This article is aimed at the
Locust owner with an existing built car with a 4
- speed gearbox and a X-Flow engine. I have for
sometime, considered replacing my 1700 X-Flow's
4 - speed gearbox with a 5 - speed box. The
reasoning behind this was after several long
trips on the Motorways, e.g. up to Stoneleigh
etc. the engine revs at around 4000 rpm @
approve 70 mph. Now as we all know, the X-Flow
engine is 30 year old technology, which in those
days was never designed to operate for long
periods at high revs on today's road systems.
Most of the Pinto engine Kit
Cars, etc. go for the Ford 5 - speed box as it's
a solid bit of kit which can take a bit of bhp,
and can mate up with a lot of engines, but in
this article I am dealing with the X - flow
engine as this is in most Locusts. I must stress
that I have NOT put the 5 - speed in my Locust,
for reasons which I have stated at the end of
this article, but I have gathered a lot of
research on it, and are passing it on to you to
make of it what you will. I hear that one or two
of you are attempting to install 5 - speed
boxes, and I am sure that any thoughts on the
matter will greatly be appreciated by other club
members on how you have done it.
Here is the 4 & the 5 -
speed box side - by -side, taken from a top view
so you all know what you are looking for.
The top gearbox is the 4 -
speed, ( looks nice in it's new coat of paint )
and on the bottom is the 5 - speed box.( Not
looking as good as the 4 - speed, I wonder what
the inside is like? Still never judge a book by
its cover or should that be gearbox.) The black
thing under the 4 - speed box is a car jack.
in cms. from front of Bell Housing
|| 4 -
centre of gear stick
The box to fit is the "Type
9", Fords first RWD 5 speed box, based on the
Type E. This is the most commonly used box for 5
speed conversions on older vehicles. Some
versions were available with integral bell
housings (same as the 4 - speed box ) although
they are more commonly found with removable bell
A 4WD version of the box is also available for
the early XR4 x 4 models. ( Has any one build a
4WD Locust yet? The club would very much like to
hear from you, pictures PLEASE.) You can find
the Type 9 box in Ford Capri 1.6/2.0 up to 1983
and also the 2.8. Ford Sierra 1.6/1.8/2.0 up to
1988 also in the Sierra XR4i & XR4x4 2.8.
There is a TYPE N box which
looks the same but is off a later Sierra, sorry
no pictures and information on it yet, but it
has different casing around the gear box area.
The 5 - speed box on side
view, complete with oil leak. Good old Ford's
they don't make um like this anymore. Still
think it will fit in?
The Sierra is now about the
most common place to find a box in a breakers
and expect to pay about £60.00 - £125.00 and you
take a chance on the condition. Most spares are
available but you can also buy remanufactured
ones from people like Mitchell Cotts
Transmissions, Weston-Super-Mare 01934 428003 or
Burtonpower.com, but expect to pay £400- 800.00.
There is also a hybrid 4-speed
gearbox known as Type C or single rail fitted to
early Sierras and also fitted to the Mk3 Capri
with Pinto engines. The ratios are better spaced
than the Escort 4 speed and the box is capable
of taking more engine bhp. The box looks the
same as the Escort but is longer and is
distinguished by the bolt on bell housing as
opposed to cast one piece, plus the gear lever
is further back than the standard box.
So on to the Ups and Downs of
a 4 or 5 speed gearbox. First, the argument FOR
1. As I mentioned above, to
"cut down" engine revs on high-speed long runs.
Fifth gear should reduce revs by 600 - 800.
2. To improve fuel economy. (
Is this really a valid " for" as most of us only
drive our Locust's at the weekends. I know
someone will write in and say "I use mine all
3. Your existing 4-Speed box
is passed its sell buy date.
4. Now I'm struggling to think
of other reasons, O I've just thought of
another.... You want to carry on doing more work
on the Locust, as a Kit Car is never finished
off. There is always something you can improve
Now the argument against
fitting a 5-speed box.
1. WEIGHT. The 5 speed is
considerably heavier. The 4-speed box is 52 lbs,
the 5 -speed box is 86 lbs.
2. The 5 -speed box is 3"
3. The propshaft
will need to be shortened.
4. The gear lever will be
coming up through the transmission tunnel in a
5. The 5-speed uses a 3 bolt
pre-engaged starter, which means juggling around
the starter to connect with the starting ring.
6. The 5 - speed main output
shaft is a larger diameter with a different
number of spines, 23 No. also on the input side
you will need the clutch friction plate from the
Sierra to match the Crossflow, also you will
need the OUTPUT universal joint.
7. There are two types of
boxes known as the Type 9 and the N type., with
deferent input shaft lengths. The Type 9 has a
8.1" shaft length and the Type N has a 6.9"
length. You will require a 1" spacer plate to
fit between the bell housing and engine on the
8. You will need to change
the rear gearbox support plate. If you are
buying from a breakers yard, make sure the plate
comes with the box.
9. As the 5-speed box is
longer and subsequently so is the bell housing,
the drivers side footwell may well require
shortening, with the lost of foot space. (Not
good if you are over 6' like me).
10. The Speedo cable distance.
11. The Speedo cable will be
very close to the chassis rails and may require
a right angle drive adaptor.
12. The Speedo accuracy will
be OUT, approx 14% over. I had my Speedo
calibrated to my car which cost £ 50.00
13. Change the reversing light
switch (if buy second hand from breakers) back
to the one out of the Escort box. The sierra
switch is different.
14. As you can see from the
chart, the Gear Ratios are slightly "taller" in
2nd & 3rd which in a 1300 engine might make
There you have it. I have
opted out of changing my 4 - speed into a 5 -
Why...? I hear you ask.
If I was building the Locust
from scratch, I could make all the changes to
the body tub, welding up the gearbox support
I also like the acceleration that I have with
the 4 - speed box in top gear, and I also don't
really do a lot of Motorway driving Lets faces
it, with gull wings, and any thing over 75 mph,
the Locust gets very exciting, specially when
most of the roads are full of potholes, but that
PS. If any Locust owners have
recently put in a 5 - speed box, can you let us
know in the club, or if you disagree with any of
the above, I will not be offended.
PPS. I'm looking foreword to
hearing from the builder of the 4WD Locust. See
you all at some shows soon, and happy Locusting.