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MG TD TF 1500 - 5-Speed Transmission Conversion


Does anyone have experience with a 5-speed transmission for the TD? As I understand it, there are two options: move the engine forward 10 mm, or keep it in the same spot, but remove a piece of the frame crossmember so as to accommodate a new support bracket. Both use a 5-speed transmission from a Ford Sierra.

Apparently Moss supplies the first type whereas Hi-Gear Engineering (in the UK) can supply either type. I have a 1953 TD with an 8 inch clutch and it is fitted with a 4.3 rear end.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.

Jon Morgan, Virginia, USA
Jonathan Morgan

I did the newer HiGear without moving the engine forward. Cutting the X-member was no big deal. I removed the entire interior as I don't have a lift. You can buy it a LOT cheaper direct from HiGear! It works well but I do have trouble at times getting it into 1st gear. Here are 2 videos I put on Youtube showing the job. You have to force the video to the begginning. Don't ask me why?
efh Haskell

Buy it from Hi- Gear...they sell it to Moss and Moss marks it up to sell it to you.
Gene Gillam

Forget my 2nd video above. It's just a shorter version of the first one.
Sorry I don't have a video of the actual installation of 5 speed or removal of 4 speed or a video of the finished product. It took 3 strong old men, but we got it done! Just pretend it's a four speed but you can shift one extra time into 5th lowering RPM's considerably!! Next time (of course there won't be a next time), I would pull the engine + 4 speed, bolt the 5 speed on the engine then put it all back in the car but that requires a engine hoist that I don't own either!
If you have other questions please email me at efhask at roadrunner dot com.

efh Haskell

Hi Gene, I have tried to get to the website from hi-gear. but I get a warning :...If you continue your PC will be affected . Some one is trying to steal your data.

Am I the only one with this experience ????


Gerard Hengeveld

The Hi-gear web site warning can either be that they have forgotten to renew their security certificate or the site has been taken over by a 'malign' source.

I think it is the certificate that is the problem, you can get to the relevant TD site here:

email address:
Ian Bowers

You probably won't get an immediate response from their website. I have their phone number if needed. Email me at efhask at roadrunner dot com.
efh Haskell

The Ford Sierra gearbox has a fifth gear ratio of 0.82:1, so if you combine that with your 4.3 diff, you will be rather over-geared - although going downhill will probably be OK. You might want to change your diff ratio*, and the attached table might help.
* and recalibrate your speedo.


My speedo was already off by about 8mph before conversion. With 5 speed it's spot on now! No re-calibration needed for me.
efh Haskell


I have a 53 TD with a 4.3 rear and the last of the Skyhook Datsun 5-speed conversions. I also have a T. Lange blower. 1st thru 4th gear is normal, 5th is like overdrive on the flat or gentle rise. You will need a speedometer conversion box such as that sold by Declan Burns or have your speedo sent out and adjusted.

Having grown up in VA I might stay with your present setup unless you are spending a lot of time on Rt95 or the like. Otherwise the hills such as the Blue Ridge will keep you out of 5th forever.

James Neel


I do agree with Ed, best to call. Believe it or not, it's a "cottage industry" run by Peter Gamble and his wife.

Peter is a gem to talk to but I don't think he uses the computer very much to communicate. I had bought a conversion from him for use "eventually" and put it on the shelf. When I finally installed it in the car about 5 years later I had a loud noise when decelerating. I tried everything I knew to try, then called Peter. He asked me to check the differential (I did, even changed it out) and the noise was still there. I called him back and he sent me another transmission for the cost of shipping and arranged to have the noisy one returned (his cost). Mind you this was 5 years after I bought the transmission! Don't think Moss would do that for you.

Gene Gillam

A couple of years ago I made two conversion kits for Sierra gearboxes. I made one with a housing a bit shorter than High Gears, so I didn´t have to neither relocate the engine nor cut the cross member. It was not a trivial task. I also modified a more modern gear box from a BMW, that I am willing to sell. It is a very compact gearbox and for very powerful engines. However, it has no connection for speedo, so a GPS type has to be used. It is also possible to install an inductive sensor and a small servo motor to run the speedo.
I have in earlier leads described both the Sierra and the BMW conversion.
YS Strom

Thanks for all of your comments. Jim - how do I get in touch with Declan Burns for the speedometer conversion box? I figured I'd be sending the speedometer off to Nisonger Instruments.

Jon Morgan
Jonathan Morgan Bud
Bud Krueger

I doubt if Declan is up for any work like that at the moment as he is recovering from surgery.
Dave H
Dave Hill

John, I forgot to mention the spigot bush. My original was a bear to remove crawling under the dash. The "jam it with grease" method did not work for me. I finally got a cheap puller from Napa under $20 as I remember. It worked great!
efh Haskell

For spigot bush removal I've always used a hydraulic tappet puller - it works great!

Kevin McLemore

That's the one I meant Kevin. But what's "hydraulic" about it?
efh Haskell

"Hydraulic" refers to the kind of tappet it removes, not the sort of puller it is.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair
t lange

If you are competent at engineering and want to do the job cheaply Andy King sells conversion bellhouses. Everything else can be easily fabricated or purchased. I have converted my TF and a friend his TD using Andy's bellhousings with no problems at all and the results are superb. It's not the extra ratio that makes the difference but the slick shift, with a synchro on first, and especially the silence. My TF is quieter than my six month old Audi. I made up a new front engine mount to move the engine over to the left slightly to give more clearance for the air filters but my friend with the TD simply elongated the holes in the original mount. If possible get the universal joint and spline from the Ford box. Any transmission shaft shop will be able to graft this onto the original MG prop shaft. I got a completely new shaft made up though. The rear MG universal joint is a standard item in the UK and the full new shaft cost me
J Targosz

To connect the Ford cable I made an adapter M12x1 in one end and a hole 9.5 mm. all way thru. As the connection on the Ford cable is too small to fit, I wrapped it with two revs of thin brass sheet and gave it a squared shape, to fit into the speedo. If the cable is pulled thru the adapter first, it can easily be introduced into the speedo and then the adapter is pulled back and screwed onto the speedo. The set screw should then be tightened very carefully, not to deform the wire. The picture shows one prototype made in delrin, wich is perfectly ok, but I have fitted one made in aluminum.

Unfortunately my speedo is of the type that cannot be calibrated, so as a temporary measure I applied digits that could be rubbed onto the lens.

I have made a drawing of a gearbox with two pulleys and an o-ring, to give the correct reading, but I am now just waiting for inspiration to make it.

To make a conversion kit that eliminated the need of relocation of engine or modification of cross member, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, required removal and modification of the front shaft and a slightly thicker clutch plate, to give room for the clutch bearing.

Cutting out a section of the cross member and welding in a piece of flat iron would also give room for a Sierra gearbox.

YS Strom

There is a web on the rear extension to the Ford Gearbox. If you grind a concave into this the amount the engine has to be moved forwards is very small. As I mention in a previous posting all my friend had to do with his TD was elongate the holes in the front mounting a fraction. It is also possible to lift the rear of the box slightly by using packing washers under the Ford rubber mount and this gives more clearance.

I wanted to retain all the original MG parts (but I don't think anyone would ever want to do a change back) so had a new speedo cable made up. I don't think that either the original MG one or the Ford can be modified for a TF. Their lengths are not correct. I had to feed a piece of electrical flex from the gearbox take off to the speedo to determine the required length. May be different for a TD.

Jan T
J Targosz

For those wanting more detail, I have an article posted to Bud Kruger's T-Talk, on the various gearboxes and resulting ratios. You will be surprised to learn how many 5 and 6-speed gearboxes that have potential to be adapted to our cars.

Two conspicuous absences are the Chrysler 5 and 6 speed (also an Asain box, like Miata, etc) and the now very long-ion-the-tooth GM BW T5. These two categories are for gearboxes that would be physically too large to adapt.


Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gord Clark

There are several Ford Type 9 gearboxes, in all states of repair or recondioned, on eBay UK right now. A used box, probably worn and in need of a rebuild seems to sell for around £300, though it varies. There are a number of different variants of these boxes with different sized input shafts, etc. Some are easily converted to our needs by shortening the shaft, etc., but others require more work. However I was informed by a gearbox rebuilder (that I have used) that all variants can be rebuilt to what we need at reasonable cost. If anyone needs contact details, just ask.
Dave H
Dave Hill

Ford box being installed in my TF using a bell housing from Andy King (mgsapresandrestorations). Everything else home made. Try to find a local gearbox reconditioned rather than one who specialises in type 9s. Many will remember the Ford box from a few years ago. I used an engineering firm in Paisley near Glasgow and they had two overall kits on the back of a shelf. They didn't think they would ever use them again. The owner said he had rebuilt so many of these boxes he could do it in his sleep. It cost be £100 including all the parts and the box is superb. The change is excellent and the silence is marvellous.

Jan T

J Targosz

I have to add to this thread, On Jan T's advice I used an Andy King bellhousing and although I am not particularly an Engineer I did the conversion as part of a total nut & bolt rebuild and found it a relatively straightforward process.
The Hi Gear kit is quite frankly vastly overpriced for what it is. All parts can easily be obtained or fabricated.
The cross member does not need to be cut,as Jan says, just grind a small area from the web. Moving the engine forward 10 mm will clear everything, Idrilled new holes in the forward mounting bracket and welded over the originals.
The hardest part seems now to be obtaining a 5 speed box (in my case a T9) as they are becoming increasingly rare.
The end result is very worth while as the car is much better able to keep up with modern traffic.
Do Not waste money on the Kit.
IW Martin

IW Martin,
And food can be obtained at a grocery store, taken home, and assembled into a fine dinner. Or you can let somebody else do that and pay more at a fine restaurant.

Most of us don't know how to weld nor do we have other skills you probably have. That's why kits serve a purpose. As noted you can get the kit directly from Peter Gamble in the UK for a LOT less than the big supplier charges for the same kit, including pages of detailed instructions.

Sorry, had to say this,
efh Haskell

Kits do serve a purpose and I have seen the Hi Gear one and it is top quality. other contributors to the form have, however, indicated that they could not afford the cost of purchasing a kit. I was merely pointing out that if you are a reasonable engineer, and most T Series owners are by necessity, there is an alternative way of converting to five speeds.

Jan T
J Targosz

This thread was discussed between 20/05/2018 and 31/05/2018

MG TD TF 1500 index

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