T5 Wont Go Into 1st Gear Now?


Active Member
Apr 3, 2012
Dallas, Tx
1991 5.0 Mustang running & driving great for the last 6 months now...

My buddy was getting on it in 1st gear, missed second gear, and now it wont go back in 1st gear?

It still goes in all the other gears, and drives fine. It just dead stops, and wont even try to go back into 1st gear at all now?

His fox still has the factory clutch cable & quadrant. If the clutch cable somehow came out of adjustment (slack), could that make his T5 not be able to go into 1st gear, but still go into all the rest of the gears no problem?

Just trying to figure out if this could be a clutch cable/quadrant problem, or if he just broke 1st gear in the T5?

Anyone know where to start? Any feedback is appreciated...
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Check the cable, but it sounds bad to me. If it was an SROD, I would suspect a bent clutch fork.

Cheap wild guess here - if it has an aftermarket shifter with adjustable bump stops - check the stop bolts. One may have come loose a ways. That would be the easy fix, andyyou may pull the console to pull the tranny anyway.
Clutch adjustment
Do the clutch adjustment first before considering any other problems. With the stock plastic quadrant and cable, pull up on the clutch pedal until it comes upward toward you. It will make a ratcheting sound as the self adjuster works. To release to tension of the stock quadrant, use a screwdriver to lift the ratchet paw up and out of engagement with the quadrant teeth.

A binding clutch cable will make the clutch very stiff. If the cable is misrouted or has gotten too close to the exhaust, it will definitely bind. The binding common to adjustable cables is often due to misplacement of the adjusting nuts on the fork end of the cable. This will also cause the cable to wear and fray. Both nuts should be on the back side of the fork so that the domed nut faces the fork and the other nut serves as jam or locknut to the domed nut.

Clutch pedal adjustment with aftermarket quadrant and cable: I like to have the clutch completely disengaged and still have about 1.5” travel left before the pedal hits the floor. This means that I have only about 1” of free play at the top before the pedal starts to disengage the clutch. Keep in mind that these figures are all approximate. When properly adjusted, there will not be any slack in the clutch cable. You will have 4-15 lbs preload on the clutch cable.
Loosening the cable adjustment nut (throwout bearing arm moves to the rear of the car) moves the disengagement point towards the floor.
Tightening the cable adjustment nut (throwout bearing arm moves to the front of the car) moves the disengagement point towards the top of the pedal.
The quadrant needs to be replaced if you use any type of aftermarket cable or adjuster. My preference is a Ford Racing quadrant, adjustable cable and Steeda firewall adjuster. The adjustable Ford Racing cable is just as good as the stock OEM cable. It allows a greater range of adjustment than a stock cable with a aftermarket quadrant and firewall adjuster. Combined with the Steeda adjuster, it lets you set the initial cable preload and then fine tune the clutch engagement point to your liking without getting under the car.

Using a stock OEM cable, firewall adjuster and a single hook quadrant may result in not having any free pedal travel before the clutch starts to disengage. I found this out the hard way.
See Summit Racing - High Performance Car and Truck Parts l 800-230-3030 for the following parts.
Ford Racing M-7553-B302 - Ford Racing V-8 Mustang Adjustable Clutch Linkage Kits - Overview - SummitRacing.com Cable and quadrant assembly $90
The Ford Racing Adjustable cable is available as a separate part:
Clutch Cable, Adjustable, Ford, Mercury, 5.0L, Kit FMS-M-7553-C302_HE_xl.jpg

[url=http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SDA-555-7021/]Steeda Autosports 555-7021 - Steeda Autosports Firewall Cable Adjusters - Overview - SummitRacing.com
Steeda firewall adjuster. $40