What To Expect When Changing From An Auto To Manual Transmission

As the Detroit Muscle team progresses on their Fox Body Mustang, they show you options and steps for switching from an automatic to a manual. The C4 3-speed automatic that was previously in the Fox Body won’t be able to handle the power the 427 will put out, so it’s time for a switch. Robert Hall from American Powertrain stops by to go over the available options you have for a Ford project.

The first option is a T5 5-speed manual. It was the go-to manual transmission for Mustangs. It’s good for up to about 300 ft.-lb.s of torque, which doesn’t make it ideal for every build but will get the job done and is a good choice if that’s your power range.

If you’re looking at a little more horsepower, the TKO 600 6-speed is what you’ll want. It was designed to be a replacement for the T5. It’s about the same length with the same shifter position but it’s rated for up to 600 ft.-lbs. of torque. You’ll also have a larger diameter and more holding power.

But if you’re looking for even more power, the T56 Magnum is what you’re looking for. It’s a mating of the 6060 which is the current production of the 6-speed and the TKO. You’ll have different shifter positions, electronic speed output and mechanical speed output. It can handle up to 700 ft.-lbs and 7,000 rpm shifts. Of course, with a bigger transmission, the mounting position is further back so you’ll need a new cross member. The bell shape is also completely different than a 5 or 4-speed and you’ll need a completely new driveshaft for the extra length.

If you’re debating between the TKO and the Magnum like the Detroit Muscle shop is, it comes down to price. The Magnum is going to run you a bit more and you have to purchase the extra parts to make it work in your vehicle. The TKO will save you about $1,100 but still do everything you’ll need.

Along with the transmissions themselves, you can get everything you need to install them from American Powertrain as well. Once you find the transmission you need, you’ll want to make sure you have everything to get it installed correctly. Tommy goes over parts that are needed for the TKO that they decided to use in the Fox Body build.

In the switch from the T5 to a TKO you’ll have to change the bell. Your choices are between a Tremec Aluminum bell or an upgrade to a Quick Time Shatter Shield if racing is what you have in mind. The 26-spline input is going to need a new clutch disc and pressure plate. Along with that is the stronger 31-spline yoke to engage the 31-spline output shaft on the TKO that uses the original U-joints and driveshaft. As far as the interior, you’ll need a different lever for the inside of your car which is available in different styles and a shift knob.

If the T56 Magnum is your transmission of choice, you’re going to need the same list of parts except the bell housing will look a bit different due to being a 6-speed. You will need a few additional parts as mentioned above. The cross member puts everything where it needs to be. A new driveshaft will also be necessary for the longer transmission.