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Thread: Any M5OD fans? Why or why not?

  1. #1
    Mazda5: the Anti-Van! 1987cp's Avatar
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    Default Any M5OD fans? Why or why not?

    I was doing some poking around, and discovered that the M5OD(R2?) five speed manual as used in the 3.8L Thunderbird SuperCoupe has desirable characteristics. Namely, small-block bolt pattern, higher torque capacity than a typical T5, uses the same driveshaft yoke as AOD/C4, and low price compared to a used T5.

    I don't think I'd ever heard of the M5OD family until recently.

    It appears that the truck M5OD transmissions had the shifter way too far forward, but the car ones had it in a desirable location.

    Why are M5ODs not more popular? Is it because the T5 was more plentiful, or is the go-to because people look mainly at Mustangs when doing swaps and upgrades? Does the M5OD shift badly or have some other weakness I've yet to find out about?

    Finally, is any of my information so far incorrect? Is the overall length similar to AOD/C4?
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    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    I've only had M5ODR1's and II's in Rangers and F series trucks. I liked them, love that every single gear is synchronized and they usually shift fairly smoothly and quickly compared to other truck transmissions I've driven. I do not like the slave cylinder design- the internal ones always seem to leak somewhat or have performance anxiety when hot, which is to say with the clutch fully depressed, it isn't actually fully disengaged. They're also a PITA to bleed too. But if they're right, you'll never complain. Do NOT let them run low on fluid, you'll end up with a whine in every gear except direct and OD if I remember right.
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    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Had one in a 88 F150 regular cab short bed with the big 6 and +1 no issues. Shifts easily with positive engagement even beating on it.

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    Mazda5: the Anti-Van! 1987cp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    I've only had M5ODR1's and II's in Rangers and F series trucks. I liked them, love that every single gear is synchronized and they usually shift fairly smoothly and quickly compared to other truck transmissions I've driven. I do not like the slave cylinder design- the internal ones always seem to leak somewhat or have performance anxiety when hot, which is to say with the clutch fully depressed, it isn't actually fully disengaged. They're also a PITA to bleed too. But if they're right, you'll never complain. Do NOT let them run low on fluid, you'll end up with a whine in every gear except direct and OD if I remember right.

    More than I knew before!

    Do the M5OD transmissions use a hydraulic throwout bearing stock? I found info on setting clearance for a hydraulic throwout bearing, but what I've found seems to assume a removable bellhousing.
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    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    I have one in my 95 Ranger. It’s decent, no complaints. Shifts are a little long in the Ranger but workable. I have had a slave cylinder get weak and cause the clutch to slip when hot. The shift rail plugs are rubber and fail, and then the fluid comes out while you are driving. But you can fix that by using RTV to install them or driving in metal plugs. Shifting is light and smooth.

    I wouldn’t pay extra for one but if it fell in your lap, it may be worth checking out if you feel like screwing with hydraulic.
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    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly View Post
    Had one in a 88 F150 regular cab short bed with the big 6...
    That's one sweet and very desirable truck. I had a 1991 just like that, we used to call it Big Red or ClifFord.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggie View Post
    I have one in my 95 Ranger. It’s decent, no complaints. Shifts are a little long in the Ranger but workable. I have had a slave cylinder get weak and cause the clutch to slip when hot. The shift rail plugs are rubber and fail, and then the fluid comes out while you are driving. But you can fix that by using RTV to install them or driving in metal plugs. Shifting is light and smooth.

    I wouldn’t pay extra for one but if it fell in your lap, it may be worth checking out if you feel like screwing with hydraulic.
    Yeah, super long shift throws, guess Fox or SN95 cars are different though?
    Clutch slipped when hot? Never heard of a slave cylinder failing like that, interesting. Every single M5OD has given me trouble with it's slave cylinder at some point- even after replacement. It's usually the same old jazz, clutch won't disengage 100% when hot or barely disengages at all. Synchros don't like that very much but driver gotta shift so..
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    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    That's one sweet and very desirable truck. I had a 1991 just like that, we used to call it Big Red or ClifFord.



    Yeah, super long shift throws, guess Fox or SN95 cars are different though?
    Clutch slipped when hot? Never heard of a slave cylinder failing like that, interesting. Every single M5OD has given me trouble with it's slave cylinder at some point- even after replacement. It's usually the same old jazz, clutch won't disengage 100% when hot or barely disengages at all. Synchros don't like that very much but driver gotta shift so..
    Could have been clutch related too. I replaced the slave and it fixed the heat problem, but I ended up replacing the rest of the clutch later because it would slip under heavy loads.
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    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, clutch was schmoked. Reminds me of when I was on the hunt for a Ranger.. I went and looked at one that supposedly "needed nothing." Probably the first or second car I ever looked at myself. Dude kept telling me where to turn and such on the drive, which was my first clue something wasn't right and then for some reason I had the bright idea to try & stab the throttle in 3rd while only going 20mph or so. Truck didn't have a tach but I could hear the engine revving up without increasing the truck's speed. Got it back and then he proceeded to tell me about all the work which was done to it, that the receipts were in the glovebox. I already knew I wasn't a buyer but decided to look at those anyway for grins. Out of the ten or so receipts in there, maybe one was for the car in question. Schiester.
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    Mazda5: the Anti-Van! 1987cp's Avatar
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    So it sounds like the stock hydraulic setup on M5OD equipped trucks was either very hard to bleed and adjust properly, or else simply had issues with getting enough travel. Yet I assume they worked fine when new. Does this have something to do with the stock bearing having that giant spring? If I'm picturing the system correctly in my head, it should have fewer issues releasing as the clutch wears.


    My only previous info in hydraulic throwout bearings was demos of installation of a Hydramax throwout bearing, though I'm noticing that bearings sold at Speedway Motors look similar. The videos on Hydramax bearings mention that their product is designed to float like a brake caliper and has no external spring, and proper shim selection allows it to self-adjust as the clutch wears.

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    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Just hard to bleed I think. In order to get the one on my '94 right my buddies and I had to lift the front end with his fork lift, that did the trick. I never had trouble with the clutch again after that. But initially 19 or 20 year old me paid a shop to replace the flywheel, clutch, slave cylinder, throwout bearing and clutch master cylinder on it. First drive was me going to that buddy's place and half way there the clutch stopped disengaging all the way. Was such a PITA I couldn't exactly even stop, had to revmatch to get it over there. I think the issue with trucks is that because of the leaf springs in the back, the angle on the firewall is wrong so an air pocket gets trapped. Come to think of it, I ran into a similar problem with my K1500. Solution was the opposite of the Ford though.

    The thing I've learned about truck M5OD's is that if anyone tries to tell you the clutch pedal is "good & stiff," run away or struggle to convince them the slave cylinder is going out. In a perfect world, the clutch pedal is nice and easy on those and they start to engage at about 1/2 travel.
    Last edited by DerekTheGreat; 12-31-2020 at 10:18 AM.
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    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Firm, but not stiff. Nowhere near as easy as the clutch in a hyundai accent. You still need man legs to maintain using the thing in rush hour traffic.

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    Domestic Tourist Lincolnmania's Avatar
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    Had one in my 89 f-250.......they are junk!
    swapped over to a zf5

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  13. #13
    Domestic Tourist Lincolnmania's Avatar
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    ford inner slave cyl setups are a bitch to bleed. best to get a tool that uses vacuum to suck the fluid and the air thru.

    1986 lincoln towncar signature series. 5.0 HO with thumper performance ported e7 heads, 1.7 roller rockers, warm air intake, 65mm throttle body, 1/2" intake spacer, ported intakes, 3.73 rear with trac lock, 98-02 front brake conversion, 92-97 rear disc conversion, 1" rear swaybar, 1 3/16" front swaybar, 16" wheels and tires, loud ass stereo system, badass cb, best time to date 15.94 at 87 mph. lots of mods in the works 221.8 rwhp 278 rwt
    2006 Lincoln Town Car Signature. Stock for now
    1989 Ford F-250 4x4 much much more to come, sefi converted so far.
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    please be patient, rebuilding an empire!


  14. #14
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly View Post
    Firm, but not stiff. Nowhere near as easy as the clutch in a hyundai accent. You still need man legs to maintain using the thing in rush hour traffic.
    Shouldn't even be firm. The one in the junk $200 truck I bought recently is easy just like I remember my Ranger and Ashley's '90 F150 being. I think the factory ones are easy, and that replacement ones change the feel. Ashley's '92 C1500 and my '89 K1500 have the same engine and transmission yet her clutch operates much easier than mine. My slave & master cylinder were changed about a year ago, think her stuff is still all original.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lincolnmania View Post
    Had one in my 89 f-250.......they are junk!
    swapped over to a zf5
    I wouldn't call them junk.. Like, if I had one that did everything it was supposed to do correctly, I wouldn't go out of my way to swap something else in there. Let's see now.. between my wife and I, we've had five trucks with that transmission in them. At least four of them had mileage north of 150k on 'em. The only one that was "irritable" was the one in Ashley's '92 F150 and that was because it was allowed to run low on oil and developed a whine in every gear except 4th, so that's on us. It still shifted easy, never popped out of gear or what not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lincolnmania View Post
    ford inner slave cyl setups are a bitch to bleed. best to get a tool that uses vacuum to suck the fluid and the air thru.
    Completely agree. I hate the slave cylinder on 'em for sure. Always thought about using a vacuum tool to bleed them or any other clutch set-up. I've always had to go back and re-bleed any clutch I've had the misfortune to tool with.
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    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    They seem better suited as a 1/2 ton trans. I've driven them, they're OK in a truck but nothing about the shift or pedal feel would make me want it in a sporty sort of application. Maybe the SuperCoupe version has tweaks to make it better, haven't driven one of those. It shifts decently fast for a truck but not fast enough for a sporty sort of feel in a car IMO.

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    I looked up the gear ratios because I was curious...definitely truck gearing. M5OD-R2 Really wide spread between the ratios, and 1st gear looks like a granny gear (2.73 rear might do ok with it, it's 3.90, for reference an AOD is 2.40, t5's are higher). The r1's have better gearing, but not the right bolt pattern.

    http://www.f150hub.com/trans/m5od-r2.html
    -Phil



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    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    When I say firm... I mean like a mustang. You actually have to push it down as opposed to something like an Accent that had such an easy clutch that you could lean your foot on it and the pedal would drop. You can't just rest your foot and shift gears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
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    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  18. #18
    GMN Regular DerekTheGreat's Avatar
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    Oh, aren't rustangs equipped with cable clutches? My Colorado had an awfully stiff clutch right from the factory, I hated it.

    Like gadget said, I think those transmissions are pretty damn decent for a half ton truck. Ever drive something with a SM465?? Whew. DUMPTRUCK transmission. Yuck.
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