Monday, September 7, 2009

Replacing a T-5 Transmission in a Shelby Cobra

The transmission in our Cobra has had issues for a while. So I bought a rebuilt tranny on eBay a few months ago and Carson and I finally got around to installing it.

I searched for a posting on the internet to guide the process, but didn't find much. So I figure I'd better put this out there.

Estimated time for average semi-mechanical guy: 3 hours to remove 1 hour to install

1. Raise the entire vehicle up on blocks. Raising one side will not be sufficient. I bought some cinder blocks from Home Depot. It was very difficult to raise a vehicle this low to the ground high enough.

2. Drain the transmission fluid.

3. Remove the shift boot and shifter. You must remove the entire shift mechanism to get the transmission out. Removing the shifter alone will not work give you enough room to get the transmission out and could damage the fiberglass body. Place a clean rag where the shift mechanism was to prevent debris from entering it.

This picture shows the shifter partially removed. The entire mechanism must be removed, so that you actually can see inside of the transmission.

4. Remove the drive shaft. There were four small nuts connected to u-bolts that needed to be removed. Then it took a small tap from a hammer to loosen it up from the Ford 9" rear-end.

This picture shows the shifter mechanism and the smallest drive shaft I've ever seen.

5. Remove the bolts holding the transmission to the bell-housing.

6. Disconnect the speedometer cable from the old transmission.

7. Place a transmission jack (I used an ATV jack) under the transmission.

8. Remove the cross-member supporting the transmission. At this point, only the input shaft and the jack are supporting the weight of the transmission. Slide the transmission towards the back of the vehicle to free the input shaft. There should be just barely enough room between the frame and the body of the vehicle for the transmission to slide back. You must support the tranmission with a jack or by yourself or it could damage the fiberglass body.

9. Gradually lower the tranmission while sliding it forward, watch the output shaft carefully as it can damage the car if you lower the transmission incorrectly. There will be barely enough room to get it out.

Installation: exactly the opposite of removal. Be sure to fill the transmission with ATF fluid (I used Royal Purple) and grease the shifter well.