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Transmissions
The Mustang was available with four different manual transmissions between 1994 and 2004,
depending on the engine and model year. Ford sourced these transmissions first through Borg
Warner, which was purchased by the Mexico-based Tremec company in the mid 1990s. Initially, the
1994 and 1995 Mustangs were available with the T-5 5-speed transmission popularized in the Fox-
body Mustang. The V-6 came with the T-5 through the ’04 model year, but the 4.6L V-8 debuted in ’
96 with the T-45 5-speed transmission. The 4.6L Mustang received an upgraded 5-speed, the T-
3650, beginning in mid-2000 model year. The 2000 Cobra R and the ’03-’04 supercharged Cobra
each used a different version of the T-56 6-speed transmission.
Automatic transmissions offered in the Mustang included the AODE on the ’94-’95 Mustang, which
evolved into the 4R70W electronic overdrive transmission used from ’96 until ’04 on the GT. The
‘03-’04 Mach 1 used an upgraded version of that transmission known as the 4R75W. So, now that
you have the background, let’s get inside them.
T-5 5-Speed
T-5 World Class 5 speed Transmission
The T-5 World Class 5-
speed transmission is
standard equipment in
the ’94-’95 Cobra.
The T-5 5-speed manual overdrive transmission was used in ’94-’95 5.0L V-8 cars and all V-6 cars
from 1996 to 2004. The T5 has a separate bellhousing that can be removed from the main
transmission case, unlike the T-45 where the bellhousing is an integral part of the transmission
case. The input shaft has a 10-spline input, and the World Class V-8 transmission is rated at 335 ft-
lbs torque capacity.

While reasonably robust, these transmissions can be prone to failure as power output is increased.
In particular, third gear seems to fail when abused. The shift forks can get bent or broken from
power shifts, and the synchronizer cones often get chipped or burred teeth from hard shifting.
Some of these problems can be helped with a good aftermarket shifter, such as the ones
manufactured by Steeda and Hurst. In addition to providing a shorter, more positive shift,
adjustable shift stops allow the driver to bang home the gears without bending the shift forks.
Serious drag race and open track types can now get dog-box conversions of the T-5. These
upgraded transmissions have the stock synchronizers replaced with positive-engagement dog
drives, just like custom race boxes have. Although impractical for the street, these do offer the
ultimate in speed shifting potential, and are extremely durable in high-power situations. A number of
transmission specialists are around now, such as G-Force and Liberty, who can handle T-5
rebuilds and upgrades.
T-45 and T-3650 5-Speeds
T 45 5 Speed Transmission
The T-45 5-speed has been
used in the 4.6L Mustang GT
and Cobra from 1996 until
mid 2001, when it was
replaced by the T-3650.
The T-45 transmission was used on the 4.6L V-8 powered Mustangs from 1996-2000. An upgraded
version, called the T-3650, was released in mid 2000 and used through the 2004 model year. The
Mustang changed in 1999 from a mechanical to an electronic speedometer output. Keep this in
mind if you’re planning a gear swap.

The early T-45 transmissions were not noted for their reliability, especially behind the Cobra
engine. Although the stock 2-valve engines were not too hard on the T-45, they started breaking
once the owners started adding superchargers and nitrous. As usual, some owners can get more
life from their transmissions than others. I have a couple of clients with 500+ hp cars and after five
or six years, they still have the original transmission, while others are on their third or fourth
transmission. Honestly, some people could break a hammer in a sandbox!
My favorite manual transmission story involves John Mihovetz, the fastest 4.6L drag racer for a
number of years now. Some time ago, he was driving a Mustang with a Doug Nash 5-speed trans in
it. While launching the car at a drag race, the driveshaft broke, and tore up the extension housing
on the transmission where the shifter bolts on. It broke with such force, that the shifter, with John’s
hand still holding on firmly, was forced upward at great speed. It hit the roof of the car, nicely
denting the sheetmetal on the outside of the roof. Try explaining that one to the owner of the car!
Anyway, after a couple of interim upgrades over the years, Ford replaced the T-45 with a T-3650 in
mid-2000 model year. These transmissions were indeed more robust than the T-45, but it is still
possible to hurt them with hard shifting and an abundance of torque.
T-56 6-Speed
T 56 6 Speed Transmission
Aftermarket T-56 six-speed
transmissions are popular upgrades
with Mustang enthusiasts. More is
required to install one of these than
just the transmission, however.
The 2000 Cobra R, with its torquey 5.4L engine, was released with a T-56 6-speed transmission.
The car didn’t  particularly require six forward speeds, but the increased 440 ft-lb torque capacity of
the T-56 gave reliability to what was essentially a factory-produced racecar.

Ford turned to the T-56 again in 2003 for the supercharged Cobra, which required a robust
transmission to cope with the power of the supercharged engine. Unlike the 2000 Cobra R
version, the ’03-’04 Cobra 6-speed had different gear ratios and a smaller output shaft, instead of
the 28-spline output of the Cobra R’s T-56. However, it did come with a 10-spline input shaft, which
has proved to be the Achilles heel of the T-56. Many high-output Cobras have simply twisted the
input shaft off from too much torque. We first saw this phenomenon in road-race cars in 1999 with
the T-45 5-speed trans. We had not seen this before, even on drag cars with slicks. Seemingly, the
on-off action of the road-racecars eventually stressed the input shaft back and forth, causing the
shaft to fail. Today, 26-spline input shafts are available from G-Force, and Don Walsh from D&D
makes some high-capacity T-56 boxes from Viper cores, customizing them for the 4.6L. Dog-face
gear engagement is also now available for the T-56 from G-force, and if you have the money, you
can even get a full sequential T-56 from Quaife in England.
Aftermarket Transmissions
Let’s say you want a stronger manual transmission, but you don’t want to rebuild your stock unit.
Well, Tremec has some aftermarket 5- and 6-speed transmissions for those Mustang owners
wanting to upgrade.

Tremec’s latest offerings are the TKO 500 and TKO 600. The two different designations, 500 and
600, refer to the transmissions’ torque capacity, 500 or 600 ft-lbs, respectively. The 600 is available
in either a wide-ratio setup, with a .64:1 overdrive ratio, or a .82:1 overdrive close-ratio box, which
is better suited to road racing. Both are based on the previous TR3550 TKO, a heavy-duty 5-speed
that previously was, well, a bit agricultural actually. The new version, however, is a vast
improvement, having improved synchronizers and better shift quality. The TKO-600 come with a 26-
spline input shaft, which requires a new clutch disc, but that’s not too much bother. The 500 and
600 also come with both electronic and mechanical speedometer outputs, covering all years of
SN95 Mustangs with one application.
Tremec TKO 500 5-speed 
transmission
The Tremec TKO 500
aftermarket 5-speed
transmission is rated
with a 500-ft-lbs
torque capacity. A
26-spline input shaft
version is also
available, the TKO
600, which comes with
600-ft-lb torque
capacity.
You can get an aluminum bellhousing from Tremec for all of these transmissions to fit a 5.0L, 5.8L,
or the 4.6/5.4L. Lakewood makes high-strength steel scatter shields, which are required by NHRA
for drag racing. Steeda, Hurst, and others make upgraded shifters to fit the Tremec TKO
transmissions, too. Tremec recommends either Dexron ATF transmission fluid or a GM
synchromesh fluid. We have always felt that the synchromesh fluid performed better in the TKO,
especially for motorsport activities.

In addition to the 5-speed transmission, Tremec also offers three aftermarket 6-speed
transmissions designed to upgrade ’94-2004 Mustangs. One fits the ’94-’95 5.0L car, and the other
two are for the ’96-’98 4.6L and the ’99-2004 4.6L, respectively, the difference being a mechanical
or electronic speedometer output. The 6-speeds require some additional components for
installation, like a shortened driveshaft, transmission mount, reverse solenoid wiring, etc.
Installation kits are available from Sean Hyland Motorsport and D&D.
Shifters
The OEM shifter used in the Mustang can really benefit from an upgrade. Billet shifters from Hurst,
Pro 5.0, and Steeda offer improved shift quality, shorter throws, and perhaps most importantly,
adjustable external stops. These stops keep the internal shift forks from getting bent or cracked
with a hard shift. A good shifter is usually among the first upgrades a Mustang owner makes.
Steeda Triax Short Throw Shifter
A short shifter like this billet
Steeda Triax provides shorter,
morepositive shifts. The
adjustable positive
stopsprevent hardshifting from
bending or cracking the
transmission shift forks.
Clutch and Flywheel
The clutch assembly is easily the most abused piece of equipment in a performance Mustang, but it’
s necessary for getting your power to the ground. The ’94-’95 5.0L, ’96-’98 Cobras, and ’96-’99 GT
all used a 10.5-inch clutch assembly. In 1999, the Cobra switched up to an 11-inch clutch. The GT
got the 11-inch upgrade in 2001, along with the T-3650 5-speed. The factory clutch assemblies are
actually quite robust, easily accepting 100 additional horsepower, if not more, without undue
failures. Once the clutch needs to be replaced, several reasonably priced choices are available.
Lakewood scattershield for Ford 4.6L Mustang
This Lakewood scattershield is a
hydroformed one-piece bellhousing
constructed of high-strength steel. It is
designed to contain fragments in case
of clutch/flywheel explosion.
Previous | Next


This has been a sample page from

High Performance Mustang Builders Guide High-Performance Mustang Builder's Guide
1994-2004
by Sean Hyland
High-performance ‘94-‘04 Mustangs represent the high-water
mark for late- model Mustang enthusiasts. From the ’94-’95s with
the 5.0L, through the ‘96-‘04 models with the 2- and 4-valve 4.6
Ls, to the Bullitt, Mach 1, and factory supercharged ’03-‘04
Cobras – never before has such a range of highly modifiable
performance cars been available. These Mustangs were amazing
performers straight from the factory, but they can be even better
with the right combination of performance parts.
Regardless of which ’94-’04 Mustang you start with, the availability
of high- performance parts is unparalleled. You can build your
Mustang for drag racing, road racing, or improved street
performance – and High- Performance Mustang Builder’s Guide
1994-2004 will show you how! Author Sean Hyland uses over 300
photos to explain how to upgrade your Mustang’s engine,
suspension, chassis, transmission, rear end, brakes, and body.
There’s even a special chapter on getting active in various forms
of organized racing.

Sean Hyland is the proprietor of Sean Hyland Motorsport, which
builds and supports internationally competitive Mustangs for road
racing, drag racing, and everything in between. Sean recently did
a complete Mustang build-up for Speed Channel’s Sports Car
Revolution and is also the author of the bestselling title How to
Build Max-Performance 4.6-Liter Ford Engines.
Click below to view sample
pages from each chapter.
Chap. 1 - Chassis
Chap. 2 -
Wheels and Tires
Chap. 3 -
Suspension
Chap. 4 -
Brakes
Chap. 5 -
3.8 Engines
Chap. 6 -
4.6 Modular Engines
Chap. 7 -
Transmissions
Chap. 8 -
Rear Axles
Chap. 9 -
Aerodynamics
Chap. 10 -
Safety Equipment
Chap. 11 -
Get Involved!
Chap. 12 -
Project Cars
8-1/2 x 11"
Sftbd.
144 pgs.
300+ B/W photos
Item: SA106P
Price: $22.95
Click here to buy now!
This is a great book
that any Mustang
enthusiast will enjoy!


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How to Build Performance 4.6 Liter Ford Engines
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Building 4.6 & 5.4 Ford Horsepower on the Dyno
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Building 4.6 & 5.4 Ford Horsepower on the Dyno
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