Removing top bellhousing bolts


Active Member
10 years ago, I changed the clutch on my mustang. I'm planning to do it again soon, and I really hope to get it done in a single weekend. I remember that the top bellhousing bolts were really hard to get to last time. I'd like to buy tools ahead of time that will help removing them. I have a U-joint socket and some extensions.

However, I've read that a flex socket works better than the U-join adapter. Does anyone know the size flex socket that works for a 99 3.8 mustang?

This thread says 13mm, but I think it's for 4.6l cars: I can't remove the top transmission bolt, please help! - Ford Mustang Forum
"What I have used is a 13mm "flex" socket and two LONG extensions. Use long extensions instead of multiple short ones tied together (less flop).

The flex socket works better than a u-joint because it takes up less space and will set straight on the bolt without walking off."



Active Member
Bell housing to block bolts are 13mm, and if you are working on the T-5, the transmission to bell bolts are 15mm. You could remove the 4 trans to bell bolts, and remove the transmission that way. It will make getting to the upper bell to block bolts easier. I use a 13mm with a swivel, and a few different extensions. With the proper motivation you could have the transmission out in about an hour and a 1/2 or less.


Agree with douglass. I leave bell housing on the block and yank the transmission (one of those bolts will require several 6" extensions and a swivel, at least for me it did. Think passenger side.) I find the removal is easy, but I always have quite a time installing the transmission. Had to have the clutch pushed in, a series of calculated wiggling, and a helper to pull transmission toward front and raise/lower/shimmy tailshaft. Careful not to hit the clutch before your input shaft is close to being installed, I save that trick for last.


Active Member
Thanks for the info! It took me 2 full days, but I have everything out except the pilot bearing.

Now, I'm on the fence about whether I should replace my transmission's bearing retainer sleeve. I think it's fine, but I'd appreciate a 2nd opinion. I can feel with my fingernail a very small groove between the worn (silver) and non-worn (grey) surfaces. My new throwout bearing slides easily on it. (My car is a 99' w/ 130k miles).

I also think it'd be good to replace the top two bellhousing bolts. The heads are starting to round. I guess I'll give the local ford dealership a call; the only replacement I see online is $35 and includes more bolts than I need. I'm guessing it's not a good idea to match the bolt size from a hardware store...


My lil Turd
as long as they are high grade (10) bolts, you can get them from hardware store. just make sure they're the same thread pitch, length, etc... 2 days to get it out?! damn, were you drinking and partying the process? whole clutch job, should take a day if you're doing it at home in the driveway, 3/5hrs in you're in a well equiped shop and know what you're doing. I don't mean to bash... But anyway, what was it that gave you a hard time, there's plenty of guys on here who could give you some pointers to make life easier for you.

Phil II

Cone Destroyer
Metric class 8.8 or 10.9 flange head bolts would be a good substitute for the oem bellhousing bolts.