Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Drivetrain
Project BYOB Gets Its Noisy, Odd-Shifting MT-82 Overhauled and We Show You How to Do It
Living with our Coyote Coupe has been frustrating lately because of the MT-82’s issues. While we have put an awesome new twin-disc Centerforce DYAD clutch into BYOB to improve shifting, clutch engagement, and overall performance, it has only made our existing driveline issues more apparent. In particular, the MT-82 has developed a loud whine ever since our track outing, when we dipped into the 11s on the 19-inch street tires. Now, we’re not talking about a background hum that hits its stride at highway speeds, but rather a full blown, straight-cut, gear drive whine that is really bad when under any accelerative load at around 2,500-3,000 rpm in any gear, except Fifth or Sixth. It is so bad you’d swear we had a roots-type blower under the hood at full throttle. Even with a fluid change to Amsoil’s excellent Synchromesh Fluid, the whine simply would not go away.
However, what the Amsoil fluid did do was improve our other issue, which was a difficulty in getting into Second when decelerating. This was most noticeable around town when we would slow down at an intersection for a turn and continue to roll through. This used to happen every time, but with the new fluid it reduced to about half the time. The underlying thought was that there was an issue with the synchronizer. Based on the car’s previous dealer service history, this was not the first time this had happened (past repair orders showed this exact complaint by the previous owner).
While entertaining to read, self-proclaimed experts and internet bench racers alike blame poor metallurgy, lousy engineering, and poor decisions at Ford to how the MT-82 can be an inconsistent dance partner when it comes to smooth and solid shifting. But one must put things into perspective. Social media and the internet in general allow us to research mechanical issues more than ever before and to draw the conclusion that any problem is widespread, but we can assure you it’s not as bad as we all think. Years ago we could never track how many T5 and T45 gearboxes killed Third gear, as the Skypager network was useless in that regard. People like us simply didn’t have the means to broadcast our problems like today. When you blew up a T5, you manned up, got another one from the junkyard, threw it in, and moved on. It was still a gem of a gearbox despite the tendency to self-destruct, even with the factory-stock 225 hp.
The fact is the Getrag MT-82 is one of the strongest transmissions out there; just look at how reliable the gearsets are. Have people actually blown up gearsets? I mean, with half the horsepower, I used to spit out T5s like it was nobody’s business. Few factory-installed transmissions have the reserves in capacity to handle over 600 rwhp like the MT-82. Yes, input shafts snap, but so do the ones in our beloved Terminator Cobras. Having had the privilege of driving other big-buck, high-horsepower cars with Getrag gearboxes in them, we have full faith in this gearbox and are willing to live with it.
Let’s also remember that unlike any other six-speeds you can throw under an S197, the MT-82 features a nice close-ratio gearset that gives you four gears of torque multiplication (First through Fourth) before hitting 1:1 in Fifth. This is awesome for the track racers (road course, not drag race) who want to be in the perfect gear before entering a deep apex turn. While other six-speeds have only three gears to choose from before 1:1 in Fourth, the MT-82 better matches the higher-rpm powerband of the Coyote 302.
After the disassembly, we were perplexed. Once inside, we were disappointed that we couldn’t find any glaring issues. Nothing was fun to look at (like when you frag a T5). It was anticlimactic, if you will, because we spent so much time tearing it down and were expecting huge chunks of metal and mangled parts to be staring back at us. After all, it is a difficult transmission to disassemble without a good puller set or press, so when we saw considerable wear on the input shaft teeth and found some play in the double-cone synchro pack for Second, it was a bit of a letdown. In the end, we ordered a bunch of OEM replacement parts from our local Ford dealer and were busy turning wrenches. To remedy our issues, we put in new synchronizer packs for all the gears, slapped in a new input shaft with a matching countershaft gear, and chucked in all new bearings. We even replaced the second gear itself, to give everything a fresh start.
Once complete, we were able to enjoy the drive again with a silent and smooth-shifting MT-82, just as it was intended to be. Hopefully there will be upgraded MT-82 components readily available, such as 23-spline input shafts, speed gears, and synchronizers, but for now we are happy to have a refreshed gearbox and will get back to the track and dyno. Project BYOB rocks on!
MT-82 Parts List
While Ford is currently the only source for MT-82 replacement parts, they are readily available from any Ford dealer. We hope to find someone who will invest in hard parts for the MT-82 as it continues to serve duty in the S550s of today. Alternatively, it will be interesting to see whether improvements that will be added to the later versions can be retrofitted to the versions we have in our S197s.
|PN||Ford Part Name||Actual Description||List Price, Each|
|BR3Z7025A||Bearing-output shaft||Output shaft center support bearing||$20.72|
|BR3Z7025AA||Bearing ASY-input shaft||Input shaft bearing||$46.27|
|BR3Z7025B||Bearing ASY-countershaft||Countershaft center support bearing||$25.10|
|BR3Z7048A||Seal-input shaft||Input shaft seal||$17.22|
|BR3Z7052A||Extension housing seal||Rear driveshaft flange seal||$18.08|
|BR3Z7065A||Bearing ASY-ball||Output shaft rear bearing||$31.53|
|BR3Z7102A||Gear-mainshaft 2nd speed||2nd gear on output shaft||$95.60|
|BR3Z7107A||Ring-synchronizer||3rd or 4th gear synchronizer ring (need 2)||$63.32|
|BR3Z7107C||Ring-synchronizer||1st or 2nd gear synchronizer assembly (need 2)||$71.57|
|BR3Z7107E||Ring-synchronizer||Reverse gear synchronizer ring||$49.70|
|BR3Z7107F||Ring-synchronizer||5th or 6th synchronizer ring (need 2)||$41.47|
|BR3Z7121A||Bearing ASY-roller||Countershaft rear bearing||$22.97|
|BR3Z7121B||Bearing ASY-roller||Countershaft front bearing||$28.30|
|BR3Z7127A||Bearing ASY-needle||Shift rod bearing||$9.17|
|BR3Z7288A||Seal||Shift rod seal||$9.18|
|BR3Z7A010A||Plug-blanking||Front countershaft bolt cover||$11.73|
|BR3Z7C043A||Bearing ASY-mainshaft pilot||Input shaft pocket bearing||$13.17|
|CR3Z7017A||Shaft-input||Input shaft—factory 23 tooth||$92.12|
|CR3Z7144A||Gear-5th speed cluster||5th gear on countershaft||$60.57|
1. Ah, behold the mighty MT-82! Adored by many, dreaded by just as many. While often cited for being a noisy, sloppy-shifting gearbox, it is a robust transmission that indeed suffers from some issues. For Project BYOB we wound up suffering from the same two common issues, excessive whine and rough shifting into Second. In this article we tear it down and show you how to fix it yourself.
2. After removing the transmission, make sure it is fully drained. First step is to remove the output shaft speed sensor. This can easily break while you’re handling the portly gearbox. A T30 bit takes it right out.
3. The rear output shaft flange comes off next with a 30mm socket and an impact wrench.
4. The splined flange needs to be removed with a puller because it has an interference fit. A two-jaw puller is used.
5. Up front, we remove the throwout bearing assembly.
6. Underneath the input shaft, a rubber-encased metal plug hides the countershaft bolt. This needs to come out. We used a large sheetmetal screw to pull it out.
7. Using a 12mm hex socket, we removed the countershaft bolt with an impact gun.
8. To help ease pressure that could be placed on the internal shift forks and shift rods, remove the six shift fork pivot bolts with a 12mm hex socket.
9. Each shift fork has a spring-loaded detent ball cartridge that is lightly pressed into the case. While Ford offers a special tool for this task, we were able to pull them out of the case with two pry bars strategically placed on each cartridge.
10. Next up, we remove the rear half of the case by removing all of the bolts with an E12 socket. This is an external Torx head, so make sure you have the right socket to perform this task.
11. Because the case’s rear output shaft bearing has an interference fit with the shaft, you will need a puller to remove it. We made extension legs out of plate steel to extend the puller arms to grab two reinforced flanges on the case. This is a tool you will need to make.
12. With the rear case off, we are ready to get knee-deep with the internals. Here we use our puller to remove the reverse synchronizer pack, reverse gear, and first gear.
13. An external snap ring has to come off in order for us to proceed with removing the 1-2 synchronizer assembly.
14. The center support plate is the perfect place for you to use your puller. Using the same extension arms we fabbed, we were able to get the depth needed to make the pull. Note that the shift forks proved to be a problem here, so we removed them before we used the puller to remove second gear with the 1-2 synchronizer assembly.
15. The countershaft is ready to come out. We concocted a menagerie of extensions with our puller to perform this task, but using a press would have been a lot smarter.
16. A press will be needed to get the input shaft out first before you can press the front countershaft and input shaft bearings out. Both are held in place with T40 bolts.
17. With our assortment of parts purchased from Levittown Ford in New York, we were able to proceed.
18. Working on the rear case, we used a three-jaw pilot bearing puller from Harbor Freight Tools. With a little grinding of the puller’s teeth to make them fit into the outer race’s shallow depth, we made it work.
19. The countershaft has the 3-4 synchronizer assembly on it. To access it, you will need to remove fifth and sixth gears. Incredibly, these are pressed on (not splined) and send power through all the gears. We tried using our trusty puller, but the interference fit was so immense that we had to use a 20-ton hydraulic press to get the gears off. A little heat from a small propane torch helps.
20. The main output shaft has two synchronizer assemblies: one up front for 5-6, which is pressed on, and the other for 1-2, which we removed earlier during initial disassembly. Here we use a puller for the former and swap out the parts for new ones.
21. Since Second was the gear that gave us the most grief, we purchased a brand-new gear for a fresh surface for the synchronizer to ride on. The synchronizer then goes on. Interestingly, this is a dual-cone design that we know works well in a T56, but looking at the facing material, it appears that Getrag went with a sintered metal compound for the friction material. While we can’t say that it is the reason for our rough shifting issues, it is something we are not used to seeing in a Mustang transmission. With the internal needle bearing assembly inserted, we were able to put the entire shaft back together with little issue.
22. As we assemble each synchronizer, the fingers for each pack needs to be inserted. The best way to do this is to slide the outer ring down and to align each finger.
23. Then push the finger down into the receiving pocket of the synchronizer ring. You can now assemble the complementing synchro assembly and speed gear on top. Remember to align these fingers with the cutout of each ring.
24. With the new input shaft pocket bearing inserted, we were ready to get the rest of the gearbox together.
25. Once you have the two shafts in place (have a friend help you, as they need to go into the case together and are quite heavy) The shift forks go in next for 3-4 and 5-6.
26. To reinstall the 1-2 synchronizer hub, we found it easiest to heat it up so it would expand. This allowed us to simply slide it onto the shaft. With gravity as our aid, it quickly bottomed out into the output shaft.
27. Like we did on all the other synchronizer assemblies, we carefully inserted the fingers and aligned them with the rings both above and below.
28. The rear case is ready to go on. It is imperative to position the cover carefully so that the shift rods go into the case and the countershaft’s snout is properly located into the case’s bearing. Once the case was in place, we used the case bolts to carefully cinch it.
29. The rear flange is then installed. We didn’t use heat here to expand it because we were concerned that it would damage the rear seal, causing it to melt. We went old-school and used a dead-blow hammer to get it on enough to allow the flange bolt to get a good bite, as that is what we used to drive it into final position.
30. Up front, the countershaft bolt goes back in. Before we tighten it, we use Blue Loctite to prevent it from backing out.
31. With the new countershaft bolt plug inserted, we also installed a new throwout bearing assembly.
32. Even without the bellhousing on, it is obvious that the venerable T5 lacked many features that we take for granted today, such as six forward speeds, double-cone synchronizers from First through Fourth, a synchronized Reverse, and of course, larger shaft spacing and wider gearsets for greater torque capacity. While many argue that an internal-rail shift mechanism offers greater feel compared to an external shifter, we prefer the reduced noise of the MT-82’s design and how it sits much closer to the driver. Compared to a T5, the MT-82 is gargantuan.
33. Back in action, Project BYOB shifts like new again. Gone are the whining noises and rough shifts.