4.0l A4ld to 2.9l | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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4.0l A4ld to 2.9l


New Member
December 15, 2005
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City, State
Rome, New York
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 Ranger 4X4
My experience installing an a4ld from a 93 aerostar with a 4.0l to a 92 ranger with a 2.9l.

First I must say that this is my first ever post to any forum anywhere. Although I have been using the internet since before AOL etc. I am motivated to make this post especially to thank GLACIER991 and Brain for the A4ld info they've posted to this site. It took alot of time and energy on their part and they have my graditude. :thumbsup:

In short, this was just a swap, the transmission fits perfectly :rolleyes: ..well, it fits. I chose this option to save money, cause I'm cheap, I'm pinched for time and it's 5 below zero. This vehicle is my daily driver. Others may chose a similar route if they don't have time or tools or garage etc....I thought you guys might want to make recommendations on this option...??? Feel free to slam my methods, my feelings won't be hurt :p

After doing this swap, I still am unsure of what, if any, difference there is between 4.0l a4ld and 2.9l a4ld. I could have chosen from a dozen qualified donor candidates, but I'm led to beleive that the 4.0l a4ld is better; bearings vs washers and whatnot. Torque converter different? I don't know.

From the junk yard:

The 93 aerostar had a 4.0l with a different computer controled 4x4 xfer case, but the extention on the a4ld was the same as the ranger. The minivan was a Vinnie's U-pull-it "all transmissions 75 bucks". The van was in a accident just before arriving at the yard, looked like a side swipe on a gard rail at about 60mph, so I made the assumption that it was running just prior to that. There were no signs of leaks anywhere on the tranny. I removed the minivan's transmission pan and inspected. All was clean, no metal bits and just a little fuzz stuck on a 1in x 4in x 1/4in magnet attached to the bottom of the pan. The pan was bent from the yard's forklift and the detent spring thing was bentup and the filter had a dent. The shift lever was pointing up in the same direction as the kickdown lever (different than the ranger). Some brackets were different than on the truck. The servos on the passenger side had different letters on them than those on the truck. The minivan had BB (toward the Back Back) and AB toward the front (I don't know what that means, I just see that its different). The electrical hookups where identical as were the starter and number of bolts on the pan, ribbs on the bell housing and so on. I work at a leisurely pace and saved all the bolts and brackets etc. It took a 6 hours to remove the transmission and drag it out from under the minivan.

From the ranger:

The burning, slipping, leaking transmission was removed from the truck. (I paid 700 for the truck 40,000 miles ago, it has 140,000 now. I've been buming rides all week.) I did not remove the exhaust. The bellhousing did not fit between the Y-pipe and the body seam (seam is between the firewall and the floorpan). First I removed the Xfercase to tilt the tranny further back, I unbolted the forward two cab mounts and raised the cab at that point just an inch to clear, simple enough. I pounded that seam flat for eaiser installation later. It took a full day to remove the transmission from the ranger.

Prep the donor:

Clean and inspect valve body.
Installed transgo kit (only on the parts that could be removed without damage) and drilled all for "firm". (Wanted to do boost valve upgrade, but that one would not come out.) tested solenoids, replaced one (TCC ? toward the front?) with new. The new aftermarket solenoid here did not have the bracket welded to the body. The other was a different style than in Glacier info/pics and different than the one I mail ordered, it did not have the filter part and it was longer than the mail ordered one. Anyways, the mail ordered part looked used, had a cut wire and missing screen part. The old one tested good and went back in. (Glacier's click test and clean).
New servos AA and BB.
Adjusted bands.
New thumb-wheel adjustable modulator.
Removed reverse servo and turned the shaft, stood the unit up on the bell housing etc., etc... The reverse band slipped out of position. To remedy, I stood the transsmission with the bellhousing up, used 2 2x4s so as not to rest on the output shaft, bent a bit of stiff wire to reach through the opening on the valve body side where you can just see a part of the drum, a little prayer and the band falls back into position. I could now see the band through this opening instead of the drum. I could also then see the shinny dimpled spot where the servo pin pushes on the band.
New orings on the reverse servo
The donor tranny vent tube nipple was broken (ouch), replaced with the one from the old tranny (I used a propane tourch to just heat up the corroded part and twisted and pulled it out) installed the replacement with a little JB Weld.
Swap shift levers? No, could not get retaining pin out of old unit. I attempted Glacier's method and my own method. (My method was to grab onto the end of the pin with pliers and tear the end off so that no pin was left exposed). What to do... I loosened the nut on the end of the shaft that retains the sprocket thing (can you tell I also did this without the recommended ASTM Manual?) The shaft on this end has two flats that engage the sprocket. Rotate the shaft 180 and re-attach the retaing nut. Lever now points down, but rubs on the pan. This must be back on the road Monday. Bent the lever out a little to just clear the pan.
I cut the rusty 3/8in cooling lines at the end of the bellhousing when removing the tranny and drained the cooler, mostly on my neck and chest. Fabbed up all new lines, using unions at that location, for ease of transmission installation, and more new lines to the radiator and new external cooler.
Replaced valvebody, replaced detent spring (from old tranny), reverse servo, filter, pan (from old tranny) and so forth. I had to go to local advanced auto to get another filter (metal screen inside), the one I mail ordered (looks like felt inside) arrived without any sort of down tube attached. Wouldn't it suck (or not suck) if someone installed that? Defective.
It took a good 8 hours to prep the donor.

Install into ranger:

From the minivan; flexplate, torque converter and transmission.
From the ranger; detent spring, pan, assorted brackets that were bolted to tranny, aluminum bellhousing cover, xfercase and back. Had to make a new gasket that goes between transmission extension housing and xfercase. Used a new flexplate spacer. With added clearance from pounding the body seam flat, installation went smoothly. Torque every thing to spec. Adjust shift linkage. It took a very long day to install and fill with fluid, about 16 hours. (I spent an hour trying to get the truck started. Turned out to be that I needed only to push the reset button on the fuel pump shock sensor.)

First test drive was done on the way to work Monday morning. The tranny bumps nicely from gear to gear, shifts at speeds that seem normal to me. The torque converter lockup in overdrive at 55mph is something I never had in the old tranny. I bet my gas mileage goes from 14 to 20 mpg. The column shifter works just fine PRNoDD21, nice. I haven't stepped on it yet, but I bet the old truck would chirp 2nd.

Total ALL INCLUDED cost, from transmission to hand cleaner: $325.

So, thanks and cheers to Glacier991 and Brain.

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THANK YOU for posting your experience. That's why we did those long threads. Nice to see they are valuable and helpful and keeping older EX's on the road!

Today, we live in a disposable society where people are very fast to get rid of something, instead of trying to keep it as long as possible. People have the idea that something new is better. If something is old, but kept up well, it could last much longer than something that is new, but badly abused, since the mentality is to only keep it for a short time, and get rid of it. Did you take any pictures of your transmission when you rebuilt it? I have a 93 Aerostar van. Did you take any other parts off of it that you wouldn't need?

Next time take the 4.0L with the transmission :)
The 89-92 MAS 2.9L engine is basically the exact same thing as the 90-92 4.0L engine, just a different bore and stroke, different intakes, etc.
As far as mouting and wiring from the trucks point of view are concerned they are the same.

So not only will the 4.0L trans fit in your truck, but the 4.0L engine will as well.

If Only

If I had done more research before replacing the engine in 2003, I would have gone with the 4.0l. :confused:

This is a 2.9l (block and heads) from an xlt going into the ranger. New oil pump, waterpump, thermostat, radiator etc, etc.



Pic of the Aerostar shift lever that should be swapped out. (Everything dripping with PB Blaster). This Bracket must also be swapped out because the ear where the Aerostar shift cable attaches will hit the floor of the Ranger.


My Garage

Sometimes work conditions can be difficult!


I spent MONTHS looking for the correct bell crank assembly to use my 1984 Bronco II floor shifter with my 93 A4LD automatic and 4.0L.....then it hit my exhaust when I did find it.

I spent almost 14 hours fabricating a bracket for my 4r70W trans so my 96 Mustang floor shifter would work with it.

Shifters and shift cables can be FUN, huge part of a drivetrain conversion sometimes.

I'm in a similar position with my 92. It's down, the tranny is toast, and the $1500 the local shops want to rebuild ain't gonna happen anytime soon. Fortunatly I have a second car to drive, but of all things, the clutch in it is starting to slip, so I need to get the Ford back on the road.

So, I've thought about simply swapping transmissions with something from a salvage yard.

Since I haven't read through the whole site, does anyone have some pointers on what cars/trucks I should be looking for in the yards that would have A4LD candidates I could get my mitts on? I assume Rangers fit the bill. It sounds like Aerostars will as well. Anything else I should be on the lookout for?

This link will list a4ld applications:

I went with this 4x4 aerostar mini van for several reasons: not modified for off roading with oversized tires etc. and abused, probably not driven by a teenager and abused, probably not used for towing or hauling (no hitch, passenger seats in place, interior in good condition), 1993 4.0L version, 4x4 = same output shaft (I believe), 90,000miles vs my vehicle's 140,000miles, (drop the pan and inspect before buying) and most important - the mini van was in an accident and not brought to the yard for bad tranny. I would not have gone with a junkyard unit if I couldn't find what I considered a choice tranny, as the swap is a lot of work to do with simple hand tools. (Even so, "Vinny's You Pull It - All Transmissions 75 Bucks" gives a 30 day warranty). Also, I would not have begun the project if I had not first read every post in this forum, especially the rebuild diary, project frankintranny and valve body rebuild.

Best of luck

i know this post is very old, but for the people looking for the info like i was recently the 4.0l a4ld also fits the 3.0l exactly as well minus the bell housing, the bell housing is removable with 8 or 10 blue bolts behind the torque converter,just slide it off,if your pump is bad now is the time to change it.when your putting the bell housing back on there is a large rubber o ring around the b-housing and a paper gasket surrounding the pump,the paper will most likely break pulling it apart,i STRONGLY suggest, do NOT use silicone in place of the gasket,it is very easy to clog the port holes for your fluid(i just destroyed a trans from a 2.9l because of it) macko transmissions is the only place i could find it but expensive shipping, you can make your own gasket and it will work as well