Jim Smart
April 1, 2000

Step By Step

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The first step is to remove the driveshaft since you’re going to need the correct driveshaft for a manual transmission. If you are having trouble locating the correct replacement, Mustangs Etc. offers custom-made aluminum driveshafts for classic Mustangs. Call them with your application.
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Next, pull the torque converter dust cover.
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Then remove the torque converter-to-flexplate nuts. Hand-crank the engine to get at all the nuts. Disconnect the ignition coil lead to prevent accidental engine start.
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The C4’s speedometer cable will have to be replaced with a four-speed type, which is longer because it enters from the righthand side.
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Support the transmission, and remove the crossmember. Six bolts tie the bellhousing to the engine block.
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Manual transmission input shafts need a pilot bearing in the crankshaft as shown. This small piece supports the transmission input shaft.
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It’s a good idea to chase the flywheel-to-crankshaft bolt holes prior to flywheel installation.
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With the transmission/engine shield properly installed (specific to manual transmissions), we’re ready to install the flywheel.
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For the four-speed part of this swap, we’re installing a stock flywheel and the original-style Borg & Beck three-finger clutch.
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Always coat the bolt threads with Loctite sealer, and then torque between 75 and 85 lb-ft.
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Using a spare transmission input shaft as a clutch alignment tool, Mustangs Etc. mounts the Borg & Beck clutch, and torques the bolts between 25 and 28 lb-ft in a crisscross fashion. Always recheck the torque.
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Classic Mustangs struggle with proper clutch fork operation mostly because it is improperly installed.
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There are two types of clutch forks. One uses a wire clip to hold the clutch fork to the pivot—the early type used prior to 1968. The other clutch fork has a clip that slips into the pivot for a more secure marriage, and is used for the ’68 and later models.
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Here’s a four-speed transmission you don’t see often. The Borg-Warner T10 four-speed was common to Fords prior to 1966 in the ’65-’66 Mustang. Ultimately, the T10 was dropped in favor of the Ford T&C Top Loader four-speed. Mustangs Etc. will demonstrate how to install the T10.
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The T10’s shifter linkage is different from the Top Loader’s, which calls for the use of a Ford Shop Manual. Close examination of this photo shows you how.
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Properly installing the transmission is a matter of feeding the bearing support through the release bearing. Don’t forget to grease the bearing support for smooth-release bearing operation.
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The transmission crossmember goes in as shown, using the same mount as the C4 automatic.
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Here, we’re installing a manual transmission driveshaft from Mustangs Etc. This is an off-the-shelf part available from Mustangs Etc.
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Two bolts get the shifter handle. Check the side bearings and springs for wear, and replace as necessary. The boot slips through the carpet as shown and is retained with four screws. Next, the chrome escutcheon pops into place.
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This is the Tremec T5 five-speed transmission. The beauty of this design is its perfect-fit status for classic Mustangs. The shifter protrudes through the floor exactly where the original shifter is.
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The front bearing support should be dressed with emory paper for a smooth surface. Then spread a thin film of wheel bearing grease on the release bearing support for smooth operation.
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Because we’re converting to a cable-style clutch linkage, we need a late-model Mustang bellhousing, along with the T5 conversion kit from California Pony Cars. Late-model Mustang bellhousings are available from Mustang Village in Fontana, California.
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We learned that you can use a classic Mustang divider plate with the T5 bellhousing with minor modifications. The plate must clear the clutch cable support passage as shown. Simply grind the plate to make way.
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Because the cable clutch linkage pulls instead of pushing, the clutch fork pivots at the end of the fork.
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Flywheel installation is straightforward. Keep in mind that the flywheel can only be installed on one combination of bolt holes for balance purposes. Seal the bolt threads with Loctite and torque them between 75 and 85 lb-ft. Clean the flywheel mating surface with brake cleaner.
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Install the Centerforce clutch assembly and torque the bolts between 25 and 30 lb-ft.
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To clear the way for our cable clutch linkage from D.B. Performance Engineering, we have to remove the old bellcrank linkage. Two bolts at the framerail and one screw-in stud at the block gets it out.
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The late-model bellhousing is a perfect fit for any six-bolt bellhousing 289 or 302.
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Because the T5 is a lightweight transmission, installation is a lot easier than those old iron-case Top Loaders. Slip this guy into place and run down the bolts.
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California Pony Cars’ T5 conversion kit makes light work of a five-speed swap. Install the mount and slip the special crossmember into place.
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The T5 uses the same speedometer cable as the C4 or Top Loader three-speed. If you’re swapping from a T10, or a four-speed Top Loader, the speedo cable will likely be too long.
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The T5 uses a shorter yoke supplied by California Pony Cars, so you will have to visit your local auto parts store for the correct universal joint. The original U-joint is incompatible.
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Your installed T5 should look like this.
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The cable clutch conversion kit from D.B. Performance Engineering makes easy work of your installation. D.B. Performance Engineering supplies you with the brake pedal support, specially modified clutch pedal, cable, and heavy-duty pivot bearings. It’s a bulletproof setup.
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When you have removed the master cylinder and bellcrank clutch linkage, stuff a body plug in the clutch rod hole in the firewall as shown (arrow).
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Drill the 1/2-inch clutch cable access hole in the firewall directly above the master cylinder as shown. Run the cable with a smooth bend around to the bellhousing underneath. Keep it away from the exhaust manifolds.
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With the steering column dropped and the pedal support unfastened from the firewall, removal is easy.
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The pedal support has to be installed without the pedals. Then the pedals and the helper spring are installed as shown. The helper spring reduces pedal effort.

Driving can be rather dull sometimes, especially if you’re driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission. Simply slip it into Drive and get going. It’s a no-brainer, especially if you’ve been driving for a long time. But stuff a stick through the floorpan and watch your driving pleasure blossom. Driving with a manual transmission requires thought, such as knowing when to upshift, planning those downshifts, and developing a finese for using the clutch instead of giving your passengers whiplash. Anyway you slice it, driving a stick-shifted Mustang is fun. And we’re going to show you how to get there with solutions from Mustangs Etc., California Pony Cars, and Centerforce clutches.

We enlisted help from Arnold Marks of Mustangs Etc. in Van Nuys, California. Our request was quite involved, but we’re going to show you how to swap in a four-speed. Then we’ll show you how to upgrade to a five-speed with cable clutch technology from D.B. Performance Engineering.

Going Manual

Changing from an automatic transmission to a manual transmission is intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Automatic transmissions use a flexplate instead of a flywheel. The flexplate bolts to the crankshaft, as does the flywheel, and it sports a ring gear for the starter, as does the flywheel. You’re going to need a flywheel and clutch in order to get the power from the crank to the manual transmission. There’s also the need for a manual transmission bellhousing, which is different from what we find with the C4, C6, or FMX automatics. Often we’re also dealing with a different starter, which has to mate with the flywheel.