79 CJ5 Ford T18 swap - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 25 Old 08-06-2020, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
pg_jglr
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79 CJ5 Ford T18 swap

I am about to dive into a transmission/transfer case swap. Not really asking for advice per sea but just throwing out what I'm planning to see if anyone who has done this before can give some words of wisdom.

1979 CJ5 with 304 / T150 / D20 drivetrain has major issues. Can't get into 2nd gear while the car is moving and growls occasionally from the transfer case (which is a real bear to get into or out of gear). So, I'm assuming that both the T150 and D20 need to be rebuilt (at least) and I happen to have a perfectly good D300 in a 81 CJ5 parts jeep.

I found a guy who will build a Ford T-18 with the Novak adapter installed (new main shaft, plate, etc) here in Denver for $850 and I'm about to go drop off the Novak kit and the D300 with him. The plan is then that I will pick up the transmission / transfer case unit and swap it in myself (in my driveway). The one part of the install I'm nervous about is a check that Novak strongly recommends to check the bellhousing with a dial indicator before mating up the transmission. I will need to talk to Novak again to figure it out because their directions left me a bit confused. I obviously haven't done this before but I'm hoping that I'm not going to take it apart and then have to tow it to a mechanic in defeat. I will try to document the swap process if nothing else here (victory or defeat)...

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post #2 of 25 Old 08-07-2020, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Dropped off parts

So the parts are dropped off! I'm very hopeful that this goes smoothly, the transmission they are starting with looks like it's in great shape, very clean with I believe are fresh bearings seals and everything working. I probably need to do some reading up on if there is anything I can do to check it out before I get it bolted in.

Side note, in addition to talking to Novak for a while I did what I could to read online about this. I'm dumping my links here in case it's useful for others.
https://www.jeeptech.com/convtrans/fordt18/index.html
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/t...tible-4393347/
http://www.earlycj5.com/xf_cj5/index...18-swap.26040/
https://www.pirate4x4.com/threads/t1...ed-cj.1028837/
https://www.pirate4x4.com/threads/cj...tions.2679366/
http://www.earlycj5.com/xf_cj5/index...18-swap.17590/
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/t...8-swap-865352/
https://www.advanceadapters.com/tech...warner-t18t19/
http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge...manual/t18-t19
https://www.novak-adapt.com/catalog/...19-to/kit-183/

Next step is to get the transfer case out of the donor vehicle 81 CJ5 and send that over to the transmission shop to have them get it bolted up and ready for installation.
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-07-2020, 03:35 PM
Jafo220
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Originally Posted by pg_jglr View Post
So the parts are dropped off! I'm very hopeful that this goes smoothly, the transmission they are starting with looks like it's in great shape, very clean with I believe are fresh bearings seals and everything working. I probably need to do some reading up on if there is anything I can do to check it out before I get it bolted in.

Side note, in addition to talking to Novak for a while I did what I could to read online about this. I'm dumping my links here in case it's useful for others.
http://www.jeeptech.com/convtrans/fordt18/index.html
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/tr...tible-4393347/
http://www.earlycj5.com/xf_cj5/index...18-swap.26040/
http://www.pirate4x4.com/threads/t18...ed-cj.1028837/
http://www.pirate4x4.com/threads/cj-...tions.2679366/
http://www.earlycj5.com/xf_cj5/index...18-swap.17590/
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/t150-t18-swap-865352/
http://www.advanceadapters.com/tech-...warner-t18t19/
http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge...manual/t18-t19
http://www.novak-adapt.com/catalog/a...19-to/kit-183/

Next step is to get the transfer case out of the donor vehicle 81 CJ5 and send that over to the transmission shop to have them get it bolted up and ready for installation.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you will love that combo once it's all in and ready to go. I just did an NP435/d300 swap into my '79 CJ7. I had the t150/d20 also. The NP435 was a huge improvement. I'm sure the t18 will to.
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post #4 of 25 Old 08-07-2020, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
pg_jglr
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Originally Posted by Jafo220 View Post
I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you will love that combo once it's all in and ready to go. I just did an NP435/d300 swap into my '79 CJ7. I had the t150/d20 also. The NP435 was a huge improvement. I'm sure the t18 will to.
Thanks, I'm pretty excited about it. My wife is less excited than i am, that is unless she can spend the same amount on her hobby as I'm putting into this. Then she is thrilled too.

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post #5 of 25 Old 08-07-2020, 08:13 PM
cjoffroad
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This spring, I found a good deal on a t-18/d20 combo mated together with a Novak adapter. It shifted fine so I swapped it into my '78 CJ7 to replace the t-150/d20 thinking it would be good to go. It would occasionally get stuck when I tried to shift it into reverse. Turns out a rebuild of the top cover solved my problem. I found that it's very common for the reverse gate interlock button springs to break and cause hard shifting issues. I suspect whoever adapted my ford t-18 to the dana 20 decided to pass on rebuilding the top cover. Just something you can easily check while you have it out.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/b...verse-4403659/
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post #6 of 25 Old 08-08-2020, 03:32 PM
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I was all set to go with this conversion on "Black Betty" but then got the boot from Skinnymutt and my income was uncertain. My first was a really crusty Ford T18 from a wrecking yard,






while I got it cheap once I disassembled it there was considerable damage to the reverse and first gear.





Still in all it was a good learning experience on how these trannys go together. Found a good running Ford T18



up in Portland, OR (80 miles away) for reasonable except the shifter was stuck. A smack with a screwdriver and mallet freed it up. I was then able to remove the top cover but still found the typical damage to the non-synchro reverse and the accompanying gear:



at that juncture I lost my life long career so this project has been on a hiatus ever since, languishing up my workbench, BUT I DO HAVE THE TREMEC BOOK.

The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-08-2020, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Man looks like its not hard to get bit during the swap. cjoffroad and turbogus thanks for the tips, i will see if i can get the transmission shop to show me the guts of the t18 before i pay. I was wondering about the unsyncronized 1st and reverse and how common damaging them are. I briefly considered going the same route and rebuilding a junkyard t18. With a baby in the house and no garage i figured i would never get around to it.

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post #8 of 25 Old 08-08-2020, 09:54 PM
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As long as one is at a full stop and the engine at idle, 1st and reverse will engage well. The trouble is folks forget that about these older designed transmissions.

The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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post #9 of 25 Old 08-08-2020, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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cjoffroad, I just read through your thread on the broken spring, great write up (totally bookmarking that) and thanks for the link to the T18 manual. On a different note, I tried to start in on pulling the donor D300, didn't get very far just yet, ran out of light but saw a nice sunset!
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post #10 of 25 Old 08-11-2020, 04:48 PM
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Just out of curiosity, the guy who is doing the conversion, is his name Mitch?
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post #11 of 25 Old 08-12-2020, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pg_jglr View Post
Man looks like its not hard to get bit during the swap. cjoffroad and turbogus thanks for the tips, i will see if i can get the transmission shop to show me the guts of the t18 before i pay. I was wondering about the unsyncronized 1st and reverse and how common damaging them are. I briefly considered going the same route and rebuilding a junkyard t18. With a baby in the house and no garage i figured i would never get around to it.

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Where it would be nice to synchronize to 1st and reverse, they are such low gears being able to downshift from second to first, if it was synchronized, would be a bad idea. It may cause loss of control to tire chatter among other issues. It's probably designed with no synchro in mind for safety issues as was as avoiding damage to the gears an other vehicle parts down shifting to such low gearing. Reverse is even lower than first gear at least on my np435. Both will give you whiplash if you're not paying attention to the clutching. 1st gear on the street is really not usable in normal driving. Even worse if you have lower gearing in your diffs. It's hard to find a happy medium between crawling gears and hwy gearing. I feel I came about as close to that medium as you can with the swap I did and probably your swap as well.

What is you differential gearing, just curious.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-12-2020, 12:27 PM
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The T19 had a synchronized first gear. They were available in 4:1, 5:1 and 6:1 versions. I have a friend who modified his CJ T18 with T19 parts to have a synchro first gear. He also modified his CJ Dana 20 to use a Scout D20 shift tower, which readily accepts Dana 18 twin sticks.
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post #13 of 25 Old 08-12-2020, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSP View Post
The T19 had a synchronized first gear. They were available in 4:1, 5:1 and 6:1 versions. I have a friend who modified his CJ T18 with T19 parts to have a synchro first gear. He also modified his CJ Dana 20 to use a Scout D20 shift tower, which readily accepts Dana 18 twin sticks.

What all is entailed in the T19 "upgrade" of a T18? Being I have seen those pics of the worn gears, I am suspect of all T18s now, and if I have to replace gears, maybe the upgrade is in order....

Rick

1978 CJ5 5.0HO/T177/D300, '86 D30/D44 WT axles, 'glass body, 31x10.5 BFG A/T, TDK galv'd frame - DD and weekend toy


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post #14 of 25 Old 08-12-2020, 08:40 PM
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On another note, is the D300 that much linger than the D20 on these things? Would love to just reuse the D300, but in a '5 the "real estate" is already scarce enough for a rear driveshaft...

Rick

1978 CJ5 5.0HO/T177/D300, '86 D30/D44 WT axles, 'glass body, 31x10.5 BFG A/T, TDK galv'd frame - DD and weekend toy


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post #15 of 25 Old 08-12-2020, 09:20 PM
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I drove my 83 CJ7 with a Ford T18 swapped in from about 1998 until 2007. With my stock axle gearing of 3.31 and 32" tires, it had pros and cons. Pro was first gear off road worked really well. And it cruised comfortably at highway speeds. Cons, 1st gear was really to low for 90% of street driving, and 2nd gear was a bit to high for standing starts if you were on any kind of incline. So it made daily driving it kind of a pain. A pain I lived with to gain the low speed crawling off road and a very strong transmission.

I now have a NV3550 5 speed, D300 with 4:1 gearing, 4.56 axle gears and 35" tires. Excellent street manners and better gear reduction off road than the T18/stock D300/3.31 axle gear setup.

I like the granny four speeds, but I think picking the right axle gear ratio is critical for a daily driver. Much less so for a primarily off road Jeep that will see limited street time.

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Ox air, Rr D44 OX cable, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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