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George Lahr

Author Topic: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification  (Read 8680 times)

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Offline dave1987

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Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« on: January 07, 2009, 12:47:51 PM »
Here is a collection of pictures and short descriptions of what I did to adapt a Pinto 4spd shifter to work with the Mustang II reverse lockout mechanism and angled shaft.

The Pinto's stock 4spd transmission uses a drop in shifter that is screwed into place by means of a threaded ring, and press down retention tabs used to keep it from working it's way back out from vibration. It's reverse lockout mechanism is a rubber diaphragm like spring that pushes the shifter up, giving back pressure when screwing it into the transmission tail shaft. To shift into reverse, you press down on the shifter and to the upper left. The problem with this design is that the rubber diaphragm spring deteriorates over time, and the reverse lockout becomes non-functional, making it possible to accidentally shift into reverse while aiming for first gear.

The Mustang II's stock 4spd transmission uses a drop in shifter nearly identical to the Pinto's, however it is bolted to the transmission by means of three metric bolts. It is not only more secure, but also much easier to remove. It's reverse lockout mechanism is much more reliable as it ages, as it does not use any rubber as the Pinto one does. Instead it uses a steel spring which acts the same way as the Pinto's does, putting back pressure against the shifter as it is installed, making you have to push down on the shifter to shift into reverse.


At first glance of the shifters, it may not appear possible to disassemble one of these shifters, as the black head shaft is secured to the main body of the shifter by a sleeve inside the larger portion of the head shaft, which has a diameter just a millimeter smaller than the main body's shaft and is pressed into place. The sleeve inside the head shaft is encased in rubber and then secured inside the head shaft. Technically, the only way to remove this head shaft would be to tap along the base of the head shaft's sleeve with a drift and slowly work it off of the main body. However, I have found that it usually has a weak spot that it will twist off given enough force. While removing my mustang II's angled head shaft, the sleeve separated from the rubber it is encased in, but this does not mean it has been destroyed. JB Weld can be used to secure it during reassembly.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2009, 12:50:25 PM »
Now, if you are still with me, let's get to the photos, which better describe things.

Let's start with difference between the two shifters which affects daily driving, the angle of the head shaft.

I find that using this shaft is more comfortable to use. It does require more forward and backward movement of your arm, but it requires less effort to engage each gear.



Mustang II on top, Pinto on bottom.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2009, 01:00:19 PM »
Here is a breakdown of the Pinto shifter.

Photo 1) The shifter without the head shaft, but main shaft still assembled.
Photo 2) The main shaft (top) and head shaft (bottom) stripped.
Photo 3) The build for the reverse lock out mechanism and retaining ring at base.
Photo 4) Exploded view of reverse lock out mechanism and retaining ring at base.

All of the components for the reverse lock out mechanism are held into place with a C-clip around the raised portion on the main shaft.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2009, 01:05:20 PM »
Now a breakdown of the Mustang II shifter.

Photo 1) Shifter without head shaft but main shaft still assembled.
Photo 2) Main shaft (top) and head shaft (bottom) stripped. Friction sleeve for head shaft shown extracted.
Photo 3) The build for the reverse lockout mechanism and base plate.
Photo 4) Base plate with shifter ball guide in place.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2009, 01:19:11 PM »
The plastic "shifter ball guide" on the Mustang II shifter is used to center the ball at the base of the main shaft and keep it from moving around (because the hole the shifter is dropped into is larger than the ball) once the shifter is installed.

The way the reverse lockout parts are held into place on the Mustang II shifter is, instead of a c-clip like the Pinto, they compressed the spring and squeezed the steel shaft just above the spring cap (pictured below). This created a flare on the side of the shaft, which would help to hold everything into place. They did this on either side of the shaft for equal pressure on the spring, as well as to ensure parts would not slide past the pinch. To remove the components of the main shaft, these pinches must be cut off. The final photo shows where the shaft had to be cut in order to slide the shifter parts past the pinch.

Photo 1) Ball guide installed in the base plate.
Photo 2) Ball guide removed from the base plate.
Photo 3) Exploded view of reverse lockout mechanism.
Photo 4) Main shaft notched for dis assembly.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2009, 01:24:04 PM »
In the photo below, the Pinto shaft has been fitted with the Mustang II's reverse lockout mechanism. To use the Mustang II reverse lockout, the Mustang II's upper and lower slide washers will be needed, as well as the spring (of coarse) and the spring cap. The Pinto's retaining ring can be used in place of the Mustang II's base plate, and everything can be held into place by the Pinto's C-Clip.

Upon reassembly, you can use either the stock Pinto head shaft or you can use the Mustang II's angled head shaft. I am currently using the Mustang II's angled shaft on my 78 Sedan without any issues.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 01:26:53 PM »
I hope that this information may come of use to some members. If not for a conversion, then at least the pictures might be used for reference with another project. I have found that detailed information about Pinto parts and their similar counterparts can be very useful when completing a repair or modification. I hope that this guide/thread can aid other in such an event.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline douglasskemp

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 04:58:49 PM »
Holy smokes! 1-up for you, for this in depth coverage!
The Pinto I had I gave to my brother. The car was originally my mom's, (78 red Pinto sedan with a 2.3 and a 4spd.) I am originally from Tucson, AZ but moved to Oxnard CA :D
I'm looking for a Pinto wagon with an automatic.

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 05:04:03 PM »
Thanks Doug! Anything I can do to help out with existing or future questions. Never know when in depth info might be wanted!

I seem to find myself scouring the net and the Pinto forums for info about odd ball things all the time. Info is there, but it's scattered or missing bits and pieces, so I try to include as much info as possible when doing my guides.

Hopefully I can get a good picture guide up of windshield gasket replacement, as well as wiper posts and vent ducts this spring when I pull my car apart. Stay tuned! ;D
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline Carolina Boy

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2009, 08:00:41 PM »
 Just found this topic and I must say, It was well written with a lot of detail. :amazed: I will use this on my new Pinto's sloppy shifter.
 If it would be alright with you, may I incorporate it into the mods I am planning to do to my shifter to make it a short throw Hurst clone w/ t-handle?  ???
If life gives you a lemon, squeeze it in your moonshine and buy a Pinto.

Offline dave1987

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2009, 01:45:11 AM »
That would be great! I think it would be better to have all the shifter mod info in one thread rather than several threads which future visitors would have to search all over for. I'm looking forward to your additions!
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline Drexx

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Re: Mustang II to Pinto shifter conversion & Modification
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2013, 02:02:24 AM »
Thanks Dave, I used this info to modify my Pinto shifter.
http://www.fordpinto.com/your-project/please-offer-ideas/
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