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Tremec T-5 install in Thunderbird

Posted By Joe-JDC 4 Months Ago
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Joe-JDC
Posted 4 Months Ago
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Supercharged

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http://forums.y-blocksforever.com/uploads/images/6485678f-cdce-4715-a161-5d7b.jpghttp://forums.y-blocksforever.com/uploads/images/2f5b7d41-64a0-4d02-b1e3-d254.jpghttp://forums.y-blocksforever.com/uploads/images/beda50f8-72fc-4152-9f09-e7ee.jpgI have tried to find as much information about installing the T-5 in my '55 Thunderbird as possible.  I am very disappointed that no one tells you that you will have to cut out a new shifter location panel for the install.  It is impossible to install the T-5 with the shifter tower installed. It is also impossible to install the T-5 without removing the engine if you haven't cut the tunnel for the shifter to come up through.  The shifter tower is center of the transmission tunnel and will need a panel cut out for the shifter to come through the floor.  That is not in the instructions that came with my Mummert adapter for the T-5 in the Thunderbird.  This will reqire a new carpet for the car so that the shifter boot hole can be cut out in the proper place.  I have ordered the carpet without a hole for floor shift.  Parts have been backordered, slow or non-existent for things needed through O"Reilleys, Auto Zone, or Advance Auto.  You would think pressure plate bolts would be easy to find (Mr. G 911).  Thankfully Larry's Thunderbirds can get the front engine mount, steady rest bushings, etc., even though they are on back-order.  Something that initially seemed like a bolt in has turned into an undercarriage cleaning session as well.  This car will have more value in parts than the whole if things keep going like they are now.  Where do you stop?  Joe-JDC

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DryLakesRacer
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Sounds like old hot rodding to me. I’ve found that to be true for all most everything I now do. Unavailability is the big one since the virus or at least the excuse. When needing fasteners I look to many suppliers instead of the one or two I once used. I’m surprised John  doesn’t say more. I can’t even remember the last part that didn’t need some messaging before installation.goodluck. 

56 Vic, B'Ville 200 MPH Club Member, So Cal.
55blacktie
Posted 4 Months Ago
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I would say that what you are experiencing is the norm, rather than the exception, whenever you deviate from the original. Whether you're aiming for originality/building a restomod, it's also likely you'll be spending more than you'll ever recover. With few exceptions, I think the only people who profit from the experience are the parts sellers and professional builders who are being paid for what they do. Just don't go out a rob a bank to support your habit/hobby.
miker
Posted 4 Months Ago
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Sounds pretty much like I remember when I did the T-5 back in 2007 or so. Except I could buy parts. I’d put a later 4 speed in mine, and had a metal “doghouse” to house the Hurst shifter.. That was replaced with a cover plate and a new hole when the T-5 came along. So I’m on my 3rd carpet. In those days you had to shorten the input shaft by 1/8” or so, otherwise it bottomed in the crank. I couldn’t find a shift handle that suited me, and finally welded one up off an old shifter that came with a parts car. I do really like the way it drives with the T-5.

miker
55 bird, 32 cabrio F code
Kent, WA
Tucson, AZ
charliemccraney
Posted 4 Months Ago
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I've come to expect that when consensus says something "bolts right in" that something will need to be trimmed, at best.

Why does the shifter need to be installed first?  On my '88 Firebird (factory T5) and truck, I install the shifter after the transmission is installed.  I install the shifter from the top, through the floor.



Lawrenceville, GA
Deyomatic
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Every time I get into some new project on an old car it's the same.  You know you won't have time until _____ weeks go by so you spend that time buying 15 parts in hopes that one of them fit on the one day that you'll have to be able to get it all together.  It's either that or you spend all your time obsessing about how you're going to make something work and then you figure it out and find out that won't work at all and then something really simple (and cheaper than all the stuff you just bought) pops up...but now you need to wait a few more days for that stuff to come in the mail because you can't buy anything in person anymore for old cars.

I swapped the old 390 CFM Holley for a 600 CFM Holley this month.  Yes...I said this month.  O'Reilly's didn't have the carb base gaskets (no, seriously) so rather than drive around I just ordered them from Amazon.  The "2 day" shipping took 4 days, and when they (2 because I'm running a spacer) showed up, a genius in the had warehouse bent one of them to make it fit into the envelope they used, making a crease that essentially ruined that gasket.  I went to a speed shop that didn't even have the gasket I wanted.  Unreal.  
Just think what ELSE would have gone wrong had I done what I originally planned - to remove the intake and massage the carburetor ports.  
Joe-JDC
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Charlie, the shifter does not have to be installed first.  On a Mustang, or any car that came with the T-5 style transmission, you have a crossmember that bolts in and you can remove it to install the transmission.  The Thunderbird has a huge X frame right where the tailshaft and shifter housing need to be positioned.  The distance between the tunnel and the X frame is ~5 3/4", and the transmission tailshaft and housing without the shifter tower is ~6 3/4" thick.  So a hole needs to be cut from the tunnel to allow the transmission to slip past the X frame and for the shifter to be installed from the top after the transmission in in place.  The whole assembly would not slip between the X frame and the body of the tunnel without cutting the hole.  Kinda like the old saying "You can't put 10 lbs of potatoes in a 5 lb sack."  Joe-JDC

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Florida_Phil
Posted 4 Months Ago
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If you have a 1955 Tbird with a manual transmutation and O/D, you must remove the engine to remove the transmission. Even with the bolt-in cross member removed, the transmission will not move back far enough for the input shaft to clear the bell housing.  The Ford service manual says you can do this by loosening the bell housing which to me seemed worse than pull the motor.  It's a very tight fit.


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Joe-JDC
Posted 4 Months Ago
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I removed the transmission before removing the engine.  I slid the original three speed/OD back after removing the shifter and arms.  It would not go back far enough to drop the pilot shaft down, so I removed the bellhousing, and the transmission came out.  I was going to install the T-5 in reverse order, but the tailshaft housing is too large to go between the X frame and the tunnel sheetmetal.  Even after removing the engine and bolting everything up to re-install the engine, it would not clear the X frame without cutting the hole in the tunnel.  Joe-JDC

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55blacktie
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Yep. When installing/removing a transmission from a 55-57 Tbird, you have two choices: Pull the engine or remove/install the transmission in pieces. 


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