Cable / Hydraulic Clutch Activation Options, 144/170/200About This Page
One of the most desired retrofits for today's classics is the addition of an OD transmission, either manual or automatic. Ford Straight Six Manual Transmission Conversions focus deals primarily with the 144/170/200 series of manual transmissions, and this page is no exception.
A T-5 is one of the best swaps for the inline and can make a huge difference in the performance of the car. It adds a modern touch to the vehicle. Continuing along the lines of modernization and sticking with the drivetrain, replacing the mechanical clutch linkage with a cable or hydraulic system are by far one of the best modifications that can be done. The mechanical z-bar linkages leave much to be desired. After years of use, the parts all wear, which adds slop into the system. A chattering clutch issue can be greatly amplified through the mechanical system and make the situation much worse.
If you have taken the time to review the History page, then you have already discoverd that Ford did in fact install a cable-clutch system behind the 200's starting in the late 70's through the early 80's. The bell that I have has a casting date code of 1979. The bell is actually for the SROD (Single-Rail-Over-Drive) transmission. The bolt patterns is that of the V8-style Top Loader 4-speed and 3.03 3-speed, but is taller than the Top Loader bell (otherwise know as the '67 bell), by 3/4". So this bell is not a direct swap for the '67 bell if you currently have a 3.03 3-speed. A few years later, Ford used the same bell casting, opened up the center hole from 4.85" to 4.91", drilled a T-5 pattern in the bell, and actually produced a T-5 cable bell for about a year (early 80's timeframe). In all actuality, the 200 was discontinued before the T-5 came to be, but there is a 4-speed out there that looks exactly like the T-5 on the outside, all the way down to the bolt pattern and input shaft length.
Here you can see the '79 cable bell next to the 'T-5' cable bell. Notice the hole pads on the '79 cable bell and how the pads existed for the T-5 pattern back when the casting for this bell was done. Somebody was thinking ahead at Ford.
A first effort with the '79 cable bell was to weld up the existing holes, level it off, open up the center hole, and re-drill the bellhousing for the T-5 pattern. Here you can see some pictures of that effort. The problem I ran into was the fact that the ball-pivot mount inside the bell had many stress cracks making the bell not usable, so other options were explored (see below).
Here you can see the 2 holes that were welded up. Also shown is a T-5 sitting on the '79 bell so you can see how the pads line up and how the Top Loader pattern overlaps the T-5 pattern.
Converting a Stock Non-Cable Bell to a Cable Bell
There is much more information to come (scroll down to see a completed SROD cable bell to T-5 conversion), in the meantime, here are a few pictures of modifications performed to a '67 bell to make it into a late-model style cable bell.
This section features pics and a link for a completed SROD to T-5 cable bell conversion. This modification also eliminates the need and additional cost of an adapter plate (Courtesy of RacinNdrumin, a member of Ford Six Performance Forums...Thanks Justin!). You can find his complete write-up at FSP. You'll remember from above that the SROD's and late 80's to early 90's T-5's have the same input shaft length. However, their input shaft bearing retainer diameters are different (the T-5's is slightly larger), and their mounting bolt patterns are also different.
You can see how the right tools can make this mod a very practical solution to a T-5 Cable Clutch Conversion. This coversion also makes room for other modifications such as power brakes by freeing up valuable firewall and engine compartment space previously taken up by the old mechanical linkage in early Fords.