The first thing I did was disconnect and remove the frame cross-member and transmission mount then pulled the A4LD/extension housing/transfer case. (Note from experience (NFE): If you don’t have a transmission jack, pull the transfer case first – that SOB is HEAVY! Also – getting the transmission past the exhaust cross-pipe will SUCK! Just shimmy it back and forth while prying on the lip of the bellhousing – CAREFULLY). I then pulled all the automatic transmission doodads: cooler lines, linkage, shifter assembly, kickdown, etc. Plug up the hole in the firewall left by the kickdown so you don’t get a draft. You may have to trim back the carpet to get at some of the shifter assembly screws. I let the transmission cooler drain, then plugged the ports on the edge of the radiator; I’m going to just leave the rest of the transmission cooler system installed until I have a reason to remove the grill. I then removed the transfer case from the A4LD (Another NFE: take the opportunity to inspect the transfer case and check/change it’s fluid – easier with the unit removed from the vehicle)
With that out of the way, I prepped the FM146 for install – attached the bell housing, installed the slave cylinder, etc. I then changed out the flywheel and installed the clutch assembly (NFE: depending on prices in your area, you may want to buy a new flywheel. I saved ten bucks buying new instead of buying used and having it turned. Plus you don’t have to wait to get it back.) Since the thing was open and there, I installed all new parts for the clutch – I don’t want to do this again in the near future. New flywheel, pilot bearing, clutch kit. With that done, I lifted the transmission in and bolted it up. (NFE: the manual transmission was SUBSTANTIALLY easier to get in than the automatic was to get out, though still hung up a little on the cross-pipe.) In case you don’t already know, the FM146 install longer than the A4LD so you don’t need the extension housing. I put a new seal on the transfer case and lifted it in. Then I put the drivelines back in (changed the u-joints since I had the drives out) and that was it for the bulk of the under-rig work.
The shifters were a cinch to install. Since the lengths are the same between the transmission, the transfer case linkage bolted right back on. The stick pops in and is held down by four torx bolts. Simple.
The next thing was to install the hydraulic clutch system. I got the entire thing from a salvage yard pull. I started at the transmission and worked my way up. The quick disconnect hydraulic line went in smooth; the slave cylinder included a new o-ring for that end. Then I installed the reservoir and connected the line at that end (NFE: Make sure you don’t lose the retainer pin that locks in the line at the reservoir, it’s little guy and easy to misplace). There is a screw-on plate that covers the hole for mounting the master cylinder right below the brake vacuum assist module. Slide the master cylinder in and bolt it on. Then move on to the pedal assembly.
I ran into a snag here. The pedals I got from the salvage yard were from an older ranger than mine, I think an ’84 or ’85. The pivot arm for the pedals was longer than the cowling in my rig and wouldn’t fit. Fortunately, my father-in-law is a machinist, so he helped me mill it to fit. If you can find the right length to begin with, it’ll go much easier. Watch the order of the parts that go on the pivot arm, as there is a series of sleeves and spring washers for spacing and tension. Also watch how the brake light switch comes apart so you can put it back together properly. Once the pedal assembly is built back up with the clutch pedal installed, hook the the master cylinder to the pedal and plug in the clutch interlock connector to side of the master cylinder plunger. (NFE: In an automatic rig, there should be a cap on the interlock plug with shorting blocks inside. Hang on to this thing! If there is anything wrong with the interlock switch on the master cylinder, you will need this to bypass the interlock and start your rig.)
Lastly, you need to take care of the electrical connections left over from the A4LD. In my case, there was a 5-pin cannon plug for the neutral start switch and reverse lights, and a 3-pin plug which I believe is part of the overdrive. I let the 3-pin plug dangle and cut the plug off of the other.
There are a few follow-up things you’ll want to do. First and foremost, re-time the engine. The timing is different between automatic and manual. Also you’ll want to fabricate some kind of plate to cover any exposed hole in the floorboard where the automatic shifter was.
That’s it. Have a blast!
Comments from Jim Oaks:
Typically the wires going to and from the neutral safety switch are red with a light blue strip. The other option would be a pink wire.
For the back-up lights, the wire going from the back-up switch to the lights is black with a pink stripe. The wire going in to the switch to provide the power is purple with an orange stripe.
From NetBSD (forum member):
On my 1988 Bronco II XLT the 2 wires to splice into on the 5 plug connector were yellow and red with a blue stripe.