The COBRA T-5 appeared with the 93 COBRA model. The changes came from efforts to address four of the common wear issues with the T-5:
  • The input retainer
  • The input roller bearings
  • Premature wear resulting in noisy gear mesh between the input gear and the counter gear
  • Wear to the reverse idler gear caused by scraping while going into reverse.

The first change was the steel input retainer sleeve.
The original aluminum sleeves would wear and gall causing the throwout bearing to bind. These steel retainers seem to have also appeared standard in the GT Mustangs during mid-year for the 1994 models and are all that are available today as replacements for any Mustang T-5. The steel retainer was never implemented for the 4-cylinder T-5. (Yes, they are different from the V-8 retainers!)

The second change was the caged, tapered, roller bearing between the input shaft and the output shaft.
This bearing set is less likely to wear. The 15 loose rollers actually use a machined journal on the front tip of the output shaft as the inner race for these bearings. This is the first spot on a T-5 to wear and gall if the transmission is run low on fluid. This improved bearing was only used on the COBRA units, the T5Z and one model of the Australian Falcon that came with a T-5 transmission.

The third change was that the input shaft and counter shaft received a phosphate coating.
Gears with this coating appear to have a dark grey, almost black finish. The phosphate coating assists the gears to break in properly so they will mesh quietly and break-in so that they will wear better. The phosphate coatings actually appeared in the production 92 T-5's for the GT and continued for the remaining production T-5's used in Mustangs.

The fourth change was the reverse brake feature.
With the original T-5 not having a synchronized reverse, the reverse idler gears were wearing pretty badly. The fifth gear synchro assembly was redesigned to accept a second synchro ring on the rear and associated changes were made to the internal linkage and tail housing to activate a "Brake" to stop the counter shaft from spinning as reverse is being engaged. Theoretically, if the car is completely stopped, there should be no (or very little) scraping as reverse is engaged. This does not actually "synchronize" the reverse gear, it only helps, and if the car is rolling when reverse is engaged, this design will ALWAYS result in some scraping. This reverse brake feature also appeared in the production models for 1992 - both in the 4-cylinder and V-8 models. This change was not considered to be very effective and was NEVER implemented in the T5Z Transmissions.

In summary:
A 1995 GT T-5, or a late-production 1994 GT T-5 will have all of the improvements that the COBRA T-5 has except for that one little bearing between the input shaft and the output shaft. How that results in the "Charts" indicating that a COBRA T-5 is rated 10 ft/lbs stronger than a GT T-5 remains a mystery... So, the only parts different between a COBRA T-5 and a GT T-5 are the input shaft, the output shaft, and that special bearing that fits between them. The COBRA output shaft and special bearing are the same shaft and bearing used in the T5Z. The input shafts have a different tooth count and are unique to the COBRA and T5Z respectively. Because of this commonality, many confuse the COBRA T-5 with the T5Z. They have VERY different gear ratios!