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Gripping Performance—Improving your Coyote 5.0 Mustang’s Clutch and Shifter

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Written By Miles Cook

Photography By the Author

When the Coyote 5.0-liter DOHC V-8 made its debut in the 2011 Mustang GT, a revolution was instantly created. With 412 horsepower and 97 more horsepower than the 2010 Mustang’s 4.6-liter SOHC three-valve engine, the Coyote was an immediate hit and to many, the best engine Ford has ever created. For 2013, the Coyote was the recipient of some calibration updates that resulted in a 420-horsepower rating, while other improvements for the then-new 2015 S550 Mustang brought the Coyote to its current 435-horsepower level where it stands for the 2017 Mustang GT models.

To go along with the Coyote engine, Ford also changed the Tremec TR3650 five-speed manual to the Getrag MT-82 six-speed gearbox, so a complete drivetrain makeover was the deal for 2011 Coyote 5.0s as the engine and transmission were completely new pieces of equipment.

While the MT-82 works fine for normal driving, major shortcomings with the stock shifter quickly began to surface. Just shifting the MT-82 quickly under heavier throttle usually resulted in missed shifts going from First to Second and Second to Third. Forget Powershifting, as that would clearly be a recipe for breaking something. We have experienced this issue as have legions of other Coyote 5.0 owners have in their cars. For us, it was in two different cars we’ve driven in the past two years. One was a 2011 GT we owned in 2014 and the other is the 2013 Coyote 5.0 subject car getting the upgrades we are going to show you here.

Anything approaching what could be called a speedshift always resulted in missing Second gear in both cars. Again, normal driving with slow deliberate shifting was fine, but if we really tried to hit it in either car, missed 1-2 or 2-3 shifts was a given. We didn’t even think about attempting a powershift going from 1-2 or 2-3 in either car.

While in some cases, a Tremec T-56 Magnum swap is one way to go, we wanted to see what sort of improvements we could achieve by doing everything short of performimg the really cool, but not cheap, T-56 swap in our subject car.

Our results were a resounding success. By installing the Centerforce DYAD clutch in the car and further enhancing the setup with one of MGW’s top-quality bomb-proof shifters, the car shifts perfectly under all driving conditions. Pedal effort with the Centerforce is noticeably lighter and the rock-solid MGW shifter makes shifting so much easier and more enjoyable all around. Its super-positive shift points make shifting much more exact and the throws are also seemingly just a little bit longer than the stock shifter, which also makes accidently shifting to Fifth, when looking for Third considerably less likely.

Furthermore, we also added an Energy Suspension urethane transmission mount and emptied the old fluid out the MT-82 and topped it off with fresh Royal Purple Synchromax synthetic manual transmission fluid.

While an MT-82 isn’t as strong as a T-56 Magnum, we got it to the point where it shifts probably as good and works beautifully for an almost all-street-driven car. The Centerforce clutch is also good for handling 1,000 horsepower or more, so it will be ideal for the supercharger the car will also be getting in the near future.

As for this project, it’s pretty much a one-day R&R job and we had it all back together in a day at Fontana Motorsports, which is a very reputable shop in Simi Valley, California. We have worked with FM for several years and they work on all kinds of vintage and late-model Ford cars and trucks as well as just about any GM or Mopar model, too. Let’s take a look.

The Centerforce DYAD is a multidisc clutch system (PN 04234805 for Coyote 5.0s) that offers smooth engagement, a light pedal feel, and quiet operation. The DYAD can handle four-digit power and torque output levels, something readily attainable with engines like a twin-turbo Coyote 5.0. Other features include a patented ball-bearing pressure plate and multi-disc floating disc and drive-disc design, precision balancing and ARP fasteners. As shown here, it also comes fully assembled with its billet-steel flywheel, though, of course, it needs to come apart for installation onto the back of the engine.

The new billet flywheel is shown here and also visible is its build date and serial number.
Each clutch comes with its own individualized specification card, sort of a clutch “dyno” sheet if you will. It shows the exact holding capacity and measurements, and the build date and serial number of the clutch is also listed and matches the numbers inscribed on the flywheel. Also at the bottom of one page is the average torque-holding capacity at 1,308 lb-ft. So figure on it being able to handle at least 1,000 horsepower as well, which means the power of a 600-700-or-so horsepower supercharged Coyote 5.0 will be a walk in the park for the DYAD.

In the interest of doing everything possible to improve the drivetrain as much as possible with a stock MT-82 trans, we also added an Energy Suspension transmission mount insert. This piece helps maintain proper driveshaft angle and replaces the short-lived and usually too soft rubber mounts. It’s also resistant to vehicle fluids and was a good upgrade to do while we had the car apart. The shown shifter bushing is also a good option for stock shifters, but wasn’t used because we upgraded to an MGW shifter.
This is the MGW Race Spec shifter for 2011-14 Mustangs equipped with the MT-82 six-speed manual transmission. This includes GTs, ’12-’13 Boss 302s and V-6 cars. We have seen our share of Mustang shifters over the years and this one is about tops in quality and function. To us, the big star here is the above-left shown upper-bridge assembly and strut arms that mount the main shifter body to the transmission (linkage rod also shown). The issues surrounding the stock MT-82 remote-mounted shifter are completely eliminated with the MGW design. We will show installation of it in the following sequence, keeping in mind that we removed the transmission from the car to do the clutch swap. Of course, removing the transmission isn’t required to install just the shifter and the videos available at mgwshifters.com/shifters/mustangs/79 also do an excellent job at explaining how to install the shifter by itself.
After disconnecting the car’s battery, begin by popping center console out as shown. It comes out quite easily with a gentle and even pull with both hands. There is also one plug to remove that is for the trunk release and traction-control buttons.
The shifter boot is the next item to be removed.
On a hoist and underneath the car, the driveshaft also needs to come out. The starter also needs to be removed. Its cable is quite strong and the starter can simply hang out of the way; disconnecting it electrically isn’t required.
The stock shifter is about ready to be removed from the car.
Next, support the transmission with a transmission jack. We also secured it in place with a ratcheting tie down to be sure it wouldn’t fall off the jack.
The exhaust system needs to be disconnected at its mid section, but doesn’t have to be removed. With the transmission supported, the crossmember can be unbolted and removed. The shifter is the next item to come out. Before unbolting the trans from the engine, all the electrical connections need to be unplugged. This includes the oxygen sensors, reverse-safety-switch and others. Once that’s done, there are six bellhousing bolts that hold the MT-82 in place. The four lower ones are readily accessible. The top two, however, need to be accessed with about a two-foot extension as shown here. They cannot be accessed from under the hood, unless you want to remove the intake manifold. And that isn’t necessary as getting to them from under the car is possible.
Next, the fluid line for the hydraulic clutch throwout bearing needs to be disconnected.
Once the transmission is unbolted from the engine, it can be gently separated with a pry bar as shown here. As we began to lower the trans down, it became clear that one side of the exhaust system and a catalytic converter were going to have to come out. Even though this 2013 Coyote 5.0 has less than 40,000 miles on it, the bolts were quite rusty, so be prepared for some broken fasteners.
With the transmission was lowered out of the car, the clutch pressure plate was then removed, followed by the flywheel.
Centerforce supplies a new throwout bearing to use with the new clutch. There is also a supplied spacer that must be used and it is in place here after removing the old bearing.
The new bearing fits over the spacer as shown here and factory bolts are reused. Tighten them to 22 ft.-lbs. The new bearing’s line is then pressed back into place in the bellhousing. The new bearing and spacer with the line going to the bellhousing looks like this.
Installation of the new clutch begins with the flywheel going on the engine and the supplied new bolts being torqued in a star pattern in three steps to 25 ft-lbs., then 50 then 72. The mounting holes in the flywheel are clocked in a specific pattern and match the thread holes in the crank. It will only go on one way so that it balances correctly.
Once the flywheel bolts are torqued to spec, the first drive disc is placed onto the flywheel and the floater plate is placed over the drive disc. Align the plate with the three guide pins on the flywheel.
Next, the outer floating disc and pressure plate are then installed. It is imperative that the balance-index marks on the flywheel, floater plate and pressure plate are properly aligned as shown here. This ensures the clutch assembly is balanced correctly relative to the engine and drivetrain.
With the supplied clutch alignment tool in place, tighten all six pressure plate nuts ¼-turn at a time in a criss-cross pattern until the pressure plate is completely drawn-up to the spacers against the flywheel. Complete the clutch installation by torqing the pressure plate nuts to 38 ft-lbs.
Turning to the MGW shifter, you can see the difference between the stock shifter bridge (top) that basically attaches the shifter to the transmission and the MGW bridge assembly. Clearly the difference in strength and rigidity is dramatic and that translates into that much better of a feel when shifting with the MGW shifter.
The linkage rod and shifter are installed on the transmission as shown here. We decided to mock it up with the MT-82 trans out of the car in order to give you an idea of how it installs onto the trans when it’s in the car; which is to say very easily. Normally, the transmission doesn’t need to be removed for installation of the shifter, but since we had it out, we figured why not show it?

As mentioned earlier, we also added an Energy Suspension trans-mount insert. This is an easy press-fit installation to the trans mount with the transmission in or out of the car as shown here.
Part of our whole upgrade effort was a change to fresh Royal Purple transmission fluid. Many have reported the MT-82 shifts better with a fluid change, so RP’s Synchromax fluid was certainly a vital part of our project.
With the clutch, new fluid and trans mount in place and with part of the MGW shifter taken back off the transmission, the MT-82 was ready to go back into the car. Get all six bellhousing bolts started, but don’t use them to pull the transmission all the way back up against the engine block. Get it as close as possible before tightening them in place. After the trans is mounted, reconnect the hydraulic clutch line to the new throwout bearing.
Before installing the MGW shifter body into the car, thoroughly coat all the moving parts inside with the supplied lubrication grease.
The shifter bridge was left in place when we reinstalled the transmission. Reinstalling the body is straightforward as shown earlier with the trans out of the car and in the videos on MGW’s Website. All the fasteners on the bridge are then thoroughly tightened into place. MGW supplies several pieces of insulation material with its Race Spec shifter.
You will lose a small amount of hydraulic fluid when the hydraulic line for the clutch is disconnected, so you’ll need to add a bit to the brake fluid reservoir to replace what leaked out. To get the hydraulic clutch working again, we followed an easy procedure whereby you simply push the clutch pedal down and back up repeatedly until it starts working again. This might have to be done 150-200 times, but it only takes a few minutes. Ours began working again after we pumped the pedal about 200 times.
Inside the car, the MGW shifter is set and secured into place with the supplied Allen screw hardware and tool. The original shifter boot is then reinstalled over the MGW shifter. The factory insulation blanket is them set back into place, and MGW also supplies an additional insulation blanket that fits right over the stock one.
The console is then snapped back into the place and the stock shift ball can be reused or the optional MGW ball can be used with its supplied spacer first going into place here. The MGW ball installs with a supplied jam nut that’s tightened with the supplied wrench. The nut goes on first, followed by the ball. Screw the ball down until it bottoms out, then back it off a full turn. Then align the shift pattern, screw the nut up into the ball and lock the nut into place with the wrench. Do not torque down on the ball to align the shift pattern straight or the shifter shaft will work like a jackscrew, push from the inside ball and crack it in half.

 

Sources

 

Centerforce

(928) 771-8422

centerforce.com

 

MGW

(706) 793-1770

mgwshifters.com

 

Royal Purple

(281) 354-8600

royalpurpleconsumer.com

 

Energy Suspension

(949) 361-3935

energysuspension.com

 

Fontana Motorsports

(818) 641-3512

facebook.com/Fontana-Motorsports-198648423567772/

 


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