5 Speed Manual
"I outrun ships, not just the bulk freighters mind you I'm talking
about full imperial warships..... She's fast enough for you old
man." - Han Solo, Star Wars
*** (Download this article as a Word Document) ***
I love manual transmissions. It makes the car a lot more fun to drive: giving
the driver great control over the speed and engine power of the vehicle.
Something about slapping a car into drive isn't synonymous with "fun" in my
With my old workhorse C4 three speed automatic beginning to leak and slip, I
figured I might as well bite the bullet and install the manual transmission I
always wanted for this car. After all, why bother driving the "nice weather car"
if it isn't fun to drive?
As I dove head-first into installing my new five speed, I found that there is a
plethora of companies and internet groups that have information and
specialize in this swap for older classic cars. To my surprise I also found that
little information existed on a step-by-step installation process for this
transmission. I hope to rectify that here.
But first, A WORD OF CAUTION: PLEASE, PLEASE consult a certified
mechanic and have detailed directions on this installation before going ahead
with it! Please do not use this guide as a SOLE installation guide! I do NOT
guarantee that this installation write up is complete or accurate for your
Why a Five Speed?
After deciding upon using a manual transmission, a good question to ask is
"why a five speed"? Here are a few reasons:
1.) The fifth gear is an overdrive, allowing for better gas mileage at cruising
speeds, use of steeper rear gear ratios, and a decrease on engine and
2.) The Borg Warner T5 is a tried and true transmission used by several
automotive companies for various vehicles. Parts for these transmissions are
plentiful and rebuild services are abundant.
3.) The T5 is a modern transmission, and can take advantage of modern
materials, clutch, and gear technologies compared to the old three and four
speeds offered in original 60s cars.
4.) The T5 was used with Ford 302 V8s and later on 5.0 engines for several
years, providing junkyard resources as well as shop manuals and technicians
familiar with using the T5 in Ford cars.
5.) The T5 (if used with the S10 tail shaft) will fit into the Falcon with very little
transmission tunnel modification. Please remember the T5 is smaller than the
5 and 6 speed trannies, which normally need tunnel mods.
6.) These T5 transmissions can be built to handle up to 600 HP!
The First Step: Where Do I Get The Parts?
Just by looking through one's favorite Ford magazine or doing an internet
search for 'T5 Transmission' will supply an interested party several
aftermarket companies and even Ford itself. Use of the T5 in some circles is
considered a given: a tried and true method of getting overdrive into classic
cars, with the newer Tremec TKO and T56 transmissions being more on the
bleeding edge of modern transmissions for classic cars.
However, just because the T5 isn't the latest and greatest doesn't mean it
shouldn't be considered. Far from it, the T5 is now in the arena as a well
known swap and companies have leapt up to the challenge of supplying
everything from simple needed brackets to entire kits to 'bolt-in' the
transmission to your car. All you need to do is ask around to find the
suppliers that most fit with your budget, the required quality level, and who
you deem professional and knowledgeable.
A word of advice: There is a lot to know about these transmissions. The T5
was used in many forms and in many vehicles, so make sure to do your
homework before heading out and picking something up that might not be
what you want, or worse yet what you can't use!
Where Did I get My Parts?
After searching and seeing examples of kits, along with customer
testimonials, I decided to go with Modern Driveline. In hindsight I am not at all
upset with the choice. First off the parts were top notch, with good quality and
use by other satisfied customers, along with use in magazine articles.
Secondly, the customer support was great - the owner, Bruce Couture, not
only walked me through installation on a phone call, but gave me his personal
pager number to contact him about questions as I installed! Very cool.
Modern Driveline's bread and butter are several parts for the T5 swap into
classic Ford cars, with a T5 'kit' that can be purchased and allow a classic
Ford owner to do a complete T5 installation from soup to nuts.
What Did I Do?
I ordered the T5 kit for a 1965 Ford Falcon and had three boxes at my door in
about a week. The parts were well packed and all the parts were brand new,
with the exception of a rebuilt 1990-1993 T5 transmission and bell housing. All
fasteners were included and parts which required grease and lube are pre
lubed by Modern Driveline. The kit contents (as I ordered them) are as follows:
Front shift T5 rebuilt 1990-93 T-5 with steel bearing retainer - In the early 90s
the T5 in the Mustang was beefed up to handle the 5.0's 225 horsepower, and
is rated at 300 ft/lbs of torque. As my 289 will be making numbers around
there, I requested this transmission. The steel bearing retainer replaces the
aluminum stock unit, and stops the galling problem the aluminum unit suffers
from over time. I'll cover the front shift later on.
Used Late Model T-5 Bell housing - A cleaned bell housing that is checked for
correct tolerances is supplied. I opted for a more modern bell housing and
clutch assembly as my 289 has the same 6 bolt pattern as the later model 302
and 5.0 engines.
Clutch lever cover - Also known as a dust cover, this part covers the clutch
lever and hole in the bell housing allowing the clutch lever a full length of
Block plate - The thin metal plate that fits between the bell housing and engine
Bell housing bolts/Trans Bell housing bolts - All new hardware. Grade 8.
Flywheel lightened billet steel 28oz - The flywheel and ring gear for the motor.
Notice the 28 oz balance. On older Ford small blocks the motors were
externally balanced by means of a front damper and balance weights on the
flywheel/flex plate. Later engines use 50 oz weights. Make sure you purchase
the right part or you will have drive train vibration problems!
Clutch kit - The friction plate and clutch itself. I went with the later model 10
Clutch lever - Correct lever for the later model clutch and bell housing used for
Flywheel bolts/Pressure plate bolts - All new hardware. Grade 8.
Hurst Chrome lever/Hurst shift ball 5 sp. Pattern
Clutch cable kit - A clutch cable kit supplied by Modern Driveline that modifies
your original Falcon or Mustang clutch linkage into an adjustable cable
system. All the parts, along with the installation instructions (with pictures)
comes with the vacuum sealed kit.
Speedo cable & Speedo gear and insert - 19tooth gear - The gear comes
installed in the transmission. Modern driveline will supply you with the correct
gear for your application.
T-5 cross member - A Modern Driveline built piece. Sturdy construction and
well designed to hang the transmission at the correct angle, allow maximum
clearance for headers, and allow the emergency brake to be connected back
T-5 transmission mount - Standard GM rubber mount (since I have the S10 tail
shaft the GM unit is used).
Let's Get Started
First a word about the clutch cable kit. My car was an automatic, so apart
from this kit I also needed a set of Falcon brake and clutch pedals. I procured
these through eBay.
I am going to skip past the installation of the cable kit for a few reasons. First
off, my car sports other modifications like a tilt column and power brake unit, so
pictures and instructions on installation of the kit in my car might confuse
more than help. Secondly, this kit has very good directions.
A few words of advice (read 'Brake Cable Kit Installation for Dummies'):
1.) Follow the directions to the letter - do NOT take shortcuts.
2.) Make sure the nuts on the clutch cable at the clutch fork are both on the
back side of cable.
3.) The stock clutch pedal return spring should be removed - it is not needed
with this kit.
4.) The pedal bracket that comes with the kit is adjustable. Make sure you
adjust this bracket else your clutch will be too loose or tight.
Remove the Old Transmission
(Out with the old. A tired C4 [left] and mounting hardware [right])
Now its time for out with the old. For the old C4 its fairly straight-forward.
After disconnecting the battery and draining the transmission, 6 bell housing
bolts, a driveshaft, a vacuum line, 2 electrical plugs (Neutral safety switch),
and a filler tube bolt free the old C4 from the car. With a jack under the
transmission, a lift and tug of the transmission frees it from the engine.After
the transmission is removed, the torque converter, flex plate, and block plate
can be removed from the engine.
At this point I also took the liberty of removing the old vacuum fitting on the
engine's intake manifold and installing a plug. Won't need that line anymore!
A quick inspection landed a startling realization: My front seal on my
transmission was leaking. This is big news as once they start to leak your
transmission is much like a time bomb - that seal could have gone and left me
stranded at anytime!
A Look at the New Transmission
(The new T5 has been modified with a steel bearing retainer [left] and a tail
shaft for a Chevy S10 [right])
Now in with the new. The new T5 is a lighter unit than most 60s
transmissions because of its aluminum case. The folks at Modern Driveline
rebuilt this 1990 unit that has the later T5's stronger gears and synchros
allowing the transmission to withstand up to 300 ft/lbs of torque.
I also added two other options: A steel bearing retainer, a sleeve that covers
the transmission's input shaft shown in the picture above and to the left. This
part is the section the throw-out bearing slides upon, and in stock form is
aluminum. Over time the aluminum piece begins to gall and makes clutch
engagement harder and harder. I figured it was good insurance to step up to
the better part now.
The second modification done to this transmission was the use of a Chevy
S10 tail shaft. Yes, the Borg Warner T5 was used in the General's vehicles as
well, and many parts destined for Bow Tie duty will work in other applications.
With the S10 tail shaft the shifter is relocated to the front of the tail shaft,
which allows the shifter to enter the cab compartment almost exactly as stock
(shifter is centered on tunnel instead of to left nearer to driver). This mod also
stops the need to do some creative engineering to the tunnel sub frame
support on the earlier Falcons to fit the late model Mustang tail shaft and
The Pilot Bearing
The first thing to install is the pilot bearing. This bearing is normally a brass
insert that the tip of the transmission's input shaft rides upon.
The folks at Modern Driveline supply a roller bearing to replace the one piece
pilot bearing. It comes pre-greased and ready for installation.
(The pilot bearing comes pre-greased from Modern Driveline and is a roller
Installation of the bearing is easy. The pilot bearing fits into the center of the
crankshaft's rear. Place the bearing into the center of the rear of crank (only
fits into center of crank one way), use a socket and hammer, and drive the
bearing into the rear of the crank until the ringing noise from driving the
bearing changes to a dull 'thunk' noise.
Please note that the bearing's will completely seat within the crank's center.
The bearing's will be higher than flush by about 1/16".
(Notice the hole in center of crank [left]. With the pilot bearing installed
The Clutch and Flywheel
The first items to install are the flywheel and clutch. With the flywheel, make
sure you are starting with a new part, or if you are using a used flywheel, have
it resurfaced and inspected for imbalance and cracks.
Please note the box with the flywheel was labeled telling the installer what
type of flywheel it is. Throughout the years Ford used not only different
flywheel balances (28 oz and 50 oz) but different ring gear teeth counts (157
vs. 164). Make sure you get the right flywheel for your application!
(The new flywheel, block plate, and flywheel bolts [left]. Make sure you have
the right flywheel! Ring gear tooth count and flywheel balance are important!
The kit came with a new flywheel, a reconditioned engine block plate, and
new grade 8 fasteners to mount the flywheel to the crank straight from Ford.
The bolts come with sealer applied.
Before mounting the flywheel make sure to clean the friction surface (part
clutch disc will contact) with brake cleaner and a no lint rag or Brillo pad, and
make sure the surface is completely clean. Do the same after installation as
well, as any grease or dirt can affect the clutch wear over time.
(The six needed flywheel bolts with pre applied sealer [left]. Some brake
cleaner and rags clean the flywheel mating surface [right])
Now its time to install. Start with the block plate, making sure the starter
hole is on the correct side of engine and the bottom lip of the plate is curled
toward the rear of the car. Mount the plate on the two aligning pegs in the
block. If they are missing, check the transmission bell housing that was
previously removed from the car or acquire new ones.
After getting the block plate flush with the back of the engine, mount the
flywheel and torque the flywheel bolts to 85 ft/lbs in three stages.
Now for the clutch. I opted for a newer style clutch assembly, a 10.5" clutch
with the more modern design used in late model Mustangs. Instead of three
"fingers" to actuate the clutch disc as on older 60s style clutches, several are
used to give a more uniform engagement of the clutch, and a more
comfortable clutch pedal.
To install the clutch one needs a clutch alignment tool. This is included in
the kit and is simply a plastic splined piece of plastic about 5 inches long. It
fits into the splines of the clutch disc and tapers to fit into the pilot bearing.
The clutch and clutch disc are all installed at the same time. Fit the
alignment tool into the clutch disc center splined hole with the disc's "hat"
facing toward you and the tools back end facing you as well. The hat will
ultimately face the transmission (rear of car)
Now take the time to clean the clutch friction surface with brake cleaner to
remove the factory rust inhibitive chemicals.
Place the clutch disc in front of the clutch, lift onto flywheel, aligning the
clutch with the mounting pegs and the clutch disc with the center of the crank
using the alignment tool. When the fitting is complete torque the clutch to
flywheel bolts up to but NOT more than 22 ft/lbs.
A good tip is to align the clutch disc and then point one of the spline grooves
in center hole to 12 o'clock. This will make the installation of the transmission
The Bell Housing
Now we need to cover up the clutch with the bell housing, but first let's get
some parts installed onto the bell housing.
The clutch arm (or clutch lever) and the throw-out bearing are installed first.
The throw-out bearing fits into the clutch arm and only fits one way. Make
sure that the black metal "fingers" are tight against the throw-out bearing
when you install the bearing and that both are engaged on the bearing. If the
fingers are not fully engaged it makes transmission installation a lot harder.
Now GREASE the inside of the throw-out bearing with axle grease or
synthetic. Make sure to fill in the ring on the inside surface with grease. Do
NOT grease the input splines of transmission - this is not needed and just
adds the possibility of grease getting on your clutch!
(The throw-out bearing installed on the clutch arm. Note how the "fingers" on
the clutch arm clip the throw-out bearing into place [upper right].)
With that done it is time to mount the clutch lever onto the bell housing. This
is done at a ball stud mounted inside the bell housing, and again two metal
"fingers" on the clutch arm snap the end of the clutch arm onto the ball stud.
Be SURE the two fingers are fully engaged onto the ball stud. Failing to do so
will make the final transmission installation very tricky.
(The bell housing, clutch arm, throw-out bearing, and dust cover [left]. The
arm mounts in the bell housing using similar "fingers" used on throw-out
After these parts have been installed simply bolt the bell housing over the
Bring on the Pain
Onto the fun part: installing the transmission.
With those of us with access to a lift and transmission jack, please read on.
However, for the many of us without, a few pointers before going through
some excessive lifting:
1.) The transmission weighs about 75-80 lbs without the fluid. Do yourself a
favor and don't put fluid into it until you're done installing it.
2.) Use a floor jack to assist getting the transmission into position before
3.) Turn the input shaft splines on transmission so one spline is facing 12
o'clock (to match the clutch disc center hole as described on last page)
3.) The transmission should be slid into the bell housing steadily and at the
right angle. Be sure that the clutch arm, throw-out bearing, and clutch plate all
are engaged correctly by the transmission.
4.) If the transmission will not slip completely into the bell housing, leaving a
1/4 - 1/2" gap before bottoming out, it simply is the clutch plate and clutch not
absolutely in line with the pilot bearing installed in the crank. Actuate the
clutch lever while jiggling transmission to get transmission to fully seat.
5.) Get some cheap 12mm threaded rod and cut 4 lengths about six inches
long and thread them into the bell housing. use these rods to align the
transmission upon installation.
(Lengths of threaded rod or long bolts with the heads cut off make great
aligning rods for the transmission.)
The Rear Mount
Apart from the trick clutch cable kit Modern Driveline also has a very nice
rear transmission mount for this swap. Not only does it allow for good
clearance of the exhaust system, but it also allows the owner to retain the
emergency brake in their car.
(The mount is heavy duty and nicely welded up. Notice the slot for rear
transmission mount adjustment and the arm to retain the emergency brake on
After installing the rear transmission mount, simply jack up the rear of the
transmission, slide in the new bracket, and install with two bolts.
Because my transmission came with the S10 tail shaft, the speedometer
cable inserts into the transmission right at the rear of the front sub frame.
Because the tolerance is so tight between the rear of the front sub frame and
the speedometer cable, one needs to modify the sub frame to make room for
the speedometer cable so it won't be kinked.
Modern Driveline is aware of this problem and is working on a fix at the time
of this writing, but advises Falcon owners to use a hole saw or Dremel to cut a
hole in the sub frame, fish the cable through, and install it into the
I decided to simply create a notch in the sub frame piece, and then fabricate a
removable plate that covers the notch (not shown).
Buttoning It Up
Now the last of the little things:
Reverse Lights: The reverse light switch is on the side of the transmission. I
headed out to the junkyard and looked for cars with the T5 so I could get a
factory wiring loom with the correct reverse light plug. After some searching I
found that the reverse light plug is used on all T5s - so do yourself a favor and
look in the engine/transmission pile for a T5 and yank the reverse light
harness instead of crawling under some cars.
Retrofitting the reverse light plug was easy. Using an old neutral safety
switch the Neutral safety switch wires were soldered together, while the
reverse light wires were soldered to the original switch's reverse light wiring.
With this done the modified loom is plugged into the car and the installation
looks stock from under the hood.
( The reverse light switch [left] accepts the plug supplied by the local wrecker
[right]. A little soldering and electrical tape makes a clean installation
Plug old vacuum lines: If you had an automatic don't forget to plug the old
intake manifold vacuum lines!
Exhaust work: Don't be surprised if there is some interference caused by
exhaust systems after this swap. The new bell housing a bit different than an
automatic and old style manual. After a clearance problem appeared on this
project, a quick trip to the local muffler shop was in order to get some needed
clearance in the driver's side exhaust pipe where it meets the manifold.
Fill the transmission: The T5s did NOT use gear oil, rather they used simple
ATF fluid because of the more intricate roller bearings used with in the
transmission. After doing some reading the transmission here got Amsoil ATF
synthetic transmission fluid. About 2.75 quarts of this pure synthetic ATF was
pumped into the transmission. Don't forget to install that driveshaft yoke or
you'll have a mess on your hands!
( Amsoil is a well known synthetic and is recommended by Modern Driveline )
Driveshaft: Since you had your driveshaft out, its a good time to check the
universal joints and if zealous, the driveshaft balance. If you had a 3 or 4
speed in your Falcon, your driveshaft will need to be shortened by an inch or
so. For my 65 Falcon I measured a needed 52 - 52 1/2" driveshaft length for
The driveshaft pulled out of this car looked original and pretty beat up. I went
ahead and ordered up an Aluminum driveshaft at a local builder here in
Chicago. The aluminum driveshaft weighs about half of a steel shaft and are
known to help deliver more power to the rear wheels as well as offer less
vibration at higher speeds.
I supplied the driveshaft builder with the required measurement and the
original driveshaft yoke. In about a day I had a new balanced driveshaft with
new universal joints and it slid right into place.
Clutch cable adjustment and fine tuning: Now that the transmission is in the
final clutch cable connection can occur. Simply follow the clutch cable kit
directions and connect the cable to the clutch arm, making sure that both
cable nuts are threaded onto the back of the clutch arm. After this step is
complete, remove the stock clutch pedal return spring and adjust the cable
actuation bracket to the appropriate height (detailed in the cable kit's
After this the clutch arm travel was measured and found within the
specifications set by Modern Driveline's instructions. After that check it was
simply a matter of installing the dust cover over the clutch arm
( The dust cover protects the clutch arm, cable, and clutch internals from dust and debris
[left]. It is held in place by a clip and screw [right])
Starters: This is a tricky area on Ford V8s. In the mid 60s Ford used two types
of starters, one for manual transmission cars and one for automatics. This
trend continued until the mid 80s when Ford started using the same start for
To muddy the waters further Ford used different body sizes, nose lengths,
and styles of starters throughout the years. Make sure you choose the correct
starter for your application. Remember, the old starter might not work!
(The 65 Manual start below silver starter is a bigger unit with a shorter 'nose'
than the early 70s starter above it [left]. Ford used 157 and 164 tooth
flywheels. If the wrong starter is used, this little gear will chew up your
Engine Tuning: Engine characteristics like idle and carburetor settings will
probably need to be modified with the new transmission.
After a quick firing of the motor I slid the clutch in, selected first gear, and off
the car went! No clunking of the clutch or slip or grinding noises. Compared
to the automatic that was in the car the car is quieter (no whirring automatic
transmission) and more fun to drive.
The overdrive is also a welcomes treat - with the 3:25 rear gear set the car is
built to cruise!
The additional 10% engine power to the rear wheels doesn't hurt either.
Without that automatic there isn't any transmission slippage or pump to run -
the power goes straight through!
(Please pardon the mess - but you can see the shifter and how it enters the
cab just to the right of the stock shifter position)