How to Install an Automatic Shifter Rebuild Kit in Your 1965-1993 Ford MustangLast Updated October 13, 2023 | Nate Moonis
Your Mustang’s automatic transmission can become sloppy and imprecise as it ages. If you find yourself unsure of what gear you're in, it might be time to replace some worn-out hardware in your automatic shifter. Refreshing your automatic shifter with an 1965-1993 Mustang Automatic Shifter Level Rebuild Kit is a relatively simple process that can prevent you from having to completely rebuild the shifter in your ride.
How to Install an Automatic Shifter Rebuild Kit in Your 1965-1993 Ford Mustang
In this installation guide, we'll walk you through the process of disassembling your shifter, replacing the worn-out bushings with durable plastic ones, and reassembling it. These replacement bushings help prevent the mushy feeling caused by worn-out rubber in your automatic shifter. While this install isn't particularly challenging, it isn't completely beginner-friendly either. You shouldn't have any trouble rebuilding the automatic shifter in your 1965-1993 Mustang if you’ve worked on cars before.
- 1/4-inch Ratchet
- 7/16-inch Socket
- 9/16-inch Socket
- 3-inch Extension
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- T-10 Torx Bit
- Clip Removal Tool
Step 1: Remove Shifter Handle
Locate the screw on the back of the shifter handle. Then, remove the screw holding the handle to the shaft of the shifter and remove the shifter handle
Step 2: Remove Shifter Bezel
Remove the four Phillips head screws holding the shifter bezel in place. Then, remove the bezel.
Step 3: Remove Shifter Retaining Plate
Remove the four screws holding the automatic shifter retaining plate in place. Then, remove the plate.
Step 4: Remove Shifter Bucket Hardware
First, remove the four nuts holding the shifter bucket to the transmission tunnel. Then, unplug the wires to the shifter light and lift the shift bucket up.
Step 5: Remove Shifter Bucket
Remove the cotter pin connecting the shifter linkage rod to the transmission linkage. Then, slide the washers off and the linkage should disconnect. Now, remove the shifter bucket from the car.
Step 6: Remove Shifter Nut
Gently pry the rubber cover off of the bottom of the shifter bucket to expose a 9/16-inch nut. Then, remove it.
Step 7: Remove Shifter Lever and Shifter Linkage
Separate the Mustang automatic shifter lever and linkage rod by gently wiggling and pulling them apart. The lower arm stud might be a bit stuck, so giving it a few taps with the end of a screwdriver or ratchet is a good idea.
Once they're apart, remove both arms from the shifter bucket.
Step 8: Clean the Shifter Bucket
Remove any broken or deteriorated bushings where the arms connected and clean up the area.
Step 9: Install Replacement Bushings
Slide the two replacement bushings from the kit into place on the shifter bucket. One goes on the outside of the bucket while the other goes inside. Refer to the pictures below.
Step 10: Reinstall Shifter Bucket
Reinstalling your shifter bucket is the same process as disassembly, just in reverse. Position the shift arm in park (all the way forward). Then, reattach the shifter to the transmission linkage while pulling the linkage all the way back. This ensures the transmission is in park.
Once everything has been reassembled, put your foot on the brake and shift through all six driving positions. If it goes into all of them without issues, you're all done! If not, readjust the position of the shifter when it connects to the transmission linkage and try again.
Refresh the Worn-Out Automatic Shifter in Your 1965-1993 Ford Mustang
Swapping out the worn-out and deteriorated rubber bushings in your 1965-1993 Mustang's shifter completely removes the mushiness and lack of precision common in these classic cars. Upgrading your Mustang with an automatic shifter rebuild kit is a surefire way to improve your driving experience without breaking the bank.
If you're looking for other ways to upgrade your Mustang's automatic transmission, check out the parts below.