Wes Duenkel
April 9, 2018

Most home mechanics don’t have a fully-stocked automotive shop with a lift and a bevy of specialized tools. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer like most of us, chances are you’re working on the floor of your garage (or driveway) with jack stands and hand tools.

A specialized transmission jack usually handles bulky gearboxes and differentials, but most home mechanics don’t have one. Besides, there’s usually not enough clearance to roll a transmission from under a car supported by jack stands.

Sure, a regular floor jack and a couple pairs of extra hands would work, but those hands are attached to people who aren’t always available. In the spirit of self-reliance, the author created a low-profile floor jack transmission cradle that’s perfect for the shade-tree mechanic. Extracting transmissions and differentials is now a safe, one-person job.

We’ll show you how to make one.

1. The author fabricated this low-profile transmission cradle with scrap metal and a welder. It makes removing this T-56 gearbox from a Mustang a one-person job.

2. Here are the basic dimensions of the cradle. This works well for the T-56 for which it was designed, but if you have a different gearbox, make some measurements and see what will fit your transmission. Position the pivot hole at the estimated balance point of the transmission. Drill the hole so it fits your floor jack.

3. This bolt adjusts the angle of the transmission to make it easier to insert the input shaft through the bell housing and clutch as the transmission is jacked into alignment. There’s a large washer welded on the end of the bolt to spread out the load across the bottom of the transmission case.

4. The transmission cradle attaches in place of this floor jack’s removable pad.

5. Once assembled, the transmission cradle can pivot just like the original jack pad.

6. We discovered that the transmission cradle also works with the differential on this Cobra’s independent rear suspension. We suspect a solid rear axle could be handled the same way.