B&M Ripper Shifter for and Other T5 Upgrades

B&M Ripper ShifterThe Borg Warner T5 is undoubtedly a great transmission. It offers good gear ratios, overdrive for cruising the highways, and at just 75 lbs., they weigh about half of a toploader or C4/C6/AOD automatics. Because the dimensions and bellhousing patterns are the same as that of any Ford Windsor (or Cleveland) these transmissions swap easily into early Fords. Ford put T5's in Mustangs starting with the 1984 model year. Through '89 the T5 was only rated to handle 265 lb.ft. of torque. The later World Class models, found in 90-93 Mustang 5.0's, will handle 300 lb.ft. of torque without a problem. The upgraded Cobra "T5Z", will handle slightly more. Our '67 Mustang, "Project 11.99", was converted to a T5 about four years ago. It has made several hundred bonsai runs at the track, and still shifts flawlessly. The low 3.35 first gear makes for great launches as well. We've also seen plenty of T5's run well into the 11's behind as much as much as 377 cubic inch strokers. This is not to say the T5 is bullet proof, we've also seen a fair share of them give out after a few missed powershifts. There are a couple of keys to making your T5 more reliable, and increasing its strength and durability.

We'll cover a few things that you can do in your garage with basic hand tools, without having to get into the transmission itself. There are definitely ways to beef up the guts of the transmission, such as installing the smaller and stronger 2.95 first gear, but that is better left to the professionals. We've found that the following four upgrades and maintenance tips will offer significant improvement in how your T5 shifts, but also in how long it lasts.

First and foremost, install an aftermarket short throw shifter. Many of the earlier T5 shifters had outrageously long throws (the amount of stick travel before it's in gear). Borg Warner improved the shifter in the 90's, but not before several aftermarket companies, like B&M, practically perfected it. Secondly, it is highly recommended that you upgraded to a steel bearing retainer. The T5Z Cobra transmissions already have this upgrade, and for good reason. The stock aluminum bearing retainer will slowly gall and weaken due to the rubbing action of the throwout bearing. If you're using a performance clutch with heavier spring pressure, the retainer will wear even faster. Eventually the retainer can fail, leading to clutch and input shaft failure. Finally you should always run a quality synthetic or synthetic-blend ATF (Mercon-Dextron II / III) in your T5. The fastest way to ruin a T5 is to put in manual gear oil. It's also a good idea to periodically inspect and, if needed, replace the tailshaft bushing and rear seal. The bushing wears a pattern with the driveshaft slip yoke. If you bought your T5 used, or if you've just bought a new driveshaft or slip yoke, you should always replace the tail shaft bushing so the two items can wear-in together. Putting a new slip yoke into an old bushing can quickly ruin the polish on the slip yoke and lead to excessive clearance and vibrations.

Ripper 1
Installation is easier with the transmission out of the car, but can be done in the car without too much hassle. On late models you'll need to remove the shift knob, console cover, and upperboot. There is also a lowerboot attached with four hex-head screws, which can be tricky to get to. You don't need to drain the trans fluid to change the shifter. Start by removing the four 13mm bolts which secure the stock shifter to the transmission.
Ripper 2
With the bolts out, use a screwdriver to pry the stock shifter off the case.
Ripper 3
You can see the difference in construction between the Ripper and the stock shifters. The stock shifter base is stamped steel and will flex under heavy force. The Ripper uses an all billet aluminum design. The stick itself is stainless steel.
Ripper 4
Inspect the small plastic shifter cup. If it is in good shape (they usually are), it can be reused. Otherwise you'll need to round up a replacement, from Ford or a transmission shop.
Ripper 5
Scrape off the old silicone, and apply a bead of new silicone sealant or RTV.
Ripper 6
Carefully place the new shifter onto the case, making sure that the shifter ball seats into the plastic cup. The new shifter comes with offset washers which allow you to position the shifter 1/2" fore or aft, based on your preference. Install and tighten the supplied allen head bolts.
Ripper 7
The shifter stops are an important feature of T5 aftermarket shifters. They will prevent overtravel of the shifter when your slamming the gears. One big problem with the stock shifter is that if bang the gear hard enough you can damage the internals and bend the shift forks. Set the stops by putting the shifter in third and turning the allen screw until it just touches the stick, then back it of half turn. Repeat for the lower stop with the shifter in fourth gear.
Ripper 8
While holding the allen screw in place, snug up the lock nut. Go ahead and shift through all the gears and make sure all the bolts are nice and tight.
Ripper 9
The final step is to slip on the supplied boot and retaining ring. You're now ready to slam the gears with confidence! The B&M Ripper definitely changes the feel and action of shifting. The throws are shorter and thus faster. The shifter also offers more positive "cluncks" when engaging gears, without the sloppy feel and play in the stock shifter.


(Other T5 Upgrades)

In This Article:
Installing the B&M Ripper Shifter for 30% shorter throws and faster shfits in your T5 or T45 equipped Mustang or Thunderbird.

B&M Ripper Shifter
Amazon Price: $181.97


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