Drivetrain TKO 600 swap notes

Foxxxy

Member
Nov 29, 2019
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A couple months back I got a screaming deal on a clean, bone stock 90 LX with tranny issues, so I just went ahead and swapped my T5 for a TKO 600. I watched several videos and read other write-ups before tackling this, but I wanted to add my 2 cents to the mix for others who are contemplating the swap.

I ordered everything individually since I couldn't find a kit I liked. Here's the parts I used...

Needed for swap:
TKO 600 w/.082 OD
McLeod Street extreme clutch kit (comes with alignment tool and new throwout bearing but not new bolts)
Ford performance tremec bellhousing
Ford performance aluminum driveshaft
Stifflers tubular cross member w/TKO kit

Recommend to do also:
Pilot bearing
Rear main seal
Clutch fork
Clutch cable
Trans mount (you can reuse the stock one, but mine was pretty beat up and replacements are cheap enough to make it hard to argue. I used the energy suspension one)
Thermactor plugs (for smog delete, much easier to access while bellhousing is off)
New bolts for driveshaft, flywheel, bellhousing, and pressure plate

1) First and foremost, save yourself some headache and beg, borrow, buy, or build an actual trans jack. I did this without one and will never do so again.
2) If you have any desire to remove the smog pump, just do it now. You'll have to pull the exhaust any way and it is much much easier to plug the heads while the bellhousing is off. I know LMR sells that delete pulley thing, but why? I simply removed the pump and ran a shorter serp belt.
3) if you want the whole process to be less messy you should drain the T5 oil before you remove it, and wait until the new trans is installed to fill it. Seems obvious in hindsight but I did neither and had some spillage to deal with.

All in all, the swap is pretty painless and didn't take too many hours of actual work. It took me much longer than it should have because I didn't decide to order a lot of the miscellaneous parts above until I had disassembled the old stuff. Hopefully this info helps someone

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2000xp8

SN Certified Technician
Aug 8, 2003
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Curious on why you chose the .82 5th gear.
Seems kinda steep to me as an over drive.
I have the .64 version.

The stifflers mount is nice, one thing to note, if someone bends up their body/frame trans mounts with a jack (like I did when I was a kid), man the stifflers mount literally has no give to get it back in place.
 

Foxxxy

Member
Nov 29, 2019
6
5
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32
North New York
I ran the numbers with tremecs gear ratio calculator and the .82 fit better with what I wanted. I'm dont intend to do cross country cruising and the low RPM freeway speeds seemed to be the only real benefit of the .64
 

2Blue2

will be trying this sex one when I can find it
Mod Dude
Mar 5, 2019
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I ordered everything individually since I couldn't find a kit I liked.



That clutch trans set up is looking good!
Lots of nice parts
What did your every thing you got cost with out trans cost? Just ball park curious.
 

Foxxxy

Member
Nov 29, 2019
6
5
13
32
North New York
That clutch trans set up is looking good!
Lots of nice parts
What did your every thing you got cost with out trans cost? Just ball park curious.

It wasn't too bad, around $1200 for everything but the tranny. It could be done cheaper, but it could alsp get pricier. I tried to pinch pennies a but where I could while still buying new
 
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LX Dave

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Jul 2, 2017
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Great, timely write-up! I have a brand new TKO-600 with the .64 overdrive in the box and all parts to install for the '84. Got a deal through Modern Driveline, and since I bought what was essentially a "kit", now have the two year warranty on it. I do have a couple of questions though.

1. Was there anything that interfered with the installation? Like exhaust, sheet metal, etc..

2. I was told the Ford Racing driveshaft was just a little bit too short and that I would have to run a small spacer on the pinion flange to make up for it. Did you notice anything like this?

3. Did you check the crankshaft to bell housing centers? Mine was .011" off center, had to get offset dowels and now it's at .003". I was told anything past .005" out was a bad thing as it puts extra stress on the main shaft and bearings.

4. What shifter handle did you go with? I went with the Tri-Ax just to get it a little shorter, the stock one seems really long.

5. Have you driven it yet? How do you like it?

Thanks
Dave
 

Foxxxy

Member
Nov 29, 2019
6
5
13
32
North New York
Great, timely write-up! I have a brand new TKO-600 with the .64 overdrive in the box and all parts to install for the '84. Got a deal through Modern Driveline, and since I bought what was essentially a "kit", now have the two year warranty on it. I do have a couple of questions though.

1. Was there anything that interfered with the installation? Like exhaust, sheet metal, etc..

2. I was told the Ford Racing driveshaft was just a little bit too short and that I would have to run a small spacer on the pinion flange to make up for it. Did you notice anything like this?

3. Did you check the crankshaft to bell housing centers? Mine was .011" off center, had to get offset dowels and now it's at .003". I was told anything past .005" out was a bad thing as it puts extra stress on the main shaft and bearings.

4. What shifter handle did you go with? I went with the Tri-Ax just to get it a little shorter, the stock one seems really long.

5. Have you driven it yet? How do you like it?

Thanks
Dave

1. Nope, I didnt have to bang out the tunnel or anything and my exhaust did not get in the way, but thats a bit harder to speak to since everyone has different exhaust set ups.
2. I had not heard that and didnt encounter it myself, the driveshaft fit perfectly.
3. I did index mine and it was (luckily) within tolerance, but I'm really not convinced that its as important as people say.
4. I actually still need to pick out a new lever and handle. I put the T5 one on just to run it through the years but it deserves better!
5. I have not. We have way too much snow and salt on the road for me to have the stang out right now. Its tragically garage bound for at least a few more months. The most I've done is to run it through the gears with the car still on jack stands. I certainly feel the notchiness that others have described, but it has very positive engagment which I like a lot
 

LX Dave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2017
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Thank you for the response, sounds like all good news. Well, except for the snow. I'll have to wait too.

The guys at Modern Driveline were making it very clear that the centerline had to be within .005", and I was surprised that mine wasn't. I did check a T-5 housing I got laying around and it was near perfect. You'd think with todays machining centers, they would be able to get it as good as factory.

Happy you mentioned the notchiness, I kinda like them like that, that pure mechanical feeling. My other car with the T-5 is sort of like that (aftermarket shifter of unknown origin), looking forward to it.

Thanks again.
 

Foxxxy

Member
Nov 29, 2019
6
5
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32
North New York
Sure thing, glad I could help!

People who are much smarter than I say that the bellhousing tolerance is very important, so I'm sure it's true it just doesnt make sense to me