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The AutoShopper Rustang Pt.2: Getting Ready For Five Speeds Of Fury

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On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 5:39PM | By: John Welch


The AutoShopper Rustang Pt.2: Getting Ready For Five Speeds Of Fury

The AutoShopper Rustang has seen its fair share of modifications in its illustrious life. None of them could be considered complete, especially not the drivetrain. Currently housing 2.73 gears, the pumpkin needs to have it's guts replaced. The bushings hiding inside of the suspension pieces are as brittle as a sun baked Chrysler dash board. They need to go. The tires are dry rotted and flat spotted. The rims are nicked. The top, surprisingly, is perfect. The motor is in, it may see some changes over the coming months but it is in the car. The transmission, though working just fine, is an automatic. The gawd awful slushbox has to go before any other work is completed.

Thankfully, Fox Body Mustangs are about as complicated as the most complicated set of Duplos. Building up the nuts to dissect the ailing Rustang right there in Steve's driveway only required a small amount of alcohol. That was four years ago. Now we are presented with a slightly used (less then 20,000 miles,) Borg Warner T-5, and it seems like it really wants to become a part of the Rustang. It calls to us from the kitchen floor, in a soft, ghostly voice . .. "heel, toe . . . heeel, tooo000oooe . .. "

We ran into a few snags in our attempts to pull the automatic. Those issues and their fixes are clearly explained, inside the post . . .

Getting the new set of pedals in the car was a piece of cake. We popped out a few clips, unscrewed a few screws, plopped the pedals into place (the way the underside of the dash is made it appears the three pedal set up was the only one Ford intended to be used,) and buttoned it all back up, no sweat. In order to produce light from the brake lamps one must connect the Brake Light Stop Switch. It controls the illumination of the tailights and adds a little resistance to the brake pedal, improving overall feel. It is a sumbitch.

The teeny tiny pocket the BLSS must be wedged into did its best to draw blood. To compound the situation, neither Steve nor I have ever replaced a BLSS before, so we had a learning curve to tackle. I'd love to say we figured it out quickly, but we didn't. The Stop Switch mounts to a small, steel tab protruding from the brake pedal. It is easy to see and manipulate when the pedal assembly is out of the car, but a very frustrating piece to locate by feel. Going back to the two pedal assembly we had already removed, we rebuilt the mechanism, set it in front of us, and stared. After about three minutes of staring, Steve magically knew what to do. He squeezed back under the steering wheel, cut knuckles on low hanging metal work, and managed to place the BLSS exactly where it belonged. A light test later and this issue was officially conquered.

Now, on to removing the actual tranny. We had wasted a significant amount of day light fooling around with the BLSS, so we assessed what must be done first and did it. Again, our lack of a functional, well supplied garage bites us in the ass. Three of the four bolts connecting the bell housing to the engine slipped out with no issue whatsoever. As is usually the case, that fourth bolt ruined our day.

Though we could get a socket on the bolt, generating any torque and actually loosening the bolt proved to be quite the challenge. After another hour of sitting and staring, Steve began building an extension. What an extension it was, combining three four inch extensions with a 12 incher got our socket securely on the bolt and able to move it. As you can see in the image gallery, the bolt has been rendered useless, but at least we can wiggle the tranny out now.

Guess what? That presents a new set of problems. The car is only about 9 inches off the ground, I can't even fit under it to take pictures. Getting the C-4 out with a bottle jack like we had planned just isn't going to work. Now we delve into the next stage of home auto mastery, knowing who to call. After a few minutes on the celly we were able to procure a full-on tanny jack, several sets of taller jack stands, a skateboard-looking thing for wheeling the tranny out, and about ten cross members we don't need. All of the these tools and parts will descend on the Rustang tomorrow morning, and we will bring you the blow by blow as the Rustang loses its dead weight C-4 and gains a snappy 5 speed.


Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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