T101A Mustang Crossmember Project
NOTE : Pictures with a RED border can be enlarged by clicking them!
To install the TexRacing/GForce T101A in The Ripper a new crossmember needed to be fabricated. I thought I was going to get away easy by using the Tremec TKO modified version but it was just off in a few ways that made it better to come up with something new. I had the original 1965 Mustang transmission crossmember and did a trial fitment just to see how far it was off. Ended up being very close except for 2 areas. One was the T101A has the mount a bit further back so the bolt holes would not align up. And second the Mustang's hokey emergency brake lever has a bracket welded to the crossmember. This bracket is too tall and hits the bottom of the mount. In looking at it, it really wasn't that bad so off to the garage with some steel a grinder, the Miller plasma cutter and Millermatic MIG welder. Below are the results.
The Project - T101A
The idea was to get a good transmission into The Ripper. The obvious choice was the TexRacing/GForce T101A. These became plentyful after each NASCAR/Craftsman/Bud/Nextel Series. I had purchased it direct from TexRacing after selection of a custom gear ratio (you can see it on the Gear Calculator page) it was delivered and ready drop in... Well not without a bit of work and several mockups. This page show the work done to make a stock 1965 crossmember work for this transmission swap.
This is the stock Mustang Crossmember. I bead blasted it then started marking out the areas that needed work. You can see how tall the emergency brake bracket it now. This got into the transmission mount since it was moved back on the crossmember. It looked like it would all work if I could remove it in a way that I could re-weld to the modified bracket. Did I mention that the Mustang emergency brake mechanism is a scary bunch of loose parts! If you do NOT need a emergency brake the job becomes a lot easier...
This is the mount on the transmission, you can see the mount will hang over the back a bit and where the E-Brake bracket gets into the transmission mount. This is a polyurethane rear mount if you must know...
This is a shot after the cutoff wheel did it's business. It was a sparking and dirty mess, but it leave cuts clean and straight for the extension piece that is needed. I was a bit tricky removing the bracket without damaging it, a Sawzall (well a DeWalt) recip saw helped a bit.
A bit closer view of the hack job. One thing that that sucked was that the edge of the crossmember was cut as it did provide some structural integrity to the part. Not to worry I'll fix that later with some bracing to tie it all together.
This is the extension part that was added. Also 2 sets of holes drilled so I could easily slot the crossmember since I'm usually not that accurate in my measurements this would give me some room to adjust the entire package. The nice cut left from the cutoff tool made it easy to fit the new piece on the bracket and thickness was just about right!
This is bottom of the plate welded to the cross member. The new mounting holes are visible and not yet elongated. This also does not show additional support to tie the structure together.
Crossmember Welded More!
Here is a view after re-welding the shorter emergency brake bracket to the to the assembly. The Miller 625 Plasma cutter was called out for an easy job to make the cuts for the adjustable slots for the transmission mount.
Crossmember Top So Far...
Getting close the structure is about done ready for some last bits of test fitment and the final welds.
Painted and Ready to Go
After the last bits of test fittment, and cleaning up some of the ugly welds, it get a treatment of primer and satin black paint. While almost done, it ended up I had to bubble in a bit of the bracket as after the installation it was found that when the transmission was in reverse the reverse arm from the shifter hit the edge of the bracket. Problem solved with a torch by heating the metal and making a dimple, a quick re-paint an this part of the project was done.
Crossmember Another View
Last View of the underside of the T101 crossmember.
T101A at TexRacing/GForce
This is the tranmission on the bench as they were making the shifter bracket and linkage. The nice part about having them build the transmission was that I could specific the location of the shifter relative to the front of the gearbox. This allowed me to retain the stock location for the shifter... Well front to back that is. You will see that it didn't quite drop in.