1996 vs 1997 5.0L v8 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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1996 vs 1997 5.0L v8


New Member
February 10, 2009
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
'96 xlt
What are the differences between the 1996 5.0 and the later 5.0s? Can I put the later model engine in my explorer? What other parts will I need? Thanks

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I have a '96 nd my understanding is That there is no difference in the long block. Since the 302 came out in the 60s' there really hasn't been much change at all asside from the HO version. All Explores exuiped with the 5.0l are HO. (HO has roller lifters and cam and a diferent firing order). Any changes will be in the emissions. The '96 has diffentegrset-up, a pfe vs a dpfe. I would the upper intake you need for the appropreate vehicle. I think the '97 had more sensors going to the ecm from the evap system. Im having trouble posting. will return.

Your Explorer engines will also have a roller cam and lifters as was said.

There are some differences between years and models, (talking more than just Explorers here) such as timing covers, water pump lengths, etc. But the big one you need to watch out for is the one for external balance. The 302 has used two...28 oz and 50 oz. Early stuff is 28. All later stuff is 50. Almost all stroker stuff is 28. But for what you are doing, they are both 50 and the long blocks will interchange just fine. This is assuming both are from Explorers.

I do have one caveat to throw in there though. It is possible you could get one engine with a P head and one without. If that happens, get the exhaust manifolds with the new engine. It's possible the ones you have won't work due to spark plug location. You could also run into a problem with one internal EGR and one external. Swap to what your vehicle has if you can. Or now would be an excellent time to upgrade to headers.

very little changes between 96 and 97.5 before the P heads

V8 Changes

So what if I find an engine with the later heads? - can I use the later manifolds and the intake off my earlier engine and be good to go?

there are some wiring changes to the EGR system, but yes you can convert from non P heads to P heads if you wish

You will also have to revert the fuel rail back to your trucks style, 98.5+ are return-less style fuel rail

I am outting a 99 5.0L into a 98 truck right now, in this thread I show you what needs to be changed on the block to make it plug in 100%, will give you an idea of the kind of things you run into when using blocks from different years: