ATX to MTX Swap, with Step-by-Step Instructions and Pictures

What a hell of a first post!
If you find any mistakes here please let me know.

I want to make it clear. If you use this as a guide, for parts or step-by-step, for any profit in any manner then I expect payment. I put a lot of time and effort into getting this done. I can’t have everyone else going around making money off my labor. So, if you did use this then I expect 10% of your profit. If you use this for your personal use, then I expect nothing in return. That is, after all, why I wrote this. So the average tuner that doesn’t have a lot of cash can do this swap without taking it to someone and spending all that money.

Where to start? Well, make sure you have all of your parts before you get started. Don’t get it halfway done and then have to wait for someone to ship you a part. You won’t like the waiting. Here is a rundown of the parts list you will need. If you can find a wrecked ZX2 MTX with a good tranny for $500 or so, buy that. You will also need to have the A/C system emptied before you start this swap.

This write-up has directions to remove the engine and tranny as one assembly from the car. You can choose to leave the engine in the car and do the swap that way. I just thought it to be easier to get it all out and into the open. The ATX is heavy and very messy to work with. I don’t like puddles where I intend to lay to work. It is up to you, you can follow the same directions (without removing the engine) to do the swap if you do not have the skill, time, or tools to remove the entire drivetrain. While it only takes me a few hours to remove and install the drivetrain, others may take a day or so to do it.

Shifter housing (the shifter sits inside of it and connects to the tranny)
Shifter rod (connects the shifter to the tranny)
Shifter inserts (small plastic inserts in the bottom of the shifter, without them, the shifter will be sloppy. Also, at the other end of the shift rod where it meets the tranny)
Shifter retaining clip (holds the shifter into the housing from the top)
Shift boot
Shift boot hold down (plastic peice that bolts to the bottom of the console to hold the boot in place)
Shift knob
MTX Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS)
MTX PCM (you can find them on Ebay cheap, make sure the code you get is chippable by emailing a chip dealer and give them the code. This only applies if you plan to chip it.)
Brake and clutch pedal assembly (they are both on the same bracket)
Transmission (find one with the lowest mileage possible.)
Transmission-to-engine block spacer (the ATX spacer is thicker, you can still use the ATX spacer but the clutch will have to be adjusted to its’ outer most limit)
Front and rear tranny mounts (these may come with the tranny)
Tranny top mount (the very top part on the ATX is the same, but there is a lower part on the MTX that is needed)
Brake master cylinder from MTX
Clutch master cylinder (attached to the brake master cylinder by hose)
Clutch slave cylinder (goes on top of the tranny)
Clutch release lever (should still be in the tranny, the clutch slave cylinder pushes this to release the clutch pressure)
Clutch kit with throw-out bearing and pilot bearing (most kits come with both bearings)
MTX flywheel (if you buy a used one, be sure to have it resurfaced)
MTX crank position sensor with housing
Inner half-shaft for passenger axle (this is the part with the bracket)

Both axles
Axle nuts
Bolts for the passenger axle bracket (they are the same thread pitch as the tranny-to-block bolts, but they need to be about ½� shorter)

You need a good set of assorted tools. Sockets are your friend. All these bolts are metric so a good ½" and 3/8" drive socket set is a good idea. A ½" drive breaker bar comes in handy. A cheater bar can be your friend to. This will be much less of a hassle if you have a good impact gun. You need a torque wrench with foot pound readings to. You’ll be doing a bit of rewiring to, so some wire strippers and tape will be needed. Find or borrow a cherry picker (engine lift) This can be done without one, but much easier with one. A good floor jack and some jack stands will be needed.

A garage will make this easier. At the very least a concrete surface.
1 Start by removing the hood
2 Remove the front wheels and un-stake the nut. You can see a dent in the outside edge of the nut. It goes into a groove on the axle, you won’t be able to remove it with this dent. Knock the center cap out of the wheels and put them back on the car. You only have to put two lug nuts back on, you’ll be taking the wheels back off soon. Put the car back on the ground.
3 Use the breaker bar and a 32mm socket to remove the axle nuts. This is where a cheater bar comes in handy. If you have air tools, this would be a good use for them.
4 Now jack the car back up to remove the axles from the spindles. I just undo the spindle from the strut and pull the axles out that way. It helps to remove the clip that holds the brake hose to the strut, this gives you more room to work with.

The spindle is held to the strut by two bolts and nuts. After you remove the axle from the spindle, put the bolts back in and finger tighten the nuts. You won’t need to tighten the bolts for the spindle to strut because you will have to remove them again to install the new axles. Put the wheels on and put the car back on the ground.
5 Remove the battery and battery tray. The tray is held in place by four 10mm bolts.
6 The negative battery cable is also bolted down with a 8mm bolt, remove this.
7 Remove the cooling fan, three 10mm bolts and one electrical connector.
8 Drain the radiator coolant, there is a drain cock on the bottom driver side of the radiator.
9 Disconnect the tranny cooler lines from the radiator.
10 Remove those lines from the tranny.
11 Remove the radiator, There is one hose up top driver side and two on the lower passenger side. They are held there with spring-loaded clamps you can squeeze together with pliers. You will also have to remove the upper brackets held in place with two 10mm nuts/bolts each. Remove the lower radiator hoses from the block to. It will be easier to remove the engine with this out of the way. The small lower hose also connects to the frame with two 10mm bolts.
12 Disconnect the O2 sensors, the rear one you will have to remove the VSS sensor bracket, one 10mm bolt. Or, you can just pull the plastic clip off, but I left mine on so it would have a place to connect.
13 Disconnect the power steering pressure line, it is above where the front O2 sensor connector is. You can loosen it up then remove the three bolts that hold the hose down and pull it apart.
14 Remove the power steering reservoir hose from the pump.
15 On the intake side of the engine, remove the vacuum lines from the intake manifold. I think there are three of them. Two have squeeze clips on it, one just pulls off.
16 Disconnect the two wire harness connectors by the throttle body.
17 Remove the heater core hoses. They are by the firewall and have those spring loaded clips like the radiator hoses.
18 Remove the throttle cables.
19 Remove the tranny shift cable from the top of the tranny, just one nut holds it on.
20 Disconnect all the electrical connectors from the tranny.
21 Unbolt the fuse box (two nuts) and remove all the electrical connectors from the bottom that do not run into the engine harness. Some of the wires run along the frame and some run towards the engine. The entire fuse box and cables will come out with the drive train.
22 Undo the electrical connector from the A/C compressor, it might also have a zip-tie holding it to the compressor housing. Also undo the bolt that holds the compressor hose on. It is a long bolt and will take some time to remove.
23 Remove the axles. You might not be able to pry them out. I just pulled them apart at the boots as close to the tranny as possible.
24 Remove the oil dipstick, there is one 8mm bolt holding it to the head. It will just pull out, might require some wiggle pulls to get it out.
25 Remove the driver-to-passenger side cross-member.
26 Unbolt the cat-back exhaust.
27 Remove the heat-shield from the exhaust manni.
28 Unbolt the cat converter, there are two nuts that you will have to reach from the bottom.
29 There should also be two bolts holding the cat to a bracket mounted to the tranny. Remove the cat from the car.
* AT THIS POINT THE ONLY THING KEEPING THE DRIVE TRAIN IN THE CAR ARE THE FOUR MOUNTS. There should not be any wires or hoses between the drive train and frame of the car. Do another look around before proceeding.
30 Remove the four nuts from the two lower tranny mounts.
31 Hook the engine hoist up to the engine and jack it up until you see it put just a little pressure on it.
32 Remove the bolts holding the driver side mount to the frame. Remove the three nuts on the top of that mount to.
33 Remove the nut from the passenger side top mount. Then remove the three nuts from the top of it. This may require some fancy hoist work and pry-bar action on the loose driver top mount, but remove the entire mount that is now loose.
34 Jack the engine up until the front mount pops out of the cross-member, then remove the front tranny mount from the tranny.
35 The rear mount likes to wedge and stick in the cross-member. You might be able to get under the car and remove the entire front to back cross-member now. The A/C compressor doesn’t like to clear the front of the frame if you don’t watch it. The intake manni also catches on the EVAP canister.
36 Now that we have the engine out, time to remove the tranny. Remove the starter bolts, there are three. Remove the starter from the wire harness. You can leave it on if you tie it to the intake manni with some wire just so it doesn’t get in the way or hang from the wires.
37 Remove the rest of the tranny bolts.
38 You may have to use a pry bar to get the tranny broken free of the block. The ATX is heavy so have a helper.
39 Remove the torque converter. There are four nuts holding it on. I used vice-grips to hold the flex-plate still while I remove the nuts.
40 Remove the flex-plate by removing the bolts that hold it to the crank. Leave the vice-grips so the flex-plate won’t turn while you loosen the bolts.
41 Remove the CPS sensor housing. On the flywheel side there is a single bolt holding it in. Remove that bolt and take the housing and sensor with it. The CPS sensor has one connector to.
42 On to the inside of the car. Remove the center console and shifter knob.
43 Disconnect the electrical connectors that are on the ATX shifter housing.
44 Disconnect the shift cable from the shifter. (on the left)
45 Disconnect the key lock cable. (on the right)

Courtesy of Fireguy
46 Remove the housing with the shifter, there are four nuts/bolts holding it in.
47 Remove the PCM, a single bolt holds the connector to the PCM.
48 Cut the shifter cable at the firewall in the engine compartment. Pull the rest of it in from inside the car.
49 Pull the key-lock cable from under the PCM and behind the dash. It runs into the steering column. Leave it for later.
50 From inside the engine compartment, remove the nut on the plate where the clutch master cylinder will go.
51 Inside the car, remove the clip that holds the brake rod to the pedal.
52 Remove the nuts/bolts that hold the pedal assembly bracket to firewall. There are also two nuts that hold it to the dash brace.
53 Remove the electrical connectors from the brake pedal switches.
54 Remove the steering column trim and the panel that is below the column.
55 Disconnect the electrical connectors that run between the steering column and the dash.
56 Remove the pinch bolt that holds the steering column to the steering rack input shaft.
57 There are two bolts holding the steering column to the dash. When you remove them the column will fall, so be prepared.
58 Remove the column from the car, the pedal assembly will come with it, now you can take that key-lock cable off. You will need a zip-tie to hold that actuator open so you can remove the key. Make sure you have the actuator open by inserting the key and testing that you can turn the key and then remove it in the off position.
59Remove the ATX brake master cylinder.
1 Install the MTX brake master cylinder.
2 Wire up the reverse lights, locate the connector that you pulled from the gear selection switch, Ford calls it the Transmission Range Sensor, I call it the Park Neutral switch. It was attatched to the top of the ATX and had a large electrical connector. On your MTX there is a switch, on the front, that has wires on it. One is red/green, the other is black/yellow. On your ATX wire harness you will cut two wires. One is red/green, the other is black/white. Connect them like so, red to red, black to black. These are the only wires you will have to cut for the reverse lights. I added four inches of wire to mine so I would have room for my rear O2 sensor harness to reach.

3 To the best of my knowledge, you do not need to wire the neutral switch that is on the rear of the MTX tranny, it has two green wires on it. For reasons that could happen later, do not cut them to short to use later. Tape them out of the way.
4 In the same wire harness for the reverse lights there will be a thick red and a thick black/red wire. Cut these two wires and splice them together really good. The car will not start if you do not wire them together.
5 Install the clutch master cylinder.
6 Install the pedal assembly, make sure to put that pin back in the brake bracket and the rod on the clutch pedal will go inside the hole in the clutch master cylinder.
7 Remove the start switch loop from the connector and hook that connector into the switch on the clutch pedal. There is one more connector that goes on the clutch switch pedal, it is for the cruise control.
8 Install the steering column.
9 Install the trim you removed to take the steering column out.
10 Install the shifter housing.
11 Install the shifter, be sure to put the spacers in the shifter and the retaining clip.
12 Install the MTX PCM…
13 Install the shifter boot on the console and install the console, put the shift knob on.
14 Put the shifter rod on the shifter, there should be a shoulder bolt that goes through shifter and rod.
15 Put the MTX CPS sensor housing in the engine block. Hook up that electrical connector.

16 Install the MTX flywheel. The flywheel will only bolt up one way. The holes are off-center so you can’t install it wrong. Put some medium strength Loc-tite on the flywheel bolts. They are tightend in a criss-cross pattern to about 80 ft-lbs.
17 Install the pilot bearing. I used a deep-well socket just larger then the diameter of the bearing, I think I used a 14mm socket.

18 Install the clutch. Be sure to use the clutch alignment tool. Make sure you install the clutch disc the correct way. It should be labeled what side faces the flywheel or pressure plate. Put the pressure plate on the pins and put the bolts in. Tighten the bolts in a criss-cross pattern to spec. I can’t recall it now so look in your Haynes manual.
19 Put the MTX tranny-to-block spacer on now.
20 Make sure your tranny is ready to go in. Your throw out bearing is in and seated good. The lever isn’t binding on anything and the boot is seated good. Spray the clutch and flywheel down with some brake parts cleaner to get your greasy handy work off it and lets put this tranny on.
21 Put the tranny on, make sure the input shaft lines up with the hole in the clutch. There are two dowel pins. Be sure to line them up. It will save you a lot of work. Pick the tranny up and guide it in by the tail. Wiggle it and push by the tail after the input shaft is clear of the clutch fingers. It should slide easily into the pilot bearing. It works better if you can keep the engine from swinging.
22 Put all the tranny bolts in, make sure not to confuse them with the starter bolts. Make sure that bracket the cat bolts to goes back on the tranny. It goes on the bottom and two of the tranny bolts hold it on.
23 If it is not already on, install the clutch slave cylinder.
24 If it is not already on, install the rear tranny mount.
25 Install the starter and put the wires back on it.
26 There is really no easy way to put this back in the car. I removed the lower cross-member the tranny sits on. I lowered the engine just lower then it sits in the car. Then I installed the top mount bolt. Then in installed the rear mount. Now I put the cross-member on the rear mount and then jacked the engine up and put the bolts in the rear of the cross-member. I jacked it up a bit more and installed the bolts in the front of the cross-member. Now the front tranny mount is sitting on the cross-member (the engine balancer I had sucked) I put the top tranny mount on the studs and then hammered the front tranny mount into the holes. TA DA.
27 Tighten up all the mount bolts.
28 Now this is back in the car. Hook the clutch master cylinder up to the clutch slave cylinder.
29 The rest of the installation is the reverse of removal with these exceptions:
The rubber seals on the tranny were the axles go in and the rubber seals on the spindles where the axles go in, coat them with a thin film of high temp axle grease before you put the axles in to help keep the seals from drying out. When you install the passenger axle, you might have to remove the oil filter, make sure you replace that .5 quart of oil, you might also have to move that bastard lower coolant hose to get that one bolt in, it is 8mm holding that hose on. Don’t forget to stake down the new axle nuts. Fill the tranny through the VSS hole. It holds 3.5 quarts of fluid. Bleed the brake system before you bleed the clutch. Do not install the cooling fan until you have bled the clutch. Start with the wheel farthest from the master cylinder. Bleed until you get air, trust me, its there. Do not let the brake fluid get under the minimum mark, you will have to start over. When pouring in new coolant, be sure to leave the cap off and start the engine, let it run and get hot so the thermostat will open and suck in the coolant and you can pour more in.

I hope this helped you out a bit. If you have any questions then contact me and I’ll help the best I can. Feeling greatful and generous? Pay Pal:

Don’t fully understand why you would want to pull the entire engine out to get the trans out. You can easily sneak the tranny out underneath the driver side cradle and lower control arm, only need approx 2in of space for the input shaft to clear the bell housing. Probably save yourself a days worth of work.

While it is very easy to get the manual tranny out from the bottom, it is not so easy with the automatic. Also, getting the shifter cable out, and putting the new master cylinder in is easier with the engine out of the way. Also easier to remove the the flexplate and CPS housing with the engine out. Now, it is entirely possible to do this whole swap with the engine still in the car, and I’ll mention that in the write-up, but I believe it to be easier to put the whole thing and do it that way. The ATX is heavy and very messy. Besides, it only takes me a few hours to pull and install the whole drivetrain as one, not an entire day.