For the past 10 years we have been doing transmission swaps into Volvos. At first it was into racecars in order to get a stronger transmission with closeratio gear sets. Then as the horsepower increased in street cars, with both supercharged and turbocharged engines producing more than double their origional power, there was as need to swap in stronger transmissions to replace the broken originals that were not designed to take the increased HP and torque. In 2003 we were contacted by members of Turbobricks who wanted to know if we could modifiy the adapter plates we were using on B20 engines so that the Ford Mustang T5 transmissions could be mated to B23 and B230 engines in 240s and 740s. Since then we have been stocking not only the transmissoin to bellhousing adapter plates, but also modified bellhousings, modified clutch forks, release bearings, pilot bearings, flyhweels, and clutches needed to complete these T5 transmission swaps.
Although the T5 has been our standard transmission swap, it is not a good fit for cars with smaller transmission tunnels. In order to facilitate transmission swaps into the smaller tunnel cars - the pre 1970 1800s, 122s and 544s - we have added Ford T9 transmission conversions. The T9, most commonly found in the Ford Sierra ( Merkur and XR4Ti in the US) fills the need for a small, readily available 5 speed that will fit into the transmission tunnels of the earlier Volvos and other small tunnel cars, while at the same time providing a true 5 speed experience with a high power handling capacity.
See below and in the driveline section for the products needed for both the T5 and T9 transmission swaps.
The T5 Transmission Swap into Volvos
A transmission swap that we originated, and still one of the most popular swaps uses the Borg Warner (now Tremec) T5 transmission. It is a lightweight (70 lbs.), 5-speed transmission that has been manufactured for over 25 years for various OEM applications and is found in Fords, Chevies, and various other cars and trucks. The transmission is of a modular design and can thus be found with various input shafts, tail shaft housings, shifter positions, etc. It is comparatively simple to modify and repair and parts are readily available at quite reasonable prices. It went through a process of upgrades over the first years of its manufacture, increasing its HP and torque ratings from 200 ft. lbs. to well over 300 ft. lbs. The uprated versions are commonly known as "World Class" T5s. Where higher than stock torque ratings are required uprated versions are available with stronger gear sets and custom gear ratios. ( See our T5 transmission section below. ) Fifth gear is an overdrive fifth, comparable in ratio in some models to the gearing in Volvo's overdrives, in others it has higher or lower overdrive ratios.
A rebuilt T5 with our adpater plate, a modified late syle 240/740 bellhousing, and Pro 5 shifter.
Our adapter plates, CNC machined from 6061 T6 aluminum, allow a T5 transmission with a "Ford bolt pattern" ( the T5s in some GM cars also have this bolt pattern ) -- usually from a '92 and earlier 5-liter Mustang or aftermarket Motorsports T5 -- to be mated to either a Volvo M40/41 or M45/46 bell housing and their associated engines. Using this adapter plate and a recommended transmission, the shifter will be in the stock location in an 1800E/ES, 140s with rearward shifter location, and the 240. On the 740 the shifter will be a lttle over an inch farther forward then stock. These cars all have transmission tunnels wide enough to easily accommodate the T5. The T5 needs a wider transmission tunnel than is normally found in the 544 and early 1800s and 122s -- 9 inches wide vs. 14 inches for later cars. For these earlier cars the T9 swap is recommended. See the section on the T9 swap below.
The parts required for the T5 swap into RWD Volvos are listed below:
T5 adapter plates for B18/B20 engined cars - $175 No modifications to the B20/B18 bellhousings are required
T5 adapter plates for 240/740 - a modified bell housing is required in order to eliminate the need to modify the transmission - Adapter plate with modified bell housing - $250. Core charge of $100 if we provide the bell housing. We usually have a good number of modified bell housings in stock. Send us your bell housing to eliminate the bell housing core charge.
Modifications to cable type clutch forks with dowel pins for use with Ford type release bearings - $20 Required spacers - $20 Core charge - $60 for used forks when available. We suggest that you supply your own fork as new forks are now priced at over $100.
- Modifications to hydraulic type clutch forks for use with Ford release bearings - $40 Core charge - $ 60 for used forks when available. We suggest that you supply your own fork as new forks are now priced at over $100.
- Ford release bearings - Steel high performance type - not the cheap plastic ones - $60
- Special pilot bearings for use with the T5 from the 5.0 L Mustang $25
T5 Slider Yoke - $65 Slider yoke modified to use the Volvo size U joint for easier fitting in the trans tunnel - $115
Clutch disc with splines to match the T5 - usually 10 x 1 1/16 - see the clutch section for choices. For stock power applications our heavy duty disc with T5 splines is recommended - $140
For a more in depth explanation of the components involved in the T5 transmission swap see below:
T5 transmissions -- Recommended is the T5 from an '88 - '93 5-liter V8 Mustang. In selecting a transmission particular attention must be paid to the input shaft length, as this length determines whether a particular transmission will work with our adapter plate and Volvo bell housing. Our adapter plates are made for transmissions with 7.18 inch long input shafts. Transmissions are identified by their tag number, not any of the numbers stamped on the housings. With the tag number you can determine the transmission's OEM application as well as gearing and input shaft specifications.
Details on the Ford version of these transmissions can be found at the FordMuscle magazine website: www.fordmuscle.com/archives/2000/09/t5swap/index2.shtml or go to the "T5 transwap" article, then either to the "manual - trans manual article" and/or the T5 identification chart.
Transmissions typically range in cost from $1300 for a new Ford Motorsports T5, to $600 - $900 for a rebuilt transmission, to $300 - $500 for a used trans. In the used market, the T5 from the '88 - '93 Mustang usually sells at a premium as it is one of the most desirable for various transmission swaps due to its input shaft length, power handling capacity, and gear ratios. In selecting a transmission play particular attention the the gear ratios, especially 1st and 5th gear as these are the ones that are most likely different from the stock Volvo transmission ratios. 5th gear ratios of .68 and .63 may be too much for most 4 cylinder cars.
Comparison of M41 with overdrive and the T5. The T5 is lighter and much stronger.
Adaptor plates -- Our adapter plates are CNC machined from 6061 T6 aluminum. For the B18B20 swap replaciing the M40/41 transmissions no bellhousing modification is necessary. For swaps into 240s, 740s, etc., an adapter plate plus machining of the M45/46 bell housing is necessary. We normally have adapter plates and pre-machined bell housings in stock.
Ford throwout bearing -- In our swaps the Ford throwout (release) bearing is used with the Volvo clutch fork. This eliminates the need to modify the transmission as is necesssary with some other versions of this swap. Use the good quality metal bearing.
Clutch Fork -- The Volvo clutch fork has to be modified to fit the Ford bearing and the larger diameter of the T5 input shaft sleeve and to move the bearing closer to the clutch pressure plate. For cars with cable operated clutches the pins in the dowel pin type fork have to be ground to shorten them to fit the larger diameter of the Ford throwout bearing. Machined and hardened offset spacers, that we provide, are inserted over the pins. The clutch forks for hydraulic clutches are modified be reshaping the fork and welding on hardened material to provide the proper clearances and dimensions.
Pilot bearing -- Whether or not you have to install a different pilot bearing depends on the transmission that you are using. The input shafts for some of the Ford and Chevy T5s use the same size pilot as does Volvo - 0.59 ". If the T5 is from the V8 Mustang the size is different - 0.668 ". A Ford pilot bearing can be used since the outside diameter is the same but the length is different and it will not work with the stock locking clip. We offer a bearing that is both a better fit in the Volvo crank and of better quality.
Slider yoke -- The slider yoke slides into the tailshaft of the transmission and becomes part of the first universal joint of the driveshaft. It needs to be installed by a specialty driveline shop and the driveshaft has to be re-balanced.
Driveshaft -- Experience has shown that using the stock 2 piece driveshaft is the best way to go. At first we recommended a one piece drive shaft but more problems ( vibrations ) were encountered in installations using the one piece shaft.
Transmission mount -- An adapter has to be fabricated to adapt the T5 to the stock transmission mount. Depending on the model, either the Volvo or Ford style transmission mount bushing can be used. On some models this is as simple as adding a steel angle to the stock mount. It is crucial that the mount be designed to maintain proper transmission height and not change the angle of the transmission and engine in relation to the driveshaft. Changing the angles can produce vibrations.
In the photos below the two top photos show a flat plate welded to a Volvo 140 transmission crossmembers to adapt the mount to the ford type bushing. The first photo in the second row shows a T5 in a 140 with the Ford bushing in place ready for installation of the modified crossmember. The next photo shows a similar modification done to a 240 transmission crossmember. The last row of photos shows the 140 crossmember with an adpater plate attached to the stock Volvo transmission bushing.
Clutch disc -- The disc splines have to fit the T5 input shaft splines as well as being of the correct thickness for the pressure plate being used. We stock several performance versions of this disc which are of much better quality than the stock type Ford disc. These include heavy duty organic, kevlar and metal 4 puck discs. Some Volvo turbos have a 9 inch clutch. We can provide 9 inch performance discs to match this clutch and flywheel on a custom basis. See the clutch section of the website clutch disc prices.
Clutch pressure plate -- A Volvo pressure plate can be used with an appropriate disc and other parts described above as long as engine power is still in the stock range. For high performance applications with power over the 200 HP level there are a variety of uprated clutches available, including our twindisc clutch.
Flywheel -- Most of the RWD Volvos have a flywheel designed for use with an 8.5 clutch. Some cars had a 9 inch clutch with heavier flywheel. For performance applications we recommend replacing the 9" flywheel with the lighter 8.5" version. We can also provide lightweight aluminum flywheels for both 6 and 8 bolt cranks. These weigh less than. half the weight of the stock flywheels and are much safer than attempting to machine significant weight off the stock flywheel.
Shifter -- The T5 often comes without a shifter or shifter handle. Shifters and shifter handles in different configurations are readily available. For performance applications we recommend the use of a billet aftermarket shifter such as the Pro 5 Quick Shift that we sell and use on our T5s. The photo on the left below shows the T5 shifter location in a 240. On the right its in a 740.
Speedometer drive - On models with an electronic sender no modification is usually necessary. On models that use a conventional speedometer cable, the proceedure is simply to attach the end of a the stock Volvo cable onto the Ford cable. This can be done by a shop or on a do-it-yourself basis. The photo on the left shows the speedo ends of a Mustang and Volvo speedo cable. The photo on the right shows the Mustang cable with a Volvo end.
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T5Z Close Ratio Transmission
These transmissions are based on the Ford Motorsports T5Z aftermarket trans from Tremec, custom built to our specifications. The heavy duty T5Z has a cluster gear reinforcing plate and stronger fifth gear to meet the needs of customers whose street or track use requires a T5 with higher HP capacity and a close ratio fifth gear that can be used for acceleration rather than just highway economy cruising. The combination of both a 2.95 first and .80 overdrive 5th gear, a combination not normally available, make this a close ratio trans. Also available with .73 or .90 fifth gears. We now also offer an economy version which leaves out the reinforcing plate and uses a stock type .73 5th gear, saving $300 in the initial cost and giving better highway fuel economy in most applications.
HD T5Z with cluster gear reinforcing plate and stronger than stock .80 5th gear. With stock shifter $ 2195. With billet Slick Shift shifter $2395.
Economy version T5Z with 2.95 1st and .73 5th. With stock shifter - $1895. With Slick Shift shifter - $ 2095.
The Slick Shift shifter that allows the shifter position to be moved back several inches - ideal for the 700 and 900 series Volvos - . Email for details.go to top | how to order
T9 5 Speed Transmission
The perfect replacement 5 speed transmission, expecially for those pre - 1970 Volvos or other cars with narrow trans tunnels. Sometimes known as the "German 5 speed" this is one of the most widely used 5 speeds in Europe. Most commonly in the Ford Sierra, it came to the US in the Merkur, XR4Ti, and some 4 cylinder Mustangs. It is the most widely used transmissions to upgrade to a true 5 speed trans in British sprots cars. While not a trans that I would use with a 300 + HP turbo motor, it's a vary good candidate for normally aspirated motors, is small enough to fit in most transmission tunnels without modification, and is quieter than the T5. In an 1800 the shifter comes out in the same location as the stock M41 shifter. For racing applictions there are both close ratio synchro and dog ring versions.
Customers have complained that they can’t find used versions of this transmission in the US, so we have arranged to provide rebuilt units with the following configurations available:
Street, standard ratio version - ratios are 3.65 1st, 2.97 2nd, 1.37 3rd, 1.00 4th, .82 5th. - $1200
Recommend semi-close ratio version - the ratios are closer to Volvo ratios - 3.36 1st, 1.81 2nd, 1.26 3rd, 1.00 4th, .825 5th - $1575.
Transmission dimensions: 23.5" overall from transmission face to end of tail; 22" from transmission face to center of shifer; width 7"; height 10"; input shaft length 190 mm.
Three different input shaft lengths are available -
Short input = 177 mm = 6.97 inches
Merkur input = 194mm = 7.625
Scorpio input = 208mm = 8.19
T9 with adapter plate and Volvo B20 bell housing.
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T9 5 Speed Transmission Swap
Unlike the T5 swap, the T9 Transmission swap into a Volvo 1800, 122, 140, or 544 uses the stock Volvo pilot bearing, release bearing and clutch fork. Modifications to the transmission input shaft sleeve, the Volvo bellhousing, the front section of the driveshaft, the transmission crossmember, and in some models its location, are required. The shifter location is approximately the same as the rear shifter location as in an 1800, or 123GT. Parts that would normally be purchased are as follows:
- T9 to B18/B20 bellhousing adapter plate - $175
- T9 adapter plate with modified bell housing - allows the transmission to be installed or removed with the bell housing attached to the engine - $250 + $100 bell housing core charge if one is not provided
- Clutch disc with correct splines for the T9 - Severe duty organic discs- $140 - High performance 8.5 " kevlar discs - $195
- Slider Yoke - $65 Slider Yoke modified for a better fit in the trans tunnel - $ 90 ( only needed on certain models )
Modifications to the transmission, bellhousing, transmission crossmember and driveshaft would normally be done at our shop or another shop where the car is located. The driveshaft modification - attaching the slider yoke and rebalancing - should be done by a specialty driveline shop. In order to use the Volvo release bearing, the transmission input shaft sleeve is slightly reduced in diameter by turning on a lathe. The bellhousing modification is simply drilling additional holes for bolts to attach the adapter plate to the bellhousing as shown in the photos below. As the assembly process involves bolting the adpater plate to the transmission, and then bolting the bell housing to the adpater plate from inside the bellhousing, the transmission and bellhousing have to be installed as a unit. However, a new version of the adapter plate, with modified bellhousing, allows the transmission and adapter plate to be bolted to the bellhousing from the transmission side, allowing the transmission to be installed or removed with the bellhousing still attached to the engine.
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Custom Shift Knobs
|A customer needed a shift knob for his T5 conversion and there was no time to order one, so I made one out of some aluminum that was on hand. It came out so nice that I made a few more and can now offer them for the M40/41, T5 and T9 and many other transmissions. Adds are really nice solid feel and unique look to your shifter. Several different custom styles are available, or just tell us what you want it to look like - makes a great gift - $50|
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