What Is the T5 Mustang?

What Is the T5 Mustang?

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Andrew Boyle

The T5 was a five-speed manual transmission available on several Mustangs between 1983 and 2010. Manufactured for Ford by Borg-Warner, there were a number of different iterations of the T5, although all models shared some common parts and characteristics. Features and benefits of the modern T5 include:

  • Lightweight aluminum housing
  • A fifth gear overdrive for extended ratio coverage
  • Reduced noise and vibration due to tapered roller bearings installed on main and counter shafts
  • Lower shift effort thanks to a double-cone design and needle bearings under gears one through five
  • Single-rail shift system
  • Improved synchronizer technology
  • Durable, strut-type design

T5 Mustang

Two Kinds of T5

The biggest distinction between T5 Mustang transmissions is between world-class and non-world class models. Although the name would imply otherwise, the difference between the two is not one of quality — rather, world-class models are intended for the global market, whereas non-world-class T5s were meant for domestic use. To meet the demands of overseas drivers, world-class T5s feature improved synchros and bearings.

Ford and the T5

The T5 was introduced to the Mustang line in 1983 in an effort to give the car better gas mileage and performance. Previously, the Fox Body Mustang, which had been in production since 1979, was available only with a four-speed single-rail over-drive (SROD) design. In 1985, Ford began outfitting Mustangs with world-class T5s, which offered an improved gear ratio over the domestic model. The T5 continued to be a mainstay of the Mustang’s drivetrain for years, receiving a slight makeover in 1990 to produce additional torque. In 1993, Mustang Cobras began to receive a special “Cobra Spec” T5, the first to feature the tapered front bearing and aluminum/steel retainer found on the transmissions to this day.

In 1995, Ford started phasing out the T5 in its V8s, replacing it with the TR-3550.

The T5 in Germany

One interesting piece of trivia is that, completely unrelated to the transmission that would later appear on the car, the first generation of Mustangs was originally marketed as the Ford T5 in Germany, due to a copyright claim on the name Mustang by truck manufacturer Krupp.

Image Credit: Hagerty

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