If you discover that rebuilding your existing T5 might not be cost-effective, an alternative could be the aftermarket derivatives of the T5. From the Ford camp, the strongest factory trans (rated at 330 lb-ft of torque capacity) is the "Z" trans (due to the letter Z found in the Ford part number) available from Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) or D&D.
In the aftermarket, Tremec first built the 3550 five-speed, which was later superseded by the TKO. Both the 3550 and now the TKO have been replaced by the TKO-500 and TKO-600. The numbers refer to their advertised torque capacities. The 600 uses a 2.87 First-gear ratio while the 500 employs a deeper 3.27 low gear.
|CENTER DISTANCES |
|T5 ||77 mm (3.03) ||75 ||235-325 |
|Tremec TKO/3550 ||83 mm (3.26) ||105 ||350-475 |
|Tremec 500/600 ||83 mm (3.26) ||105 ||500-600 |
|T56 (six-speed) ||85 mm (3.34) ||115-129 ||330-550 |
|INPUT/OUTPUT SHAFTS |
| ||INPUT |
|T5 ||10 ||28 |
|Tremec 3550 ||10 ||28 |
|Tremec TKO ||26 ||31 |
|Tremec 500/600 ||26 ||31 |
The input shaft on '94-'95 T5s is 0.625 inch longer than earlier T5s.
Rebuilding the T5
We started out with a broken T5 purchased from a friend for $25. Then we contacted Don Walsh at D&D Performance to find out what we had. This is a case of doing it backward-we should have done our research first, but the price was right. "You have one of the crappy 3.35 boxes," Walsh told us. "The best way to go is to rebuild it with one of our 2.95 low gearsets. Then you'd have a nice trans." That's what we did.
The Tremec TK-500/600 can trace its roots all the way back to the Ford Top Loader four-spe
What showed up a few days later was a 2.95 gearset along with a complete rebuild kit that included all those tough-to-find small parts. We talked our pal and consummate car crafter Tim Moore at Moore Automotive into taking us through the rebuild. Manual transmissions are no picnic, and since we'd never done one before, it was an education. Other than a hydraulic press and some metric sockets, there aren't any specialty tools required, but this is much more of a job than we can show here in a step-by-step sequence. After watching Moore work, we can't recommend that a rookie attempt to rebuild this trans. If you'd rather purchase a professionally built version of this 2.95 box, D&D will sell you a rebuilt T5 with all the same parts for $999 plus the core.
We'll show you some details and include a couple of things we learned along the way if you want to take a stab at rehashing your own T5. Our first recommendation is to go to Tremec's Web site and print out the free T5 rebuild manual. Tim used it to help him through the T5, although he did find a couple of areas that were a bit ambiguous. Here are a few of the major points.