Which gears to choose, tough process!? LONG but need knowledge - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Which gears to choose, tough process!? LONG but need knowledge

I have a 95 T-Bird 4.6 with a few mods, nothing big. I think my car has 3.08 gears. It feels like it has to wind up off the line, and when it does finally pick up the car beside me is already wound up and then its like I'm still ahead but I could be even more ahead if my car would go. Guess what I'm getting at is I would like new gears but I would still like it to be a daily driver car. 4.10 are out of the question. 3.73 are maybe but I think I like the 3.55. i read articles and it said this would still stay pretty gas friendly and be a good driver. BTW i have a new stock tranny and TC along with ALMOST EVERYTHING replaced under the car. Dad's shop gets parts cheap.
Also, I was hoping to get a 97 T-Bird (first sell my 95) and install the 3.55's. If i get a 97 Bird I wanted to swap a T-45 in. I hear they are so much better than the automatic and it would increase my times along with the fun to drive factor.
Kinda of subject, but I was looking at the 99-00 Cougars. They seem like real pocket-rockets especially with a 5-speed. Is this a good "mod-able" car or are you looking at puttin a 3.0L Taurus motor in to get your power up?

Here are some questions:
What would be the gains of 3.08 gears over 3.55 gears or 3.73 gears?

What gears would be good for me? I want improved off the line, maintain a relatively good mpg (I Get around 21mpg now so 3mpg drop wouldn't be a problem). Am I right to get the 3.55 for me?

How much are 3.55 gears, are there crap gears and elite gears? How much do they cost?

My dad works for a Lincoln Mercury place and does all my parts when they break but they don't do transmissions. That means good Ford parts Could that shop install the gears and how much time would it take to install them? Also, do i only need to buy the gears and some good fluid or do I need something else to go along with it?

Tranny Questions:
If I was to install the T-45 tranny how much money am I looking at?5-speed right?

What else would I need to upgrade along with the new tranny?

What would the overall look inside the cab be? Would there be a hole straight down where the old auto-shifter would be, or would it look like it was factory?

The T-45 with 3.55 gears would be how much improvement over a stock 95 4.6 Bird with stock gears and tranny? 3.73?

99-00 Cougar:
Do they suck, not preference, I mean are they a money pit waiting to happen?

How much power can you get out of one with a stock motor, excluding the hybird and taurus motors?

Do things break easy, my T-bird seems to take all kinds of abuse and keeps on fighting.

Sorry for all the questions but I'll never know until I ask, I hope i get some good replies. Thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 01:36 PM
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I'm pretty sure that if you get the right console trim piece from a 5-speed SC, then your shifter would look like it's supposed to be there. But as far as decreasing your ETs at a track just from switching to a manual, I don't think that's going to happen, and if you're looking to build a high HP engine, I'm fairly certain that the 4R70W auto tranny will hold up better. But the fun factor definitely increases with a stick. As far as gears are concerned, it really depends on what type of driving you do. If you're mostly city driving, I'd say just go for the 3.73's. I've even heard that taller gears can increase your city mpg's a bit. But, if like me you need to be on the freeway a lot, 3.55's may be a better choice. I'm at the same stage as you as far as choosing gears is concerned, and I think I'm going to go with the 3.73's. From what I've heard, they really don't raise your RPMs a whole lot at NORMAL highway speeds (i.e. the speed limit) so mileage shouldn't suffer too badly. As far as I know, most gears are the same as far as quality is concerned. You might try eBay, sometimes you can get some fairly fresh OEM gears for a steal, and I don't see a huge risk in buying used gears, as long as you can see no damage in the pictures and all that. Also, using the taller gears with a manual might not be such a great idea, either. They usually come with shorter gears for a reason. I believe SCs come with a ratio even shorter than 3.08, though I can't come up with it right now. As far as the shop thing is concerned, if you can take the pumpkin out, then take it to a shop with the gears and just have em drop it in, it's cheaper than taking the whole car. Also, make sure you have a traction lock differential, or taller gears won't help you at all, you'll be pulling the old one wheel peel trick up and down the road. Personally, I'd recommend that you get a Marauder torque converter and the FRPP pumpkin, just for ease of installation (It comes preloaded with 3.73s and TL), unless you already have a limited slip differential. That should pep up your driveline plenty. Hope that helps some, I'm sure other people here know better than me, so listen to what they say too.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 01:37 PM
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BTW, if you're really considering the 5-speed swap, there's a piece on the whole procedure in the tech articles.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 03:03 PM
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Why are 4.10's out of the question????? I am putting 4.30's in my daily driver. 4.10s or 3.73s in an Automatic with a Mark VIII or Marauder converter will really wake your car up. And I would only buy a good quality gear, the only one that will go into my car is FRPP gears.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by Rich95XR7
Why are 4.10's out of the question????? I am putting 4.30's in my daily driver. 4.10s or 3.73s in an Automatic with a Mark VIII or Marauder converter will really wake your car up. And I would only buy a good quality gear, the only one that will go into my car is FRPP gears.

Man, I wish I could justify those gears, I'm sure I'd just scream off the line. But I hit the interstate at 90 too often. I know, I shouldnt, but I do

I like the sound of 3:55s though. There isnt a 3:55 drop in unit is there? (like the FRPP 3:73 unit)

math > pasta
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 04:47 PM
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3.55's are a waste of money in an automatic TBird, IMHO, the TBird is heavy, and you need the gears to get moving. 3.73's are pretty friendly on the highway as well, so I'd go ahead and get 3.73's.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 05:26 PM
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i've got em in my car and i dont notice all that much of a decrease in gas milage, well that is if you dont have "light to light" disease.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 05:41 PM
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If you want that T45 shifter to line up properly with the console, youll need to have the shifter lengthened....IE a shifter extention..... many other parts to go along with it.

Send CobraRthunder a PM, he will gladly give you the long list of needed parts for the install.


Oh yea.....3.73s thats my vote
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 08:13 PM
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Thats what my deebate is. 3.55 or 3.73s. I think I will get the 3.73's also. My car is weighing in at around 3960 including me and it needs a lower gear to get it moving quicker. You would have to watch the high speeds on the I-states w/ the stock drive shaft. I would get a MMC drive shaft along with that 3.73 install.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 08:51 PM
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where can I find a 3.73 TL pumpkin and what price do thay usually run?? Also what year cobra do I ask for?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2004, 09:17 PM
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Just get the FRPP Cobra Rear. It comes assembled from Ford with a fresh Traction Lok and 3.73's. It's a simple bolt in job. Gears are NOT to be taken lightly. Either you KNOW how to do them or you don't. NEVER have them done by somebody who says, "yeah sure I could probably do them". Instead use the guy who's done hundreds of rearends. There's only one guy in town here that I'd trust. Most good mechanics will tell you who to take yours to because most mechanics don't do gears. But since you get Ford parts cheap, just order the FRPP Cobra Rear and be done with it. And it's a few pounds lighter too since it's aluminum instead of cast iron.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2004, 11:54 AM
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I took a class on installing gears a couple months ago, and it's not that hard, it's just really time consuming and tedious work. You normally have to take the rear-end apart 4-5 times to get the backlash and endplay setup correctly. That's why it costs so much. For the price, you can't beat the FRPP rear. New gears, new trac-lock, new aluminum case. Once you add up all the parts you need, plus labor, you come out cheaper buying the FRPP one. Too bad they only offer them with 3.73's, I would be all over a 4.10 or 4.30 pumpkin.

FRPP gears: $170-190
Used Trac-Lock: $50-100
install kit w/ shims, bearings, etc: $119
trac-lock rebuild: $49
Labor: $250-350
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2004, 12:52 PM
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I'm going to add my .02 to this post as I just went from 3.08's to 3.73's and I drive almost exclusively on the interstate (55 miles one way to work).

I usually cruise at around 78 mph and I'm not too sure that the 3.73's aren't too high for a lot of highway driving. Upon first impression, it doesn't look like I lost more than 1 to 1.5 mpg, but I still have to double check that. I've only put about 300 miles on them so I'm still "learning" the characteristics.

For me, the 3.73's are taking a while to get used to. I keep looking down trying to figure why I haven't shifted into OD.

From an overall standpoint of acceleration vs. highway drivability, I would vote for the 3.73's, but nothing higher. I don't know how you people are running anything higher and driving on the interstate.

My rpm's jumped from about 2300 to about 2800 rpm with the swap.

Just my recommendations to someone if they do a lot of highway driving.

97 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC (Chip'd, 3.73 T/L... so far... )
97 Ford Aspire (Slow, but getting 36 mpg (f'n Ethenol!! )
84 F250 Dually w/6.9L Diesel (7.3L IDI pending)
73 Mercury Cougar Convertible w/351C 4V (Partially Restored)
69 F100 LWB w/460 Engine
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