Time to rebuild my 3-speed toploader

I figured this would need to be done eventually. Changed the transmission gear oil a couple months back and it made a huge improvement. Unfortunately, it’s leaking lots of oil and one or more bearings are beginning to let me know that all is not well, so it’s time to get after my first transmission rebuild. Looks like there are kits available online, in no particular order:

Mustang Country
Tom’s Bronco Parts
Toploader Heaven (not sure they have 3-speed stuff…)

Just went out and did a quick hunt for the transmission tag. Found this after a bit of cleaning:
Can anyone help with decoding?

I have a shop manual, and also found this online (looks a lot like the shop manual). Any suggestions, tips, hints, best practices, warnings, etc., that I will benefit knowing before diving in?

Thanks in advance!

RAT U ? Sounds like a college for tattle-talers.

You will probably need some bearing splitters and a press to do the work.

It can be done without, I have done it without more than once.

Having said that, I think Nate needs a nice, already rebuilt, detailed, RUG-E3 4-speed (I happen to know where there is one)!

Hah. I might be tempted by a 4-speed overdrive :think:, but I’m fine with the original 3-speed that get’s me to 1:1 through-put in two shifts. Plus, I want to keep this cat as close to stock as possible. Thanks for the offer, though. :wink:

Wow–you’re the only other person I’ve seen lately who likes the 3 speed.


RAT U = 1968 Mustang 302
I don’t know what the “021378” means tho.

Good luck with the rebuild!

Thanks to everyone for your earlier responses.

I’ve been searching for rebuild kits and finding that Bronco-focused retailers are most common sources for 3-speeds. I’ve inquired with several about using their kits on the Cougar, and received these replies:

I’m guessing that any of the kits marketed specifically for RAT transmissions will work OK; I mean, a RAT 3-spd TL is a RAT 3-spd TL, right? But I’m not so sure about the bearings. I’ve done a little internet research on both Koyo and Timken – it seems that these are the two current top brands for bearings. Any recommendations or insight on which brand of bearings your would prefer / recommend?

(FWIW, I was born & reared in the same town as Timken is HQ’d, so I’m partial to them.)


A 4 speed is no overdrive, as the 4.th gear is 1:1 ,same as the 3 speed, just one more option before you get to direct gear :wink:

Actually three was a top loader that was called a three speed plus over drive where 4th gear is an overdrive ratio. It has an odd bulge on the side of the case so it is easy to identify. They are not terribly common and not good for more than 300 HP.

I have one that I took out of a 83 Mustang LX, 3rd gear is 1to1 and fourth is a little less than .75 to 1

I have the T&C (3+1) in mine. I think I use a rebuild kit off ebay to rebuild it about 2 years ago. The best place to start that I’ve found is http://www.davidkeetoploaders.com/ for info on just what you have. The cool thing about the T&C is that a hurst shifter bolted right onto it. I made an adapter for it and bolted one of my stock 3 speed stick onto it. The adapter that’s on it was for a maverick. I had to change it for the cougar a bit.