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Next project vehicle?

Discussion in 'Need for Speed!' started by 2000StreetRod, November 9, 2014.

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    1. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I want a mid-size 4 door SUV to drive when my 2000 Sport is being modified. I was planning to purchase a 2000 4 door Explorer with the SOHC V6 to take advantage of what I've learned, spare parts and my SCT PCM programming software package. However, I realized that at my age my next project vehicle will probably be my last. I've always been partial to DOHC engines since I purchased a 1958 Jaguar XK-150 in 1965. A recent thread: '02 limited 4.0 to 4.6 dohc swap has captured my interest. I didn't know that the Aviator came with a DOHC V8 engine and was based on the 3rd generation Explorer. Since I don't like the looks of the Aviator front or the 500 lb weight disadvantage I've become very interested in swapping an Aviator engine into an Explorer. My long term objective would be a fairly quiet rear wheel drive 3rd Gen with a DOHC 4.6L V8 stroked to 5.0/5.1L and possibly forced induction.

      I'm aware that the 2002 Explorer is probably the most complained about Explorer ever. Most of the complaints are associated with transmission failures. I could use some help researching which 3rd generation Explorer would be the best project vehicle.

      I think the 5R55W and the 5R55S were possible transmissions. Were both used with the 4.6L? If so, is one more robust than the other?

      Which transmission was installed in the Aviator with the DOHC 4.6L?

      I've started another thread about the planned engine: DOHC 4.6L V8 build
       
      Last edited: December 22, 2014
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    3. Dono

      Dono V8 Limited turbo and retired SC 4.0 OHV Elite Explorer

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      Browsing that thread (Awesome, by the way), I don't quite understand why you wouldn't just get a 2003 limited explorer and drop the 4.6 directly in to it? I understand that one body might be in better shape, helping that decision.
      Im not sure where you could find info on the transmissions. If I remember James was looking at doing a swap like this for a while, I wonder If he has some trans info that might be helpful.
       
    4. Rick

      Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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      Sounds like a very ambitious project. I'm looking forward to following along.:chug:

      Unfortunately I can't help you with your questions about the 3rd gen :(
       
    5. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Aviator transmissions

      Purchasing a 3rd generation Explorer with a blown 4.6L engine but good body would be my approach.

      After doing a little internet research it looks like the only automatic transmission for the Aviator was the 5R55S.
      2003 Aviator 2WD: ID 3L2P-EB
      2004 Aviator 2WD: ID 4L2P-EC
      2005 Aviator 2WD: ID 4L2P-EC

      Explorer 2WD thru 3/3/2002: 5R55W
      Explorer 2WD from 3/4/2002: 5R55S
       
    6. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      incremental performance upgrades

      I'm just not willing to spend $10K at one time for a major performance improvement. I prefer to make incremental improvements to enjoy and evaluate the benefits of each. But I want to do it somewhat efficiently from a cost standpoint. After studying the modular Ford block the last few days my incremental performance upgrade plan is evolving:

      1. Acquire a 2002 (post 3/3/2002) or 2003 Explorer with 4.6L V8 and 5R55S
      2. Increase engine displacement
      3. Upgrade from 2 valve to 4 valve heads
      4. Upgrade exhaust system
      5. Upgrade brakes
      6. Install supercharger (not centrifugal)

      Sometime during the years to accomplish the above the torque converter will have to be replaced and the transmission rebuilt/upgraded
       
    7. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      5R55S vs 5R55W?

      I found an online copy of the transmission manual Ford RatioTek 5R55W&S that lists the gear ratios:

      5R55S 5R55W
      3.22 1st 3.22
      2.29 2nd 2.41
      1.55 3rd 1.55
      1.00 4th 1.00
      0.71 5th 0.75
      3.07 Rev 3.07

      Stroking and boring the 4.6L would give more torque which should allow the use of overdrive at a lower than stock engine speed. The engine would also need less gearing in 2nd. I'm surprised that the 5R55S was used in the Aviator since it weighs considerably more than the Explorer. Anyway, I think that I prefer the 5R55S gearing but am having trouble determining which Explorers it was installed in. I read on a rebuilt transmission website that the 3/4/2002 and later Explorers had the 5R55S but Robert's (rocket 5979) thread he states he had a 5R55W in his 2003 XLT. I'm having trouble determining if the 2003 Explorer with the V8 had the 5R55S like the Lincolns and Thunderbirds.

      Edit: I guess I'll just have to check transmission codes on the door sticker: V = 5R55S, R = 5R55W according to this thread: Transmission and Axle codes.
       
      Last edited: November 16, 2014
    8. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      I recently bought and sold an aviator. I bought it with 117k and it had a bad cylinder head. As I found out the aviators are plagued with tons of issues from weak transmissions, poor AWD setup and a ton of electronics. I was going to fix it to swap out my girl from an 04 XLT explorer but she decided to keep her explorer. Aviator for sale thread

      My experiance of the 4.6 motors are this. All 2v and 3v blocks are cast iron, the 4v is all aluminum except for the 03-04 cobra which is also cast iron. You can swap 2v heads on a 3v block but can't put 3v heads on a 2v block due to missing oil passages. The 4.6 DOHC is it's own beast. The best factory heads are the 05 Aviator heads, they have all the upgraded coolant passages and 9 thread spark plug holes. There are 6 versions of the DOHC head with 3 being found in the aviator.

      All v8 02+ explorer, mountaineer, aviator have a 5r55 S/W transmission. If you go 2wd the way to go would be swap in a beefed up 4r70w and used a computer from a Marauder to control it. You will go from a 5 speed auto to a 4 speed auto but the reliability and parts availability is WAY worth it. I spent only $900 in parts building my 4r70 in my ranger with the most reasonable quality parts I could find. My trans should hold up to 600 hp without issue and with a different converter and billet input shaft much much more.

      The Aviator does have the larges available brakes as it has 13" rotors front and rear factory.
       
    9. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      target power

      My target power is only about 400 rwhp. I'm not interested in racing. I just want to have another vehicle like my Sport that is fun to drive but a 4 door and quieter. From what I've read so far the 5R55S/W can easily be upgraded to handle 400 rwhp although the cost may be significant. I've also read that the 2005 Aviator heads have the revised cooling improvement but there are kits available to improve the driver side head cooling on the earlier DOHC heads. I wasn't aware that the blowing spark plug problem was fixed so that is good to know. I think I want the aluminum block because of the lower weight than the cast iron block. That would offset the additional weight of the DOHC heads. The aluminum block should easily handle my power goal.

      I'm concerned about finding a blower that will fit the Aviator DOHC configuration. I'd like an intercooler but don't want to lose the knock sensors which I think is required for a Kenne Bell on the SOHC.
       
    10. Benjam

      Benjam Active Member

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      So it seems you are going to want an 05 Aviator 4.6. It's worth a look into the mustang cobras with the 4.6 supercharged just for the supercharger setup. Essentially the same 4.6, but cast iron block vs the lincoln's aluminum. The cams may be different, but the supercharger setup should be a matter of changing parts on the aviator engine. I'll be watching this thread, we have an 05 aviator in the driveway. If it's easy enough to supercharge it we might..

      Benjam :D
       
      Last edited: November 19, 2014
    11. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      To be honest you could swap in stock 03 cobra intake manifold, intercooler, supercharger ect. and it would bolt in. The head ports are identical between the 2 and actually most cobra guys upgrade and get the 05 aviator heads, port them and put cams in them as they are identical the Ford racing heads for $2000.

      I think you if you put a nice exhaust setup, cam swap, tune and mach 1 intake manifold with the oval TB you can hit 400 at the crank.

      Here is a good breakdown on the 4.6 DOHC http://www.terminator-cobra.com/castings.htm
       
    12. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Cobra configuration

      Benjam, thanks for the post. I'll look into the Cobra blown configuration. I want to thank you for keeping the The everything Aviator thread going. I read the whole thread in the past few days and learned a lot. I wish that Rick would consider creating a sub-forum for the Aviator. After all, it is based on the 3rd generation Explorer.
       
    13. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      aluminum vs cast iron

      I assume the above refers to the Aviator engine.

      Is that NA or FI?

      Thanks for the link to a very informative article. It indicates that the aluminum "WAP" block may be insufficient for forced induction. However, for my street application that may not be true. I mainly want the boost to simulate increased displacement for low/mid range torque increase.

      From a cost standpoint I may be looking for a Mark VIII block. I missed a local Teksid short block for $100 because of not having done my research in time to want it before it was sold. The paired head inlet ports may be adequate for my driving and the Kenne Bell blower for the 1996 to 1998 Cobra may fit. It's not intercooled so boost can't go very high but I think the knock sensors can be retained. The 4.6L Cobra hits about 350 rwhp with 7 psi so a 5.0L should be around 380 rwhp.
       
    14. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      The aluminum block will hold a minimal amount of boost expecially with proper tuning. Most 03 cobra guys push the stock iron block up to 30 lbs as the aluminum block safe limit is probably 12lbs. I had a friend that threw a rod in his 99 cobra running just over 12lbs of boost. He had just a base tune and a ton of bolt ons and put down 580rwhp. The dyno guy said he could get more out of it but the bottom end wouldn't hold much more. He ran the snot out of this car with that setup for a good 20k mi till it let loose. This was at least 7 years ago and tuning has come a long way since then.

      I would advise you figure out what manifold you want to run as the intake ports are different between the "B" (markviii) and "C" tumble port (mach 1, aviator, cobra, marauder)

      If you go with the later 02+ engine with the better heads you can achieve 400 whp with a ton of bolt ons without FI. The tumble ports of the "C" heads are designed to build torque down low also.
       
    15. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Aviator long block for $300?

      I'm trying to get to see a guy who has what he thinks is a 2003 to 2005 Aviator long block (just heads & block) with a "bottom end knock" for $300. If the block and heads are in good condition is it worth the money? Since I plan to install a stroker kit I don't really care about the stock reciprocating assembly. Since I plan to install a supercharger I don't really care about the stock intake manifold. Since I plan to install headers I don't really care about the stock exhaust manifolds.
       
    16. Dono

      Dono V8 Limited turbo and retired SC 4.0 OHV Elite Explorer

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      Don't you need the front dress and all bolts also?
       
    17. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      front dress

      I don't know how much of the Aviator front dress will be reusable with the supercharger. I've been searching for an accurate Aviator serpentine belt diagram. From the photos I've seen of the Aviator engine the alternator is centered in front above the water pump and between the heads exactly where the supercharger has to go.
      2002Aviator.jpg
      The power steering pump appears to be on the driver side down low. I still haven't determined where the A/C compressor is. My configuration will probably have to be similar to that of the 1999-2001 SVT Cobra with a Kenne Bell 2.1L.
      Cobra99-01.jpg
      It would be nice to have the Aviator intake manifold, exhaust manifolds, and front dress so I could incrementally upgrade and determine how much each increment improves performance. However, a used complete engine costs about $1700.
       
    18. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      I think all of the front pulleys are the same between the 2v v8 explorer and the aviator. The A/C compressor goes right under the belt tensioner on the passenger side.

      A whole motor for $300 is a steal. Take into consideration a good used set of 03+ heads go for $600 all day with no work done to them. An 05 set with the latest part number could fetch a grand
       
    19. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    20. Dono

      Dono V8 Limited turbo and retired SC 4.0 OHV Elite Explorer

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      Its sure not taking you long to get going on this. I kinda thought you would take a break.
      Its nice to see some green in the pictures. Pretty white outside here now.
       
    21. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      If that is the one for $300 you can't go wrong even if you change your project. That drivers head by itself is worth more than that. I can tell you that it looks like its an 03 because of the blue blue paint on the drivers head. You can cross reference the part number with the article I posted before to see what you have.
       
    22. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      NOS front cover

      Yes, it's a 2003 with a -BB block, -AG passenger side head and a -DA driver side head. Thanks for the link about the engines. If I was really lucky it would have been a 2005.
      Just purchased this on eBay for $139 with free shipping.
      AviatorTimingCover.jpg
      New old stock (NOS) OEM 2003-2005 Aviator front cover plus pulley, part number 2C5Z-6019-AA, casting 2C5E-6D080-DA. The part number I found online for the 2003 Mach 1 (2R3Z-6019-BF) and the 2003 Marauder (3R3Z-6019-AA) have been discontinued.
       
      Last edited: November 25, 2014
    23. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Long block story

      About six months ago a Lincoln SUV owner drove into a local national tune up shop complaining about a noisy engine. The mechanic determined a replacement long block was required and one was ordered and installed with some parts transferred from the original block to the replacement block. Within a few months the mechanic left the shop and eventually his replacement got tired of the engine being in the way and posted it on Craig's list. The current mechanic didn't know if the SUV was an Aviator or a Navigator nor how to tell the difference in the blocks. Armed with notes from the website that boominXplorer posted a link to I was able to determine the engine was from an Aviator by measuring the tumble intake ports. I noticed a 03 year stamp on the block and a -AG suffix casting number on the heads. For $300 I got the block, heads and any parts not transferred to the replacement engine. Those include the intake manifold, throttle body, a broken EGR tube, some heat shields and some brackets. The mechanic used a shop crane to load the block on my little utility trailer that I haul mulch in.

      I had recently seen a new old stock (NOS) timing cover listed on eBay so I purchased it. I'll need to purchase valve covers. I may not purchase the COP covers since some Aviator owners have experienced COP high failures rates probably due to the heat being trapped by the covers. Since the stock (poor performance) exhaust manifolds are fairly cheap I may purchase them to reduce the cost of the initial engine installation and to be able to establish a "stock" DOHC performance baseline for the Explorer. I should be able to transfer the oil pan from the SOHC 4.6L if I don't purchase another one. I'd like to install an external electric oil pump for the DOHC which requires adding a pickup port to the pan.

      I wish the engine could have been a 2005 with the improved heads but I'll install a cooling mod to compensate for the design deficiency. It would be nice to have a Teksid block or even a Nemark but the cost would be significantly more. The Nemark "Aluminator" bare block (PN 8R3Z-6010-A) is still available from Tasca for $1819. I think the stock (assume WAP) block will be adequate for my street performance goal.

      Tomorrow I'll use my crane to lift the block off the trailer and transfer it to my engine stand. Then it will just sit until I get rid of my Volvo 850 turbo wagon to make room for the to be purchased 3rd generation Explorer. Seeing the block should provide motivation to fix the remaining problems with the Volvo.
       
      Last edited: November 19, 2014
    24. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      OEM oil pan part number

      According to Tasca parts the part number for the 2003 thru 2005 Aviator, the 2002 thru 2005 Explorer and Mountaineer is 1L2Z-6675-BA and is shown below.
      AviatorOilPan.jpg
      I need to find out if the pan needs to be modified for a stroked crankshaft.
       
    25. boominXplorer

      boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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      I wouldn't be surprised if you pulled the bottom end apart and found nothing wrong. The issue could just be in the valve guides in the drivers head that commonly go bad. A lot of mechanics out there don't want to "fix" engines, just swap them out if they make noise. I have always been a fan of fixing what is broken and upgrading to solve future issues.

      I know I have read about the bronze valve guides being a popular used upgrade. I also know with a mild port and polish on the stock heads another 20-40 ponies could be had by just smoothing them out in some areas. I think if you go though with a stroker kit, cams with light head work and with the right tuning you will blow past 400 rwhp.
       
    26. 2000StreetRod

      2000StreetRod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      repair economics

      Repairing an engine requires parts, time, knowledge and tools. Shops that service numerous makes and models may not have the knowledge and special tools. Replacing the long block avoids complex, time consuming diagnostics, requires less knowledge and special tools, and returns a functional vehicle to the customer quicker. People like me can take years repairing or modifying a vehicle to save a little money.

      Maybe I should change my performance goal from 400 rwhp to 325 rwtq @ 2500 rpm since I'm more interested in low and mid engine speed torque for driving pleasure than max power at max rpm. That's the main reason for the stroke increase and the blower.
       

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