Manual Transmission into a Maverick or Comet

[ Transmission Options | Clutch Pedal Assembly | Linkage | Misc ]

Transmission Options

The only manual transmission offered in the Maverick and Comet (at least in the US & Canada) was the Ford 3-speed. If you enjoy driving a stickshift car, then your ideal swap would not involve a 3-speed. There are several options available for more gears:
  • Ford Toploader 4-speed This transmission is one of the strongest transmissions available. Used in many configurations, the ideal would be a small-block transmission from a 1965-1973 Mustang or Cougar. Depending on the shifter used, the Maverick transmission tunnel may require enlargement.
  • Borq-Warner T10 4-speed This transmission is used in some Fords and many GM products. Be sure to obtain one with a Ford transmission pattern. This tranny is weaker than the Toploader, but still more than adequate for street use. The smaller size fits the Maverick tunnel better than the Toploader.
  • Borq Warner T5 5-speed This transmission is used on 1983-1995 Mustangs, as well as Camaros, S10s, and Thunderbirds. The clutch is activated by cable, and the shifter is internal rail. Conversion kits are available to convert the clutch to mechanical linkage.
    I have completed this transmission swap. I modified the 1995 Cobra bellhousing to accept my older style pivot so I could retain the mechanical linkage. If you do not already have a mechanical linkage, you might consider converting to cable.
  • Tremec TKO and 3550 Not to be confused with the Tremec T-45 used in 98-up Mustang GTs and Cobras, the Tremec TKO and 3550 are aftermarket only performance transmissions. They have very high power capabilites and the best part is they bolt up directly with the Ford Toploader/ 3-speed bolt pattern. This means that if you have a 3-speed car this transmission is a direct bolt-in to your bellhousing (custom driveshaft and crossmember required). They are hard to find and rather expensive. The TKO is a high performance version of the 3550, externally they are identical.

Clutch Pedal Assembly

Obviously, you'll need a clutch pedal assembly from a donor Maverick or Comet. However, this is far easier than you might think. NOTE: You do not have to remove the entire bracket assembly. You can simply unclip the pedals and slide them out. Unbolt the spring bracket (colored green above) and bolt it onto your existing pedal bracket. After removing your automatic pedal, the clutch & brake pedals will slide right in. Don't forget the spring.
Every automatic car I've seen has the threaded bosses for the spring bracket, but it would still be prudent to check your car before going to the junkyard.
Important: The pedal assemblies are different on power-brake equipped cars. They are rare and I do not know the exact differences. So be careful at the pick and pull.


6 cylinder clutch linkage

302 V8 clutch linkage
The linkage is the most difficult part of the swap because of its rarity. V8 cars had a different equalizer ("Z") bar(V8 cars had a 2-piece design, while I6 cars had one), as well as other assorted hardware (see above diagrams). Because the only manual option was a 3-speed, it was rarely ordered with the V8, and very few Z bars exist.
The above diagrams are fairly self-explanatory. You need everything to make the linkage work correctly. With a little work, you can make Mustang hardware work on your Maverick. I modified a 1966 Mustang Z bar by shortening it and moving the arms to make it work on my Maverick. See the picture below. On the right is the stock Mustang bar, and on the left is the bar after modification.

Misc. Items

  • DRIVESHAFT: Most likely you will have to shorten your driveshaft, depending on your choice of transmission and your rearend. With my T5 transmission, I was able to use a stock 1979-1993 Mustang driveshaft. The great thing about using this driveshaft is Ford Racing Performance Parts sells an aluminum version that includes a T5 yoke (you will be needing this) for $160, which is cheaper than shortening and balancing. Be sure to check your lengths because this driveshaft will not work for everyone (I have a 9" rear).
  • DRIVESHAFT YOKE: My experience with the toploader AND T5 is that both require a longer manual-specific front driveshaft yoke. (The yoke is different from Toploader to T5) The reason for this is that the toploader's tailshaft has a bushing that the yoke rides in. A shorter C4 yoke will fit the splines on the toploader or T5, but is not long enough to reach the bushing inside, resulting in vibration.
  • CROSSMEMBER: You can use your existing crossmember and mount from your C4 transmission if you are switching to a toploader or T10, but the T5 requires a custom crossmember. They are not too difficult to make. Click here for a picture or my custom T5 crossmember
  • SPEEDOMETER CABLE: A longer speedometer cable was used on stickshift Mavericks and Comets, but I was able to make mine work with my toploader. The T5 uses the same cable but you must buy a T5 specific speedometer gear. The toploader and C4 gears will interchange.

I swapped a 1968 Mustang Toploader into my 1970 Maverick originally equipped with a C4. Because I used an aftermarket shifter, I did have to enlarge my transmission tunnel. Recently I removed the Toploader in favor of a 1995 Cobra T5. If you have any questions about these swaps, feel free to contact me at