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How to install a Steeda Tri-Ax Shifter T5 / T-45 on your 1994-2004 Mustang

Installation Time

1 hours

American Muscle
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Note: 1986 and earlier cars require removal of the center console to install the shifter. Consult a shop manual for this procedure. All other cars follow the procedure below.

1. Unscrew the shift knob and remove the shift boot and console cover plate assembly. (Push your fingers into the boot, hook your fingers under console plate and lift up).

2. Remove the factory shift handle with a 10mm wrench.

3. Remove the four bolts (8mm) holding the inner rubber shift boot plate and remove the boot.

4. Remove the four bolts (13mm) holding the factory shifter to the transmission. Remove the shifter from the transmission. You may have to pry the shifter from the transmission because the adhesive sealant bonds the shifter to it. The easiest way break it free is to put the handle back on and pull on it sideways.


  1. T-5, T-45, and SROD Transmissions (1979 to 2001-1/2 Mustang): Make sure the plastic bushing is still in the transmission where the shift lever moves the gear selector. If it is not there, look for on the end of the shifter, as sometimes it comes out with the stock shifter.

b. TR 3650 Transmission (2001-1/2 and newer Mustang): Transfer the plastic bushing from the end the factory shifter to the new shifter. Pry it off with a screwdriver and snap it onto the Tri-Ax shifter.

6. Scrape any remaining gasket material off the transmission and clean off any oil or dirt.

7. Make sure the plastic bushing is still in the transmission or on the end of the shifter (See step 5).

8. Apply a thin bead of silicone gasket maker to the transmission mounting surface.

9. Install the new shifter using the new bolts provided (m8 x 1.25 by 25mm long stainless steel). Don’t reuse the factory bolts, they are too short for the new shifter.

10. SET THE SHIFTER STOPS as follows:

a. Back off the stop bolts so that the shifter moves freely into all gears

b. Place the shifter in third gear. Push forward firmly on the lever while turning the stop bolt in by hand until it contacts the shift lever. Once the stop bolt contacts the shift lever, back off the bolt 1/6 turn, until there is a small air gap (about .010") between the shift lever and the stop, while still applying pressure to the lever. Pushing on the lever takes all of the slack or play out of the linkage, ensuring you get the proper adjustment.

c. Hold the bolt with a 1/2” wrench while tightening the jam nut against the shifter tower with another wrench.

d. Double check the space between the shift lever and the stop bolt. When you push very hard on the shift lever it should barely contact the stop bolt, but when you let go of the lever it should not touch the bolt, but instead have a small air gap between them.

e. Place the shifter in second gear and adjust the other stop bolt as outlined above.

f. Shift the shifter through all gears and double check the stop clearance in each gear. The shifter must be able to shift freely into all gears without interference from the stop bolts.

! IMPORTANT! Stops that are set too close to the shift lever may prevent the gears fully engaging, causing serious damage to the transmission. The stop bolts are there to prevent the lever from being over -extended. They should not be engaged during normal operation. When in doubt, leave a little extra space between the lever and the stop bolt.

! IMPORTANT! Whenever the shifter is removed from the transmission the stop bolts must be reset when the shifter is reinstalled.

11. Place the BootGuard washer over the shift lever. (The large washer slips over the top of the lever and slides down until it sits on the “step” in the lever.)

12. Place the inner shift boot over the shift lever until it rests on the BootGuard. (This is the rubber boot which bolts to the transmission tunnel, not the rubber boot which was attached to the factory shifter.)

Reinstall the inner boot with the four factory bolts.

13. Install the new shift handle at the desired position with the two bolts (8mm x 25mm long) and lock washers provided. Tighten bolts securely with a wrench. Install the handle in the higher position for the greatest driver comfort. Install the handle in the lower position for the shortest throw,

14. Install the console cover plate, shift boot and knob. Important: Always use an anti-seize compound on the threads when installing an aluminum shift knob onto the Steeda shift handle.

NOTE: Because the Tri-Ax shifter eliminates the factory rubber noise isolators (as do all high performance shifters) you will hear more gear noise or "gear whine" from the transmission once the shifter is installed. This noise is normal, and comes from the transmission, not the shifter. The vibrations that cause the noise are always present, but are hidden by rubber isolators in the original shifter and shift handle. The isolators which absorb the noise are also partly responsible for the sloppy, rubbery feeling of the stock shifter, so it is necessary to eliminate them for a performance shifter.

Some of this noise can be eliminated by removing the rubber boot from the original shifter and stretching it over the top of the new shifter (after the stops have been set and the Bootguard washer installed).