2002-2005 6 speed tbird conversion

Surfing Jaguar forums I just learned that there is a German made manual transmission that bolts directly to Jaguar S-Type 2.7 liter diesel which means it also bolts directly to the 4.0/4.2 Jag AJ-V8. Would that mean it works on the Ford 3.9 it’s the Tbird? Its the ZF S6-53 which is available in Europe and the UK. Although it would cost $$$ to get one to the US , sure would be neat to put one in a Tbird. Clutch and flywheel would have to be figured out along with ecm mods but I have to say, my Corvette has a manual 6 in it and there is nothing like the feeling of hitting the gas and getting 100% forward motion instead of waiting for the rear wheels to catch up to the engine via the torque converter. Anyone have knowledge of such a conversions feasibility ? As I say...sure would be neat
 

Sierra977

Well-Known Member
Lincoln LS offered manual transmission with V6 engine option. Same DEW98 platform as retro Thunderbirds. Pedal assembly and other parts should bolt-in to retro birds.

Might make sense to look at entire trans/clutch, bellhousing, linkage etc as well.
 

Aznav

Well-Known Member
Surfing Jaguar forums I just learned that there is a German made manual transmission that bolts directly to Jaguar S-Type 2.7 liter diesel which means it also bolts directly to the 4.0/4.2 Jag AJ-V8. Would that mean it works on the Ford 3.9 it’s the Tbird? Its the ZF S6-53 which is available in Europe and the UK. Although it would cost $$$ to get one to the US , sure would be neat to put one in a Tbird. Clutch and flywheel would have to be figured out along with ecm mods but I have to say, my Corvette has a manual 6 in it and there is nothing like the feeling of hitting the gas and getting 100% forward motion instead of waiting for the rear wheels to catch up to the engine via the torque converter. Anyone have knowledge of such a conversions feasibility ? As I say...sure would be neat
I actually wondered that myself as I LOVE a manual transmission. However, for me, I would think the cost would be prohibitive.
 
I just picked up a 2002 thunderbird with 80k miles and am looking into a manual trans swap. I will keep you all informed.
And any input anyone has into this will be greatly appreciated.
 

biddle

Forum Moderator
Staff member
I am looking into a manual trans swap.
And any input anyone has into this will be greatly appreciated.
My input is that this is a Thunderbird, not a Mustang or Corvette and converting it to a manual transmission, which isn't going to happen, would make the car worthless. Even the Corvette is only available as automatic in 2020.
 
My 2 cents... Buy a different car with a standard shift to fill your need. The engine and automatic transmission are computer controlled. They work together through computers. I would suspect that reprogramming the computer, (something that would take specialized equipment) to understand that there are no inputs coming from the transmission and run correctly, would be difficult, if not impossible. Just put your car in neutral and try to rev the engine... The computer knows and will not let the RPMs go above 3k. And then there is the cost. $$$. I realize that some things are a 'labor of love' and money is incidental. The Dealer would never touch such a reprogramming project. If you could find someone, you better get some guaranties, because they may just trash the computers.
 
Good morning all. Many thanks to all of you. I really appreciate the input...coming from both directions, pointing out the pros and cons of such a project. Of course the wise course is always to count the cost before jumping in to such a complicated project. If it were to work out well...I'd have something that no one else on the planet has. And if not...oh well. Again, I'll keep you all posted.
 

Aznav

Well-Known Member
Good morning all. Many thanks to all of you. I really appreciate the input...coming from both directions, pointing out the pros and cons of such a project. Of course the wise course is always to count the cost before jumping in to such a complicated project. If it were to work out well...I'd have something that no one else on the planet has. And if not...oh well. Again, I'll keep you all posted.
This will sound somewhat humorous. I too wished there was a manual in a big way. However...to satisfy my latent mid-life crisis needs, I found that straight pipes or Flowmaster's and the SST to the right really does a nice head-turning job. The hardest thing was to learn not to try and shift into second pulling back on the shifter. Oh, yeah, that will get your attention quick!!
 

Frankie the Fink

Well-Known Member
I put a 5-speed overdrive Tremec transmission into my '61 Corvette replacing the original 4-speed, it is NOT a trivial exercise and moreover doing it on a modern car that is not already a manual transmission adds an order of complexity to the task. Effectively putting in that "third pedal" is not easy and in a car not designed for it may require reinforcing the firewall, relocating existing pedals and/or working out the geometry and spacing for linkage to make the clutch work.

None of which even touches on the minutia of dealing with the "Park" position interlocks for car start-up, soft-top operation, door locks, computer interfaces, etc.. This will be a long, dark, lonely road with no end in sight..
 
These days, even in most of the racing circuits, Automatics are preferred. They may have a shift lever for selection, but the automatic does the actual shift. No more missed shifts. A race shop may be able to 'beef up' the original trans if the owner feels something is missing. The added muscle will transfer down the drive line and find any possible weak links not engineered for the changes. I did it years ago on a pickup. Always had to carry a wrench and spare driveshaft in the back for insurance, when you were feeling frisky!!:D
 

Aznav

Well-Known Member
I put a 5-speed overdrive Tremec transmission into my '61 Corvette replacing the original 4-speed, it is NOT a trivial exercise and moreover doing it on a modern car that is not already a manual transmission adds an order of complexity to the task. Effectively putting in that "third pedal" is not easy and in a car not designed for it may require reinforcing the firewall, relocating existing pedals and/or working out the geometry and spacing for linkage to make the clutch work.

None of which even touches on the minutia of dealing with the "Park" position interlocks for car start-up, soft-top operation, door locks, computer interfaces, etc.. This will be a long, dark, lonely road with no end in sight..
I mean, other than that...
 
I just picked up a 2002 thunderbird with 80k miles and am looking into a manual trans swap. I will keep you all informed.
And any input anyone has into this will be greatly appreciated.
Tough crowd! Of course you can put a manual trans in a modern Thunderbird. Will it be cheap? Who knows. The parts already exist - just a matter of sourcing them, collecting them snd assembling them. I feel like the people telling you how hard it would be to bypass the electronic nannies have never worked on a modern car.
Should you do it? Absolutely! The car is a GT- it deserves a stick!
 

Frankie the Fink

Well-Known Member
I've worked on a bunch of modern cars, and the more modern, the more complex the computers and "nannies" to keep drivers from doing something stupid. Its not a slam dunk. Just a for instance, you have to "fake" being in park with a manual transmission to get the automatic soft top to raise/lower - so the "cheap seat" is to just make the top "dumb" so it operates anytime, effective but dangerous. Doing this swap will result in a multitude of such compromises and work arounds that will make the car a one-off and hard to sell someday if that is one's intention. And troubleshooting if problems arise ? You can just about forget about your code scanner, it'll either not work or dump its guts with dozens of errors.

This car (which I've since sold) was an automatic converted to a Muncie 4 speed and it was a pain in the neck without ANY computers. People that haven't done it should think twice.
Just getting the linkage and return spring geometry is an engineering effort and that is on a car that had a manual tranny as an option. IMG_3716_lil.jpg sucp_0007_10_z+chevy_clutch_linkage_kit+installation.jpg
 
I've worked on a bunch of modern cars, and the more modern, the more complex the computers and "nannies" to keep drivers from doing something stupid. Its not a slam dunk. Just a for instance, you have to "fake" being in park with a manual transmission to get the automatic soft top to raise/lower - so the "cheap seat" is to just make the top "dumb" so it operates anytime, effective but dangerous. Doing this swap will result in a multitude of such compromises and work arounds that will make the car a one-off and hard to sell someday if that is one's intention. And troubleshooting if problems arise ? You can just about forget about your code scanner, it'll either not work or dump its guts with dozens of errors.

This car (which I've since sold) was an automatic converted to a Muncie 4 speed and it was a pain in the neck without ANY computers. People that haven't done it should think twice.
Just getting the linkage and return spring geometry is an engineering effort and that is on a car that had a manual tranny as an option. View attachment 15112 View attachment 15113
Love the license plate. My chuckle for the day.
 
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