Yesterday, I tore down the T5 transmission that I’ll eventually be rebuilding for my Mustang.
Now, I’m not going to bother trying to explain how the many parts of a manual transmission actually work, and what all I did to tear my T5 transmission down. To help people better understand what’s going on here, I’ve posted a few videos involving a transmission guy named Paul Cangialosi. This dude just explains all of this transmission shit so well and so much better than I could. You all will probably enjoy these videos of him. They’re what made me decide that I could rebuild a T5 transmission myself instead of having to pay somebody to do it for me.
How a manual transmission works (I'll admit, not the best video about this IMO)
How synchronizer rings work
T5 transmission teardown video
Now, in that Paul Cangialosi T5 teardown video, the transmission he was going through came out of a Fox Body Mustang and it had already been messed with and abused by a previous owner. Obviously, it had a few issues other than just worn bearings and synchro rings. 2nd gear and the 1-2 slider were both trashed (common issue with T5’s), the 1-2 shift fork was broken, a few threads had been stripped out of the case, and the shifter box of the tail housing was damaged.
As for my T5 transmission though, it’s very dirty on the outside like it had been sitting in a shop or some place for many years. But holy mother of God, THIS THING’S IN AMAZING SHAPE ON THE INSIDE. Hell, I’m even going to go so far to say that it probably doesn’t even have 50,000 miles on it. It literally looks that good and clean on the inside. All the problems I had fears of, namely issues with 2nd gear and stripping threads out, both of which are common problems that T5 transmissions usually have, seem to be NON-EXISTENT in this one that I’ve got.
Now for the actual teardown…
Shifter removed. The factory shifters on these transmissions don’t have any shift stops built into them, and as you can see, this is a factory shifter that I took off my transmission. That’s just amazing. The fact that the shifter hasn’t even been messed with in my transmission’s 20+ years of life really goes to show how much of a virgin it is.
Front bearing retainer removed. It only had a single shim inside of it, which is what was used by the factory. A good indicator that this transmission’s never been rebuilt before.
Tail housing removed. I was a bit surprised to see that my transmission has a reverse synchronizer in it, since it’s supposedly not very common in T5’s.
Top cover taken off. Both the shift forks and shift fork pads look to be in good shape. Though the 1-2 shift pads are a cream-like color while the 3-4 shift pads are black. I wonder why?
This picture doesn’t really show it, but all of the engagement teeth of the gears look to be in good shape. Only a tiny wee bit of wear on them.
Shift forks and shift rail taken out of the cover.
There’s a snap ring that holds the 5-Reverse slider assembly onto the counter shaft. I had a hell of a time getting this thing off because of the cheap Harbor Freight snap ring pliers I bought a few months ago. Those damn cheap-ass pliers wouldn’t spread the ring far enough to remove it. I had to stop working, drive 10 minutes into town, and buy some better snap ring pliers to get this thing off.
Fuck you in the ass with a cactus you cheap POS snap ring pliers.
Had to use a two-jaw puller to remove the 5th drive gear and the 5-Reverse slider assembly.
Removed the input shaft / 4th gear, and yes a few of the needle bearings inside of it fell out.
Main shaft / Output shaft pulled out of the case.
The counter gear has its own retainer plate holding it on the back of the case. Like the front bearing retainer, the rear counter gear retainer plate only had a single shim inside of it.
The rear counter shaft bearing has to be pressed off in order for the counter gear to be removed. This was a job for my Harbor Freight shop press and bearing splitter.
Counter gear removed. It looks to be in very good shape.
Reverse idler gear and rails removed. The reverse idler itself is a little worn, but it’s still very usable.
Here is the case completely disassembled. I left the 5th - Reverse lever inside since it would be a bitch of a job to take it out. Supposedly, that big torx bolt holding it in needs to be heated up really hot to be removed. The case itself though is very clean inside, and thankfully, none of the threads are stripped out on it at all.
Disassembly of the main shaft began with me removing the 3-4 slider assembly and 3rd gear. Holding the main shaft in a vice (with soft towels of course) made it a lot easier to take apart.
The 5th driven gear not only has a snap ring holding it in, but it’s also a pretty tight fit on the main shaft. Not a press-fit like the bearings, just tight enough that you can’t pull it off by hand. I used the press to remove it.
Finally, here’s the main shaft completely disassembled. The 1-2 hub (what the 1-2 slider slides on) is still on there because it’s not supposed to come off or be removed.
The ONLY issue inside this transmission is this 2nd gear synchronizer ring. None of the friction paper has fallen or burned off of it, but when I press it against 2nd gear (like what Paul Cangialosi did in his synchronizer ring video), it doesn’t grab the gear like a good synchro ring is supposed to.
Good synchro rings are supposed to have a bit of a gap (0.030” to 0.060”) away from the engagement teeth of the gear. You can see here, however, that the synchro ring sits flat against the 2nd gear when I press on it. That’s a pretty good indicator that the 2nd gear synchro ring is trashed.
All of the other synchronizer rings in the transmission seemed to work pretty well, but I can tell that they’re a little worn. Probably a good idea for me to rebuild my transmission with all-new synchro rings.
And lastly, here is my T5 transmission completely taken apart.
I’ll be going through and rebuilding this whole thing in about a month or possibly a few months. Don’t exactly have the disposable income to be blowing on transmission parts right now.
Speaking of transmission parts, that transmission rebuilder guy Paul Cangialosi also runs a website called 5speeds.com where he sells all kinds of rebuild kits and parts for many manual transmissions. I’ll be buying a T5 rebuild kit as well as a few other parts from him when the time comes.
For now though, I’ve got all the transmission parts bagged up to keep dirt, dust, hairs, etc. off of them. I can’t wait to put it all back together.