist. Time to step our drive gear down to a 6 tooth. Get the picture?

Keep in mind that tire size plays a BIG factor in this calculation. I am running and plan to always run my 14in rim, 205/75 r14 tires with a diameter of 26.1”. If you’re running something other than stock, run that calculator, figure out which drive gear/ driven gear combo works for you and get that installed upfront.

Converting the speedo drive gear:

Let’s dive in. I’m assuming you’ve got your trans drained, but there will still be fluid in it. To minimize the mess I decided to work vertically. I set up two 2x4’s and stood the transmission on them vertically on the floor. The 2x4’s are so that the input shaft does not contact the ground.

• At this point remove the electronic speed sensor if its still in there.

• Make sure you put the trans in neutral, remove the shifter cover, be careful as there is most likely fluid in there.

• We need to remove the roll pin, this can be achieved by pounding it downward with a suitable implement. Don’t worry about it falling into the trans, it wont.

In this next photo you can see the shifter mechanism pulled back some, the roll pin was successfully removed

• Undo the bolts holding the tail housing to the main transmission housing.

• Separate the tail housing from the transmission but be careful. Pay attention to the shifter mechanism, maybe have an assistant hold on to it or cover the opening with tape. There is a spring loaded ball in there that locates the various shift positions. Unrestrained, this spring and ball can launch across the shop and be lost forever while removing the tail housing. The picture below shows the two items.

• Removing the tail housing reveals our tail shaft and speedo drive gear. Slip off the rubber ring.

• To remove the old drive gear, you must depress this retaining clip. The gear is also a bit of a press fit. I carefully tapped it upwards and off with a hammer,

• Now we can replace our drive gear. Here is a picture of the old green 8 tooth, and the new yellow 7tooth, as well as my driven gear kit. A quick tip on counting the teeth on these. You don’t count the number of splines on the gear itself but the flats on the side that almost look like “teeth”. I highlighted them in red on our 7tooth gear.

• So I ran into an issue installing this 7tooth gear. Even though it was a ford genuine gear, it fit slightly loose on the shaft. Must have been a manufacturing error. The problem with this is that the retaining clip would be bearing all of the force of the rotational resistance in the driven gear. I could easily foresee it shearing off and junks falling into the trans. The right thing to do would have been to stop and order a new one, but I didn’t. Instead I built up the shaft with aluminum tape. This tape is made from thin aluminum foil that is extremely sticky on the one side. I built it up to where the gear required a press fit and then pressed it on. No this isn’t the right way to go about it. But this aluminum foil is robust, and I’m confident the pressure of the gear as well as tackiness of the tape will result in a firm placement. The drive gear really doesn’t experience much resistance from the speedo. Not to mention we still have the retainer clip to help secure it. Only time will tell. That said, I have to suggest that the RIGHT way is to get another gear that fits.


113 Posts
Discussion Starter #3

• Next clean the mating surfaces of both the transmission housing and tail shaft housing. Make sure no old sealant nor oily residue remains.
• Apply sealant to the transmission housing. I use ThreeBond. I was introduced to the stuff from all my motorcycle engine building. Since transmissions don’t use gaskets because of tight tolerances, sealants are used. This stuff is super durable, never hardens, and is usable almost immediately. Unlike rtv which recommends 24hrs cure time before putting into service. This stuff is also quite thin, which makes laying down a thin film easier. I often will come over it with a safety razor to provide a smooth even skim coat.

• Lower the tailshaft housing onto the transmission housing, while at the same time installing the shifter mechanism and it’s ball and spring. This may be easier done with an assistant although I was able to do it myself with relative ease. I also drove in the roll pin before bolting down the tail shaft housing as I had to lift it back up a couple times to geth the holes lined up. It can be a bit tricky but you’ll get it.

• Torque the bolts to 23 ft-lbs

• Clean the shifter cover and apply sealant, reinstall shifter and ensure everything shifts as it should.

Congratulations, the transmission is now set up with the 7-tooth drive gear. Or 6t, whatever you needed.

Developing a Clutch Release Arm Cover: In all my research, it seems no one has figured out a way to utilize the Z-Bar system and have a clutch release arm boot work. These originally had a metal cover that allowed the cable to pass through. The 4speed used a rubber boot that appears too short to fill the hole and too tall to fit in the opening. I however, figured out a way to adapt this boot. While many people leave it open, I could just imagine how much shorter my throw out bearing life would be with dirt and debris bouncing into that opening.

Here we see the opening we have to work with

And here the boot

What we want to do is trim away the rubber on the inside top and bottom of this boot, as shown in the photo below.

So that it fits as shown in these two photos

You can see how our boot now has clearance to fit snuggly in the opening. You undoubtedly also notice our gap that remains. I fixed this with a 2inx 3in long piece of aluminum flat stock with 2 holes drilled and then used sheet metal screws to fix it in place. The result looks like this,

You can obviously use nicer screws and maybe even do a nicer job. But I was pleased with the results. At this point the clutch release arm and throw out bearing can be installed, and your transmission is ready for service.

Prepping the Engine for Transmission Install:

It is now time to mount what needs mounted on the engine.

Engine Side Z-Bar Pivot Bracket:
First the easiest part (if you have an original block), the z-bar bracket. This is the bushing and bracket kit we need.

Early 302 and 289 blocks have a drilled and tapped boss on the driver side of the engine, regardless of whether they were in auto or manual cars. You can see mine here,

If you’re running a later H.O 302, they make kits that bolt to the transmission and give you this pivot point. Here’s what it looks like installed on an early block

Clutch Installation:
I had the motor out for a rebuild, so that allowed me to get some detailed shots. The first thing we’ll do is select our pilot bushing or bearing. The Luk kit came with an assortment of pilot bushings and bearings of different diameters and thicknesses.

I ended up measuring the depth of my crankshaft recess and found that it matched the pilot bearing. I, however, elected to go with one of the bronze bushings. Pilot bearings are super common these days, and many have zero issues. I personally didn’t want to take the chance. The pilot bearing has more moving components and more fail points. I’d be happy eliminating a possible source of failure if I could, so I matched one of the bronze bushings with the thickness of the bearing and installed it in the crankshaft end using a bearing driver.

Next install your engine block plate

Prep the flywheel for install by thoroughly removing all storage oil with brake clean. The flywheel will only install one way (the bolt holes will only align in a certain spot) so you don’t have to worry about not getting the imbalance in the right location. The flywheel bolt holes in the crank go all the way through and so you need to use thread sealer on the bolts. If you don’t, they can weep oil resulting in an oil leak and contaminated clutch.

Ford wants these bolts at 75-85 ft-lbs!

Next prep your Pressure plate by cleaning it in the same manner as the flywheel. Use the included centering tool to center the friction disc on the flywheel and then begin installing the pressure plate with the special pressure plate bolts.

Ford would like the pressure plate bolts torqued to 17-20 lbs.
We are now ready to install the trans!!

Installing the Trans:

I unfortunately did not get many pictures of installing the trans but it basically went like any normal trans install. I set it up on my trans jack, got it into position and bolted the trans to the motor. I let the motor hang free so it could flex downward enough to mate the trans to. I then jacked the trans up into position and was pleasantly surprised to see the shifter sit relatively center in the hole. I recall reading others needing to trip the floor metal, but perhaps that was on older model mustangs. This fit beautifully.

Next I bolted the c4 engine mount to the t5, which mated perfectly. Then unboxed the Modern Drivelines cross member. I did have to spread the end open I bit further, but it all installed easily.

Installing the Shift Boot: at this point I was just too excited to see this car with the shifter set up, so this was my next step. Laid out here we can see all the shift goodies.


113 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I first installed the Hirst shifter with the specialty bolts. They ensure the shifter wont come loose nor develop any sort of free play.

I then installed the shifter boot underneath the carpet using the original c4 auto shifter bolts. All the bolt holes lined up perfectly.

Next the bezel gets fit over the boot. It’s a tight fit but covers all the bolts. Unfortunately it was physically smaller then the c4 trim so there’s clean red showing next to faded red carpet. I will attempt to fix this with some bleach at some point.

Lastly the 4-spd shift ball, to give it that retro look. Sitting in the car and feeling the shifter in my hand just felt so right. The Hurst shifter really locates everything in a comfortable shifting position.

Installing the Z-Bar: The first step would be installing the frame side bracket. I believe all cars have the location for these, mine did, even though it was an auto car. They were drilled and tapped and ready to go from the factory, although quite grimy from never being used. Here’s what it looks like installed. Leave the bolts loose as this bracket slides in and out to facilitate the install and removal of the actual z-bar.

I bought the factory bolts from mustangs unlimited AMK PRODUCTS F-867 for $10.84.

Install the bushing kit on both the engine and frame bracketry, the install order is fiber seal, bushing, crescent clip. It will look like this

Some modification was necessary to the equalizer bar. Firstly I will show you the difference between the one CJ supplied and the one from scott drake. This picture shows the black one from CJ placed over the silver one demonstrating the bend differences. The black one simply did not move over the steering shaft enough to meet with the upper pedal rod.

Because the t5 bell puts the release lever at a different angle than the original 4spd bell, the scott drake arm needed some tweaking. Without the tweaks, the lower clutch rod was at a very weird angle relative to the z-bar. As shown here.

You can see with the rod wants to be and where the z-bar is, if you bring the rod into the z-bar, its at a god-awful angle. I ended up just about completely flattening the bend that used to exist, as evidenced by the photo. This ended up working perfectly and giving me good clutch action.

You can see in the below photo how nicely the square part of the lower rod now meshes with the Z-Bar.

Also to note in the above photo is the rubber boot placement and spring used. The circular feature in the boot would originally correspond to where we see the rod interfacing on the 4spd. But some geometry has changed. It was necessary to cut my own hole and position the boot as shown to eliminate binding of the boot with itself. We need to set about an 8thinch of free plat between the rod and the release arm. This is necessary so that our throughout bearing is not spinning at all times. The throughout bearing used in the oem 69 style clutches are not made to spin all the time and will wear out and fail very rapidly if doing so.

In the photo below, I highlighted a feature of the rubber boot. If we try to center the circular cutout on the boot over the interface location of the lower clutch rod, the boot will interfere with itself causing the bearing to constantly be preloaded. Pulling the boot outward and cutting a hole fixed this issue and allowed for perfect free play adjustment matching what exists in the ford service manual. My clutch action also proves to perform perfectly. The photo shows the correct placement of the boot to achieve free play.

Also of note is the fact that the spring pictured is a stiffer spring than what cj supplied. The clutch release arm needs to be held against the equalizer bar with enough force to ensure that when the clutch pedal returns, its allowing free play to exist.

The upper spring connects between the firewall and the Z-bar as can be shown here. This spring provision existed on my automatic car and so I would assume they all came with them.

Make sure to install the clutch pedal rod bushing, one goes on the pedal, and two on the z-bar.

And your clutch system is now installed!

Making the Reverse Lights Work:

This is pretty easy. Cut your wiring harness off of your c4 trans leaving plenty of length. For my harness, after testing, I found that the two red wires need soldered together, these are the neutral safety switch wires. If they aren’t connected your car won’t start. The two black wires are for your reverse lights.
This photo below shows the original trans wiring harness with the 2 red and 2 black wires exposed as well as my t5 reverse switch pigtail.

Here I have soldered the two reds together as well as my pigtail and then heat shrink tubed them.

And finally, wrapping in electrical tape gives a factory appearance

And when shifted into reverse, the T5 said…. Let there be light!

Re-install your driveshaft, exhaust, e-brake cable, and starter. Fill the t-5 with ATF, and take her for a test run.

I didn’t have to shorten my driveshaft at all. I did have to use a poker tool to help wrap the dust lip of the seal around the slip yoke and also had to brillo pad all the grime off of the slip yoke as it sat deeper in the trans. Basically, the way our suspension is set up, as it compresses the driveshaft is pulled out of the trans and as it extends it is pushed into the trans. When installing the driveshaft I shoved it all the way into the trans and made note of where the seal was hitting. I then bolted up the drive shaft and lifted the car letting the rear axle hang completely. I re-inspected the location of the slip yoke and noted that, while it did move into the trans quite a bit, it had a good amount more clearance than when I personally shoved the driveshaft in. Thus, I can dukes of hazard jump the car and not worry about the driveshaft ramming into the trans.

Also, on starters. I had my original c4 automatic starter that bolted right up to the fox bell and starts the car perfectly and with 0 issues. You can also use the smaller 5.0 starters.

I hope this write up has been helpful for those looking into this build. I am not a professional mechanic, just a mechanical engineer that does this as a hobby. I’m sure there may be points requiring clarification, please feel free to ask!

Thus far I am greatly enjoying the swap. Everything has been working flawlessly. I do foresee a gear change in my future, as 5th is only good for 70mph cruising, but all in all, the feeling of a manual muscle car is awesome. Thanks for reading!!


2,808 Posts
Most excellent write-up indeed! :pirate::pirate::pirate:

247 Posts
Great write up!

I would love to have a T5 in my car. I had one in a '90 coupe and really liked the trans. My '64.5 has a C4 in it and it's awful. Just trying to decide if my mechanic abilities are suited to try to tackle this...probably not but I REALLY want to.

19,967 Posts
Excellent write up. I swapped my C4 for a Toploader about 8 years ago on my 66. You're right about bearings in the upper hanger. I used a kit from Mustang Steve. Way over kill bearings but will last forever. I made my own clutch with rod ends. Super cheap and works great

I didn't have to drill a hole for the upper rod, there was a knock out I punched out. Just like a electrical box

I wouldn't buy a dead rat from CJ. I avoid them like the plaque

8,901 Posts
Definitely one for the VMF Archives!


Tony K.
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