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6r80 shifter options in 95 mustang?

Discussion in 'SN-95 and New Edge Mustangs' started by dragracingfreak, May 1, 2017.

  1. dragracingfreak

    dragracingfreak Bowtie Killer Established Member

    May 6, 2011
    Morehead ,Kentucky
    I don't know if this is the right section to post or not so bear with me here.

    I have a 95 Mustang I'm doing a coyote swap in. Planning on using a 6r80 trans also in it. My question is what shifter options have you all (if anyone) used on a 6r80 swap into a 94-04 mustang.
    Are you using a factory 2011-14 shifter assembly? I know the 13-14 has the select shift so that would be nice.
    I know power by the hour has a bracket to be able to use an aode/4r70w shifter and cable but the only shifter I've found is the b&m hammer ratchet shifter, which a lot of people don't seem to be a fan of.

    If I could get a nice shifter for a 6r80 in an sn95 that would be great. I'd figure out how to put the select shift on a button but that's not too important yet.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using the svtperformance.com mobile app
  2. Stellerjd

    Stellerjd New Member Established Member

    Jul 1, 2014

    This is a good question. It looks like you might be one of the first to pioneer this. Any luck??
  3. JonnyX

    JonnyX New Member

    Apr 26, 2016
    New Jersey
    I don't participate much in forums anymore, so forgive me if I ramble a bit here, but I’m actually in the middle of this very same project myself for my 1994 Mustang GT. I’ve been researching it for quite some time and here’s what I’ve come up with. I’m leaving a lot out, but if anyone is interested, this should get the conversation going.

    First, understand that I am converting my car from a manual to an automatic for a list of reasons that aren’t important for the purposes of this discussion. What I knew I wanted, though, was something that was nearly bulletproof, had true lock-up and also had engine braking in every gear, or in other words, an automatic that would function as closely to a manual as possible. Long story short; nothing comes as close to a manual transmission in the automatic world as the 6R80. Even considering the mechanical/mating issues, as the original poster found out, info on using these transmissions in a Fox/SN95/SBF platform is scarce, and for the SN95 cars in particular, with their unique center console, the shifter is the actually the trickiest part of the whole deal. My break came in finding out that Karl Baumann of Baumann Electronic Controls/US Shift not only makes an excellent (probably the best one out there), stand alone controller for the 6R80, but his test mule is a 1995, stock, Windsor engine Mustang, making Baumann/US Shift my go-to source, and a great deal of what I have contained in here I’ve learned as a result of dealing with the guys there, all of whom are genuinely interested in helping their customers and not just in selling them some expensive parts.

    In my discussions with the guys at US Shift (all of whom are extremely familiar with Baumann’s test/personal car), the key point we kept hitting on is that Baumann uses the stock SN95 shifter in his car. Baumann does so, obviously, although without saying it, as a method of proving how well his $1,200.00 controller works, so for him the shifter is strictly a “switch” to get the car in gear, i.e., P/R/N/”D”/2/L, not to bang gears for performance reasons. This is also where the unique design of the 6R80 vs. previous Ford automatics comes into play and complicates the shifter issue even further. The AOD/AODE/4R70W’s of the world feature “6 detent” gear selection, with a P/R/N/”D”/2/L pattern. The 6R80, on the other hand, features a “7 detent” pattern; P/R/N/”D”/3/2/1, where the selector switch is activating/deactivating solenoids so as to electronically change gears. I'm going to TRY to upload a file or two "down below" that should illustrate the pattern and how similar, yet different, it is from the transmissions that went before it and that so many of us are already familiar with. The arc of the pattern remains nearly identical; the most important difference, of course, is that the selector will work through 1, 2, 3 and "D", which will/can operate as "Drive/Overdrive", or just as 4, all of these depending on selected parameters.

    As you'll hopefully be able to see, any 6 detent shifter that works with AOD/AODE/4R70W’s will get your 6R80 into P/R/N/”Drive”, but you’re not going to be banging the 4 non-overdrive gears with it, and the “up and back” method of shifting/holding 2nd and/or 3rd that the AOD drag racing Fox guys figured out won’t work at all. It's also ugly as Hell, and at these prices, that isn't going to fly. So, unless you’re willing to allow the stand-alone controller to do everything for you, or go to the added cost and complexity (and, admittedly, the “cool factor”) of paddle shifters, and look really lousy doing it, the stock piece is an imperfect solution, at best.

    Looking to the aftermarket, then, anyone with an SN95 automatic Mustang already knows that the only available “custom fit” shifter for the SN95 cars is the B&M Hammer 81001. It looks nice enough, fits perfectly, ratchets perfectly for AOD/AODE/4R70W transmissions, and has a smooth, stock looking bezel insert with a gear selection indicator, leather boot and O/D kill switch built in. Unfortunately, it’s a 6 detent shifter and cannot be modified for 7 detents. It’s OK to use, but again, like the stock piece, only to get the car in gear and then let the controller run things for you. If you want to change gears “manually”, however, you’re back to paddle shifters and the issues that come with them. That was not the way I want to go, as the ability to control the trans, almost as if it were a manual, is a top priority for me, so I passed on the 81001.

    If you look a little deeper in the catalog, you’ll find that B&M also makes a “Universal” Hammer shifter, the 80885. While it comes in the box set up as a 6 detent, 3 or 4 speed shifter, there is a locking pin which, as per the installation instructions, is easily removed to convert the piece to a 7 detent shifter, perfect for use with a 6 speed automatic. Because of the combination of the ratcheting action of the shifter itself, the way the gear selector switch on the side of the 6R80 works and the design of the cable for the earlier SN95 cars, this shifter will work perfectly to run the 6R80 through ALL of its gears “manually”. Yes, you still need the expensive stand-alone controller, a momentary switch to kill the overdrive and a second one to engage the “full manual” mode, but the US Shift controller accommodates all of that very easily, albeit not cheaply. The biggest problem with the 80885 is the physical installation, which will require a bit of fabrication to align it with the SN95 console, particularly in my application, where I’m converting from a T5. Do NOT look for ANY help AT ALL from B&M on this; they’re tech support is useless, other than confirming that despite their functional design differences, the height, dimensions and action on the 81001 and 80885 are identical. Other than that, it’s up to you to get the placement correct and secure it properly. Also, the stock Mustang automatic shifter bezel (with the gear indicator) won’t fit the B&M piece; the flat, wide, high, boxy shifter bezel that comes with the 80885 won’t fit the Mustang console, and B&M will NOT sell you the bezel for the 81001 to adapt to the 80885 with your own craftiness, so you need to figure out a way make it look nice. My solution, therefore, is going to be just using the stock, 5 speed shifter boot, which I think looks best anyway and gives the car some “stealthiness”, as it will appear at first glance to be a manual car. On the upside, once you get everything situated, because of the shifter’s short ratchet throw, the cable-operated nature of the entire set-up, and the electronic gear selection, the Universal Hammer shifter should work seamlessly with the 6R80. One trick here, however, is to get and use a NOS/OEM shifter cable from an early model SN95 (1994-1998, I believe, maybe 1996) automatic car. They’re expensive (about $300) as opposed to the later style cables (Hecho in Mexico, @ $60), but they adapt to the B&M shifter much more easily, are also easier to adjust and are far more durable than the later ones. Besides, given the effort and cost of using this trans to begin with, what’s a few hundred dollars more for a mission critical part? This is definitely NOT a budget project, but rather, for me at least, a Bucket List Project, so the expenditure makes sense.

    I think that about covers it, at least for starters. I’m sure there are other 7 detent shifters that would work mechanically with the 6R80, but if there are other shifter options out there that will ALSO work within the confines of the SN95’s unique console, I can’t find them anywhere, at any price. For all its imperfections, and the amount of work it will take to get it in and set up correctly, the 80885 is really the only choice for our cars. As I said, I’m leaving a lot of what I learned along the way out, and I’ve skipped over why I don’t want paddle shifters at the point, but I think this addresses the main issue: given the design of the car and the gear selector switch on the trans itself, the 80885 is the answer.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    Weather Man likes this.
  4. racebronco2

    racebronco2 Active Member Established Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    palmdale, ca
    Anyone had any issues with using the b-m 80885 shifter????

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