GT500 Automatic Transmission Conversion


P51GT500B         0623131500



I almost didnt buy a GT500 because you cant get one with an automatic in it.  Why, I dont know. The 4R70W is a fantastic trans. So why didnt ford offer it? It  can handle upwards of 900 horse so durability cant be the reason. A six speed is  so much harder on the drive train than an automatic so warranty concerns cant be  the reason. Ford did put the weak kneed 5R55S in the Shelby GT, but it probably  wouldnt hold up in the GT500.


Anyway, back to the project at hand….. As you probably guessed I’m going  with the 4R70W trans. The series  means it has Four speeds, Rear wheel drive, torque capacity of 70 X 10 = 700 ft lb at the output of the  torque converter, and a Wide ratio gear  set. The ratios are 2.84 in 1st, 1.55 in second and 1.00 in 3rd. Although it is  an automatic trans, you will have to shift it manually. There are no automatic  upshifts with the Transgo shift kit. So if  you have the shifter in drive you will start out in 3rd gear (dont do that). To get around the computer wiring nightmare, overdrive and lock-up will be  activated electrically by switches. Baumann  Electronic Controls does make a stand alone computer and accessories to  convert to automatic shift but the tunnel would have to be modified at the shift  shaft to make room for the MLPS. I have used their setup in my Cobra replica  since 1995 and it works flawlessly.

At FB Performance  Transmissions, you can buy the complete package ready to install or parts  like a modified neutral lock out factory shifter or a Hurst shifter. Trans  mount adapter plate, flex plate and more are available if you are  building your own trans.

I started with a ’97 4R70W from a 2wd Truck with the 5.4. The case was  ceramic coated. It helps  reflect heat from the trans and provides a tough coating.

01-19-08_1115     01-19-08_1114

The overdrive servo pin bore is a common place for wear so I installed  the repair bushing by reaming the hole with the tools in the kit and used green  locktite to hold it in place.

01-19-08_1143     01-19-08_1132

While the trans was apart I had 6 extra holes precision drilled in the  ring gear where the output speed sensor gets its signal since the 6 speed trans  has 12 steps on its reluctor. That way  I didn’t have to recalibrate the  speedo.  You don’t need to do this if you get a tune done.


The stub shaft which splines into the direct clutch is known to break so I  added a hardened one. The stock one is on the left.


The direct, forward and second clutches get the red friction plates and I  converted the direct clutch to an eight disc type for the most holding capacity.

01-19-08_1304     01-26-08_1342

Here you can see the vacuum modulator that gets mounted inside the case in  place of the EPC. This way pressure is regulated for the street and the computer  is eliminated. Its part of the Transgo shift kit. With the valve body in place you can see the shift solenoids  (used for OD only) and the lock-up solenoid. You must have lock-up turned on for  your cruise to work if you are running a converter with a stall speed over 2000  rpm. Otherwise the computer senses an RPM difference between the  engine and trans and will turn the cruise off. If you want the lock-up feature, dont install the tight wound spring on the TCC  valve when installing the shift kit. It wont say that in the instructions or  what pin is for lock-up in the case plug. It does show you that in the plug  instructions. Only four wires are used at the case plug, Rostra 350-0064. 12  volts, lock-up ground and the two shift solenoid grounds. The shift solenoids  are tied together since they are both on in OD. They and the lockup solenoid go  to switches in the console hooked to ground. If you want back up lights they are activated by  connection through a switch. The wires are shown in a pic below.

01-20-08_1513      02-02-08_1248


The Transgo Shift Kit and the ceramic  coated deep pan.

01-20-08_1412    02-02-08_1354

Some pics of the completed trans with the Precision Industries 2000 stall  converter. You can see the vacuum modulator line where it goes into the case and  a special trans mount and plate from FB Performance. The output speed sensor,  F4AZ7H103A,  is used to pick up the speedo pulses. The GT500 crossmember wont work  so you need one from a 05-09 Mustang GT instead 8R3Z6068E . Crank bolts  N606067S439  are needed also. You need Transgo’s vacuum check  valve VBP-VAC for the modulator line since its a supercharged application. The  trans temp gauge sensor is mounted in the pan at the rear.

02-02-08_1418    02-03-08_1058

02-03-08_1056    02-03-08_1057

The six speed before removal.


Installing the Hurst Pistol Grip Quarter Stick shifter. I bought the this one  from FB Performance since it has the custom shift link and bracket included.  They also offer a stock shifter with neutral lockout if you prefer. It mounts on  top of the stock tunnel plate and the stock boot makes it look like it came with  it. I did have to modify the boot hole to get enough shifter throw. The last pic shows the 1 ohm resistor connected in series with the lock-up  switch.


02-09-08_1506    03-09-08_1502

The new flexplate 4C3Z6375AA and two piece separator  plate XL3Z7007AA,  F1VY7986A and the reverse light wires in the harness which connect inside to the  shifter or a switch. To help with the wiring I  bought the Ford book FCS1212107. There is a spacer around the  pilot bearing that must be removed also.

02-10-08_1541   02-10-08_1542


I added the Tru-cool Max LPD47391 cooler to keep the fluid temp down. This cooler really works.  The trans was running around 180-190 degrees in traffic.  Now 150-165.  Cooler line numbers are XR3Z7A030AA and  XR3Z7A031AA. The upper line at the trans has to be rebent to clear the  underside. The lines must be cut and rebent near the radiator end to connect to  the cooler. I mounted the cooler in front  of the radiator.  You can see the Lokar  flexible dipstick tube TD3AODFM.  I will be replacing the radiator with a custom made one with a  trans cooler built in.

s-l1000    02-16-08_1709

030109_1019[00]     030109_1019[01]


UPDATE:  I had C&R Racing custom  make a radiator with a trans cooler built in. The internal cooler is much more  efficient at cooling the trans than the external type. The new radiator also has  much more engine cooling capacity for the future engine mods.  As can be seen in the pics the C&R piece is  a heavy duty unit compared to the stock radiator.

GT500 rad d   GT500 rad c

GT500 rad b   GT500 rad a


The pinion drive flanges and trans output yoke get changed to standard type  and a one piece driveshaft is used. E9SZ4851A, 1R3Z4841EA, E8VY4782A and bolts  N800594S100. The first pic is the stock flange. The second is the new one  installed, third is the trans yoke and  Mustang GT crossmember. A standard  type driveshaft will be used. Mine measures 47 1/8″ c-c.

02-15-08_1421   02-15-08_1459


On its way in…

02-16-08_1445   02-16-08_1444


And the only real glitch to the project, if you want to call it that. The O2  monitors had to be repositioned in the converters or they would hit the trans. I  used Summit’s G2990SS bungs and G2990SS-1 plugs. They were welded in right below  the original holes.

02-23-08_1321   02-23-08_1445

I removed the pedal assembly (6 bolts) and took the clutch master cylinder  and clutch pedal off. The hole in the firewall was blocked off with some rubber  adhesive material. I cut the wires to the clutch start switch and ran them to  the shifter so it starts in park and neutral only.

03-01-08_1133   03-01-08_1144

I mounted the overdrive and lock-up switches in the console next to the  parking brake lever. Very easy access and hardly noticeable. A trans temp gauge  was added with a switch for the heat exchanger  cooling fan.




The completed installation.

03-08-08_1248   03-08-08_1250







On the dyno making 651 rwhp.




I of course had to fix up my garage so it would be good enough for the car!

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