Adapting the

Ford Windsor V8 Engines

to the

Jeep New Venture 3550 Transmission

Jeep NV3550 Adapter kit to Ford Bellhousings

Kit 3504F, adapting the NV3550 transmission to Ford bellhousings

This conversion kit joins the 2000-2004 Jeep NV3550 overdrive transmission to the standard Ford pattern bellhousings.

The adapter is precision designed and expertly CNC machined from alloy aluminum. Its thick cross-section provides ample thread engagement and high structural integrity. Precision indexing is achieved through locating dowels to the transmission and bearing retainer to the bellhousing. This adapter is 1" thick for a total adapted length of 17.7".

The adapter installs onto these transmissions with no change of input gear or other transmission internals. Cutting the transmission input shaft is not required as the adapter spaces the transmission properly for the GM crank and clutch assembly. A new pilot bushing is required for this assembly. See Related Products below for the one matching your Ford engine.

Kit Contents

Included are the adapter plate, bearing retainer (which serves as a centering index for the GM bellhousing and clutch release bearing sleeve) and required hardware.

Applications & Compatibility

Compatible Jeeps

This engine conversion is compatible with TJ & LJ Wrangler Jeeps in which this transmission was native. It is also compatible with CJ7 and longer Jeeps in which builder may be retrofitting this transmission. CJ5 Jeeps do not have a long enough wheelbase for the longer, five-speed transmissions.

These are strong transmissions, and full Size Jeeps such as Wagoneers, J-Trucks, etc. are conversion candidates for them unless used for more aggressive driving or heavy work situations.

Compatible Engines

289, 302, 351, 5.0L and 5.7L Ford Windsor engines all make for great Jeep power.

The Ford 289, 302, 5.0L, 351 & 5.8L (small block Ford) Windsor engine family are all compatible with this conversion. The use of a Ford "butterfly" bellhousing is required. There are some versions of Ford engines that fall outside this parameter and you’ll want to verify that you indeed have a matching combination. Of note are the very early Mustang engines and other of similar block pattern which used a different rear pattern and are not compatible without special adapter scattershield bells.

With some creativity, most of the Ford engines that will fit in a Jeep can be made to work with the 3550. There are bellhousings available for the Modular series engines including the 4.6/5.0 Coyote/5.4, etc. At this point we don’t offer support for all of these combinations but the adapter is universal once you have the right bellhousing.


The factory flywheels on the above engines are acceptable. Ensure that the flywheel and clutch match your engine combination. Discs can usually be substituted within standard pressure plates to match the required 10 spline 1-1/8” used by the Jeep AX15/3550. See Related Products, below.

Ford Bellhousings

Ford V8 Bellhousing

The classic Ford bellhousing, with the four-bolt rear pattern that emerged in about 1966 and was prevalent up through 1991 models.

Your Ford bellhousings will typically feature an 8.5" wide by 6.25" tall symmetrical four bolt pattern with a 4.85" rear bore. For the purpose of clutch release, we recommend Ford bellhousings from the 1980's which had a provision for a hydraulic release cylinder to


The factory pressure plates, whether three-finger or diaphragm, are compatible with this adaptation. Ensure that the pressure plate is compatible with your engine, flywheel, bellhousing and actuation components. The proper clutch disc will be required and can be purchased separately below.

The factory clutch release arms and their linkages can be retained and adapted as necessary. Again, the above recommended Small Block Ford Bellhousing combination has proven to be the easiest to convert using our hydraulic clutch release systems when using the Windsor style Ford small blocks.

The Ford bellhousing (image, left) is from a 1986 truck or Bronco. If your similar bellhousing is missing the factory steel bracket as shown here, the Novak #HCRF kit comes with a new bracket.

Transmission Versions

All versions of the NV3550 are compatible. However, the NV3550 will require a minor modification to their input bearing retainer.

Related Products

Hydraulic release master kit for Jeeps
Hydraulic release master kit for Jeeps
AX15 & NV3550 Rear Mount
1976-1986 Jeep floor tunnel cover
Adapting NV3550 transmissions to Jeep Dana 300 transfer cases
Adapting NV3550 transmissions to Jeep Dana 18 & 20 transfer cases

Clutch Kit

The typical Ford clutch disc uses a 10 spline 1-1/16” hub. This adapter requires a 10 spline 1-1/8” hub be used. A matching diameter clutch disc will be required to use the transmission with your Ford engine. Below are the disc options to match your pressure plate diameter.


Installation Requirements



A drill, 29/64” bit, and various smaller bits are required, in addition to typical mechanic's hand tools.

NV3550 Installation Caveat

Note that NV3550 transmissions have a shift rail boss that protrudes through the adapter, and will require that the bellhousing be milled for clearance. The adapter can be used as a template to mark for this operation.


Setting the powertrain to the proper factory or conversion pitch angle - usually tilted down ~5 degrees (3-7 acceptable) is recommended.

Engines & Engine Mounting


Novak does not yet offer mounts for Ford engines in the TJ / LJ Jeeps to which the NV3550 is native. However, we do carry a universal style mount for other Jeeps in which this combination may be installed. See Novak's MMX Series engine mounts.


Driveshaft length changes may be required.

Some installers, concerned about the expense of new or modified driveshafts, attempt to let the existing driveshafts dictate engine, transmission and transfer case location, often to the detriment of the project. Our recommendation is to prioritize the correct position of drivetrain components over saving a few dollars which is usually regretted in the long run with compromised positioning.

Jeeps that require extensive travel or specialty-built driveshafts have this option available through several fabricators across the nation. These are normally specified after placement of the new transmission and measured at vehicle ride height. As the rear driveline gets shorter, it is often advantageous to us a Double Cardan or “CV style” rear shaft with the correct geometry at the axle to minimize vibrations and possible binding.


Use of factory axles is completely acceptable with this conversion. Axle upgrades are not necessary, but they may be chosen for reasons external to this transmission upgrade.

Also See