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arg... may need to pull clutch/trans


Active Member
so since I got my car tagged last week have driven 15 miles or so... new T5 wants to grind going into reverse. I adjusted the clutch, did not fix. talked to Modern Driveline tech last Friday, he said probably 99% it's a misaligned pilot shaft and the bellhousing needs to be adjusted with offset dowel pins. procedure is not complicated, but requires pulling the trans and clutch to use a dial indicator on the bellhousing. pita. looks like I know what I'll be doing this winter.

now the real question becomes, since it's torn down that much, should I go ahead and do the new motor I was planning in a year or 2 anyway... cause I hate doing things twice.


Active Member
T5s (ones we use) don't have syncros on reverse, so you need to make sure you shift into another gear first (to stop the gears from spinning), then reverse.


The NorCal dude from Belgium
Wel I do have a T5z trans and I put it first in 5th gear to go back in reverse. So thats normal ?


I Don't Care. Do you?
Nothing to verify. Almost all T5's (maybe it is all?) have no reverse synchro. I do the fourth to reverse tango. It's advised not to use third for the simple reason synchro wear happens with every use and you don't want to be messing up your second to third shift this way as it takes beating during spirited driving as it is.

Another option is to jump out the neutral safety wiring and put the trans in reverse before starting with your foot on the clutch. Since most reverse need comes from parking this solves that situation. I DON'T recommend this for obvious possible safety reasons but lots of guys do it.


Active Member
hopefully this is all I need to do, will test later today if I can get away from work later. kind of aggravating tho, the MDL tech I talked to went straight to misaligned bellhousing, never mentioned trying this to me at all... always best to try the simple solutions first. I am 99% sure I was hitting neutral first before going into reverse.

so which is better, going 4 -> R or 5 -> R or does it not make any diff?


I Don't Care. Do you?
Hitting neutral doesn't really do anything and you have to to get into any gear anyway. The key is to get the internal gearing's movement slowed to a stall so you can get into reverse. A synchro does just that. It's a friction device that, like a brake, drags the rotating stuff to a stop. Aside from engaging one (shifting into a forward gear) the next best thing is to let the inertia of movement in the trans slow on its own. Depressing the clutch disengages the driving force into the trans so depress it fully at start, keep it depressed and then do the gear shift shuffle to best effect.


Active Member
I've found in my case 4 works better than 5 but that is likely just my perception.
4th to reverse seems to work just fine ! THANKS EVERYONE. now why in the hell didn't MDL suggest that before making me think I had to pull the tranny and get my dial indicator out... grrrrrr

I did get 2nd opinion from my mechanic, he thinks I need to adjust the linkage a skosh more for a tad more free pedal before the clutch starts to engage, which I will do when I have an hour to spare. my fat ass adjusting linkage under the dash is a tedious process. I could pull the drivers seat back out but think I'll just tough it out instead.


just some guy
T5's grinding reverse is like the grass is green, the sun is bright, etc. I can't imagine why they didn't tip you off straight away. In the later model years they finally added a sort of synchronizer to reverse. I was all about getting my hands on of these or the parts so I could retrofit my older T5. Until I drove one. Better, but they still ground reverse sometimes unless you did the 4-R shuffle. Improved, but not enough for me to get excited about.

I talked to an old timer once who claimed he wasn't aware his T5 ground reverse. Being raised on non-synchronized transmissions he said he would go from first to reverse without even thinking about it. Though fourth to reverse works best for us, his habit makes sense if you consider the shift pattern of a "three on the tree" shifter.

Very general rule of thumb is you want close to an inch of pedal freeplay before you feel like the linkage is starting do anything. On "tighter" hydraulic systems more like half an inch.


Well-Known Member
I bought my TKO from MDL. They were very adamant about the alignment procedure. Of course my scatter shield was a non Ford part so I did it. I didn’t have to use offset dowels, it lined up within the tolerance they gave me. But someone there must have really had a bad time with that because it is a big talking point for them.

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