T-5 Tranny conversions? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb T-5 Tranny conversions?

Hello fellow Alfa owners!
I have owned and wrenched on Alfas for the past 15 years and am still learning, enjoying, and experimenting with this beautiful machine.

I have read hundreds of posts on the positives, and of the shortcomings in engineering design implementations of this automobile manufacturer.

One of my biggest areas of concern is how the power is transmitted to the rear end (transmission). There are questions of gear crunch, gear lightining, the proper way to shift an Alfa, no syncro downshift to first, and so on.

Personally, I'm working on a way to improve this area, permanently. These minor machining operations and misc available parts will allow the T-5 WC transmissions to be adapted to the Alfa bellhousing in a reliable and professional OEM type installation. The advantages are, and will be obivious. Imagine, choice of gearing, approx same weight as Alfa tranny, FULL,Positive, synchronization of gears - upshifting and downshifting very quickly, and the security of knowing replacement tranny parts are readily available if ever needed. The main part I will fabricate that will allow a sucessful and trouble free conversion is the machined aluminum adapter plate (attached to the Alfa bellhousing). I am using a '78 Spider as the test mule. I will thoroughly work out all the dimensions, fabrication details, and use as many readily available parts to make a troublefree install.

I will post my progress with text and pictures to share with the Alfa community --- Coming Soon !!!

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post #2 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 03:19 PM
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Hmm - interesting.

How will you handle the driveshaft? A conversion from the Alfa two piece, to a simple one piece driveshaft might also be an improvement. Like the transmission, the Alfa driveline is a weak area. The two driveshafts are sensitive to alignment, sensitive to balance, the U joints seem to fail frequently, ... A conversion using two U joints that are more robust and more available could be a real improvement.

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post #3 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Smile T-5 Tranny conversions?

I completely agree with all the points made in your post, ALFAJAY !!
The initial measurements from the tailshaft of the T-5 to the rear end, suggest that it is indeed doable with a 1 piece driveshaft, and maintain the same exact angle. Also using 2 real u-joints. I will be presenting this idea and dimensions to a shop here in the Bay Area for scrutiny.
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post #4 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Anybody else out there with ideas or interest in this conversion???

Flybird-T
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post #5 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 11:08 AM
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flybird-T:

Well, to keep the conversation going, I could throw out a few more questions:

- What sort of a car does a T-5 come out of? I am going to guess Ford, though this is just a guess. If the goal is to convert to something from the 21st Century, why not use a 6 speed box? Perhaps your choice was driven by expense, fit, or ...?

- How would your conversion handle the speedometer cable? Do modern transmissions even have a provision for a speedo cable?

- Will the hole in the tunnel for the gearshift need to be repositioned? The stock location of the Alfa gearlever is unusual in that it is so far forward. Most sporty cars have a shorter, more vertical lever, positioned further back. So, if the T-5 has a lever like this, it could be an improvement. However, that would complicate the conversion, due to the need to cut a new hole, fill the old one, and somehow modify the console.

Jay Mackro
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'67 Duetto
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post #6 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfajay View Post
- Will the hole in the tunnel for the gearshift need to be repositioned? The stock location of the Alfa gearlever is unusual in that it is so far forward. Most sporty cars have a shorter, more vertical lever, positioned further back. So, if the T-5 has a lever like this, it could be an improvement. However, that would complicate the conversion, due to the need to cut a new hole, fill the old one, and somehow modify the console.
I would say that for most of the Alfa market, the need to change sheet metal and/or the console would be an absolute deal breaker. For this to be a viable conversion it needs to be both bolt-on and 100% reversible.
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post #7 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 12:57 PM
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Our race rules ( and a race car is the only old alfa I would think of doing this to ) allow changing the gearbox , which I've always thought odd -- but anyway, but the number of ratios must remain the same -- so 5 speed good.
BTW I have a ford paddle clutch in my race car and it ticks all the boxes much stronger, lighter and smoother than standard.
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post #8 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Alfajay:
Very good questions, and I have good answers; the T-5 was originall built by Borg-Warner, later sold to Tremec. BW was original supplier to many different car manufacturers (some are Ford, GM, Nissan,) so availablity is extremely good.
The choice for the 5 speed is expense and availibility. You will be able to use a 6-speed tranny also, but all my measurements will be surrounding the 5-speed. The taihousing from Chevy S-10 bolted to a main tranny box from a Ford Turbo Coupe, will provide stock location for the shifter,(no sheet metal modification) and provisions for a mechanical speedometer. The goal is to make the conversion as much bolt-on as possible. Keep in mind, there are instances where bolt holes would have to be drilled, and moderate mechanical skill and understanding will be necessary.
One post mentions; 100% reversibility--this is not a priority of mine, but It can be unistalled, and reconfigured to the original set-up.
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post #9 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Smile

Hi all,
I am posting some pics below to show physical comparisions between the two trannies. On one pic you can see that the T-5 lends itself to a variety of different adaptable shift levers by the two bolt mounting (even a completely stock looking shift lever can be fitted). The difference from the stock location of the original shifter to the T-5 is approx. 1". This is an early type S-10 chevy tailhousing which moves the shifter to this ideal location. On a T-5,
mostly all tailhousings interchange to provide different shifter locations.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I am going back into my work area to verify measurements and fabricate the adapter plate.
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post #10 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 12:17 PM
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T-5 Conversion

I heard of a T-5 conversion while racing at the VIR 50th reunion and tracked it to Ken Kneher. Ken uses the Alfa bellhousing but has come up with a custom rear housing to use the stock location of shifter and rear cross member.

The T-5 can be built using any number of ratios, with syncros or dog rings for racing. A complete syncro box was around $3500 if i remember correctly.
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post #11 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Dave,
I have heard of that conversion also. That is a very excellent piece of work by Ken. The T-5 shows its durability in the racing arena.
I will also be using the Alfa bellhousing, clutch slave, flywheel,etc. in the original location. However, the cost of this conversion to put the shifter in it's proper location will be approx. $50. to $75.00 using the tailshaft housing from the S-10. (located at any pick-your-part or just about any recycler!!) The rear tranny mount will attach to the original crossmember by way of a sturdy fabricated bracket. Most complete used T-5 transmissions can be had for approx. $80-$100 from recyclers. Again, very good post, and good pic Dave
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post #12 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 04:19 PM
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adapter

i am very interested in this conversion. i had a mustang svo in the mid 80's and really liked the t5.
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post #13 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 10:30 PM
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T5 for the Alfa V6?

Cool idea!

Aren't there a variety of "T-5" transmissions out there? Isn't the T5 WC ("World Class") a bit of overkill for a 4-cylinder car, since it was fitted to V8 Mustangs. Aren't there other variants of the T5 fitted to V6 Mustangs, Camaros, Rangers, S-10s, etc.? Are they any smaller or lighter? Do WC gear sets interchange with lesser T5s?

Heck, as long as you're at it, what are the chances of developing a T5 adaptor for the Alfa V6. Seems like there might be a market for folks wanting to put a V6 in their Spiders and GTVs. The biggest challenge with those projects is finding a suitable transmission and fabricating the bellhousing.
Combine that with a set of motor mounts, custom headers and a custom sump, and it might become a marketable and cost-effective alternative to a TwinSpark conversion. Hmmm....

George
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post #14 of 136 (permalink) Old 03-25-2009, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Hi gattia86,

You're right about there being a variety of T-5 transmissions out there. That's what makes this choice of conversion so tempting. This particular set-up will accomodate all T-5 transmissions with the Ford mounting pattern, but it will not be overkill. The main case and most internals I am using are from the 2.2L Ford 4 cylinder. The trannies are rated by torque handling capacity. The WC tranny backed, 4cylinders, 6 cylinders, all the way to beefy V-8s with over 300 lbs torque output. It all depends on what parts you use on the inside. Also the selection of WC means it is a later gearbox with improved internals(better bearings rather than bushings, composite faced syncros,
etc.). In my opinion the WC are more plentiful, affordable, and all WC internals interchange. The weights of the WC and non WC (earlier production) are aprox the same --give or take 2-3 lbs. Production of the WC came about 1987 -1988 to approx 1996 - 1999. The non WC was earlier. to answer your next excellent question -- I will be developing a conversion for the Alfa V-6. That idea is excellent, but will have to wait until this 4 cylinder project is realised, and thoroughly test driven.
Thanks for the insightfull questions -- I am glad and proud that so many members are really knowleable about the intricacies of Alfa mechanics. For more info, google 'T-5 transmissions'
Thanks,
Flybird-T
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post #15 of 136 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 09:56 AM
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My brother has been wondering why us alfa owners don't use a T-5 as well. It was as easy as ordering a readily available adapter plate for his Volvo racer. Good luck flybird.

[B]eb[/B]
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