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Tech Alley               "Where you find all the answers."

Manual Transmission Equipped Cars

When the car is equipped with a 3 or 4 speed manual transmission, the job is a lot easier than converting from an automatic. There are two ways to install a T-5 transmission for a stick equipped car.

Use the original bell

One way is to use the original bell housing and install an adapter plate. This will allow the clutch and clutch linkage to be used. An adapter plate is needed for two reasons. The bolt pattern is different then the four-speed transmission and makes up the depth needed for the longer T-5 input shaft. Make sure to purchase correct adapter plate depending whether you have a five bolt bell housing or six bolt bell housing. 260 and early 289 are five bolt while later 289-351 are six bolt.

Use a T5 bell

The second way is to use a T-5 bell housing mentioned in the auto-equipped cars. This will eliminate the need for an adapter plate. However, the throw out lever needs a fulcrum adapter kit to offset the deeper T-5 bell housing with mechanical linkage. Using the T-5 or TREMEC bell housing allows the option of installing a cable conversion kit.

Clutch Cable installed (44205 bytes)Clutch cable or hydraulics?

We highly recommend ditching the mechanical linkage and all of its inherent problems and converting over to either hydraulics or cable.


Clutch cable kits operate as smooth as a hydraulic kit at a reduced cost and are much smoother than the stock linkage.  It also solves the problem of the Z-bar bending and popping out of it's pivot point under heavy loads.  When using a cable conversion, a T-5/TKO clutch lever, throw out bearing, block plate and clutch lever cover will be needed in addition to the T-5/TKO bell housing. Z-bar clutch linkage (22409 bytes)The cable kit comes with a firewall support bracket to minimize firewall flex and provides a positive stop for the cable housing. The support plate is equipped with a tool free cable adjustment. The support plate can be used with a manual or power booster.


Hydraulic clutch actuation is the modern solution to heavy pedals and worn out linkage.  MDL has done all of the design work to provide a state of the art solution.  Each kit is designed around the uniqueness of the vehicle it is targeted to.  We have both internal style slaves and external style slaves available.  Check out our FORD and CHEVY solutions for more details.

NOTE: With either a clutch cable kit or hydraulic kit, make sure the pressure plate is setup for it. Stock clutches are made to operate with the mechanical linkage which moves the throw out bearing much further. When a stock clutch is used with either system, the clutch will not fully disengage. Contact us for the right clutch kit to ensure success of your project.


Manual equipped cars have much longer speedometer cables. The manual cable will have to be replaced with an automatic cable. The manual speedometer cable is routed to go to the passenger side and enter the transmission from the right side, while a T5/TKO enters on the left side.  Install the automatic cable through the hole in the lower firewall near the e-brake cable and plug the other hole with a body plug.

Additional information:

  • Swap from automatic to T5 with a small block
  • Swap from automatic to TREMEC TKO with small block
  • Conversion from automatic to TREMEC TKO with big block
  • Classic Mustang Transmission T5 Swap