Installing a T-5 in a Tiger
(No Cutting Required!*)
An Article by Dan Walters
Preface: Dan Walters is a well known figure in the Tiger and Alpine communities. He has professionally prepared, and repaired Tigers and Alpines all over the Greater Los Angeles area, is currently CAT president, and has been an active participant in most Tiger events, and is a winning competion driver. His knowledge of our cars is remarkable, and his workmanship is widely respected. While Dan is a very busy person, he has taken the time to document his esperience with installing a T-5 transmission in a Tiger, and his personal recommendations on how to end up with a satisfactory installation.
Thank you, Dan, for your contributions.
....When Keith Bettencourt's story about putting a T-5 Mustang five speed in a Tiger came out (Nov 1990 Tiger Tales), I was less than thrilled about the idea. The main objection was the T-5 trans. I had driven an '87 Mustang enough to realize I was spoiled by the Tiger close ratio trans. The Mustang trans had a big jump from 1st to 2nd gear (42% change) which was intolerable. And the Motorsport trans had a big jump from 4th to 5th. Along with poor gear ratios, the T-5 was known to be weak.
....But if someone asked me to put a T-5 in a Tiger for them I would attempt to modify the trans before cutting the car. If I was inclined to put a 5 speed in a Tiger and I had to cut the car to do it I would have put a Doug Nash 5 speed in. I had ridden in a Tiger with a Doug Nash 5 speed and it was great. The Mustang trans was not even in the same league and not worth cutting the car for.
....Those where my thoughts in 1990. since then a few things have happened. Shortly after Keith's story came out, Borg-Warner made available a T-5 with a 2.95 1st gear and a .80 5th gear. This .80 5th was just what the T-5 needed to give it a nice progressive gear ratio spacing. The proof came when I had a chance to drive Alan Denson's Tiger with the "close ratio" T-5. It may not be a Doug Nash but it definitely was nice! It was so nice I concluded that if I could put a T-5 in a Tiger without cutting the car I would have to put one in my Tiger!
....About this time Dale Akuszewski was putting together Mike Mulloy's Tiger with a T-5 trans. Mike had mixed and matched T-5 parts to come up with a combo that required vary little cutting compared to putting a standard Mustang T-5 in a Tiger. This inspired me to look into the world of the T-5 more closely.