Magnum T56 and Ford Swap Guide

Why put in a Tremec T56 transmission? Well, there are a lot of reasons. First off, the T56 is capable of handling massive amounts of power. The Magnum version is currently rated at 700 ft-lbs, with further upgrades available. The T56 is also a great shifting transmission. It is very quiet, smooth and does not suffer the same high RPM problems that plague the TKO series. Presently, it is one of the best (if not the best) heavy-duty manual transmissions available.

T56 Identification Chart
Magnum T56 vs Ford T56
Installing a Magnum T56 into a Foxbody
Installing a Ford T56 into a Foxbody
Installing a Magnum or Ford T56 into a SN95
What Shifter for my T56?


T56 Magnum vs Ford T56

A T56 Magnum is what you buy new off the shelf. A Ford T56 is a T56 that was installed by Ford in a Mustang (2000 Cobra R, 2003-04 Cobra), thus we can call it a Ford T56 or Cobra T56 - both terms reference the same thing. T56 Magnums come with a 26-spline input shaft and 31-spline output shaft whereas a Cobra T56 has a 10-spline input shaft and 27-spline output shaft. This means a Ford/Cobra T56 is compatible with your stock clutch setup (10-spline, 10.5" clutch). If you buy a T56 Magnum, you will need to change your clutch for one with a disc that has 26-splines to match the input shaft. However, Ford DOES sell an aftermarket T56 transmission - this is the Magnum version. For the purpose of this article, when I make reference to a Ford T56, I am reffering to a T56 that came equipped, from the factory in either a 2000 Cobra R or 2003-2004 Cobra Terminator. To clarify, see the identification table below.

Magnum T56 is currently rated at 700 ft-lbs in off-the-shelf trim. The Ford models, depending on which year Cobra you take it out of, are usually rated between 450-550 ft-lbs. Not as strong as the Magnum, but no slouch either. Ford T56s also have the advantage of being cheaper, as they are generally only bought from the second-hand market.

T56 Identification

TagApplicationInput SplinesOutput SplinesGear RatiosTorque Rating (ft-lbs)
TUET-2060Cobra R10272.97 2.07 1.43 1.00 0.84 0.56 2.90R 450
TUET-169403-04 Cobra10272.66 1.78 1.30 1.00 0.79 0.63 2.90R450
TUET-7484
TUET-8274
Magnum26312.66 1.78 1.30 1.00 0.80 0.63 2.90R
2.97 2.10 1.46 1.00 0.74 0.50 2.90R
700

See here for further details

Magnum T56 Into a Foxbody

Here are the parts needed to swap a Magnum T56 (which is what you get when you purchase new from a Tremec dealer) into your Foxbody.
  1. 26-spline clutch1
  2. Crossmember
    • AJE #MU-7061
    • Stiffler #TCB-M02
  3. Bellhousing2
    • Quicktime #RM-8031 - clutch fork 7 o'clock position
    • Quicktime #RM-8030 - clutch fork 9 o'clock position (same as stock T5 in Foxbody)
      • Requires McLeod midplate 8705-12
      • Use Foxbody clutch fork Ford #E6ZZ-7515-A, Pioneer CF119
  4. Driveshaft
    Total length should be ~42.8"-43.5". You should have 3/4" of slip yoke visible at the transmission when the driveshaft is bolted to the rear axle flange. In order to obtain this you can:
    • Shorten the stock Foxbody driveshaft by ~1.5-2", OR;
    • use a 2003-2004 Cobra driveshaft (aluminium)
    Every car is slightly different and the driveshaft length should be measured for optimal fitment. Car needs to be on the ground to obtain an accurate measurement. Depending on the mishmash of parts you end up with, you either will use a stock 1330 u-joint or need a conversion 1350/1330 u-joint.
  5. 31-spline yoke
    If it did not come with your driveshaft already (or if you shorteneded the stock one) - Ford Racing #M-4841A-31
  6. Transmission mount - Energy Suspension #4.1104G or Prothane #6-1608-BL
  7. Clutch cable - you will likely need a longer clutch cable. Presently, unable to confirm just how long.
  8. Speedometer
    Magnum T56 uses an electronic VSS. If you want to retain your stock mechanical gauges, you can have a shop modify the tailhousing to accomodate a mechanical drive system, or you can use the Abbott Tach CableX conversion box (converts VSS to mechanical). Otherwise, purchase and install a compatible electronic speedometer (Autogauge).
  9. Lockout solenoid
    You have three options:
    • Using the following pigtail connections, GM #12101857 or ACDelco#PT249 (cheaper), run the reverse lockout solenoid to a simple toggle switch mounted in a convenient place up front. Once installed and connected, simply flick the switch to disable the lockout and easily shift into reverse. When underway, flick the switch back and the lockout will once again become engaged.
    • You can unbolt and remove the solenoid and plug the hole using a 1" pipe plug. You will have to tap the hole. You could also remove the solenoid internals (plunger and spring) and re-install the solenoid (which is now empty) back in place.
    • Don't bother with any of this and simply just muscle the transmission into reverse (yes, this can be done.)

NOTES

1. If using a twin disc clutch (for example, a McLeod RST), further modification is usually necessary. Due to the extra thickness of a dual disc setup, a shorter pivot stud (for the clutch fork) is required. A special throwout bearing or bushing may be needed too. It is best to get an adjustable pivot ball, no matter which clutch kit you use.

2. The difference in bellhousings is the position of the clutch fork. Foxbody Mustangs (1983-1993) used a clutch fork at the 9 o'clock position, whereas SN95 Mustangs used a clutch fork position of 7 o'clock. If you want to guarantee proper clutch fork fitment, in relation to any starter, flywheel or exhaust setup, then you should use the kit that retains the regular T5 position of 9 o'clock - Quicktime #RM-8030, McLeod #8705-12. This of course is more costly.

Changing the clutch fork position to the 7 o'clock version may cause the fork to have clearance problems, cable problems or otherwise interfere with select aftermarket headers. This is not always the case, but there is a possibility of such a conflict occuring. Of course, this setup is cheaper. This is only something you need to take into consideration when installing a T56 into a Foxbody Mustang. SN95 Mustangs can utilize Quicktime bellhousing #RM-8031 (7 o'clock position) without worry.

3. Some owners report having clearance issues in the transmission tunnel and that the tunnel needed some "massaging" to have the T56 fit. This seems to be most commonly encountered when the stock crossmember has been modified in attempt to be re-used, or a custom one has been fabricated. Others have reported no issue at all. Furthermore, depending on your exhaust setup, modifications may need to be made there in order to have no interference. Some owners have had to modify the x/h-pipe, bend exhaust, move hangars and even relocate the catalytic converters. I guess every Foxbody install is somewhat unique.


Installing a Ford T56 into a Foxbody

Installing a Ford version T56 into a Foxbody Mustang is essentially the same thing as above. In this case however, you do NOT need a 26-spline clutch, as Ford T56 models maintain a 10-spline input shaft and are thus compatible with regular OEM-style Mustang clutches. Which bellhousing and resulting clutch fork position is left up to you, but again, recall that 83-93 Foxbody Mustangs came with a T5 using a 9 o'clock fork position. Any Ford version T56 transmission will have come from a later model Mustang that used a 7 o'clock position. For best fit, it is recommended to revert back to the stock 9 o'clock position, but this entails purchasing an additional adaptor piece from McLeod. For further clarification, read note #2 above.

  1. Clutch - retains stock 10-spline clutch
  2. 27-spline slip yoke
    Since Ford T56s (from production Cobras) use a 27-spline output shaft, you will need to use a 27-spline driveshaft yoke. Ideally, you will get a matching driveshaft and yoke together.
  3. Speedometer
    Some Ford T56's came equipped to use a mechanical speedo. In this case, you may only need a longer cable (92", from a 1991 F150 supposedly does the trick). Some owners report being able to re-use the stock cable whereas others did indeed need a longer one. For electronic speedo equipped T56s, you need to change to an electronic speedometer, or use a Abbott Cable X conversion box. (Same as Magnum, above)

Installing a T56 into an SN95

With an SN95, we don't need to worry about the bellhousing and clutch fork. Here are the revisions necessary to install a T56 into an SN95.
  1. Clutch
    match with number of splines on input shaft. See note #1 above if using a dual disc clutch.
  2. Bellhousing
    • 94-95 5.0L
      Quicktime #RM-8031
    • 1996+ 4.6L
      If you have a Ford T56 (out of a Cobra) that comes with the bellhousing, you can use that as-is. If you are missing the bellhousing, you need Quicktime #RM-8080
  3. Clutch fork
  4. Crossmember
    You can buy new, or there are multiple ways to modifiy the stock crossmember to work. It gets a bit complicated, so with that in mind, for further information on crossmember modification, check out this great link from modular fords.
    You can reuse your stock tranny crossmember on the T-56. For the mount you will either have to get the Prothane Conversion mount (part number 6-1608) or get a mount from an F-body car that used a T-56. I used an F-body tranny mount on mine and had to drill one hole in the tranny crossmember. I later swapped to the Prothane conversion mount, it's much nicer.

    You will have to move your tranny crossmember mounts back or forward as well. It will depend on whether you are swapping into a GT or a Cobra. On a Cobra you will move the mounts forward on a GT you move the mounts back. On the Cobra you use the rear hole on mount in the forward hole on the frame, and then drill a new hole for the forward hole. Vice versa on the GT's (they need to move back).
    -Helomech74
    Buying crossmember new:
    • 1994-1998 Mustang - AJE #MU-7061
    • 1999-2004 Mustang - AJE #MU-7070
  5. Driveshaft
    Total length should be ~44.7 from front u-joint center to rear u-joint center. 3/4" of yoke should be visible.
  6. Slip yoke
    Match with the number of splines of the output shaft. Depending on what transmission you have, you either need a 27-spline yoke or a 31-spline yoke.
  7. Lockout solenoid
    Using the following pigtail connections, most guys run the reverse lockout solenoid to a simple toggle switch mounted in a convenient place up front. Once installed and connected, simply flick the switch to disable the lockout and easily shift into reverse. When underway, flick the switch back and the lockout will once again become engaged. Or, other guys don't bother and just muscle the shifter into gear.
  8. Speedometer
    For electronic speedometers, use Dallas Mustang Speed-Cal box.

What Shifter for my T56?

A T56 will come with a stock shifter from Tremec. It is left up to you as to which handle or knob you would like to put on it. However, most guys do away with the stock shifter entirely and replace it with either a Steeda, MGW or Pro 5.0.

Shifter
  • Steeda Tri-Ax #555-7473
  • Pro 5.0 #P1000
  • MGW Shifter #130