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How to: C5 and 1354 shifter linkage


Junk Collector
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V8 Engine Swap
Solid Axle Swap
Mar 4, 2008
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Rapid City SD
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Original Poster: Shran

Difficulty: 3 out of 10 (25 out of 10 if you don't have good junkyard access!)

Time to install: 1-2 hours

Disclaimer: The Ranger Station.com, The Ranger Station.com Staff, nor the original poster are responsible for you doing this modification to your vehicle. By doing this modification and following this how-to you, the installer, take full responsibility if anything is damaged or messed up. If you have questions, feel free to PM the original poster or ask in the appropriate section of The Ranger Station.com forums.

Brief Explanation:
This is an easy swap, but, it is difficult to accomplish if you don't have access to a lot of RBV parts of all years. In my case I swapped a C5 transmission from an '84 Bronco II into a '94 Explorer and wanted a manual transfer case. The one little quirk is that the shift linkage for the t-case is not a factory part. It must assembled from various years of RBV donors.

This is obviously a custom job - you may have to use an aftermarket boot for this, none of the factory ones will fit except for possibly a 89 up Auto Trans/Manual T-case truck.

FWIW this probably applies if you wanted to put a 1354 t-case in an early truck too. I no longer have a TK trans to test this but I believe the big shifter pivot bolt is in the same location as the C5, and the tailhousings of both are shorter than the later trucks.

Tools Needed:

13mm, 1-1/8, 14mm, 9/16 wrenches
Die grinder, dremel with small cutoff wheel, and/or a sharp metal file

Parts Needed:
83-85? 4x4 shifter, must say "4 speed or auto" on it
"short" 1350 t-case shift arm (found in a 86-87 truck with an FM145 trans)
One or two 1/2" washers
And the obvious, a 1354 manual t-case and a C5 auto transmission.

This is the shifter you want:

Compared to others:


Steps 1:
Remove the bent shifter arm from your 1354 t-case and install the "short" arm from the 1350 donor.

As you can see there are several variant, the short one is the one you want.


Steps 2:
Using the correct shifter linkage, hog out part of the adjustment hole in this area. This allows for more movement, as the normal 1354 shifter gate is longer and this one doesn't quite move far enough and any shift other than 2wd would not be fully engaged. I removed quite a bit here, probably 1/8" or better.

Then, using your file or dremel cutoff wheel, remove some metal from this area. I took off approximately 1/16", this allowed the t-case to shift into 4 High fully.


Steps 3:

Bolt the shifter onto the trans while lining it up with the t-case shift arm. Use the 1/2" washers in the area circled to space the shift linkage out a bit from the shifter arm. This was necessary because the shifter was too close and would bind with no bushing installed... not good.


Steps 4:

Shift the t-case into 4 Low and rotate the gate so that the angled part of the gate is just barely in front of the shift lever. Tighten the big bolt and the smaller hold down bolt on the shifter, then attempt to shift into every other gear several times. You'll know you got it when there is a nice positive feeling shift...4 High is the most difficult to get just right because of how much the hold down bolt hole has to be hogged out - not enough and it won't fully engage 4 High.

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