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  1. #1
    Authorized Vendor SPeace-ATL's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    Atlanta, GA

    Default The SECRETS to having a good T-45 - REVEALED!

    When the T-45 first came out it quickly obtained the reputation of being a troublesome transmission.
    These issues were pretty much solved by Tremec when they took over production for Borg Warner with the 1999 and newer models.

    • The input retainer sleeve for the throwout bearing snaps off
    • Forks for any of the gears may just snap in two
    • Shift lugs for gears 1-2 or 3-4 may just snap off
    • Transmission pops out of, or gets STUCK IN reverse
    • High RPM shifts result in scrapes

    For 1999, the front housing was redesigned so that the front sleeve was no longer a two-piece component that was welded together along a narrow seam. This sleeve became a one-piece tube that is pressed into the front of the front housing. Unfortunately, this tube is no longer a replaceable component because it is part of the front housing, but at least they stopped breaking off. Note that the 01-04 TR3650 uses this same style of non-serviceable sleeve as the redesigned T-45.

    For 1999, all three shift forks were redesigned to contain more metal making them beefier. While a gorilla, or a gear-banger can still break these forks, they are much stronger and this solved the issue.

    For 1999, the two shift lugs that are indexed by the selector "finger" on the main shift rail were strengthened. The lower part of the lug directly below the slot for the selector finger has more metal. They may have even used a stronger alloy of steel. These lugs have a bold letter "T" stamped in them.

    For 1999, the 5/R fork was redesigned to not only be stronger, but there were three "sizes" of forks allowing the builder to select the "best-fit" fork allowing the reverse gear engagement issues to be minimized. This change was also issued as service bulletin "01-23-5" While the service bulletin reads that is is for all years of the T-45 it seems to already be in the 1999-2001 production units.

    For 1999 the 3,4, 5 and Reverse synchro rings became carbon-fiber lined. This change was similar to the change in 1992 for the T-5 where the 3,4 rings became carbon-fiber. Similarly, Tremec later released carbon-fiber ring sets for first and second gear on the T-56 which is the SAME RING needed for the T-45.

    In conclusion:
    Because of these improvements, a 1999-2001 T-45 is a much better unit than a 1996-1998 T-45. It would be advantageous when replacing a T-45 to seek out one of these newer styles, BUT THEY ARE NOT DIRECTLY INTERCHANGEABLE.

    Interchangeability comes down to two issues:
    The location of the cross member:
    The 96-98 COBRA cross member is located further to the rear.
    The speedometer sending unit:
    For 1999 the speedometer sender became an all-electronic OSS unit replacing the mechanically driven VSS.

    How to swap:
    The most reliable way would be to install a 99-01 T-45 into a 96-98 Mustang and add a speedometer converter box such as the Dallas Speed-Cal. The old gear-driven VSS was unreliable and INCOMPATIBLE with popular differential ratios anyway. Use an electronic converter and those issues are all solved!
    If the target car happens to be a COBRA the cross member relocation brackets can be removed and the cross member can be placed in the GT position.

    A second way to do this swap would be to swap the older tail housing and speedometer gear onto the newer T-45.
    Many would prefer this, but I do not.

    Here is why: Remember that "fix" above for getting stuck in reverse? The selection of the proper size 5-R fork depends on measuring slight differences in tolerances in how the tail housing fits to the main case. Swapping the tail housing without also selecting the proper fork can reintroduce this issue.

    Oh, then just install the service bulletin at the same time!
    We can no longer install this service bulletin because Ford has pulled all of the forks from inventory.
    ALL Forks for a T-45 are "NLA."

    For that matter, bearings, seals and synchro rings are just about the only parts that are still available for the T-45.
    It is for this reason that I highly recommend upgrading a 1996-2001 Mustang from a T-45 to an "UPDATED" TR3650.
    Besides all of that, the TR3650 has stronger gears than a T-45 anyway!
    Last edited by SPeace-ATL; 03-11-2013 at 04:15 PM.
    - Stan -

    Mustang 5-Speed Specialists - Authorized Distributor for Astro Performance products!
    Offering quality rebuilt T-5, T-45, and TR3650 transmissions in Atlanta

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