Modified Mustangs & FordsHow To Drivetrain
How to Install a Lokar AOD Shifter - Shifty Business
Ensure positive gear engagement no matter what automatic is in your Ford’s tunnel
12 Carefully grab the retaining pin that locks the manual lever into the case and pull it free with a pair of side-cutters or needle-nose locking pliers.
13 Using a box-end wrench to prevent the manual detent lever from moving, loosen the retaining nut that secures the detent lever from the manual lever. We’ve already removed the roller spring from the detent lever at this point as well.
14 Carefully slide the stock manual lever out of the case to remove it. Take a few photographs or make a drawing of how the manual lever, detent lever, TV lever linkage, and return spring all cohabitate within the trans in case something moves out of place (and it will).
15 Temporarily remove the Lokar manual lever’s adjustable end piece. Lubricate the new manual lever with some transmission fluid and slip the lever into the case, ensuring it engages the detent lever properly. Reassemble the detent lever’s retaining nut and then install the Lokar end piece straight up, as shown here.
16 This assembled shot can be used as a guide to ensure you have everything lined up and functioning properly. From the top, you can see the new Lokar manual lever installed and tight against the detent lever, the detent lever spring back in place with its roller tip, and the detent lever engaged with the manual valve in the valve body. Behind that, toward the bottom of the photo, are the TV lever in its proper place against the tip of the TV piston (not behind it!) and the TV return spring engaging the metal spring retainer.
17 Install a fresh transmission filter and bolt the transmission pan to the transmission using a new gasket. The Lokar LED shift indicator sensor is mounted at this time as well on the passenger side of the transmission.
18 The LED shift indicator sensor’s cable is routed around the rear of the AOD to the driver side where the sensor’s cable mount is attached to the pan rail for the cable to pass through on its way to the manual lever.
19 Once the cable is connected to the manual lever, the final cable and cable housing length can be determined for proper centering/operation of the LED indicator’s sensor. The cable and housing trimming happens at the sensor end, as seen here.
20 While this ’65 already used a Lokar AOD TV cable kit to control the transmission, it was installed with the cable shifter in a forward pull/upright lever configuration. A new TV cable kit had to be installed along with the new shifter, as the Lokar floor mount shifter requires a rear pull/downward facing lever configuration.
21 When looking for a suitable mounting location for the LED indicator sensor’s electronics, remember you will need access to it for wiring, programming, and to verify operation. It is fairly small and we felt it would hide nicely under the carpet at the base of the transmission tunnel.
22 Wiring the sensor’s electronic module is straight forward. The three wires from the sensor attach at the far right, while the wiring from the LED display attach in the middle. At the far left are the connections for power, ground, backup lights, and neutral safety.
23 Powered up and ready for calibration the LED indicator shows Park illuminated. The programming steps are simple—place the gear shift in the appropriate gear, verify the indicator is in the same gear, and press the “set” button on the electronic module. Repeat for each gear and this will also setup the backup light and neutral safety functions.
24 With a fresh carpet set in place (the owner opted for cut pile carpeting for a modern look this time around) the LED boot ring is set into place and the mounting holes drilled.
25 To install the included vinyl shift boot, the shift knob requires removal. Simply loosen the shift knob’s lock nut and unscrew the shift knob followed by the lock nut. Slip the boot down the shifter assembly and ensure it is seated under the LED boot ring before installing the included Phillips head screws to secure the LED boot ring and boot.
26 Reinstall the shift knob’s lock nut first and then thread the shift knob back onto the shifter handle until the center push button is flush with the shift knob body, as shown here, and then thread the lock nut back up to the shift knob and tighten.
Lokar Premium Shift Knobs
Just as we were wrapping up our shifter install, Lokar announced its new line of premium automatic shift knobs. Available in a 2-inch diameter as a Deco, Solid, and Venetian design, we chose the Solid in black with no shift pattern to add a little contrast to the chrome shifter stick.
Thankfully, the AOD is a very popular transmission in the street rod market (and uses similar shift pattern and linkage setup as the venerable Mustang C4 three-speed automatic), and Lokar has everything you could think of to shift one of these overdrive transmissions in just about any Ford