4 speed conversion?

So, lots of good stuff still going on here in the west. I’ve scored a couple of really good deals recently, one of which is a RUG-BJ 4 speed toploader, from a 72 Mustang. Any reason to not use it in a 67 Cougar? The dimensions “should” all be the same, and I think it “should” bolt right up. Clutch pedal and all that not withstanding. ( I have a clutch pedal and many other parts stashed for this car-)
Also, I got a deal on a pair of Flo- Tek 2.02 heads. While they may not yet have the street cred of an Edelbrock or other “name Brand”, I think they will be a good upgrade for a Comp Magnum cam, and a 3.55 rear gear to go with the 4 speed!!


Your Toploader is a small input (one and 1/16 10 spline) wide ratio if still stock. It will have the 2.78 first gear ratio which is nice coming out of the hole. It will bolt right in with all of the correct 67 parts.

Are you going to run a long tube header? Long tubes will compliment your cam and head upgrades. Going through stock exhaust manifolds will negate much of the power upgrade by the cam and head upgrade. If you go to long tubes you need to be careful on your header choice. The “Z” bar that operates the clutch can be a problem with the Z bar installation and many times will not work.

You did not mention your engine size. The FPA header for a 289/302 will need more than likely need to convert to a cable or hydraulic clutch. But they are the best header on the market.


Modern Driveline is a great source for clutch conversions.



If have the flo ten heads new, take the valves out to clean out the extra debris they come with. Also a good valve job would help.

Right on, Blue68cat, but if one’s on a budget, home-lapping them would probably be a good compromise…

Robert, What would be a good header to run with a manual zbar setup?

Crap. I had a nice paragraph typed out in a reply, and apparently I got timed out!
So to answer the question, I believe the engine is an early 70’s 302. It has the 4 bolt crank pulley on it.
I had forgotten about the headers and clutch linkage thing until you reminded me. The current engine is an 80’s 302, and a leaking C4 that has a shift kit and 3K stall torque converter in it, to go with the comp magnum K35-226-3 cam kit I have. This project has been ongoing for a very, very long time.
I got the Flo Tek heads used, but the K kit comes with valve springs and retainers, so I will have the machine shop verify installed height and coil bind.
I think with a .512 lift cam, the 4 speed and a 3.55 locking rear end, it should be a lot of fun to drive.

You can port manifolds just like cylinder head ports to improve flow, matching them to the exhaust gasket.

Getting the manifolds extrude honed out will improve flow even more, ultimate sleeper.

I’ve used headers before and they have always been more trouble then manifolds, way more heat in the engine compartment, harder to change plugs etc.

This only gets worse when you wrap the headers.

My 302 engine uses stock manifolds, GT-40 heads, Edelbrock 500cfm AVS2 carb + the performer 289 manifold.

It’s pretty darn fast!! Since it’s a California car, it doesn’t even have dial pipes, just a single one with a huge diameter.

I replaced the FMX in my 73 with a toploader. It was a big block transmission and I used a stepped up pilot busing to make up the difference in the length of the input shaft. That transmission eventually ended up in my 64 Falcon Sprint, i replaced the input shaft with a small block input shaft. I also had to replace the tail shaft as well. The shifter sat on the back of the tail shaft on the Cougar and on the Falcon it sat on the front of the tail shaft. Don Kee Transmissions sells the Falcon tail shaft that I replaced it with.

The choices are somewhat limited for a manual Z bar. I will let someone else weigh in on the forum. Most “bargain” headers hang very low and make you drop the power steering ram. They will work, but I do not like dragging headers all over the place. I do set my cars up a bit lower than stock. I have seen many cars with new springs that are even higher than stock and IMO look stupid. But that is me.


I do not have a problem spending money on quality headers, you are correct on the pain of dragging low hanging headers especially on a lowered car which mine is as well.

It will be a while before I am to that point but I may even ditch the z-bar for something else but looking at all options currently.

All I can say is that you’re going to love the swap to the toploader! If you don’t already have a clutch lined up, I would spend a little extra and grab one of the McLeod diaphragm clutches for decreased pedal effort with no downsides. OpenTrackerRacing also sells a lot of stuff to roller-ize the linkage setup, and they give a noticeable improvement.

Header-wise, I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about JBA mid-length headers not interfering with anything, although they certainly make you pay for the privilege. I would not stay with manifolds, even if you do have to wack whatever headers you buy into submission.


The reproduction tri Y headers work w/the factory Z bar, except you have to modify the clutch side rod w/the early style ('65-66 mustang). I did this on my 67. JBA (I think) also makes a different Z bar for use w/certain headers, but that would have involved spending $ & I didn’t want to do that. (lol)

Thanks for the input. I have considered the tri y headers too. It does seem those might have the best chance of fitting all around with the z-bar and power steering etc.

Tri Y’s nave been the “no brainer” choice since the 60’s. Mine is manual steering, so I had no issues other than fiddling w/the clutch linkage. You’ll probably need the PS drop bracket.