How can I improve the shifting of my M5R2 transmission?
There is really no good way to improve the shifting of your M5R2. There are
upgrades and modifications that you can perform that will make slight
improvements, but there is no real cure-all for the notchy shifting M5R2. This
transmission was offered in some Mazda trucks as well as Ford Broncos and
F150ís, therefore, it was never intended to provide a slick feel when shifting,
but rather it was supposed to be tougher than some of the other transmissions
on the market.
Attention to transmission fluid will go a long way. Make sure your fluid is
topped off and use a synthetic type fluid. Redline MTL and GM Synchromesh
are both excellent brands of fluid to use. Some have had good results with
these fluid and others have not. The factory calls for Automatic transmission
fluid (ATF) Mercon 5 to be used in the M5R2 however. ATF is thinner than
Manual transmission fluid and can make shifting through the gearbox easier in
colder temperatures. If you want to keep it up to factory specifications you
should use ATF. Good fresh fluid can provide slight improvements, but do not
expect fluid alone to make a night and day difference in the shifting. The
M5R2 holds 3 qts./ 6 oz.ís and make sure to include a 4oz bottle of Ford
Friction Modifier with the fluid of choice.
It has also been rumored that upgrading the stock blocker rings from fiber to
brass will improve shifting. I do not believe this to be true though. The brass
blocker rings found in newer style F150ís will be more durable than the stock
SC rings, but it will not cure the stiffness in shifting. If it does help, the
improvement is minimal. The brass rings are stronger though and might be an
option from a durability standpoint.
Finally, B&M offers a Ripper shifter, part number 45058, and it is cataloged for
the 1989-1995 T-Bird SC and the 1989-1990 Mercury Cougar XR-7. It is
composed of aircraft quality materials, such as the 6061 T-6 billet Aluminum
base and 303 stainless billet stick and is backed by the lifetime Ripper warranty.
This shifter will not reduce the stiffness in the shifting. Considering it features
a 25% reduction in throw length it will actually reduce your leverage possibly
making it a bit harder to shift. However, the shifter does offer more precise
shift feel and brings the gears closer together. Fifth gear is no longer so far
away with this shifter. The Ripper also features shifter stops which will allow
the shifter itself to absorb the impact of hard shifts. This feature is not found in
the stock shifter. While it may not reduce stiffness in shifting, it is a quality
piece that offers other benefits.