Got a T5 manual gearbox that's seen better days? To no one's great surprise, the ever-rambunctious Associate Editor Johnson recently found himself in that position, so he made a wise call to the tranny-savvy crew at D&D Performance and ordered one of the Wixom, Michigan, firm's limited supply of rebuilt and thoroughly updated replacement T5s. It dawned on us that we haven't paid much editorial attention to this venerable gearbox lately, so we thought this a good excuse to revisit this faithful old friend in a general sense and see what D&D does to make the T5 even more faithful.
Tremec's (ne Borg-Warner's) T5 five-speed manual has had a long history in production Mustangs dating back to 1983, and continuing to this day in the S197 V-6 models. That's not to say there haven't been changes along the way. Though the earliest versions were a little wimpy, this is a slick-shifting, compact gearbox that, as time passed, received numerous engineering upgrades intended to cope with the Mustang's ongoing power increases. D&D encompasses all those improvements in its T5 rebuilds. No one's suggesting a T5 will live happily-at least for long-behind, say, a blown 408-inch Windsor being power-shifted on slicks, but the factory five-speed did just fine behind 450 hp in our street-driven '95 GT. As with all powertrain components, the driver's aggression level can spell the difference between long life and premature demise.
Yes, Tremec's TKO series and T56 gearboxes are undoubtedly capable of swallowing more torque or abuse-while simultaneously swallowing considerably more cash-and if either your power level or driving style is extreme, a TKO or T56 may be money well spent. But, believe us, not everyone needs one. Only you and your accountant can decide; either way, D&D Performance can set you up because they have them all in a well-stocked warehouse.
Horse Sense: The Mustang T5 is compact at about 24 inches long, and light at around 75 pounds. A TKO, by comparison, weighs about 105 pounds and is a little more than 31 inches in length.