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Completed Project 2000 Sport Long term project vehicle

Use this prefix for completed projects that are not "How to" articles or threads asking for help.
Modifications Performed
Removed side step bars (post #3)
Replaced single row (1 inch thick) radiator with double row (2 inch thick) radiator (post #3)
Installed towing wiring and bumper mounted ball (post #8)
Replaced stock right caster/camber bolts with large range adjustable bolts (post #9)
Replaced 2 piece right upper control arm with 1 piece arm (post #9)
Installed throttle cable tensioner to reduce slack (post #10)
Lowered rear 0.75 inches by replacing monoleaf rear springs with 3 leaves plus overload leaf springs (post #14)
Installed Edelbrock IAS lowering rear shocks (post #15)
Installed Akimoto racing air filter (post #16)
Replaced stock left caster/camber bolts with large range adjustable bolts (post #18)
Installed Edelbrock IAS lowering front shocks (post #19)

Lowered front 0.75 inches (post #20)
Modified front bump stops (post #20)
Relocated stock external ATF cooler (post #24)
Added second external ATF cooler (post #24)
Installed remote full flow ATF filter & temperature sender (post #24)
Installed remote full flow & bypass engine oil filters & temperature sender (post #25)
Installed external engine oil cooler (post #25)
Installed A pillar pod mounted multi-function temperature gauge (post #27)
Installed two 1.75 inch internal diameter cold air ducts to air filter enclosure (post #28)
Removed 1 3/4 inch diameter inlet cone from air filter enclosure (post #28)
Installed wideband O2 sensor in left downpipe & pod pillar mounted wideband air/fuel ratio meter (post #29)
Replaced stock 65mm throttle body with a Ford prototype 75mm racing ported and polished throttle body (post #31)
Removed throttle cable tensioner & installed 75mm to 65mm throttle body spacer (post #31)
Replaced stock 55mm MAF sensor with 90mm Lightning MAF sensor (post #32)
Designed & built MAF sensor amplifier to compensate for MAF sensor upgrade (post #35)
Replaced Akimoto cone air filter with Spectre 4 inch diameter outlet cone filter (post #35)
Replaced petroleum based rear axle lubricant with synthetic lubricant (post #37)
Installed oil pressure sending unit at oil pressure switch port (post #41)
Modified A pillar pod muti-function temperature gauge to display relative oil pressure (post #43)
Modified PCV valve associated hose configuration (post #46)
Replaced & adjusted mechanical idle speed adjustment screw (post #50)
Replaced petroleum based engine oil with synthetic oil (post #51)
Removed MAF sensor amplifier and loaded custom tune from Henson Performance (post #55)
Painted engine block Ford blue (post #58)
Painted exhaust manifolds silver (post #58)
Reinforced thermostat housing (post #60)
Installed under hood remote starter control (post #63)
Replaced main intake tube C clamps with T-bolt clamps (post #64)
Installed Accusump 3 quart engine pre-oiler (post #66)
Replaced 5R55E reverse servo gaskets with D ring gaskets (post #70)
Installed Canton Racing 215 deg F thermostat for engine oil cooler (post #80)
Replaced stock front sway bar bushings & end links with polyurethane bushings & links from Energy Suspension (post #81)
Replaced stock exhaust system from manifold outlets back with high flow cats, Y pipe, muffler, tailpipe and turndown (post #82)
Replaced stock fuel pump with Aeromotive Stealth 340 lph high flow pump (post #85)
Replaced stock 130 amp 4G alternator with custom built 240 amp 4G alternator (post #87)
Installed Banshee/M90 supercharger (post #88)
Installed electronic fuel pressure controller (post #90)
Upgraded electronic fuel pressure controller (post #93)
Upgraded engine gauges (post #94)
Modified hood for M90 pulley clearance (post #95)
Purchased SCT's Advantage III Racer Pro software tuning package to generate my own tunes (post #97)
Upgraded intercooler heat exchanger (post #98)
Installed thermostat metal lower housing (post #99)

Maintenance Performed

Replaced windshield (post #2)
Replaced tires with BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A Tour P235/75XL108T 15 inch tires (post #2)
Replaced hood lift cartridges (post #3)
Replaced left lower control arm (post #17)
Installed 00m12 kit intake manifold gaskets, left chain tensioner & oil galley reducer (post #45)
Replaced PCV valve (post #46)
Replaced fuel filter (post #48)
Replaced camshaft timing cassettes, tensioner & guide, primary chain & sprockets (post #56)
Degunked engine internals (post #58)
Replaced radiator cooling fan blade (post #59)
Replaced rear main seal (post #61)
Replaced water pump (post #68)
Replaced 5R55E transmission filter, blown valve body separator plate gasket, broken solenoid mounting bracket (post #70)
Replaced split flexible fuel hose from tank to rigid fuel line (post #74)
Replaced serpentine belt & tensioner pulley (post #78)
Repaired rear hatch strikers (post #79)
Replaced rear axle vent hose (post #86)

The photos below show my 2000 Explorer Sport that I purchased from a tow truck driver in May, 2009. It had been abandoned on the freeway and the tow truck driver obtained ownership as payment for the towing fee. The only thing that prevented the vehicle from running was a bad camshaft sensor. The tow truck driver replaced it, the spark plugs, and engine oil and filter.

These photos were taken after considerable cleaning and polishing. The external paint is Toreador Red and the interior is gray. The body is in fairly good condition with a few minor dings and no visible rust.
I purchased my Sport for $3,000 in Concord, North Carolina. It had 150,000 miles on the odometer and was dirty inside and out. Although it doesn't show in the photo below there are multiple cracks in the windshield.

I retired on July 4 and decided to search for a smaller SUV to replace my 1997 Tahoe shown in the background. I did considerable research and narrowed my search to a two door. While I have owned Jeeps for most of my driving life, I knew from past experience that the Cherokee Sport made me feel cramped when driving. I also eliminated the Blazer for the same reason. I eventually settled on the Explorer liking the simplicity and handling of front engine rear wheel drive. 2000 was the last year that Ford made the body style I preferred so that's what I looked for. Toreador Red was my first color choice so I was thrilled when an advertisement for one showed up on Craigslist.
It rained about one third of the way home to Greenville, South Carolina. The cracked windshield caused the windshield wipers to smear which made the drive home somewhat stressful. Adding to the stress was an alarm that sounded about every fifteen minutes because one of the sensors on the rear hatch was misaligned. Another aggravation was failure of the power side mirrors to adjust. I was also concerned about the tires. The original spare was on the right front since one of the tires was flat.

The other three tires had virtually no tread remaining. I drove a maximum of 55 miles per hour when there was no rain and 50 miles per hour in the rain.

The vehicle was originally purchased in Texas as indicated by the license plate.

You can see that the left rear is considerably lower than the right. I bought my Sport as a utility vehicle but also as a long term test bed for experimentation. I am an electrical engineer by degree and a former senior systems engineer. I will be trying various performance and fuel economy modifications on my Sport for many years. I intend to keep it for the remainder of my driving years.





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Oil pressure gauge

My Sport has over 151,000 miles on the engine that has never been rebuilt. Also, the cold morning start chain rattle is increasing. I really need an oil pressure gauge and I decided to install one before switching to full synthetic engine oil. That way I woud be able to compare my oil pressure before and after the engine oil replacement. I'm really disgusted with Ford for only simulating a real oil pressure gauge on the instrument console. But after installing my sending unit, I know of at least one reason Ford chose not to. There just isn't much room to install one behind the power steering pump! The first thing I did was remove the left front wheel so I could remove the inner fender flap shown below.

The next step is to disconnect the electrical connector to the stock oil pressure switch. The barely visible white connector is identified with the red arrow in the photo below.

The connector is easily disconnected by squeezing two opposite sides together and then pulling it outward (away) from the block. Unfortunately, I was unable to get my hand and fingers in a position where I could reach the connector from the side. The red arrow in the photo below identifies the connector from a slightly different angle.

I tried to squeeze the connector with various tools but never found anything suitable to perform the task. Eventually, I was able to release the connector by laying under the vehicle and reaching up to the connector from below. Once the connector is removed it is easy to remove the switch from the fender well opening with the use of a deep well socket and long extension. The photo below shows the parts I needed to install into the very limited access space.

At the top of the photo is the extension that provides clearance between the block and the pressure sending unit. Between the Street Tee and the pressure sending unit is a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter.

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Just a quick thank you

2000, Just wanted to post a quick thank you to you and Brooklyn and everyone else involved for your help with my transmission issues. Everythings buttoned up with the new filter installed no leaks and it works like a champ. Next project plugs wires and air filter and the skin on my knuckles was just starting to grow back lol.

Installing the parts

The installation of the parts was time consuming and frustrating. There are pipes and numerous wiring bundles that restrict access to hands and tools. The exterior of the Street T is square rather than hexagon which complicates installation with the restricted access. Installation would have been greatly simplified if I had a large 12 point deep well socket that would fit the end of the Street T. I have always avoided purchasing 12 point sockets (I use only 6 point) because they have very little surface area contact. Consequently, I was forced to use wrenches of various offsets and lengths to work around all of the obstructions. First I loosely screwed the Street T and the extender together. I then installed the assembly into the block. There were times when the Street T was at an angle that was not accessible with a wrench. But the extender has a hex end so I turned the assembly with it. The other complication is that the orientation of the assembly must end up tight enough not to leak with one outlet positioned horizontally toward the rear. This is the only position that will allow the sending unit to fit without oil pooling in it. I was careful and concerned about breaking the assembly off before reaching the desired position. But I proceeded very carefully and was lucky not to. After numerous times of repositioning myself from below to the side and back gaining a fraction of a turn with each move, the assembly was finally in place. The installation of the switch and sending unit with adapter was then relatively easy. The photo below was taken from under the vehicle looking up at the completed installation.

The photo below was taken from the fender well prior to attaching the sending unit electrical connection.

I was apprehensive that the sending unit might not be compatable with the oil temperature indicator in my pillar pod shown in the photo below.

When I switched the pod indicator selector to the pressure position and turned the ignition key to ON, the needle indicated about 150. A few seconds after the engine was started the needle rapidly increased to about 195 as shown below.

I had hoped for a deflection for the full scale of the indicator but apparently the pressure sender was designed to operate with a different meter movement than the temperature senders. Anyway, the amount of deflection is adequate to determine relative (but not actual) oil pressure.

Great ideas, great writeups, I really like the "cold air" intake with vacuum hoses. Been really wondering if the K&N air filter charger is more harm than good since it is not a cold air system. Will be looking into this mod. Thanks and looking forward to more updates.

00M12 Installation

For more details:
Starting my 00M12 Installation

My cold weather start up flare increased to more than 2,000 rpm and the chain rattle got very loud for about 5 seconds until the oil got to the chain. I decided I couldn't delay the tensioner and gasket replacement any longer. I ordered Ford part number YL-2Z-9E473-AA from for $49.49 plus shipping (also available from and for about the same price). I printed out the excellent post by mikeh 98 SOHC Cold Start Idle problem to use as a guide and took photos during disassembly so I could refer to them during reassembly.

The photo below shows the underside of the upper intake manifold after removal.

There is significant carbon build up on the walls of the manifold. I believe that most of the carbon comes from the exhaust gas that is recirculated into the manifold.

The photo below shows the top of the lower intake manifold after the upper intake manifold was removed.

There are gaskets between the two manifolds that can leak but it is not very common.
The photo below shows the inlet ports to the heads after the lower intake manifold has been removed.

The common location of significant intake leaks is the surface of the heads around the intake ports.
The photo below shows the bottom of the lower intake manifold where the O ring gaskets are fitted to seal against the head intake ports. The gaskets dry and compress after years of service and fail to seal. The new O rings are much thicker and should seal better for more years than the stock ones.

It took several hours for me to clean the extensive carbon from the walls of the head intake ports, lower intake manifold runners, and upper intake manifold tubes. The new gaskets significantly reduced my intake leaks resulting in a lower cold start flare and more stable idle. The new upper front chain tensioner and galley oil return restrictor reduced chain rattle at warm start but did not help significantly for cold start.

PCV Valve Replacement & Mod

For more details:
SOHC PCV Valve Mod thru 2000

Ford recommends changing the PCV valve every 100,000 miles. My Sport has 151,000 miles and I suspected it had the original valve. In my defense, I have only put about 1,000 miles on the vehicle since I purchased it this May. I have been experiencing a loping and rough idle (symptoms of a plugged or restricted PCV valve) for several months (since changing to a high flow air filter) and decided it was time to swap the valve. Having read other forum members' accounts of the difficulty of finding and changing the valve I dreaded the activity.

Identifed in the photo below is the PCV valve that is centrally located between the firewall and the lower rear of the upper intake manifold.

While it is not visible in the photo, directly above the valve is a nonsymmetrical "T" fitting that is attached to two hoses going in opposite directions to different ports on the upper intake manifold. Crankcase fumes flow up thru the PCV valve and into the intake manifold to be burned in the cylinders. Knowing that it would be difficult to remove the PCV valve, I disconnected the hose connection at each intake port and moved the cruise control cable out of the way. I noticed the remains of a plastic fastener that at one time had held the PCV valve in its intended position. From the passenger side with my left hand I grasped the flared rubber hose end attached to the base of the valve. With my right hand I grasped the "T" and attached hoses. I then twisted, rocked from side to side and pulled until something came apart. Unfortunately, the "T" separated from the top of the valve and the valve remained attached to the flared rubber hose end. I inspected the "T" with hoses assembly shown in the photo below.

The hose in the area between the red arrows was flattened significantly due to being taught against the rear of the intake manifold. While it's not visible in the photo, there were significant indentations in the hose at the location marked by the green arrow. There was also significant abrasion damage on the hose at one location. While neither hose appeared to leak or be blocked from the damage, I decided hose replacement was warranted.

I resumed my attempt to remove the valve from the flared hose end. I tried prying down along the side with a very small flat screw driver but the lip on the valve blocked the screw driver blade. I tried spraying the lower part of the valve with WD40 hoping it would penetrate the edge. The location and size of the valve made it very difficult to grip tightly enough the loosen. Finally I decided that more leverage was required. I used a locking plier (ViseGrip) attached to the upper half of the valve. Since the valve is plastic and easily broken I was careful to grasp the valve where it is strongest using only enough pressure to prevent slipping. I grasped the lower hose flare with my left hand and resumed twisting and rocking but my hand grip was not tight enough to prevent slipping. Eventually I resorted to attaching another locking plier around the flared end. I used just enough pressure to keep the flared end from slipping while twisting and the valve finally moved. Then I rocked the valve from side to side while pulling gradually working the valve free.

I decided that the observed hose deterioration was due to being too taught and to contact with sharp edges. The red arrow in the photo below points to where in the stock configuration the right hose is in contact with a metal bracket.

The green arrow points to the remnants of the PCV valve clamp. Also, with both hoses sloped toward the PCV valve, any oil vapor left in the hoses when the engine stops will condense and pool on top of the closed valve. This contributes to the valve sticking and restricting air flow. I decided to raise the "T" connection to eliminate physical contact with the bracket and to reduce oil pooling on top of the valve. The photo below shows the components for the modified PCV valve assembly.

The hoses are cut from 3/8 inch inside diameter transmission hose that I had on hand. The short section of tube with a flare at each end is from transmission tubing that I cut out when performing my oil coolers/remote filters modification. Only one flare is needed to get a good seal at the bottom of the "T" that has been stretched by the top of the PCV valve. A section of an old fuel filter would work just as well.

New PCV Valve assembly

The photo below shows the PCV valve assembly prior to installation. The arrow marks where I added a small hose clamp for a tight fit.

The photo below shows the left side of the new PCV valve assembly after installation.

The hose length was cut to fit so that it was loose around the back of the upper intake manifold but not touching the firewall. Note that the hose is routed below the intake manifold to brake booster hose.
The photo below shows the right side of the new assembly.

The red arrow marks where the hose is attached to the port on the right section of the upper intake manifold. The green arrow points to the clearance between the hose and the support bracket. Because the hoses kept the PCV valve in position, I decided a cable tie was not needed.

Fuel filter replacement

For some time now I've been advising others on this forum to change their fuel filter. Well, I finally decided to take my own advice! I have 151,000 miles on my Sport but have only driven it about 1,000 miles since I bought it this May.

My first step in replacing the fuel filter was to raise and then jack stand the left front of the vehicle. I did this to make sure fuel did not siphon out of the tank. Also, I don't like working under a vehicle and the more clearance the better. I placed an oil drain pan directly below the filter to catch any leaking fuel and made sure my drop light was not close enough to ignite any splashes. The safety clips were easily removed and I used a 3/8 inch release tool for the fuel connections. When I tilted the old filter to drain it I noticed that fuel did not flow easily. I installed the new filter making sure the arrow pointed toward the engine, lowered the vehicle and turned on the ignition to check for leaks. Since there were none I then started the engine to check further.

I decided to cut open the old filter and examine it. The photo below shows the post hack saw exercise.

When the hack saw initially cut thru the outer container, a rusty brown residue began leaking out.
The photo below is a close up of the filter element.

You can see the accumulated crud in the pleats.

I'm surprised that my engine had enough fuel flow to pull 175 rwhp on the dynomometer and rev easily to 6,000 rpm with such a clogged filter!

After changing the filter I added two bottles of Techron fuel injector cleaner to the nearly full fuel tank. I used to own Volvos and Techron was the only fuel injector cleaner that Volvo endorsed. Some injector cleaners do a good job on the injectors but also cause carbon deposits on the intake valves. The fluffy deposits absorb fuel and cause rough idle and hesitation, especially in cold weather.

If you haven't changed your fuel filter in the last 30,000 miles I suggest that you do. I also suggest that you avoid adding fuel injector cleaner if your filter is due for a change. I suspect that a high percentage of early fuel pump failures are due to not changing the fuel filter at the suggested interval.

Nasty--I replaced mine over the summer but did not cut it open. Thanks for info on Techron, I occasionally use STP fuel injector cleaner due to the fact it is Cheap. Will pick up some Techron soon. Your writeups are fantastic. I am sure you are aware but re: your front suspension replacements (control arms etc) you had mentioned you were dissapointed there were no grease fittings. FYI: MOOG replacements have grease fittings. Replaced lower ball joints over the summer. Have an upper control arm, and tie rods sitting for next summer and more fun.

Idle adjustment

For more details:
Idle adjustment procedure

I wanted to get my SOHC idle adjusted correctly prior to James Henson of Henson Performance making any idle related corrections to my custom tune. My engine is in reasonably good tune with no vacuum leaks or other problems that would prevent a steady idle.

There is no hexagon or slot on the end of the screw that contacts a stop on the throttle body when the throttle plate is closed. Turning the screw opens or closes the throttle plate slightly and acts as a mechanical idle adjustment. The red arrow in the photo below identifies the idle adjustment screw.

Thread lock is applied to the screw to prevent movement due to vibration. I decided to replace the screw with a socket (Allen) head cap screw M5-.80 x 20 that I purchased from Lowe's. I lubricated the original screw with WD-40 and proceeded to remove the screw by grasping one end with ViseGrips and rotating the screw. This was a very tedious and time consuming process because the very restricted work space limited each turn to about 30 degrees. When the task was finally completed I installed the replacement cap screw using an Allen wrench. I applied WD-40 to the new cap screw instead of thread lock because it was a tight fit and I did not want it to break!

The vehicle tachometer is not very accurate so I used my X3 Power Flash in the monitor mode to read rpm, desired_idle_rpm, and coolant_temp (engine coolant temperature). I observed that as the coolant_temp increased the desired_idle_rpm decreased gradually to 736 rpm and rpm decreased to 750 rpm with the transmission in Park and the air conditioner compressor not engaged. I experimented with the idle adjustment and the IAC valve connector and learned that the IAC valve controlled idle speed was approximately 200 rpm greater than the idle speed with the IAC valve electrical connector disconnected. I also noticed that actual rpm was approximately 20 rpm greater than desired_idle_rpm. I believe that Ford suggests for a stock engine to adjust the idle speed to 500 rpm with the IAC valve disconnected. Many engine performance modifications detract from a low speed smooth idle. In my case, 550 rpm was much smoother than 500 rpm and resulted in a 750 rpm IAC valve controlled idle. I do not recommend an IAC valve controlled idle speed greater than 850 rpm for vehicles with an automatic transmission. More than that will increase brake wear and transmission fluid temperature and decrease fuel economy. When I selected Drive from Park, the desired_idle_rpm slowly decreased from 736 rpm to 688 rpm. When I switched on the air conditioner the desired_idle_rpm increased.
One advantage of performing this adjustment is that if the IAC valve goes bad the engine will not die when releasing the accelerator and the engine can be restarted.

Synthetic engine oil

While under my vehicle I noticed that the rear main seal was leaking slightly so I added some engine oil treatment to try to reduce or stop the leak. That was another reason why I replaced my PCV valve since if it was sticking closed high crankcase pressures could cause the rear main to leak. The treatment instructions stated that it would take about 200 miles of driving for it to work. Since I had exceeded that mileage and my startup chain rattle was getting loud as the weather got colder, I decided it was time to switch to synthetic engine oil. Also, I was completing the driveability phase of a custom tune and did not want to start the performance phase involving high engine speeds with the treatment in the oil.

I puchased full synthetic 5W30 SuperTech (Wal-Mart) oil because it met the same specifications as the more expensive oils on the shelf and because I knew it would take several oil changes (because of my oil coolers) to eliminate all of the petroleum based oil containing the main seal treatment.

First I removed the air deflector under the radiator and then removed my two behind the grille mounted remote full-flow oil filters. Next I placed my large diameter oil drain pan under the engine oil pan and removed the drain plug. I then removed the engine oil filler cap to prevent a vacuum from restricting drainage of the engine oil.

While the engine oil was dripping out I installed the bypass filter thread adapter in the central remote filter mount. I then slowly poured synthetic oil into the Amsoil bypass filter and the Mobil 1 full-flow filter until they were almost full. Then I installed the filters onto the mounts.

Next I cleaned the oil pan drain plug and installed it. I then poured a gallon of oil into the filler opening, waited a few minutes for the oil to settle and then checked the oil level with the dipstick. I added 1/2 quart at a time until the oil level registered just below full on the dipstick. Then I started the engine while watching my oil pressure gauge. As soon as the pressure reading climbed to normal I shut the engine off, checked for leaks at the filters and drain plug and then added more oil until the dipstick reading showed full. I started the engine again and let it run until warm. Then I revved the engine a few times checking again for leaks. Since there were none, I shut the engine off and installed the air deflector.

Some forum members are concerned about adding synthetic oil to high mileage engines. Even though my Sport has more than 150,000 miles I was more concerned about the effect synthetic oil might have on my cold start chain rattle. I feared that the synthetic oil would drain faster from the chain guides in cold weather than the petroleum based oil and my startup chain rattle would increase. Apparently my fears were unfounded and that the time to get oil to the chains after startup is more important. With the synthetic oil my pressure is still about the same as before for various engine speeds but it rises sooner after engine start.

If I replace my guides or rebuild the engine I plan to add a preoiler to extend the life of the chains, guides and the rest of the engine.

Slowly making the truck run like new, nice work.

Dale, I have seen all you other threads and postings, but for some reason I did no see you registry until now. Useful information.

You should keep updating it!

keep up the good work dale

Custom tune

I just realized that it's been more than 18 months since I updated this thread.

For more details on this tune see Custom tune by Henson

For my 2009 Christmas present I purchased an SCT X3 Power Flash with custom tune from Henson Performance. My 2000 SOHC engine, transmission and rear axle are completely stock except for the air intake system that consists of a Spectre high flow cone filter with 4 inch diameter outlet feeding a Ford Lightning 90 mm MAF sensor. The 4 inch diameter intake tube reduces to 3 inches just prior to the Ford 75mm ported and polished racing throttle body. An adapter transitions the 75 mm throttle body outlet to the 65 mm upper intake manifold inlet. The photo below shows the intake system.

The PCM utilizes the voltage output from the MAF sensor to calculate engine load. Increasing the MAF sensor diameter from 55 mm (stock) to 90 mm results is a large decrease in sensor output voltage for any given airflow. Therefore, a custom tune was required to prevent engine damage due to an excessively lean fuel mixture.

The X3 package (shown below) contains a USB cable to connect the X3 to a computer. The X3 comes with a built in cable that connects to the vehicle diagnostic port.

The X3 also has a connector for a two channel analog cable which must be ordered separately. The cable allows X3 data logging of any analog output that varies from 0 to 5.0 volts. This cable is required to data log wideband A/F ratios during WOT testing. Also included in the package was a CDROM containing documentation and a software program called X3LW Updater. This program allows transferring a tune from a laptop to the X3.

The tune development process consists of receiving a tune file from James Henson via email, transfering the file to the X3 and then programming it into the PCM, using the X3 and a laptop to record engine parameters, and then I email the data log to James to review and make appropriate modifications to the tune. The steps are repeated until James is satisfied with the data log results. I point out that anyone from anywhere in the world who has email capability, a laptop and an X3 can acquire and install a custom tune.

The photo below shows my "copilot" for on the road data logging. The OBD cable runs from the vehicle port to the X3. The A/F ratio meter cable also connects to the X3 analog port. Then there is the USB cable that connects the X3 to the laptop. I set up the data configuration file while parked in my driveway.

For obvious safety reasons I simply ignore the laptop while driving. I click on the start data recording icon and then turn the laptop so I can't even look at it. After recording the desired driving situation I pull off the road and then click on the stop recording icon and then save the data log file to the disk drive. Once back in my driveway I shut down the laptop and disconnect the cables. Then I email the data log to James for his review.

James develops the tune in two phases. The first phase is to achieve acceptable driveability. The second phase is the performance phase with the PCM mostly in open loop. Two problems surfaced during the performance phase. The knock sensor frequently retarded the ignition timing reducing engine acceleration under load. This happened even when using premium unleaded fuel with no ethanol. It was decided that either the knock sensor was defective or that it was detecting some mechanical noise that was not actually knock. The second problem was that my engine developed the dreaded timing chain rattle. James worked around the knock sensor retard by reducing it's sensitivity in the custom tune. When the tune was completed James provided me with two versions. One has the knock sensor desensitized and the other with normal sensitivity to try later when the timing chain rattle is eliminated. Other features incorporated into the tune at my request are: elimination of PCM limited maximum vehicle speed; my specified A/F ratio at WOT, my specified WOT transmission upshift engine speed for each gear, my specified light throttle engine speeds for 1>2 and 2>3 upshifts, firmer than stock gear shifts.

I am very pleased with my custom tune. My Sport is more throttle responsive and shifts up and down about when I would if I had a manual transmission. It is much more enjoyable to drive. The SCT software and X3 can be extremely useful in identifying a subtle performance deficiency and isolating to the source of the deficiency.

timing chain repairs

For more details see SOHC V6 Timing Chain Saga

As soon as I completed the performance testing phase of my custom tune I began the process of assessing my timing chain issues. The cold start up rattle had continued to increase and I knew that I was lucky that the engine has lasted thru performance testing without catastrophic failure.

My first task was to be able to remove the right valve cover to determine what damage may have occurred. I found that the upper section of the guide assembly was missing as shown below.

Please note the obvious lack of tension (slack) on the inner side of the camshaft sprocket as the chain drops toward the jackshaft. I could easily deflect the chain toward the center of the block more than one inch with my fingers. I did not feel the presence of a guide but my reach was very limited. Next I removed the left valve cover and inspected the cassette. I found no broken pieces nor excessive wear.

For more information on determining the source of potential timing chain related issues see: Timing chain rattle resolution process - SOHC V6 and SOHC V6 Timing Chain Inspection & Repair

Since the right cassette can only be replaced by removing the engine or removing the transmission I decided to pull the engine. See
SOHC V6 Engine Removal Procedure
I had trouble with the exhaust bolts and the transmission to engine bolts but finally got the engine out.

Closer inspection of the rear cassette revealed that the upper positioning bolt was worn flat on one side from the slack chain rubbing against it.

After removing the front timing cover and inspecting the primary tensioner I found that the tensioner spring was broken and not exerting any force on the chain.

new timing chain components

The right guide assembly had completely failed.

The left cassette was in good condition but since I had a new guide assembly I decided to replace it.

I purchased and replaced the entire right cassette.

See SOHC V6 Rear Cassette Replacement

I also purchased and installed a primary timing chain kit.

All parts were Ford OEM. For a list of Ford timing chain related parts see: SOHC V6 Timing Chain Related PNs

Since I didn't have the OTC 6488 timing tool kit I used uncoventional methods to time the camshafts. I encourage others to utilize the tool kit to reduce risk, simplify the process, and achieve accurate timing. For more information on camshaft timing see SOHC V6 Camshaft Timing and SOHC V6 Timing Chain Parts Removal Procedure

engine cleanup

Apparently the previous owner had not changed the engine oil often since there was excessive sludge in the engine.

I spent a considerable amount of time brushing the sludge and spraying it with Gunk engine flush.

Having the engine out provided an opportunity to degrease its exterior. First I wrapped all electrical connections and ports with plastic and ties.

Next I sprayed the engine with degreaser and washed it off using a garden hose. Then I blew the water out with a leaf blower. I sprayed the block with engine primer and paint and I sprayed the exhaust manifolds with high temperature primer and paint.


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Thermostat housing reinforcement

Several forum members have experienced problems when attempting to replace either the engine coolant temperature sensor or the engine temperature sender. Since I had the thermostat housing out while replacing the timing chain components I decided to try reinforcing the housing. First I cleaned the exposed portion of the brass fitting and the plastic surrounding it as shown in the two photos below with a small wire brush and then cloth.


Next I mixed some two part epoxy and very carefully applied it to the intersection of the brass fitting and the plastic housing as identifed with the arrows in the photo below.

I made sure not to get any epoxy on the sensor threads.