We have made a HUGE step forward in Project: Pony Up since our last update one month ago. As you can see in the photo the engine is in! A couple of things had to happen before it did which we will discuss in this update, things like plugging the old oil dipstick hole, installing the hydraulic clutch and pedal, fighting with motor mounts, and modifying the transmission tunnel for the T5 transmission.
With the engine still on the stand we plugged the old dipstick hole found on the driver’s side of the block. There are several ways you can do this. We opted for a simple and clean way. We found an appropriately sized bolt with pipe thread and tapped the hole and screwed it in. This give you the option of reusing the hole if you ever desire to as well as seals it up well enough that it shouldn’t ever leak. Be sure you don’t follow what we did and do this before you install the oil pan. We had to remove ours and buy a new gasket.
When swapping a T5 into a classic Mustang you have three options on what to do for the clutch. If you wish you can run your original Z-bar type clutch linkage. You can also do a cable or hydraulically operated setup. The cable clutch setup is the easiest as well as the cheapest. It will also require careful routing of the cable. If it is too close to the exhaust it can cause the cable to stretch over time or even melt. We chose to use Modern Driveline‘s hydraulic clutch kit which comes with everything you need to set up minus the clutch and transmission which they happen to sell too. A hydraulic system is certainly not the cheapest option but it offers the best clutch feel. Their website is extremely helpful and is virtually a pain free ordering system allowing you to piece together your own kit a la carte and only get what you need. Installation instructions are included and should be strictly followed. A slave cylinder is installed on the bellhousing by simply drilling two holes (marked for proper alignment with the clutch fork) and bolting on. It is easiest to do with the bellhousing removed from the transmission. When installing the clutch fork make sure to use a new throwout bearing and lightly grease the inside of it as well as the input shaft on the transmission. Replacing the bearing will save you time in the long run.
Since our project car was originally an automatic a hole had to be put in the firewall for the master cylinder and linkage to the clutch pedal. Some cars have a punch out already on the firewall that can be hit out with a punch and hammer. Others will require drilling. The clutch master cylinder gets installed on the firewire in between the brake master cylinder and the fender. You may need to reroute your brake lines for clearance. The clutch MC bolts to the new clutch linkage under the dash and is recommended to have the help of a second person. It can be done on your own but you will be cussing the whole time trying to get the holes to line up properly.
If your car is already an manual then this next step will be irrelevant to you. Installing the clutch pedal is one of the more difficult things to do on this project so far. To do so you will need to remove the cotter pin holding the brake pedal in place (see above photo). Then unhook the wiring for the brake lights and it will slide out. The large pin that held the pedal in place will be replaced with one built in to the new clutch pedal. Now that you have the brake pedal removed you will need to cut some of the pad down. Use a manual clutch pedal pad as a template for how much you should cut off. You may want to inspect the bushings and replace as needed. Now comes the fun part. We found it easier to do with the foot well air vent removed as well as removing the paring brake bracket that hold it to the dash allowing it to be moved around as needed. The clutch pedal is difficult to line up properly and find the right angle to get it in place but keep working at it and it will slide in with some effort. In our case we had to remove the pedal again due to a manufacturing defect. It wasn’t bent properly and the gap between the clutch and brake pedals was only about an inch wide. We had it bent properly and checked for alignment before installing it again. Once it was lined up how we wanted it the cotter pin was then put back in. The clutch linkage and reservoir are yet to be installed.
Now you are about ready to install the engine! Since the engine has been on a stand for 6 months the rear seal was not replaced when we replaced the rest of the gaskets. Once you have the engine back on the hoist would be the best time to replace it. Then you’ll want to replace the pilot bearing. This can be tricky without the right tools but can be done using the bolt and lots of grease trick. If you wish to reuse the flywheel you’ll want to take it to a machine shop to be resurfaced. If you wish to use a new one make sure it is a 157 tooth 50 oz flywheel. There is only one way to install the flywheel and clutch. Install new motor mounts to the block and you can then install the motor. Once installed you can then the transmission if you choose. We chose to install the engine and transmission at the same time. The only issue we had doing this was garage door clearance. We also found it easier to install with the shifter removed from the transmission (we also learned that reinstalling the shifter would require cutting the shift hole in the floor). In our case we had motor mount issues. We are still not certain what happened but the heavy duty 64-73 mounts we ordered certainly look right but we had a difficult time getting them to line up properly with the chassis mounts. We ended up using a pry bar to get them aligned and once bolted there is already stress on the mounts. This will likely make them wear faster. If you can manage the extra cost get the adjustable mounts.
Before tightening everything be sure to check for any clearance issues with the transmission, including the shifter location. With a 67/68 a T5 shouldn’t have clearance issues but can vary car by car. Remember, these are nearly 50 years old and the chassis has likely settled slightly over the years. On our car there were no issues with the transmission tunnel clearance but we did have to cut the shift hole larger. This is not totally necessary but to reinstall the shifter it is. With the engine and transmission lined up properly, we used the shifter as a template for cutting the floor. We cut about two inches toward the firewall and about a half inch toward the passenger side for the shifter.
With the engine and transmission installed the accessories can be installed. In our case we omitted the smog pump and power steering pump. The AC compressor was installed but will not be hooked up to anything. It is simply being used for the belt pulley. We recommend getting as much of the engine back together before tackling the wiring so that you can make sure to get the distances and locations of pigtails right. That will be discussed in a future update.
Photos: The Author