1969 Cougar XR7 T5 conversion

I’m new to this Forum and I need a little help. I would like to convert my 69 cougar convertible with a 3 speed manual to a 5 speed manual. I would also like to change the rear end to a 411 traction lock. I’m not a mechanic so I’m mainly looking for a place that will supply the needed equipment that I can order and than have my mechanic do the install. Is there a kit?



I don’t know of a kit, but there are a lot of folks that have done the conversion. It looks like you probably have a 351 so there should be lots of possibilities. Since you need to get this installed, you might want to add your location to your profile so people will know who to recommend for your area.

I am sure that there will be some folks popping up here with more details. Is you car stock otherwise?

Here is a blurb from this thread. http://www.mercurycougar.net/forums/showthread.php?57771-3-speed-M-T-to-5-speed-M-T&highlight=conversion

There have been hundreds of articles on this conversion, both in print and on the Internet. The “trick” is to realize that, whether or not a Cougar owner wants to accept the fact, the Cougar is “just like a Mustang” (from the engine by to the rear seat footwells); and there are a lot more early Mustangs than Cougars out there being converted to a T5 (or TKO) manual transmission.

So, just go to Google and enter in “Mustang” and “T-5 conversion”. There are at least 10 pages -at 50 results per page- on the topic. Some are basic how-to articles like the previously mentioned Mustang Monthly article, some are vendors offering kits from basic to all-inclusive, with clutch activation parts, crossmembers, and transmissions.

One thing to understand right off; the model T5 that comes closest to fitting an early Cougar will come from a 79-93 “Fox-body” Mustang. From that assortment, look for transmissions from the later-model cars; as a “factory-stock” T5 from a 1979 four-banger Mustang may or may not stand up to your 289, depending on driving habits.

You could even do an “Advanced Search” right in this Forum and find some threads on the subject. It’s very common with today’s prices.

http://www.americanpowertrain.com sells a turn key kit and the owner has a 67 Cougar he has done the conversion to. Check out the COUGAR video clip on their site!

Thanks Guys! I live in Central New Jersey. The car has a 351W. I did a little research after googling mustang 69 t5 conversion and found a kit at :


It looks comprehensive but I’m not a mechanic so I don’t know. Its a little pricey but its a brand new tranny. I will check the link that Don posted. Thanks for your time. Is that price reasonable or should it be a lot cheaper? $2800

I doubt you will find it cheaper and they may even do free shipping.

Good grief, Don! How could you quote a guy that spouts sooooo much heresy? A Cougar being like a MUSTANG? :astonished:
Dude oughta be shot!

EDIT: OBTW, Keisler has some of the more complete kits; they’re on the second or third Google page, if I remember correctly…

Jegs or Summit have the trans at the best prices. make sure you get a world class Z rated T-5. The brand new ones are, but as Don stated the earliy ones could be a problem. I have run my 351 and T5 for over 3000 track miles no real problems.

P.S. keep the ol pedal, eq bar factory setup. The cable or hyd setups will be a major pain and cost will be higher.

Thanks Bill

Your welcome!!

Just a quick piece of unsolicited advice: A Mustang T5 and 4:11 gears are not a good mix. Yes, the RPMs will be acceptable on the highway, but unless you custom order your T5, as opposed to using a common aftermarket model or Mustang take-out unit, first gear will be uselessly low.
The T5 gearing was designed for Mustangs that had 2.73:1 axle gears standard, and 3.08:1 as the steepest option (for manual transmission cars.) They needed a super low gear in the transmission to compensate for the axle ratios. They work well when combined with a rear gear up to around 3.50 or 3.60:1. Beyond that, driveability suffers because you can only drive about four feet in first gear before you have to shift, and performance suffers because there’s no way to get traction with all that gear multiplication. I’ve tried 4.11s behind a wide-ratio 5-speed (TKO) in a '69 351W car, and believe me, I’m much happier with the 3.60s I have now.
I’d love to try one of the new close-ratio TKOs with steeper rear gears, and if you can spring for one of those, or equivalent T5,go for it. Unfortunately, they weren’t available when I did my conversion ten years ago.

I strongly disagree! I have 4:10 in the car now and it has no problem w/ 1st gear. I agree though that a 4:10 is too tall for street/daily driving. It does work quite well on the track, but still no problems w/ 1st gear being too low.

You make a good point. On a track car, tall sticky tires, a revvy engine and a proper suspension set up can compensate in large part for sub-optimal gearing. If the original poster intends to build that kind of car, then 4.11s can be made to work acceptably well.
But, the fact remains that for all around performance and driveability, a launch ratio (first gear x rear axle ratios) of around 10:1 is optimal. A Mustang T5 has a 3.35:1 first gear. Combining that with a 4.11 rear yields a tractor-like 13.77 launch ratio. 3.50 rear gears yield a still low, but more manageable, 11.72. (Here’s a handy calculator: http://5speedtransmissions.com/startlineratio.html ) Note that a wide-ratio toploader (2.78 first) and 3.50:1 rear gear yields a 9.73 LR, very close to the optimal 10:1. Which helps explain the popularity of that combination in performance cars back in the day.
With the 4.11s and the TKO 3.27 first gear, I was forced to shift before the 60’ line on the drag strip, which hurt E.T.s. Again, with tall enough tires and an engine with sufficient RPM potential, that can be overcome. But that’s not representative of the typical street-oriented Cougar.
Anyway, just my two cents.

What do you guys think about a T5 with 3.25 gears behind a 390? I have a '67 390 4 speed car that we want to drive on the highway, and around here that means 75 to 85 MPH. The car won’t be drag raced, although i do like to punch it occasionally…

Your cruise RPM depends on your engine’s power band. 2.19 (=0.675*3.25) ratio puts you at 2,100 to 2,200 RPM at the speeds you mentioned. That would be just about perfect for a stock engine.

Bill, behind a torquey 390; I’d be tempted to look at a TKO 500. Not sure how much torque even a well-built T5 would put up with, over time; and the numeric designations after “TKO” are supposed to be ratings, in ft/lbs.
Yes, I know,“A strong T5 can handle a big-block”; but repeatedly, over time? And how much is the price difference between a “strong T5” and a standard production TKO?

[quote="DesertDawg Good grief, Don! How could you quote a guy that spouts sooooo much heresy? A Cougar being like a MUSTANG? :astonished:
Dude oughta be shot![/quote]

If it wasn’t for all the Mustangs, we wouldn’t have cool stuff like this available for our Cougars.

Thanks everyone for your input. My car is a cruiser with (mostly stock 4V instead of 2V and a different intake manifold) the tranny is 3 speed manual with I believe 2.80 rear. Its fun to drive but a dog out of the hole. I just want it to be better off the line and a little more aggressive around town. I’m definitely not putting it on the track! It would seem that 3.50 gears are the best option for me.
Would you agree?

If it wasn’t for all the Mustangs, we wouldn’t have cool stuff like this available for our Cougars.[/quote]

I understand what you are saying; but that particular guy can be a blowhard, running his mouth off at every opportunity.
Just sayin’



Our local transmission guru told me that a T5 was marginal for the torque of my warm Cleveland (400HP). He suggested a Tremec 3553 or TKO 500. He runs a Richmond 6 speed behind his 428 Mustang (before T56 became readily available)

I’d guess you would want the same behind a 390