Ford Thunderbird/Cougar 1983-1997 Repair Guide

Flywheel/Flex Plate and Ring Gear



The ring gear is replaceable only on engines mated with a manual transmission. Engines with automatic transmissions have ring gears which are welded to the flex plate.

  1. Remove the transmission, as outlined in Drive Train of this information.
  3. Remove the clutch, if equipped, or torque converter from the flywheel. The flywheel bolts should be loosened a little at a time in a cross pattern to avoid warping the flywheel. On cars with manual transmissions, replace the pilot bearing in the end of the crankshaft if removing the flywheel.
  5. The flywheel should be checked for cracks and glazing. It can be resurfaced by a machine shop.
  7. If the ring gear is to be replaced, drill a hole in the gear between two teeth, being careful not to contact the flywheel surface. Using a cold chisel at this point, crack the ring gear and remove it.

To install:
  1. Polish the inner surface of the new ring gear and heat it in an oven to about 600°F (316°C). Quickly place the ring gear on the flywheel and tap it into place, making sure that it is fully seated.

Never heat the ring gear past 800°F (426°C), or the tempering will be destroyed.

  1. Position the flywheel on the end of the crankshaft. Most flywheels will only attach to the crankshaft in one position, as the bolt holes are unevenly spaced and/or the crankshaft is fitted with a dowel pin. Install the bolts and tighten to specification using a criss-cross pattern.
  3. Install the clutch or torque converter.
  5. Install the transmission and transfer case.