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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

90-Series Transmission

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Category: Transmission Modifications

Nissan 90-series transmission was the FS5R90A, a Borg-Warner T-5 in 1982-1983 280ZX Turbo. Often it is replaced by the more common 71C series box which is reportedly just as durable. The T5 is now manufactured by TREMEC. T5 may be the most available 5 speed of all time and can be unbolted easily leaving the bellhousing on the engine. $1095-1300 USD buys any ratios under the sun and these boxes are light and easy to rebuild.


Nissan 280ZX Turbo

  • 1983 came with L28 bellhousing
  • 1984-1987 came with VG bellhousing

The Nissan T5 is oftern replaced by the more common 71C series box which is reportedly just as durable, and shifts better than this early (non-World Class) T5.

280ZX T5 gearbox used the Ford pattern (where the bellhousing bolts to the box).

World Class

World-class T5 was introduced 1985 and has better synchros and stronger bearings (needle bearings instead of bronze bushings + countershaft taper bearings) -- and uses lighter Dexron III lube. World-class T5 in shift feel is like the Nissan 71C (S13/S14) gearbox, very sure crisp shifts where you know exactly where the gates are every time.

The bad crap T5 are the pre-1986 ones, while the WC T5 is the fave budget performance box worldwide for any conversion no matter what engine. The T5 in post-1986 models shift a world away from the earlier horrible contraptions that were the first T5 boxes. Ive driven Falcon utes, panelvans and other post-1986 T5 and they where nice to shift and very reliable while the earlier ones are just plain trash.

* 1985-2010 Ford Mustang
* 1985-2005 Ford Falcon
* 1985-1996 Chevrolet Camaro (some)

GM Camaro World Class T5. Amazingly this strong box -- that usually sits behind monster engines -- only weighs 33kg (about the same weight as the 63A 5-speed).
25055.jpgAlbum 25055

V8 boxes
* high 1st gear (2.95 to 3.35)
* Larger pilot bushing
* Can handle 265-300 ft. lb. torque
* ex: Mustang 5.0 has 3.55 1st + 0.68 5th
4-cylinder boxes
* low 1st gear (3.75 to 4.10)
* Smaller pilot bushing
* suitable for less than 240 ft. lb. torque
* ex: Mustang 2.3 has 3.97 1st + 0.78 5th


Be great if someone made a simple 5 cm plate to adapt a world class T5 to an A-series automatic bellhousing. The input shaft is 6-6.5" long up to 7.2" versions(including 1" pilot area), which is shorter than A-series bellhousing? Commodore T5 input shafts are up to 9.5" long.

For ideas, google "locost t5 box custom bellhousing"

There are over 200 varieties of T5, including different overall lengths, and input shaft lengths.

Bolt patterns (front of gearbox)
Ford-type: Ford, Nissan, AMC
GM-type:   Chevrolet pattern

The T5 can be swapped into Datsun 1200 using an A-series automatic bellhousing and an adapter plate. The input shaft is easily removed which helps for shortening to suit A-series spigot bush etc. Use a 5mm adaptor from box to the auto bellhousing, machined input shaft down to 12.2mm and Ford Escort type clutch to A-series flywheel and Ford hydraulic release bearing.

  • Use A-series auto bellhousing
  • Create 5mm adapter plate (may need to fit long input shaft)
  • machine input shaft pilot area down to 12.2mm
  • Shifter location: swap extension housing/shifter and elongate shifter hole in floor
  • driveshaft: Custom
  • speedo drive: custom cable? or adapter box?

It's a very modular gearbox and cheap -- close ratio gearsets cost $1095 USD.

The GM #S10 Shorty has the shifter in about the right location for a 1200.

There are true stumpy-type kits for the tailhousing, allowing a longer driveshaft. For example: compact Jaguar kit

2.6, 2, 1.5, 1.25, 1:1

bolt patterns

S10 Shorty

The GM #S10 Shorty has the shifter in about the right location for a 1200. Overall length is same as other T5 (although some T5 are about 1/2" shorter), so it's not a true stumpy.

GM S-10 pickup T5 is the shorty and lighter again by maybe 2-3kg
25056.jpgAlbum 25056 737_4be60ae7336af.jpgPost 316009

It has a forward-located shifter (compared to most T5) and can be swapped into any T5 by swapping the extension housing. It is 11.5" from the front of the gearbox -- maybe too far forward for a Datsun 1200 shift hole which is 23" from engine
737_4be60c85155dd.jpgPost 316009 737_4f49ad1f1856c.jpgUpload click to view

Extension housings can be swapped
* 1982-1989 Speedo gear drive
* 1989-up   Electric speed sensor

27044.jpgAlbum 27044


Many, many, many cars were fitted with a T-5 -- see wikipedia:Borg-Warner_T-5_transmission. Avoid the 1982-1984 versions (non-World Class) because (while they are strong enough for an A-series engine) the shift feel is not as good as a stock Nissan-Aichi gearbox.

* Volvo
* Mazda V6
* Mazda 2.3
* Ford Zetec
* Ford V8s
* Nissan VH45 V8
* 1982-1988 AMC
* 1982-1986 Jeep
* 1984-1995 Ford Mustang
* 1985-2004 Ford Falcon
* 1982-1995 Chevrolet S-10 pickup
2.95 1.94 1.34 1.00 0.80


Custom gear sets (wide-ratio or close-ratio) are available.

4-speed Replacement

The stock 1200 4-speed has perfect town+highway ratios to suit the small engine: wide ratios get the car moving in 1st with a top speed of 90mph. When replacing a stock Datsun 1200, the T5 adds overdrive for increased fuel-economy (top speed will still be achieved in 4th gear, so the 5th gear won't make the car any faster). A similarly-geared T5 is the 2005-2010 Mustang 4.0 unit -- plus, it has an internal release bearing to make swaps easy. Weight: 95 lbs (43 kg). Semi-remote shifter location. This box is closer ratio-wise to the 4-speed than any Datsun-Nissan 5-speed.

1200 4-speed3.7572.1691.4041.000--3.640
Mustang 4.03.752.191.411.000.73

5-speed Replacement

For Datsun 1200 5-speed F5C56A, the T5 is not a close match:

GX5: five gears up to 1:1 ratio
T5:  four gears up to 1:1 ratio + overdrive
1200 GX5 Wide-Ratio3.7572.3741.6591.2911.0004.040
Nismo GX5 close-ratio2.6761.6911.3981.1811.0002.877

For the FS5W60A/FS5W60L, the T5 is a similar alternative

1985-1986 Astro 4.33.502.141.391.000.73

Or choose:

  • a steeper first gear for increased acceleration (but larger RPM drop when shifting) or when getting started with heavy loads
  • a lower first gear for closer ratios (but slower acceleration when taking off)
  • higher overdrive (0.68) for more fuel economy/quieter running but will need to shift to 4th on grades
  • lower overdrive (0.80) for better response/pulling slight hills without having to downshift
  • close ratio 2nd/3rd gears for specialized racing courses

T-56 Six-speed

The T56 6-speed transmission is much heavier than T5, slightly taller, and has an integral bellhousing. So externally it is not very similar to the T5. 

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