Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Drivetrain
McLeod’s Twin-Disc RXT clutch coupled with a MGW shifter makes your driving experience unbeatable
Few aftermarket companies have been in the clutch business longer than McLeod, which is also an OEM supplier and manufacturer of some of the finest clutches in the world. That said, McLeod is always thinking ahead to how to design and build a better clutch. Introducing a new world of extreme duty high-performance clutches for the S550 2015-2018 Mustang GT and Shelby GT350.
If you own and drive an S197 or S550 Mustang with the Ti-VCT Coyote or Voodoo V-8 you understand the stock clutch and shifter aren’t what they could be. The factory clutch does a good job, but not a great job. The OEM shifter, in traditional Mustang style, feels like a broomstick in a barrel. It lacks a confident feel when you’re navigating the twisties. In fact, it feels like you could rip it right out of the floor, which is not what you want from something the likes of the high-end Shelby GT350.
We have two fast-quick driving solutions for the Shelby GT350. McLeod’s RST/RXT twin-disc clutches are capable of handling extreme horsepower and the rigors of high-performance driving. Benefits are low rotating mass, less weight by 10 pounds, lighter than stock pedal effort, and the durability of dual discs (more grip), and exceptional release quality when it’s time to get it on.
The MGW GT350 Short Throw is a no-compromise shifter that can not only handle the toughest rigors of competition road racing, but also exhibits excellent street manners for daily driving. This tight precision shifter has twelve Grade 8 bolts, which attach the main shifter body to the billet support arm making the MGW Short-Throw virtually bomb proof. Like MGW's Gen 2 GT500 shifter, the TR-3160 unit allows for the use of the factory body mount location for the rear support block. This thing feels so good in your hand as you navigate the gears.
1. The McLeod twin-disc RXT competition clutch delivers mega grip without the extra weight. This thing weighs 10 pounds less than the factory GT350 clutch and offers tremendous hook-up without slippage. What’s more, it is smooth thanks to the engineering necessary to handle high horsepower/high rpm driving.
2. GTR High Performance is tackling our McLeod clutch replacement on a 2017 Shelby GT350R that does a lot of road racing. The owner quickly learned the factory clutch wasn’t up to the job, which is when they called GTR High Performance and specified McLeod’s new RXT twin-disc clutch. Transmission removal begins with disconnection of sensor plugs, cooler lines, and hydraulic clutch lines.
3. Catalytic converters and pipes must be removed for access. This means disconnecting the O2 sensors.
4. Yoke and twin-piece driveshaft are disconnected in front for transmission removal. Driveshaft support must also be disconnected and dropped.
5. Once bellhousing bolts, starter, and crossmembers have been removed, transmission removal is easy.
6. Factory clutch and flywheel are removed next. You will find there’s a significant weight difference between stock and the McLeod twin-disc RXT. The stock clutch and flywheel weight ten pounds more than the high-performance McLeod pieces.
7. With the clutch and flywheel removed, you can see the crank flange, reluctor, and block plate. None of these items need to be disturbed. The reluctor installs one way only using an alignment pin that fits in the crank flange. The McLeod flywheel will install only one way though there are eight bolt holes.
8. The factory clutch and flywheel tip the scale at 52 pounds. The McLeod, by comparison, weighs 42 pounds.
9. Lee Kilcoyne, Senior Tech for McLeod’s research and development department, stresses detail work before installation begins. He dresses the input shaft with emery paper to get rid of the ragged edges, then, checks both clutch discs for proper fit and ease of movement prior to permanent installation.
10. Shift rail at the back of the TR-3160 six-speed transmission. The shifter linkage connects to this shift rod, which is connected to shift forks inside.
11. Lee Kilcoyne of McLeod Racing (right) explains the dynamics of the RXT twin disc clutch to Ricardo Topete of GTR High Performance. Although this is a twin disc clutch, it consists of two different clutch discs of varying thicknesses. This means you want each clutch disc where it belongs in the package.
12. McLeod flywheel is installed, with bolts torque crisscross in one-third values to the torque specified in the McLeod instructions. Flywheel contact surfaces are cleaned with brake cleaner. Keep oil, grease, and skin oil off these contact surfaces.
13. Primary clutch disc is fitted and aligned as shown using the provided alignment tool.
14. Next is the floater plate, which goes in between the clutch discs. Floater plate is retained with three retaining locknuts. Nuts are torqued crisscross in one-third values.
15. Secondary clutch disc is positioned via the provided clutch alignment tool. McLeod pressure plate is positioned, with bolts torqued crisscross in one-third values to maximum torque value per your McLeod instructions.
16. The TR-3160 is reinstalled at this time. Because we were careful with clutch disc alignment installation is easy. If there is any binding go back and check disc alignment.
17. This is the hydraulic clutch line connection at the bellhousing. Bleed the clutch by repeatedly cycling the clutch pedal to the floor until you have a hard pedal.
18. It is not necessary to disconnect the starter for clutch replacement. However, you must disconnect the negative cable at the battery before starting work.
19. This is the factory shifter installation. Shift rail is tied to the shifter handle. The cast aluminum arm is connected to the transmission case.
20. The MGW Short-Throw shifter for the new Shelby GT350 handles not only the toughest rigors of competition, but also yields excellent street manners for the commute. This shifter offers a confidence when you hit the road. It feels good to hold in your hand.
21. Center console cap is disconnected as shown and removed. There’s one electrical connection.
22. Beneath the console cap is plenty of insulation, which has to be removed to get to the shifter.
23. This lockout tension pin is driven out next.
24. With the driveshaft package disconnected from the transmission access to the stock shifter is easy with an 10mm socket. Two studs and nuts secure the shifter.
25. Here’s the stock GT350 shifter. The MGW Short Throw will change our driving experience because it is firm and confident.
26. First phase of installation is this shifter rail connecting rod, which connects the MGW shifter and transmission shift rail.
27. Steel pins thread into the MGW shifter as shown. These pins connect the MGW shifter and factory shifter bracket.
28. Installed MGW Short Throw shifter is secured as shown at the insulated factory bracket and billet steel arm providing confidence the stock shifter never could
29. This is the MGW Short Throw shifter from inside the cabin. All that’s left is the MGW boot and insulation along with the console cap.
30. MGW insulation boot is next, tucked through the shifter opening and secured at the lip.
31. Complete installation looks terrific and feels good as you navigate the gears. Never has a GT350 felt this good to drive.