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1997 V8 Explorer PCM w/harness and transmission transplant in my 1977 351w F150

Discussion in 'Need for Speed!' started by boominXplorer, October 8, 2017.

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    1. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      This is my work in progress thread to my 1977 F150. I purchased the truck as a stock 2wd carbed 351w / C6 truck with a 2.72 9" rear end. The minute I bought the truck I knew I was going to swap it to EFI but it needs to be done affordable as this is going to be my run around the shop work truck. I also know overdrive is about necessary these days so that needs to be in my upgrades to gain more power and fuel economy. This truck will be a daily driver so no antique tags for it. It will need a Virginia state inspection when complete(no smog here). Here is the plan:

      Engine: 351w roller block, Explorer GT40 heads (.5" head bolt holes)

      Intake: Knock off PP 351w mustang intake

      Fuel system: Mid 90s F150 factory rear tank setup.

      Ignition: Stock Explorer coil tower ignition with modified cam pos sensor and damper dudes 28oz explorer balancer for crank trigger

      Belt drive/timing cover: Factory explorer 5.0

      Exhaust: Long tube summit racing headers w/o2s welded in. Truck will stay true dual with single MagnaFlow cats, probably no mufflers. (Cats required for state inspection)

      Transmission: 96 Explorer 4r70w 2wd

      Flexplate: Mid 80s Crown Vic LTD w/351w and AOD

      Computer and Harness: 97 Explorer XDT3 pcm w/ full harness

      Rear axle: 9" w/3.50 gears (eventually 4.10 or 4.11)

      I posted this in the need for speed section as this applies to anyone wanting to upgrade their explorer to a 351w using stock pcm (although I don't have oil pan or header concerns). Here's a pic of when I picked it up. I've had it for a little over a year now and had it running before it came in the shop.

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      Last edited: December 3, 2017
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    3. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Cam position sensor:
      302 to 351 sensor conversion is done with a CPS driveshat out of a 3.8 mustang CPS and the rest of the guts from the 5.0 explorer CPS. There are 2 different versions just like the explorer, 2 wire and 3 wire which each have a different head on top of the drive. 96-98 is 3 wire, 99-01 is 2 wire. I broke down a few CPS sensors to make 1 good one so I suggest grabbing a few from the junkyard if you can. High milage units seem to have play in the body bushing. I ended up using a low mile 00 body and gears on the 97 mustang shaft with 97 sensor. Last pic on table is the now 351 CPS with the original 302 driveshaft beside it.

      The 302 CPS driveshaft is slightly longer than the 3.8 driveshaft but the oil pump driveshaft fits tight with no up and down play.

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      Last edited: October 8, 2017
    4. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Balancer and timing cover:
      Damper Dudes 28oz explorer balancer and stock Explorer timing cover bolts right on. www.damperdudes.net

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      Engine assembled: Low mile GT40 heads replaced factory E7 heads (engine is a 1996). I left the block stock. Bearings looked good still and minimal cylinder wall wear so it's good for another 100k. New oil pump, timing chain (351w is factory double roller).

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      Last edited: October 15, 2017
    5. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Intake manifold: Ported stock 351w EFI Truck intake. I would have gone with the gt40 setup but I can't justify the cost. People want at least $500 for the lightning or Ford racing gt40 lower 351w intakes. I searched for a cheaper iron gt40 lower (marine) but couldn't even find one.

      I ported the lower intake to the gaskets for the E7 heads. They actually overhang the gt40 head ports slightly so I'm probably going to use the larger sbf intake gaskets. I've probably got a strong 10 hours in porting the intake and I still have a bunch of finish work to do. There's a ton of meat that can be taken out.

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      Last edited: October 8, 2017
    6. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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    7. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Cool, I love it and any combination of old Fords with EFI etc.

      The 96 trans isn't the best idea though, the accumulators and case bores were upgraded for 98. You have to use the trans range sensor(to match PCM) from pre 98 though, but those can be used on the 98 4R's I was told. You will for sure use the 98+ mechanical diode though right?

      I think the 4.11 gear will be good for a work truck, depending on your usage even a 3.50 to 3.70 could work too. That will have shorter tires than the Explorer's 29-30" tires then?

      For the CPS, I thought the 351 required a larger dist/housing than the 302? Others have made a thin spacer from what I recall, or sourced aftermarket stuff. Please detail that very well, even your first pictures don't make it really clear which are 302/V6/351 components. I'm going to build a 351 for my Ranchero, but Haven't decided whether it shall be a Windsor block, or a Dart 302 bored .060 over. The CPS is one item I'd rather not have to custom modify etc.
       
    8. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Since it's 2wd and using a 96 or 97 computer it needs a vss tailshaft signal. Sure I could convert over a 98-01 trans to vss but this one was the right price. This is a 100% budget build. I'll be surprised if I have $2500 in it when done. 95% of the parts used are from my local pick n pull junkyard.

      The CPS is simple. If you look at the end/bottom the diameter of the 2 shafts compared you'll notice the 3.8 / 351w shaft it a good bit larger than the 302 shaft. You use everything from the 5.0 CPS except the center shaft which you swap out for the 3.8 shaft. It is completely put together with roll pins. With some careful vise holding and a small punch it comes apart through the top as soon as you punch out the roll pins. I'll see if I can add some more pics.

      Right now the truck has 31" tires on it which I'll probably keep / replace with the same size. I do have a 3.50(?) 9" rear from a big block 2wd truck that I'll use to get by.
       
    9. imp

      imp Well-Known Member

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      @boominXplorer
      Very admirable venture! I may have missed it, if you mentioned it, but in case not, did you pay attention to use of a non-cast iron (IOW, Steel) Distributor driven gear, if using the steel roller tappet camshaft? The roller cam gear will eat a cast-iron dist. gear as used with flat tappet cam. imp
       
    10. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I'm loving the idea of this build. Subscribed.
       
    11. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      To be honest I did not research this at all but you may not know that the 94-96 truck 351w has the same camshaft factory as the 95-01 explorers. The distributor gear that was in the motor is identical to the gear on the explorer CPS.

      Added flexplate info. Many sources online say the e40d flexplate works but it's not exactly right. The mid 80s LTD flexplate has a slightly different dish than the e40d flexplate as using it will push the converter too far into the 4r70 transmission possibly.
       
      Last edited: October 9, 2017
    12. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Sounds great, I'm glad to hear that the 302 distributor body fits the 351's, that helps my choice of 351 versus 302 block.

      Do replace the accumulators and range sensor on the 4R70W, those are weak links in the early models.

      I think the normal car AOD flexplates will work for the 4R70 trans. I was told the tooth count and weight were the keys, to easily buy one from any source. Ford Strokers sent mine with the 347, the 28oz weight was the only difference from an Explorer unit.

      There were only three Ford SBF roller cams. The truck roller cams are all the same one, the Lightning and Explorer have that one same cam. The cars got the HO cam, and the Cobra had the slightly higher lift Cobra cam.
       
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    13. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      This has been the week of dismantling. Truck came apart great, only had to cut a few bolts. Getting ready to pull the cab then on to cleaning and painting the frame. Some rust repair on cab and bed will be done while it's apart. I'm going to at least do cab corners and floorpans in the cab and just the bulkhead of the bed. I plan on putting the rusty doors back on and leaving the rust on the besides as they can be fixed at any time. The frame appears to be in GREAT shape.

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    14. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Still researching how I will go about this as budget for transmission upgrades is about $200. I have already scavenged a few parts like a new converter and drain pan. I have a low mile 2004 crown vic 4r70 I plan on stealing some parts from just haven't decided on what all to swap out. I'm thinking on swapping in the 98+ internal harness and the harness plug as the 96 plug has fluid in it.
       

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    15. Turdle

      Turdle I bake stuff Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    16. delexploder

      delexploder Elite Explorer

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      awesome!
       
    17. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I think you can use the reverse drum and mechanical diode from that, the set of parts right behind the pump. Those later 4R75's had a different intermediate gear parts set, the case is different right there at the pump, but most of what's behind the pump is good for any 4R70 or AODE, or AOD.
      The planetary in the 04+ 4R70W should be the last revision improvement for those, a better rivets or welds holding in the gears. That isn't a big deal for you though, I'd save that for a higher HP project or to sell, of use it if your 96 trans seems "loose."

      You will likely need to use the older valve body, and the internal harness to match the solenoids, which are the main difference that caused/forced the harness change. I'm not very familiar with what VB's can swap to other models, I've always avoided swapping VB's in anything. That later VB may work, but I'd let an expert say, I don't know.

      The new solenoids and accumulators aren't that expensive by themselves, I think it'd be $125 or near that for them. Buy the shift range sensor new, there was a TSB for the originals, due to moisture getting inside(they weren't sealed).

      Doing the "J Mod" isn't expensive either, it's mainly drilling some holes, and a new spring or two for the accumulators(that's the hard part to select from vague instruction guidelines).
       
    18. Josh P

      Josh P Shaggin Wagon Elite Explorer

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      The 302 to 351 intake adapter plates price motorsport sells is about half the cost of what people want for the 351 gt40 lower intake. Awesome build!!
       
    19. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Yeah I've come across it before. I've considered it but I feel it gives an extra area for coolant to leak if things don't stay perfectly torqued.

      My ideal intake would cost over $1100 new. Edelbrock makes a sweet truck intake with long runners and dual tb. The intake is just shy of $800 new but then you need a $350 throttle body to flow it. Not in my price range but i could justify it over spending $550 on a used gt40 lower that doesnt flow as well.

      There's always the knockoff pp intake made for Mustangs for about $450 on ebay. I'm not a fan of cheap Chinesium metal so that's not an option either.

      It's looking like the ported stock intake will still be the plan for now, I can always change it later when I find a better option.
       
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    20. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      I don't plan on pulling the pump unless I have issues after installed. I'm going to keep it to mainly valve body and electronics upgrades. I run a 98 trans on a 97 harness in my ranger so I know the harness upgrade is possible.

      There is a valve body change in 2001 4r70s that changes a few things and they wont swap back and fourth without a few mods. A 2000 model would be the last compatible vb. Some say the plate on the 2-3 accumulator area is better on the earlier vb so I'm going to keep it. I'm definitely going to do the newer range sensor.

      I've read the articles on tccoa on all the early vb mods and upgrades. By the time I get the vb built, accumulators swapped, new solenoids and get a new cooler I'll be right at I want to spend on the trans. I have no problem pulling it back out down the road to strengthen it up if I have an issue, just hope not anytime soon. I've got some sheet metal to buy so it's not Flintstone powered!
       
      Last edited: October 15, 2017
    21. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      You've got the 4R issues handled. The 2001 change you mentioned is about Ford leaving out the tiny reinforcement cover after 2000. Sonnax sells two possible corrections for that, both a thicker plate, and a $20 kit to install a reinforcement cover on the 2001+ models, four bolts and drill the holes. I bought that plate since I have an 04 V6 4R to build for my 98 Explorer. I think that was the only big change on the 2001 VB's, cars are best of course, and the 04 V6 has the "J Mod" in it already(holes drilled and accumulator springs).

      The 351W EFI intakes are not great to choose from. I forgot that that company made an adapter for stock intakes(302 to 351). I saw the ones to install Windsor intakes onto a Cleveland, and that made me drool.

      I'd probably get that 351W to 302 adapter(plates), and try a common 302 EFI intake. Many can be had for under $400 complete, like the RPM II, or the Holley Systemax II, and the TFS intakes. With those plates, you would have to spend extra time porting them to match the heads and intake, mocked up many times. That would take a good while, but sealing it should be fine using good Ultra RTV.
       
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    22. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Thanks for reminding me, I have a vb out a wrecked 04 v6 mustang I pulled out the yard about a year ago on my shelf somewhere I can use. I also have the drill bits and instructions from my baumann engineering shift kit from years ago I'll use to compare.
       
    23. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I have not done the "J Mod" yet, but I read the various instructions from sites I found last year. The holes vary based on who's doing it, and the application. The springs were the hardest part to select or find, because of differing opinions on affects, and the applications. I plan to select hole sizes on the low side, since it seems likely going back in to adjust is part of the process, for each application. The 2004 VB will be sized on the less harsh side no doubt, but a great initial starting place.
       
    24. imp

      imp Well-Known Member

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      "and the Cobra had the slightly higher lift Cobra cam."

      Likely because the Cobra was the only one with factory roller-rocker arms. imp
       
    25. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Yes, the 94/95 did have roller rockers, 1.7:1 instead of 1.6:1 if I recall correctly.

      Years ago, my friend and I helped another friend with his 95 Cobra. The balancer let go and he decided my rebuilt 302 from my first Lincoln was worth the upgrade($1700). We installed my engine that had Edelbrock heads and intake on it, and my friend got the old Cobra engine as partial payment. I hope to borrow the GT40 heads from that to swap onto my 98 engine(to build exhaust manifolds to fit them), and get the Cobra intake for a wrecked 94 GT I have to fix up. We have some parts, but little time to do anything.
       
    26. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      Little bit of progress. Hoping to have engine and trans sitting in the frame by the end of the month. Only areas on frame that needs attention is where the body mounts sit. I've also lost the use of my trailer for the next two weeks unless I REALLY need it.

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