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Old 09-11-2005, 01:55 PM   #1
hawk
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Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Disclaimer - The following is simply a theory. Treat it as such, i.e., devise your own experiments to prove or disprove it.

Note- I refer to Maximum Motorsports instructions below, but they generally apply to any brand. These parts are nearly identical between various suppliers, and in fact I used UPR components. But MM has the best online instructions I have found.


I have had occasional problems since I bought the mach with shifting - the infamous "2nd and/or 3rd gear lockout" at the track, and sometimes sometimes difficulty going into reverse in daily operation. I have driven standard transmissions for 30 years on cars, trucks and bikes, and have never had these kinds of problems.

I had been blaming the TR3650, and had taken steps to work things out, namely installing a Hurst Billet Plus shifter and changing the fluid to RP Synchromax, filling to 3.2 qts.

These improved operation, but I still had the same problems periodically. I was getting really tired of blowing track runs because of the car not wanting to go into gear.

I bought an aftermarket clutch quadrant and firewall adjuster a while ago, thinking one day if the stock plastic pieces broke, I would have something on hand to fix the car.

After missing 2nd gear twice last time at the strip, I was fed up and decided to try the quadrant and adjuster, figuring it can't hurt. Several people had said that this mod would eliminate the shifting problems, and gave reasons that generally amounted to "the plastic quadrant flexes" making clutch operation inconsistent.

While I was doing the upgrade and studying the parts I removed, the real cause of the problem became apparent to me. My analysis follows:

There are two factors - first, stock clutch operation is vague because of the firewall cable mount. It has a 1" long rubber bushing between the cable end and the plastic cup that mounts to the firewall. This bushing is designed to compress, and apparently soften the feel of the clutch. I am convinced that it is designed to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, harshness), but it also contributes to vague clutch pedal feel. This bushing is eliminated when the aftermarket firewall adjuster is installed. For a very nice description and photos of this part of the mod, see the Maximum Motorsports adjuster instructions (PDF)

The second (and most important) factor is the self-adjuster mechanism built in to the quadrant assembly. Again, I refer you to Maximum Motorsports for the best photos of the quadrant install in their installation instructions (PDF).

It is helpful to understand how the stock mechanism works. Basically when the clutch pedal is up, i.e., clutch engaged, the adjuster pawl hits the stop and is rotated away from the quadrant. The quadrant is pulled against the cable with a large spring. When the pedal is first depressed to disengage the clutch, the pawl moves up and off the stop, and can then rotate so the teeth of the pawl can mate with the teeth on the quadrant. The quadrant doesn't move before the pawl locks into it. As you push the pedal further down, the quadrant is then rotated against the force on the cable due to the diaphragm springs in the pressure plate, and the clutch is disengaged.

As the clutch wears, or the cable stretches, the quadrant will come to rest further back, but since the pawl is pulled away at the top of pedal travel, it should theoretically contact lower teeth on the quadrant, when the pedal is depressed, thus preserving the same pedal action as the components wear. This is fine and works ok for typical street use when "granny shifting". For a mass-produced car, it is a decent design that eliminates one little maintenance item for folks whose single use of the car is to drive to school, work, or Piggly- Wiggly.

Enter the enthusiast - When the pedal is stabbed quickly, the pawl may travel further along the arc of the quadrant before it can rotate in and lock teeth with the quadrant. It may also skip over a tooth or two before it settles in. The result of this is inconsistent clutch engage/disengage height. Note that if the pawl does hit higher up, the pedal will need to go further down in order to release the clutch, but it can only go so far until it hits the stops or the firewall.

Even if it disengages before the pedal stops, it is still lower that the last time, so if your muscle memory in the left leg is expecting the clutch to be disengaged at a certain point, and only pushes the pedal to that point, you may find the tranny won't go into gear because the clutch is still dragging due to the inconsistent pawl-quadrant engagement.

If you are having trouble visualizing this stuff, I encourage you to just climb under the dash and observe the action of this mechanism. It is far easier to see than it is to explain.

I believe anyone who drives their mustang with any kind of performance in mind should do this mod immediately. I wish I would have done it the day I brought my car home.

The major downside to changing to a firewall adjuster is that you will now have another maintenance item to perform, i.e. you will need to periodically screw the adjuster out to compensate for clutch wear. There is also a bit more noise from the pedal mechanism - it clinks or clunks when the pedal returns to the top of travel.

The upside is greatly improved pedal feel, no transmission "lockout", consistent shifting, and better ET's. Oh yeah, and you will never have to worry about the plastic crap breaking someday. Darn sure worth an hour's work and less than $100 worth of parts!
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Last edited by hawk; 05-20-2007 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 09-11-2005, 03:19 PM   #2
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

I have been delaying this mod. It will be a good project for next weekend. Thanks.

What is the best product available for Adjuster and Quadrant? Everybody seems to offer one.
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Old 09-11-2005, 04:03 PM   #3
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

i have the MM quadrant and UPR adjuster. I HAD an MM firewall adjuster but it mounts using just one bolt and that ended up causing a creaking sound as the firewall flexed a tad, swapping to th UPR piece with 2 mounting bolts (you can drill a 3rd hole if you feel so possesed) put an end to all that
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Old 09-11-2005, 07:37 PM   #4
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

I used the UPR one with 3 holes, but I may end up getting the Fiore one - I like the adjuster having a click-stop. There is not a load of room up in there because of the big old valve covers!
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Old 09-11-2005, 09:37 PM   #5
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

the Fiore looks like a real nice piece! wish I would have known about it but I dont think Ill be changing em
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Old 09-16-2005, 10:07 AM   #6
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Sorry...very new to all this. But if i bought that Fiori one what else do i need? Do i need a new cable or anything?
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Old 09-16-2005, 10:37 AM   #7
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkpilot
The upside is greatly improved pedal feel, no transmission "lockout", consistent shifting, and better ET's. Oh yeah, and you will never have to worry about the plastic crap breaking someday. Darn sure worth an hour's work and less than $100 worth of parts!

That's the truth!
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Old 09-16-2005, 11:20 AM   #8
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishMach
Sorry...very new to all this. But if i bought that Fiori one what else do i need? Do i need a new cable or anything?

You could call Fiore and ask, but generally, as I understand it, the stock cable is the best one out there. I used the stock cable, modified as shown in the MM instructions (remove rubber bushing and plastic cup/firewall bracket) with great success. Unless the Fiore is hugely different than all the others, (and it doesn't appear to be), you will not need an adjustable cable.
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Old 09-16-2005, 11:28 AM   #9
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

I have to agree that using the stock cable is the best solution. I've had the Steeda cable installed on my 00 GT and it made the feel much heavier than stock.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:51 AM   #10
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

i just took a look down there and it looks like a fun installation(sarcasm), but i believe i am having these same symptoms(no 2nd gear grind but 3rd gear lockout yes,as well as the clutch disengaging at different hieghts). anyone have a installation guide that is mustang specific just in case i cant figure it all out down there cuz im a pretty big guy and its not very spacious down there
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Old 11-05-2006, 01:25 PM   #11
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

i just did the fiore install a few weeks ago, and the stock cable works just fine

if you do any CC-quad. work pull the drivers seat, it makes thing alot easier, especially if your large framed, get a couple of old towels or, as i did a couple of pieces of styrofoam to place over the front two studs that hold down the seat(they hurt like a MOFO when they poke your back)
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:24 PM   #12
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

well i just bought the car about a week and a half ago and its rlly botherin me that i cant get into 3rd almost all the time if im anywhere near high rpms so im debating the install,dunno exactly what im gettin into,never done anything like this but it doesnt look to hard,just not to familiar with the car yet,if anyone has any pics that could help me remove the pieces from the fire wall it would be helpful
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:45 PM   #13
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Be sure to disconnect your battery before crawling under your dash, on your back, stuffed between the seat and A-pillar. I'm 6'2" and **** if the power seats don't work with the key off! Remembered that the hard way when I got squoosed like a grape.
I still think the problem is the ratio between the pedal throw and clutch release fork. The only major parts that have changed over the years from the 5.0 days are the 11" clutch, release fork and longer cable. More "throw" is needed at the quadrant without increasing pedal throw to match the clutch throw to get everything to release before you bottom out the pedal. Otherwise your preloading the T/O bearing.
I have the Steeda cable and F/W adjuster now w/ dbl hook quad. Plan on trying the Steeda Quick Release Quadrant and going back to the stock cable for smoothness. (no need for two adjust points)
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Old 11-05-2006, 03:00 PM   #14
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by machman8 View Post
well i just bought the car about a week and a half ago and its rlly botherin me that i cant get into 3rd almost all the time if im anywhere near high rpms so im debating the install,dunno exactly what im gettin into,never done anything like this but it doesnt look to hard,just not to familiar with the car yet,if anyone has any pics that could help me remove the pieces from the fire wall it would be helpful
You'll have to pull your PCV valve for access. Everything else is pretty straight forward, follow the intsructions. Under dash work is a PIA getting the clips off and on though.
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Old 11-05-2006, 03:02 PM   #15
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach1Marauder View Post
Ummmmmmmmmmm..............I've been telling people this for years. LMAO!
Well, aren't you Mr. Smarty smart smart pants?

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Old 11-05-2006, 05:18 PM   #16
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

just went out for a drive and my clutch is grabbing much higher up than it was when i bought it, i dont understand how it could loosen up over a week so much,and the 3rd gear lockout in addition,this is really getting anoying, any advice besides gettin the setup mentioned above
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Old 11-05-2006, 05:57 PM   #17
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Best advice is get the Fiore firewall adjuster and Fiore Quadrant. I've been through rebuilding the original tranny, then replacing it, and then rebuilding the 2nd tranny due to shifting problems. Even after the 2nd rebuild, I still had issues. Put the Fiore adjuster and quadrant in, and the problems have disappeared. I highly recommend the Fiore stuff. Joe Fiorentino makes some very good quality stuff and has great service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerowrench
Be sure to disconnect your battery before crawling under your dash, on your back, stuffed between the seat and A-pillar. I'm 6'2" and **** if the power seats don't work with the key off! Remembered that the hard way when I got squoosed like a grape
ROFLMAO!!! Same thing happened here. I'm 6'1, 250 lbs and I had the same dang thing happen...ain't that a rude surprise...up under the dash, and the seat coming forward..and you can't do a thing about it...
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:12 PM   #18
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

ya ill prolly order em this week,really bothering me and taking away from the whole enjoyment of the car,specially since iv only had it for a week, only bad thing is my dad doesnt wanna let me try and do the install
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:23 PM   #19
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Install is a piece 'o cake. Firewall adjuster takes about 30 minutes MAX, and most of that is getting the new holes drilled. Quadrant is a 10 minute job. Very easy install, and Fiore even includes the proper drill bit for the firewall adjuster. One note on installing the firewall adjuster on a Mach. As mentioned above, it's a heckuva lot easier if you unbolt the pcv valve before you attempt the install. Once it's out, stuff a rag in the hole to make sure crap doesn't drop in.

As for tools, all you need is a drill, a screwdriver, a socket wrench to remove the pcv valve, and a pair of pliers to get the clips off the factory quadrant.

This mod is worth every penny!! I wish I had done this when I first bought the car. The website to order them is http://www.fioreperformanceparts.com/ and it's $84.90 for both parts.
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Old 11-05-2006, 07:42 PM   #20
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach1Marauder View Post
Ummmmmmmmmmm..............I've been telling people this for years. LMAO!
Yeah and I had heard it from many, you included. My contribution was the possible explanation for why the stocker engages at a different point each time. I had not read anything other than "the stock plastic quadrant bends..." and stuff like that. Either way, I think most people who replace the quadrant agree that they wish they had done so the day they bought the car. It really does make a big difference.
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:14 PM   #21
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

My understanding is that the Ford OE cable is the only way to go.
Aftermarket cables do not last.
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:20 PM   #22
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

I had this exact problem awhile back & was almost ready to sell the car because of it. I first tried a BBK quadrant and cable and those parts were absolute GARBAGE. I then installed the Maximum Motorsports quadrant and firewall adjuster, along with reinstalling the factory cable. These parts instantly fixed the problem, and I haven't had to mess with it since. This was about 2 years ago.

I hghly recommend MM's stuff. Besides my limited experience with them, my friends have had great luck with their parts, & we have never heard anything bad about their offerings. OK the k-members are heavier than the others ;-)
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:50 PM   #23
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Just ordered myself a MM quadrant and the Fiore adjuster, we'll see how it goes.
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Old 11-09-2006, 01:44 AM   #24
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDraper View Post
Install is a piece 'o cake. Firewall adjuster takes about 30 minutes MAX, and most of that is getting the new holes drilled. Quadrant is a 10 minute job. Very easy install, and Fiore even includes the proper drill bit for the firewall adjuster. The website to order them is http://www.fioreperformanceparts.com/ and it's $84.90 for both parts.
Do all firewall adjusters require you to drill new holes or is it only the fiore?
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Old 11-09-2006, 02:28 AM   #25
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Re: Lock-out, missed shifts - Mystery solved?

OK, so this quadrant is not maintenance-free? As in I would have to adjust it occasionally (as the cable stretched and the clutch wears)?
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