Inspecting the inside of a T5 case will give you plenty of good information. You can count the number of teeth on the gears, check for broken gears or parts, and see if the condition matches what the seller claimed.
Here is the procedure I used to open and inspect my new 1990 Camaro V8 T5.
Pretend you are considering buying a T5 transmission that's for sale. You call the seller and ask the following questions. The answers you get are in red.
- What is the number on the metal tag? I can't read the metal tag, but it has one.
- What's the number on the paper sticker on the case top cover? 13-52-028.
- Is it a World Class or Non-World Class T5? I don't know.
- How many splines does the input shaft have? 26 splines.
- How long is the input shaft? 6.5 inches long and 1.125" diameter at the splines.
- What year, make, and model vehicle did it come out of? I bought it from a guy who had it in his Camaro. I don't know what year Camaro.
- How was this T5 used? Hot Rod or Daily Driver? I used it in my S10 truck with a 350 SBC engine but I never did any drag racing with it.
- Is it really a 5 speed or a 4 speed. It's a 5 speed.
- Has it ever been rebuilt? Who did the rebuild? I had it rebuilt about 1500 miles ago by the local Technical College Automotive Class. That's when they put the S10 tail shaft housing on.
- How many miles are on the T5? About 1500 miles since the rebuild but I don't know how many before that. My S10 was rear ended so now I'm selling the T5 because I don't need it.
After hearing the answers above, let's assume you are still interested. The asking price is within your budget, so you decide to go see the T5 to decide if you want to buy it.
After doing some internet research, you get in your car believing you are headed to see a 1983 NWC T5 with a 2.95 1st gear and 0.73 OD gear. The 26 splines means that it originally came from a V8 car. It had an S10 tail shaft housing swap done at some point. You arrive and begin your visual inspection.
Here are some things that you can learn about the T5 from your visual inspection.
The seller said he ran it bolted behind a 350 SBC in his S10 truck, so the swapped S10 tail shaft housing matches his story.
You notice 26 splines on the input shaft and the Chevy bolt pattern case with the "ears". That means this T5 was originally in a V8 Camaro or Firebird, but you don't know what year. You find the metal TAG but rust has made the numbers un-readable. So far, the 13-52-028, the flower casting "83" on the case cover, and the 26 splines on the input shaft all seem to indicate this is a 1983 V8 NWC T5, right? Wait, not so fast!
Dextron II ATF was used in World Class T5 transmissions. So the stickers on the side of the case make you think that this might possibly be a WC T5. Non-WC T5s used gear oil and shouldn't have Dextron II ATF stickers. Also, there is a "flower" casting mark "90" on the side of the case. The "90" would indicate the case was cast in 1990.
All 5 gears and reverse shift smoothly and the shafts spin well in all gears and neutral. Next, you check the 1st and 5th gear ratios. First gear is 2.95 and 5th gear is 0.63. Wait! Something doesn't match up here.
This is turning into a puzzle. The internet said that a 13-52-028 T5 has a 0.73 OD but this T5 has a 0.63 OD. So is the internet wrong again? Maybe the case cover came from a 1983 T5 and the case and gears inside are from a 1990 WC T5?
What are the possibilities?
- It's possible this is a 1990 WC V8 T5 (26 spline input shaft and it probably has Dextron II inside).
- It's possible that the 1983 case cover ("83 flower") came from another transmission (a non-WC T5).
- We suspect this is a WC case, but we don't have proof.
- It is understood that 1983 non-WC gears will NOT work inside a 1990 WC case, and we suspect this is a WC case, but we don't have proof.
- It's understood that the S10 tail shaft housing is not original, so it doesn't help solve the puzzle.
So far, the only things we know for sure are:
1. It is a Chevy style case with a V8 style - 26 spline input shaft, with a 2.95 1st gear and 0.63 OD gear,
2. The gears spin freely and everything seems to be in working order.
3. The input shaft splines are in nice shape.
4. It is understood that the S10 tail shaft housing is not original.
5. The 1983 "flower" date indicates the case cover is from a 1983 T5, but the 1990 date on the case indicates it's a 1990 T5 - not a match.
To solve the puzzle, we need to see the countershaft gear bearing cup. A look inside the case will also help identify if it's a WC T5 or not.
We find the answer to this puzzle by removing the bell housing and looking at the countershaft gear bearing cup.
Based on a simple visual inspection, you now know a lot of information about this T5.
1. You know it's a WC T5 because of the type of countershaft gear bearing cup. The Dextron II ATF stickers help confirm this.
2. It came from a V8 Chevy Camaro or Firebird because it has a 6.5" long input shaft with 26 splines and is 1.125" in diameter at the splines. Also, a 2.95 1st gear and a 0.63 5th gear are correct for a 1988 thru 1992 V8 Camaro or Firebird.
3. The case cover and tail shaft housing are not original to this transmission.
After a little negotiation, you pull out your hard earned cash, pay the man and load your new found treasure into your car. It's been a pretty good day so far. You've just purchased a fairly hard to find Chevy style WC V8 T5. You sing along with every song on the radio as you drive home.
The next post will show how to open and inspect the gears inside the case.
Crazy as it may sound, I bought another World Class T5 transmission. This one however had an unusual history, so certain details about it were "unknown". That made this purchase a bit risky.
Here's a list of questions to ask the seller, hopefully over the phone.
1. What is the number on the metal tag? What's the number on the paper sticker on the case top cover? Do they match? The number with be 1352 - XXX. The numbers cast on the metal are not important.
2. Is it a World Class or Non-World Class T5?
3. How many splines does the input shaft have?
4. How long is the input shaft?
5. What year, make, and model vehicle did it come out of?
6. How was this T5 used? Hot Rod or Daily Driver?
7. Is it really a 5 speed or a 4 speed. (Yes, there is such a thing as a T4 = 4 speed).
8. Has it ever been rebuilt? Who did the rebuild?
9. How many miles are on the T5?
Here's a pre-purchase visual inspection checklist.
1. Check the Countershaft Gear Bearing Cup on the front of the case to see if it's a World Class or Non-World Class T5.
2. Does the case have a Chevy bolt pattern (with ears) or a FORD pattern?
3. Are the words "Borg Warner" cast on the case, top cover and tail shaft housing?
4. Inspect the input shaft for - number of splines, length of the input shaft from the tip to the front of the case, look for damaged or twisted splines on the input shaft.
5. Does the shifter work properly.
6. Do the input and output shafts spin freely in all gears and neutral?
7. Does the case have ATF or Gear Oil inside?
8. Dextron ATF stickers on the outside of the case may indicate that it's a WC T5.
9. Check the case for cracks or damage.
10. Does it have a cable style or electronic pulse style speedometer output on the tail shaft housing?
11. Check the case "flower" casting marks to help identify the year.
Here is a FREE service manual for the T5. Click HERE to download the PDF file.
I previously announced that the guy who bought my original 1965 hood was going to return it in exchange for another hood. He has decided to keep the 1965 after all. That means the hood in the slide show is staying right here at home.
Here's the 1965 C10 hood that I sold.
Here's a slide show of the newer hood. I doubt I'll ever see a hood in nicer condition out here on the East Coast.
I bought a nice hood. A REALLY NICE HOOD! Just when I thought that nice hoods were hard to find, I found another one even better than the GMC hood I recently bought. I also bought a 1963 grille and grille support, heater delete plates, a nice fender and a stepside bed front panel - all original pieces. More pics later.
This list of resources will hopefully help you find the T5 info and parts you need. I will add it to the T5 Info Page soon.
T5 RESOURCE LIST
Professional T5 Rebuild DIY Instructional DVD/Videos
Hanlon Motorsports - 610-469-2695 Call for price and availability
Hanlon Motorsports Website http://www.hanlonmotorsports.com/?q=node/2
Bad Shoe Productions http://www.badshoeproductions.com/t5.html
T5 Rebuild Manual
T5 Rebuild Manual - PDF Format
T5 Rebuild Parts
Modern Driveline Ph: 208-453-9800 Their website focuses on Ford T5 performance upgrades but I called and confirmed that they can supply T5 rebuild kits for the GM version of the T5. I was impressed with their knowledge and helpfulness.
Helpful Videos on YouTube
AutoRestoMod Videos - These 3 videos show a FORD case pattern T5
inspection, teardown and rebuild. They do NOT provide in-depth details, but are very informative and worth watching.
AutoRestoMod Video 1 = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0jKNocNB0Y
AutoRestoMod Video 2 = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbD7MP_52gc
AutoRestoMod Video 3 = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9FVZ3YQ4CU
CORE Shifters - This company makes several different custom shifters for T5 transmissions. They have several styles. Here is the link for their custom short throw shifter for the 1982-95 Camaro and S10 T5. I recommend contacting them prior to placing an order so you get the right shifter. http://core-shifters.com/collections/t5-swap-bases
Modern Driveline - A nice variety of shifter knobs and accessories.
Sources for the Adapter Plates
An S10 T5 input shaft is too long when used on a Muncie/Saginaw style bell housing. The problem can be solved by using a machined spacer which will properly position the clutch disc on the input shaft splines so it will work on the Muncie/Saginaw style bell housings. **NOTE** The V8 T5 with a 26 spline input shaft does not need the adapter plate.
Vintage Metalworks - I have spoken to Dave Farwell of Vintage Metalworks on several occasions and he is VERY helpful. Dave will help you get what you need to
put your T5 into service. His contact info is on his website.
HotRodWorks.com also sells an adapter plate. http://www.hotrodworks.com/catalog/index.php/t5-transmission-adapters/p-n-2150-t5-trans-to-1948-1983-chevy-pu-and-1955-1983-cars.html
See my BLOG entries from prior months below:
My Hobbies are:
- Main BLOG Page
- The Purchase
T5 Info Page
- Thinking about installing a T5? READ THIS FIRST
- Making a Custom Shifter
- Complete T5 Driveline - Installation from Engine to Rear Axle
- S10 T5 Transmission Jeep Shaft Swap - DIY and skip the adapter plate.
- Camaro Drive Gear Relocation
- T5 Tail Stock with a Cable Speedo Connection
- World Class and Non-World Class versions of the T5 - How to tell them apart.
- A possible solution for cable speedometers.
- T5 Transmission Identification - What the Tags and Markings Mean
- What's the difference between a Camaro T5, an S10 T5, and an Astro T5?
- How to determine the T5 gearing
- T5 Transmission Rebuild
- T5 pre-purchase inspection and questions
- T5 Resource List
- T5 Case Inspection
- Bell housing differences
- T5 Drive Gear and Driven Gear Combinations
- A Camaro T5 with the S10 Conversion
Tips & Tricks Section
- DIY 3 Point Seat Belt Installation
- Making the Steering Column Safer
- How to improve gauge cluster lighting.
- Stripping Paint - Polycarbide Abrassive Wheel
- Jeep Cherokee Door Check Modification - Very Simple
- Steering column modification
- A simple way to remove old control arm bushings.
- An easy way to adjust brake shoes
- How to remove a pilot bushing from the crankshaft.
- Cutting spot welds
- E-brake clip removal made easy
- POR 15 with less mess.
- Engine Dolly - EZ to make
- Steering Wheel Restoration Page
- Other Projects
- Random Pics