TKO 500 into '63 Marauder - Ford Muscle Forums : Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

I'm cutting/pasting this from another forum

Figured I'd do a brief write up of the Tremec TKO 500 swap into my '63 Marauder, as there seems to be a LOT of differing experiences/opinions on putting these trans into the early fullsize chassis. Specifically, how to build the trans crossmember, floor mods, and clutch linkage modifications.

Just a little background, I converted car to a T10 because I got it cheap with the pedal/clutch linkage setup. Rebuilt the T10 and used that to get the car running and debugged, using an old Centerforce clutch I had laying around from my former '76 F250. It performed fine and was sweet shifting, but that 2.3x first just killed the feel of the car. I eventually threw a cheap 4.10 open rear in the car which finally made it work OK around town, but I drive the car a fair bit and it just killed the highway manners, 60mph cruise was around 2600rpm and with my exhaust setup just felt like a "hectic" ride.

Here is the car


Engine is basic .030" 390, 750dp, Performer RPM manifold, bowl blended Edelbrocks, 270H Comp, FPA Tri Ys, ~9.5:1 cr. Nice torquey combo, but still needed more SLR, but plenty of torque to pull 2000rpm cruise in OD so we'll see where I end up with rear gear, thinking the 4.10s will be perfect. Rear tire is a 275/60/15.

I bought a Quicktime bell, TKO 500, aluminum driveshaft, offset shifter from the classifieds on the Network54 site. I would've gone for a 600 if buying new as the cost is the same, but this should work just fine for a street car, and initially I wanted to re-use the Centerforce clutch. I also switched to an FRPP steel flywheel, didn't see the sense in putting an old cast iron flywheel in a $600 bellhousing.

First thing noticed is that with the internal shift rails up top, the TKO is much more squared off and taller above the centerline than the T10, especially in the tailshaft area.


The overall length is different between the transmissions. However, with the different depth of bellhousings out there, there's no "definite" answer on whether the old driveshaft will work, as the package of trans length and bell depth will effect the total length. Therefore, best to just measure what you have and adjust accordingly. I got an aluminum driveshaft in the bundle so I didn't have to modify my existing, but as I recall it wouldn've just needed 1-1.5" cust.

The mounting pad is further back on the TKO, and the bolt holes are at a slightly different center. Also, the body of the gear case hangs "lower" on the TKO, meaning you'll have to notch your crossmember. Not a big deal, but I'd say this is a definite on any swap.


Because the mounting pad is further back on the trans, there's a need to move the crossmember to the rear in the chassis. I believe it was 2-3" but I did this last year, then moved houses, so don't have my notes. Either way, not a huge issue. There are several ways to move the mount, you can go bigtime and cut the mounts off the frame and relocate. This would require widening the crossmember as the frame gets wider in that area as you move back, that seemed like a lot of work for no real benefits that I can see. You can section the crossmember and move the mount back in the middle, or you can weld "tabs" on the crossmember mounts and move them back. I chose the latter, less work and I was up against a time constraint last year to get the car mobile as I was moving. If I did it again, I'd choose the second option and section the middle of the crossmember as I believe it's a "cleaner" install. You'd likely have to mess with the Ebrake mount either way. Pics show the small notch I had to take out of the crossmember flange to clear the main body of the trans, and the "tabs" I welded on to the crossmember to locate it back on the frame.




Also, if you have an early clutch fork (I reused the stock fork i had which has the wire clip), the pivot point is different than later bells/forks, so the pivot must be moved. I measured it at ~3/8" outboard and redrilled. Again, tight timeline dictated using what I had, I'd definitely just buy a new fork with the spring clip retainer if doing this again.



Another minor tweak, as stated the trans mount dimension is different on the TKO, so had to drill/slot the trans mount to match.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

At this point, the trans was in the car, so I could check tunnel clearance, etc. So, the trans WILL physically fit in the car with zero tunnel mods. It had enough room that it didn't even require hammering the tunnel.


HOWEVER, lots of caveats. The output shaft was now 1.5" lower than the T10 as the mounting pad heights are different. So, the motor/trans are tilted down. This also threw off the throttle linkage, and the clutch z bar were at an angle. To be honest, I knew it wasn't the "right" thing to do, but I buttoned it up at this point because I was desperately trying to get the car to the FE reunion and had the house move the following week.

Well, I didn't make it to the FE reunion for several reasons:
1) Throttle was sticky
2) Could not get sufficient air gap between clutch disk and flywheel
3) Suddenly, could not shift into fifth and reverse

However, I did drive the car to the new house versus trailering and can say the deeper first was a full transformation, didn't hit it hard at all but immediately nicer to drive.

Starting in April of this year again, worked to resolve the issues.

Research online indicated that the 5th/Reverse issue was in the shift fork for those gears. Odd that it was working, then not. So, what ultimately happened, is there is a pin that goes through the case and holds the 5th/reverse fork, and retains with an E clip. This pin looks a lot like a fill plug. I swear is wasn't me but either previous owner or a buddy may have popped the pin out thinking it was the fill, and knocked the clip off, then the shift fork worked it's way off the pin with all the banging around the trans received being mounted in/out of the car. Either way, it was a minor fix and the trans is fine so all is well, plus it forced me to pull the trans and fix the car "right" instead of the halfass install I'd done in the name of getting it mobile.

First up, build a spacer to lift the trans mounting pad. Issues are the tunnel sheetmetal, and there is a body crossmember that contacts the tailshaft (looks to be a shift rail support). I couldn't quite get the full 1.5" increase without doing major crossmember surgery, so did a small section job on it and took what I could get, came in at 1 3/8" so I thought that was fine.

This is the body crossmember, the photo is a bit of an illusion and makes the channel look like it's concave into the floor when it's actually convex.


The channel that makes up the crossmember is roughly 1/2", so I sectioned that portion and reinforced and that gave me enough for the 1 3/8" height change.


The piece I cut out looked like this. I cut the "legs" off and welded it back into the section, then boxed the ends to retain as much strength as possible. My fitup was terrible from reusing the cut piece so welds are chunky, but it's under the car so no big deal.





At this point I could jack the trans up without interference with the crossmember, and check trans tunnel fit. Lots of ways to go here as far as how to modify the tunnel, as you can cut around the topside of the trans and build a new cover. I decided to just slit the trans tunnel and lift it to retain the stock round portion, and just fill the "slit" portion. Seemed like less fabrication, and seemed to give the most room around the trans.


Tunnel mods weren't too bad, I'm no pro fabricator so just overlapped the cuts, filled in the rear section to raise the tunnel, then formed a piece to finish off the tunnel transition at the rear.


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Finally updating after a lot of trial and error. So, I had a very early bellhousing in the car which had a clutch fork opening around 10 o'clock. I checked a bunch of bells at Carlisle and these seem to be pre 62 from what I can tell, didn't dig too much as I already sold the old bell. The "normal" FE bells have a clutch fork opening down around 8 o'clock, so my bottom arm of the z bar was too short now to line up with the lower position of the clutch fork. I tried to monkey around with it anyway and see if it would work even with the offset, as it's a major pain in the ass to pull the z bar in my car with the headers installed. Long story short, wouldn't work as I could only get .015-020" of air gap at the clutch even extended the upper clutch linkage a bit to give it more throw.

So, I pulled the z bar and extended the lower arm 3" to match the new position of the clutch fork. Clearance is pretty tight between the block and headers where the extended arm hangs down, but it all clears.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Here's the stocker, the lower arm on the right will be extended 3". Due to clearance issues, I had to sort of "taper" it and flip the clutch rod pin over, hopefully pics will make sense. With the longer arm, more force would be exerted on both arms so I gusseted while I was at it.


I couldn't just lengthen the stock arm as it would run into the header, so offset it a bit using scraps I had laying around.




Still thought it looked a bit too spindly, so mocked up another full length gusset that would still clear the block. This was wider material which would also be stronger at the weld to the pivot.


Triple thickness now. The stock weld where the arm met the pivot was starting to crack so I didn't want to mess around.


OK, again not accustomed to setting up MIG for thick stuff so wire speed was a little high, but it's good enough


Nothing a little grinder work can't fix


Put a couple gussets on the top arm as well


Used a Grade8 7/16" bolt as the new pin where the clutch pushrod is located, and it's "done".
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 05:53 PM
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Cool Car!! Dont think ive ever seen a 63 Marauder. Any more engine/interior pics? I imagine the interior is currently out but.....
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 09:30 PM
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

How I wish I had a 5 speed.....Im jealous, cool car.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Quote:
Originally Posted by wtfwsat View Post
Cool Car!! Dont think ive ever seen a 63 Marauder. Any more engine/interior pics? I imagine the interior is currently out but.....
Thanks! Interior is just '63 Galaxie XL. Original interior in my car was reupholstered bench, and door panels were shot. Buddy gave me a great deal on Galaxie buckets. It was very expensive to go with an S-55 type interior, and time prohibitive as it would have to go to SMS via custom order, so it got the Galaxie interior. It seems to match the car fairly well, and the rest of the car is "hotrod" so I'm so far past it being a purist car it didn't matter too much.

The interior is out of the car now, but here's an old pic


Older engine pic


Pic with Cragars. I think most people prefer the Torque Thrusts in person, Cragars sometimes pop more in pics
5851a and Minn64Gal like this.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6DUECEGAL View Post
How I wish I had a 5 speed.....Im jealous, cool car.
Thank you.

I just got the car driveable on Friday, took a brief spin that night and out for a bit Sunday. 97* and thunderstorms in Richmond so haven't really been able to run it. Brief impressions are good, dropped 70mph from ~3400 to ~2300. Basically with my exhaust setup and raspiness, I couldn't cruise at 70 before, just too loud and obnoxious.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 04:02 AM
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Nice article, Great looking car. Had a 64 in HS.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 12:22 PM
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Love your car and glad to see another Richmonder on the forum! What part of town are you from? I'm out in far West End.

1966 Galaxie 500 Fastback..Ivy Green, 352, AC
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Hey, I'm in the West End, near Gaskins and Broad. Good to see another Richmond guy on here as well.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Final bit of the project, the shifter hump. The fiberglass hump I got from one of the aftermarket vendors no longer works, so I decided to make the new hump out of sheetmetal. I hate working with fiberglass, probably could've cut off the flange from the old hump and grafted on some fiberglass matting, but I actually think the sheetmetal work was easier. I had to do a little metal "sculpting" for the transmission tunnel, but this was a bit more involved. I cut a flange out of 1/4" plate for the shifter trim ring, then built out from there. A little tough juggling the opening with the offset shifter, but it worked out fine.











It's pretty loud driving around with no carpet, decided to take the opportunity to lay in some sound deadener. It's all Butyl generic, much cheaper than Dynamat but worked well, definitely knocked down heat and sound.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 10:01 AM
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Quote:
Originally Posted by chillymerc View Post
Hey, I'm in the West End, near Gaskins and Broad. Good to see another Richmond guy on here as well.
You are not too far from me at all. I'm between Gayton and Lauderdale near Carver Elementary. Hope to see you at some of the local shows/cruise-ins!

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2007 Mustang GT 5-speed
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

Sure thing, I'll definitely be out and about soon. I just took it down to Ray's in Midlothian this morning to get some interior loose ends done, if weather holds and the car is ready, I may head up to Va Center Commons on Friday.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 04:52 AM
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Re: TKO 500 into '63 Marauder

I was there briefly last Friday but had to leave early. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous so unless my wife ropes me into something there is a good chance I may be there this Friday. I'll keep an eye out for you.

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2007 Mustang GT 5-speed
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