Modern Driveline Clutch
Cable Conversion Kit
T5 overdrive manual transmission into an early Mustang
or Falcon (or their Mercury cousins) has never been
more popular. We first did
this swap in our '67 Mustang several years ago,
but since then countless others have also made the
conversion to the modern day five speed for the sake
of better fuel economy and faster acceleration.
For many of you the swap was a no brainer -your car
was already a manual and you simply purchased the
necessary conversion parts, the T5, and bolted it
up. Your mechanical clutch linkage worked just fine,
though not nearly as smooth as the cable or hydraulic
mechanisms typically found in a late model, T5 equipped,
Mustang or Thunderbird.
For some of us the conversion was a little more challenging
due to the fact our cars were originally equipped
with an automatic transmission. Hence we had to source
the rare, and expensive, clutch pedal and associated
linkage. Many of us ended up modifying parts from
other model years, or scrapping the swap all together.
Undoubtedly there are a good number of people still
on the sidelines waiting to get into the T5 game,
but are unable to due to the growing scarcity of mechanical
linkage components for their vehicles.
Regardless of which group you are in you can now bring
your early Ford another step closer to the ease, practicality,
and fun of an overdrive five speed. Modern Driveline
has spent the last several years perfecting a clutch
cable conversion kit for '65-'68 Mustangs and Cougars
and '60-'65 Falcons and Comets. The kit replaces all
the original mechanical linkage between the pedal
and the bellhousing. The only stock piece required
is a clutch pedal.
The cable conversion kit is designed to work with
any of the late model transmissions using a cable
actuated bellhousing (i.e. T5, T56, TKO)
In theory the cable kit could work with any manual
transmission, however because the early Toploader
and Borg Warners use a "push" style clutch
fork, the bellhousings have no provision for mounting
the cable actuated fork.
There is no comparison between the pedal effort of
an early mechanical clutch and that of the cable clutch
mechanism found in newer cars. Cable clutches offer
a huge reduction in friction and force required to
depress the clutch. Furthermore they are much easier
to setup and adjust than their mechanical counterparts.
Combined with a late-model diaphragm clutch the pedal
effort of a cable is nearly half that of a long style
pressure plate and "z" bar linkage.
The beauty of a cable is that is takes up very little
space, and offer plenty of room for larger engine
swaps, custom headers, or other atypical modifications
that cause grief with the stock clutch linkage.
We've been considering a cable or hydraulic clutch
conversion for quite some time. In the past couple
years a handful of small vendors have developed kits,
and we have taken them into consideration. Many of
the kits required welding on the clutch pedal or firewall.
Some kits used an OE cable, while others had one custom
made. The bottom line was the kits never seemed to
be well thought out and designed. We've seen many
of the early designs lead to cracked or warped firewalls
due to lack of load distribution. We've also heard
reports of poor clutch release due to improper leverage.
The Modern Driveline kit is by far the best designed
kit we've looked at. While it may require a little
more time to install, the kit makes no compromises.
The cable passes through a steel bracket which not
only distributes the load of the cable, but strengthens
the inherently weak firewall area behind the master
cylinder. There is no welding or modification necessary
other than drilling a hole - making the entire project
easily reversible if ever needed. Follow along as
we install the cable conversion kit into our '67 Mustang.
The kit is designed for strength
as well as ease of installation. The 1/8" thick
steel support plate mounts between the firewall and
master cylinder. It not only locates the cable but strengthens
the firewall by distributing the brake and clutch pedal
The cable attaches to the clutch
pedal using a clevis/pedal bracket. The bracket mounts
to the pedal with no modifications, and positions the
cable at the highest point above the pedal pivot in
order to maximize leverage and minimize pedal effort.
The cable is not an off-the-shelf
stock piece as found in some conversion kits, it is
a custom spec'd piece with a duel-lined inner cable
and an integrated firewall tension adjuster.
Stock cables, such as this 5.0L
unit, use inferior nylon ends and a bare cable which
eventually binds and corrodes. The lined cable included
in the Modern Driveline kit offers a smooth and virtually
frictionless pedal effort.