|Ford Racing High
Which starter to use is a common question and a common source of frustration for people doing a T5 or TKO conversion behind a Ford Small Block. The problem stems from the misinformation in the literature and from the starter manufacturers themselves. It was, and still is, very common to read that you need a starter for a manual transmission (M/T).
But this is not enough. It really depends on the flywheel size being used. Small block Fords (260, 289,302,351w, 351c, 5.0L) can accept either the 157 tooth or the 164 tooth flywheel with the corresponding bell housing. Early Mustangs were mostly 157 tooth, but some were 164 tooth, as well as, other Fords and trucks.
Identifying a 157 tooth Flywheel from a 164 Tooth Flywheel
- If your current flywheel is still in the vehicle, remove the starter and look inside.
- If you see the ring gear & the teeth it is a 164 tooth FW.
- If all you see are the teeth then it is a 157 tooth FW.
157 tooth flywheels in front of both the automatic (A/T) and the manual transmission used the same starter. This same starter was also used with the 164 tooth automatic transmission. It is only the 164 tooth in front of a manual trans which used a different starter (3/8″ depth). It is this starter that people end up with which gives them grief. The local parts store may call out this starter as the starter of choice for a “manual” transmission. They don’t differentiate the flywheel.
So it is best to specify a starter for a “automatic” transmission as you will be using a 157 tooth flywheel in the majority of T5/TKO conversions. If you are using original bell housing and it is for a 164 tooth flywheel then you will need the 3/8″ depth starter (see chart).
As seen in Powermaster’s “Ford Starter Tech Bulletin” there are 2 critical dimensions, the diameter of the registration hole, and the depth of the ring gear.
|Ring Gear Depth||Registration Diameter|
|164 tooth, M/T||3/8″||4.130″|
|164 tooth A/T
157 tooth M/T & A/T
So what are our recommendations?
|Starters||157 tooth M/T & A/T
164 tooth A/T
|164 tooth M/T|
|Ford Racing High Torque||M-11000-B51||M-11000-MT164|