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Which Transmission?

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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I for one would like to read a little more about manual transmissions.
I have thought about a T-5, but from what I have heard they are not strong enough - even built.
I did searching for toploader stuff, and did not like what I saw. They are too hard to come by now and the prices I find are terrible.
My friend has an NP435 (?) but it is a truck transmission with granny low and is terrible heavy as well. Mostly, though it is too much truck parts feel for my car.
I cannot find anything that mentions use of TKO-500, TKO-600, (have they introduced the TKO-700 yet?) other than people saying "I might do that someday". Right, buddy...
I have read reviews of different transmissions and been told that the toploaders, T-5s, and TKO-500/TKO-600s shift like trucks compared to a T56.
When I looked for stuff on T56 transmissions hooked to Ford big blocks, the information was far too limited. I emailed McLeod and told them what I was thinking (460 T56 and the like), all they sent me was a catalog that basically says "contact us". No prices, no specifics, not even any part numbers - just "we sell stuff". (ByronRACE, are you out there?)
I want a manual (street/strip mostly cruiser, 5,000 pounds). I want something that will hold up to the torque and the heavy car. I want something that shifts nice, this is for a Lincoln. I am partial to the T56 for several reasons.
1: I can get one for core cost (65k miles, needs 2nd synchros, otherwise good) and comes with clutch, shifter, hydraulics, you name it. It would be from my friend's 2000 Trans Am WS-6. (He is going to Viper spec.) I need all the stuff he has, since my car obviously has none of that.
2: I know that they shift nice, and also that they are not a cumbersome feeling transmission.
3: They have the double overdrive, especially nice for things like the Power Tour, and for lower RPM highway cruising in general. Lincolns are made for the interstate. :D Also, I can feel justified with lower (higher numerical) axle gears.
4: I have heard that they will handle great amounts of power, but then again this was in much lighter cars.
5: If it is good enough for Aston Martin's finest, it is good enough for my Lincoln.
My setback is that I am not sure it would not break, and all the work and money to change it out again immediately after converting the car to manual would be a terrible waste. Also I don't need six gears, but I want double overdrive worse than I have distaste for extra shift time.
The engine is currently a factory rebuilt smogger (1973) with about 80k miles on it. It runs well and I worry that the torque and weight could be an issue for the transmission. Eventually a Viper spec would be needed because the engine will be stroked/injected shooting for 500 RWHP and good torque. Even using the WS-6 T56 as a core to buy my own Viper spec I am ahead the shifter and such.
SO - the question is should I jump on the T56 or pass, and if pass, what should I get? I want a manual, granny low gears are worthless, and it had better shift nice enough to be in a luxury car.
Suggestions?
(If you want to tell me to bugger off because I am nuts I understand, not many people like big 'uns. :oops: I seek your help, however.)
 

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It's cutom application no matter how you go, so I'd go with the best available solution that fits your needs...seems to be the T56 in this case. My understanding is the T56 is the strongest out of that bunch. If it isn't, I believe the aftermarket serves to make it stronger then the Tremec 600.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, Chilly.
I am honored to have your response.
FYI - I am the son of Mike Augustine, long-time lurker.
Do you think Viper spec is neccessary immediately, or not until the stroker is in?
 

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I'd have to go find out exactly what Viper spec meant. My guess is it will hold fine with a stock type 460, they're running well behind some pretty stout LS1 combos. Plus, the weak link is the tires anyway...the street type tires will let loose well before the torque threshold of the tranny is met. Now, if updating to "Viper spec" is relatively easy and cheap, may as well do that while you're getting it rebuilt anyway.
 

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Just did a little research. Sounds like "viper spec" isn't really a big deal, better blocking rings, steel shift fork, and perhaps the bigger output shaft. Besides the output shaft, these parts shouldn't be that expensive, so I'd do them while it's being rebuilt...the blocking rings will be replaced anyway as they're a wear item.
 

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Or a built AOD? Lighter, less power loss than a C6/E4OD. If you're dead set on the manual, I think the TKO600 would be your best bet. My uncle has a TKO500 (behind an aluminum headed Windsor) in his road race oriented Fox Mustang and loves it...says it shifts great. I checked on the bellhousing from McLeod for the TKO (back when I had money to spend on cars.) It was around $450. I think it would fit either an 11" or 11.5" clutch. I've never driven a T56, but I have driven a few trucks and I can tell you that the T56 would have to shift itself in order to compare the T5 to a truck.
 

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I've been looking into this also. That was when I had a little $$$ in my checking account (not the case anymore). I'm going with a C6 trans and 2.75 rear gears. This will help load the motor which will in turn help spool the turbo. Yours doesn't sound like it's turboed. However, for something that can handle power and will be cheap to build/rebuild, I vote for the C6 with E4OD first gear. That way you can put in 3.25 or so gears, still have good acceleration, and it won't be too bad for distance cruising. Spinning the motor a little higher at cruise probably won't kill gas mileage as much as you think. In my BMW 540i, I went from 2.81 gears to 3.91. My cruise rpm at 60 went from 1900 to 2600. My gas mileage dropped from a combined city/highway of 19 to 17.4. Yes, the mileage did drop and it's noticeable that the 4.0 v8 is spinning faster, but it didn't put a serious hurt on the fuel economy like I thought it would. As for the poor shifting of the TKO500/600, supposedly that was only an issue on the early ones. The new ones are supposed to shift very smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
First of all I would like to thank everyone for their input on this so far.
Now I would like to respond to some of the things you have all said.
Chilly, regarding the tires as a weak link, this is partially why I mention that it is a 5,000 pound car. Between that, a limited slip, and 255-70r15 tires I worry that I might get traction and break it. Then again, you may be right - and I would hope so to be honest. I knew they had a few different parts like the steel fork and larger output shaft, my friend that is replacing his mentioned that. Perhaps the differences are minor, but the factory does not seem to think so...
I like the idea of the Gear Vendor's overdrive. Unfortunately, it still has three problems. The first is that it will still have more parasitic power loss than a manual, perhaps more than a normal C6. Secondly, I would still need to rebuild my current C6 and would be switching to a $1,300 wide ratio one from Broader Performance. That and the $2,500 for the Gear Vendor's piece, and it begins to sound like a lot of money for still being a C6. The last is that a manual is just plain more fun, and switching to a full control automatic (manu-matic I think they call them?) is still more money.
If I retain the C6 it will be the Broader Performance piece, I will do without the overdrive, and I fear that I will regret it later. Plus a built C6 in Fargo, ND doesn't have much for resale if I decide that I want something else later.
The AOD overcomes the part of overdrive and power loss (lockup torque converter). I like that. Still not a manual, but I might be persuaded in this direction if it seems do-able. What does a well built AOD for a 460 run?
I believe that the T5 and the TKO-500/TKO-600 transmission probably shift very nice, but I was going from what I have read. Are they available for big blocks, though?
My build will be naturally aspirated, so loading to spool a turbo that's not there will not help. I plan on using 3.50 rear gears (currently 2.75). I have not heard about the use of an E40D first in a C6 - I will look into that. As for the gears not affecting mileage much, keep in mind this will be a stroker Ford motor, not a 4.0 BMW. Spinning all those cubes higher seems like a bad idea for distance driving. I am glad to read what you said about the improvement of shifting in later versus early TKO500/600s. That clears it up a little.
So, the issue is clear as mud and there is thus far no consesus. Oh, bother.
If it helps decide the issue, installation time is not important. I have very qualified contacts for help and all the time in the world.
 

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the wide ratio C6 is a C6 with the E4OD first gear. I don't think there's any serious mods to do the swap to the deeper E4OD first. I haven't built one yet, but supposedly the C6 is about as simple as it gets for rebuilding. You could probably build your own for VERY cheap. If you have lots of time, that sounds like a good idea. Is your torque converter stock? If you use the deeper first gear and get a little bit higher stall converter, you can get the acceleration of the 3.50 gears while keeping the 2.75 in there for low rpm cruising. I guess if you only have $700-800, I'd suggest the C6 rebuild with E4 first and higher stall converter. If you have $3000, then the TKO600 would be very fun. The TKO uses the toploader pattern. A toploader 429 bellhousing will work. I don't know what the input shaft length is on the new TKOs, but with the older ones you had to either get a shortened input or a spacer to go between the bellhousing and trans. The AOD may work ok. I personally wouldn't trust it for a heavy car for long term use. The '99+ 4R70W is the electronic and updated version of the AOD. The ones found behind the 5.4L had some very strong parts and are good to over 500hp with just a few cheap/free valve body mods. However, they require an aftermarket computer such as the Baumann controller. They also require the adapter like the AOD to bolt to a 460. However, the strong guts of the 4R70W swap right into the AOD case so you don't have to go the computer control route if you don't want to. The '99+ mustang 4R70W also had very strong internals but are a little weaker in a few areas than the 5.4L versions. The 3.8L V6 4R70W will bolt directly to a small block ford. This swapping of internals into the AOD with shift kit and hardened input shaft can get you an upper-level AOD without the cost that the aftermarket tranny companies charge for the same thing.
 

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Go with a "Fluid Drive" set up....

To the Members of this Forum-

I have seen this young man drive... I think a Dodge flathead six with fluid drive. Yeah, that ought to keep him from spinning the tires. It sure slowed me down when I was his age.

To Oldboats-

If you do go with the T-56, go with a deeper gear set... with the double over drive you should be able to go deeper and still have the benefit of being overdriven on the highway. This does not mean I approve! (Well, maybe it does...)

Have fun! -Dad
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Don't mind my father - he is just too old and does not get the point of fun cars anymore. :roll:
So, I am thinking it is down to an AOD, T56, or a wide ratio C6.
The Richmond was not something I had been aware of, let alone considered. However, I do not think it will be a consideration because neither the four speed or the five speed are overdriven, and the six speed is only overdriven a small amount. If I am going to have that many gears, I want a good amount of overdrive.
I think my father may be right about going to deeper gears if I do the T56. (...and I do not care if he approves, really. :wink: )
The T56 that my friend has is a .5:1 final ratio, so in order to be the same reduction as my current C6 and 2.75, I could use a 5.5:1 ratio axle. Obviously, I would use something more like a 4.11, and that would yield about a 25% reduction in cruising RPM. I like that idea. The AOD with a .67 final drive and a 4.11 axle means the same RPM for interstate cruising, but less power loss due to the lock-up converter. A 3.5 axle and AOD means about a 15% reduction in cruising RPM. Not bad, considering the axle ratio swap. So the question now I guess is whether a manual is that important, or whether the overdrive is. Obviously the built C6 is the cheapest, but it also means no axle ratio swap without RPM increase.
I will have to mull all this over for a while.
Thank you all for your help on this, and let me know if there is anything else you guys think I should consider.
Thanks again! :D
 

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I find in instances such as these, the "best" solution is the one you really want to do...not necessarily the most economical, logical, or practical. So, within reason, go with what you WANT to do. If you want a manual with big overdrive, go with the T56.
 

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T56

Before you go too low on the diff gears, take a good long look at the T56's first gear ratio. It's pretty low. I have 3.50 gears and a T56 in my car, and first gear is all smoke above 1/3rd throttle. And, when you're in overdrive, don't you want the RPM under 2000 at 70mph?

If you want someone that can tell you exactly what you need, the first time, try Bruce Couture at Modern Driveline. That's where my stuff came from. http://www.moderndriveline.com There's a whole host of options available, and McLeod has the stuff to do the job...as do others. Trouble is, it's not that common. The only guy at McLeod that would know for sure would be Red, and he's a busy guy. To make your life easy, you need a specialty shop to tell you exactly what you need; that's where Bruce can help. Not to mention he's in it for the love of it, drives a scoobie doo van with an 400+" EFI small block, and bleeds Ford blue!

A TKO600 is a nice transmission too, and has a sufficient overdrive if you gear the diff properly. I personally like the T56 better (mostly the shift feel), and would recommend the viper version (fine spline input shaft) for big power applications. Bruce says the 03/04 Cobra guys are twisting up the input shafts and converting to fine spline to cure the problem. My only complaint about the T56 is I'd rather have a close-ratio 1,2,3,4,5 with a higher first gear, and then leave 6th where it is. But, it seems we're never happy with whatever we have, right...grass is always greener. I fully expect to blow up my trans; and when that happens I'll be going to the GeForce gearset assuming there's enough left of it to salvage. Otherwise, I'll go to a tremec box...I hear they're working on some cool new stuff.

Byron
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: T56

ByronRACE said:
Before you go too low on the diff gears, take a good long look at the T56's first gear ratio. It's pretty low. I have 3.50 gears and a T56 in my car, and first gear is all smoke above 1/3rd throttle. And, when you're in overdrive, don't you want the RPM under 2000 at 70mph?
Point made and understood.

ByronRACE said:
I personally like the T56 better (mostly the shift feel), and would recommend the viper version (fine spline input shaft) for big power applications. Bruce says the 03/04 Cobra guys are twisting up the input shafts and converting to fine spline to cure the problem.
Byron
How much is "big power"? I mean, at what point are the guys actually having problems in practice?

Thanks again to everyone.
 

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Have you thought about a Richmond or DNE 4+1 with an overdrive?
They are rated at 1000hp and can get in any gear ratio even overdrive in them.


Randy
 

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want to bring this to the top. I am also looking for manual trans options for my build. I am doing a 460 in a fox body mustang. looking into the t56 trans as well. it has been years since this came out and wanted to see if there are any guys out there that could shine some new light on this.
 
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