4th Gen Auto 5R55 to Manual M5OD - progress (not a How-to) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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4th Gen Auto 5R55 to Manual M5OD - progress (not a How-to)


Well-Known Member
July 3, 2014
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Year, Model & Trim Level
06 explorer xlt 4x4
Ok. This is NOT a how to. I will be working through this over the next 4 months and will be looking for advise/recommendations etc. During this time... I will be posting updates etc. Once completed, I will do a "how-to" write-up and include the link at the end of this "progress thread".:chug:

Now that I've "clinked the glass" to this project... I'm determined to make it happen to my Explorer 4th Gen 4WD 2006 4.0L before the year ends (with an approx $2000 budget). So my buddy said he would lend me his 4.0L Ranger 4WD Manual 4.0L (with the M5OD) for the next few months so I can compare trucks and have something to drive in the interim.

So, I did some digging over the past week and I know what needs to be done. I predict I will have the most issues with the manual pedal installation and the wiring of the reverse lights/ignition lock disengage switch (from the auto trans).

Here are a few things I have yet to confirm:
(1) What's different between my t-case assembly and the Rangers?
(2) Are the t-case motors the same? If so, I guess just the plug is different? ...hoping I can just swap/re-wire the plugs for the t-case
(3) Hoping to use the same wiring harness and just wire up the park ignition switch to the manual pedal (or dummy/bypass wire it). ...we will see
(4) Will be using the same ecu as it should be able to operate the motor without a problem. As for the transmission codes... I hope I can disable them via a custom SCT flash (I have an X4 handheld and plan to use a performance tune shop to program it)
(5) The centre console already has the floor shifter. Unfortunately the stick will probably move more than is allowed in the stock space. I will probably need to modify and/or lift the shift stick.

...updates to follow

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Got the Ranger truck delivered today so the r&d work has begun. Some things I have noticed:
(1) transfer case's are quite different (different input flange, overall lenth is different, control motor is presumable the same but has different wiring/plug, counter weight is only on the ranger t-case, etc) - this means I will need to replace both the transmission/t-case assembly together. Also, the control of the electronic t-case will need to be sorted out.
(2) the overall length of the manual transmission/t-case assembly is longer by about 2-3". This means the explorer rear diff driveshaft may need to be shortened and the longer ranger front diff driveshaft will need to be used and shortened. I will hoist them both up and take closer dimensions. Driveshaft mounting hardware/flanges appear to be the same.

.. more to follow

please chime in if you have any information to add that you think might be helpful :)





..another update.

So after some researching... I'm still contemplating putting the old/rare 2002 manual 4door transmission. I am hesitant because it has that darn 26 spline clutch (pricey and performance clutches not available) and if I ever need to rebuild the internals in it... well... I'm pretty sure rebuild kits for a tranny that only ever made 1000 units will be a hard find.


(nice to see the bolt patterns are the same as they should be - same motor)

Here's the info on the very very rare clutch/flywheel kit that Ford no longer supports (some very cool guys decided to make it to help us out... props:thumbsup:)

So here is what it comes down to. If I go with this unit... I can use my stock drive shafts and use the stock mount points (at least I think I can if the overall lenghts of the t-case/trans assemblies are the same). I would need to get the transfer case from the 02 as well since the 2002 and the 2006 are obviously different

2006 auto (mine left) & 2002 manual 4dr EXPLORER T-CASES

... decisions decisions.

Starting to lean towards the Rare Transmission. Due to the fact that it is so affordable (people are unaware of the availability of the aftermarket clutch/flywheel making the transmission is quite cost effective AND you don't have to get custom length driveshafts).

I did confirm "bolt-up" compatibility. I'm pretty sure the transfer case motor is the same so I can keep my stock dash plugs :)


if I went this route... costs associated:
$600 - (+300 ship) transmission, t-case, clutch master cyl, hydraulic lines (salvage)
$695 - clutch, flywheel (+80 ship)
$150 - slave cyl & throwout bearing
$??? - New seals/etc in transmission (probably a good idea)
$100 - ECU tune (via lasota racing...already have handheld)

+ misc whatever... probably just under my $2000 budget

Haven't made my mind up yet... If I did go with the other more available transmission (and maybe a manual Ranger t-case)... I'm sure the community would benefit with that since more could follow. I will look into it further before I make a final decision. I will get a rough cost quote on the other route before I make a decision.

I guess my costs might be better... I keep forgetting that I have a perfectly good 5R55S (i think it's "S") Auto Trans & T-case that I can sell :)


I'm definitely looking forward to further updates on this project. Good luck with it all.

Stylin99 did a Mustang 6spd into his 08 ST (with 5.0 Coyote), so he might be able to give a few points about routing the shifter. However, I imagine Mustang throws are probably shorter than Ranger or Explorer manual throws.

Thanks for the tip FLOffroad! That looked really sweet!


I decided to go with the more common Ranger transmission since the overall shipping costs etc for the rare manual is not as cost effective as previously expected. Also... the available performance clutches for the transmission are available at a reasonable price.

Need to decide on manual or electronic transfer case now. I like the manual ones but I also like my cup holders. lol.

...the hunt for a donor truck has begun!

I don't know if I can keep my cup holders. I really want to but I figure the Ranger stick is gonna come right up under them.

If you do a manual T-case, you could have an offset bracket fabbed (or DIY) or try doing a vacuum line set-up:
For an offset bracket, just have a block of aluminium or something drilled out to act like a spacer in the linkage. I would think that the closer to the T-Case, the better, for the spacer in the linkage (don't want the MT and T-Case linkages overlapping or anything).
For the vacuum line set-up, I'm not entirely sure on how they work, but they're a pretty common mod for NP231s, various other Jeep T-cases and fancy T-cases like the Atlas and Stak.

Looking in my truck, I've always thought that the gap between the driver seat and the center console would be a descent place for a manual T-case lever (I don't use my arm rest much).

thanks for the ideas...

...you got me thinking now about swapping my centre console now. I'd like to keep it as stock looking as possible. And now you have me thinking about my rear A/C (vents are running through the centre console to the back). I may have to plumb something up :( ). I'm gonna try to keep the electronic transfer case motor in place and hopefully I can get it to operate the ranger t-case.

Update. I found lots of yards with the ranger manual transmission, tcase, etc that are willing too remove everything for me for about $1300 CAD. I did better and found a wrecked 03 Ranger with 4x4 and low kms and got tbe whole thing for $1150 and my buddy will remove it all for me in exchange for some parts on it!

In general... once I have a detailed instructional and how to posted including all the necessary parts... this actually might be a cheap mod if you can get all the parts pre-removed by a salvage yard for $1300and then sell your automatic tranny for 1500 $. Hahhaha.

I figure I wont get to the installation etc till sometime in october. Ps... I also got a back injury this month and may be facing surgery. So hopefully I can get her all done before that :)

Details to follow.


-Borrowed my buddy's ranger (just for Christmas while I pull this thing off)
-Got all the parts in my garage off the Ranger. Tranny, flywheel, pedals, etc
-Scored a new slave cylinder, new master cylinder, new OEM ford clutch from Kijiji for $150 shipped. Products in my garage!
-Truck is in the Garage!

Total invested to date... $1150 (got ranger and parts off for $1000 cash... and new clutch/etc parts for $150). Lots of people interested in my auto trans for ~$1300 (cad prices here). So still in the green :)

To do:
(1st) - check if I can build an adapter plate for the Explorer t-case
(2nd) - assuming the tcase adapter plate cannot be made... I'm gonna start by checking the voltage signals/wiring of the EX t-case and see if I can use the Ranger one (utilize the stock Explorer electronic control panel etc).
(3rd) - pull the axles, tranny, cente consol parts, floor shifter, etc.... then decide next steps

more updates to follow...

edit... sh*t.. I want to grind my flywheel first too. The ranger one looks nice but a bit of discolouring. that's the 0th step. Will get her over to BC brake machine shop this week.

Good luck, I'm still seriously looking forward to the final results of this.

Back on Track - MANNY GOING IN! (06-10 EXPLORER/ST)

Ok. FINALLY getting onto this. Back in good shape and neck deep into it...

Pick of inside truck. NOTE THAT STICK SHIFT COMES UP 4-5 INCHES INSIDE OF DASH. Will need to weld an "L" shape stick or fab a linkage over...

Under truck Pic (I know... I know... torque converter unbolt prior to AT removal is easier. My excuse was that I was having trouble fitting my ratchet it there and was on a time budget... will pull it this weekend. LOL):

Truck's up on the hoist, axles out, t-case out, auto trans out... just inspecting the mating faces (06 t-case to Ranger M5Od) and overall length for the assembly. Starting to think fabbing up a plate to match these is not ideal, total length of the assembly won't even work. Pretty sure I'm going with the Ranger M5OD AND Ranger T-Case. I really want to use the buttons and control system of my truck... so doing research on re-wiring my stock harness to the Ranger t-case. Not sure if this is even possible. :/

Here's some pics of what I'm up against. ANYONE GOT A TCASE WIRING DIAGRAM FOR EITHER RANGER (02-11) SPORT TRACK (02-05) OR EXPLORER/ST 2006-2010)??? would come in real handy this week.






PLEASE CHIME IN IF YOU HAVE SOME THOUGHTS!!!! Could save me hours of effort. Will post tutorial once completed with steps.

Thanks all.

now figuring the stick shift...

Took a few measurements and checked where the transmission comes up. Turns out it comes up a few inches inside the dash. I wanted to see if I could just extend the stock stickshift that comes with the Ranger 5speed by welding an extension as was recommended...

...this is what it looks like in CAD. Only about 4 inches of rod needs to be welded in. I'm trying to keep it as short as possible as to not have a huge motion on the hand when shifting. Looks like it will work out okay. The horizontal swing may be more pronounced.... so I'm pretty sure I'm gonna say bye-bye to the front cup holders :( Good news... I think I will not affect the rear AC/Heat lines

Here's a pick of the CAD showing the rotation of the stick in hidden linetype


The 2nd and Reverse gear location may be too low... so I may need to bend the shift knob a bit closer to the Radio buttons...

need a Ranger starter.

Turns out you need a native Ranger starter. made a deal with my local used parts shop to trade me my 06 explorer starter for an 03 Ranger :) Back in business.

Here's the 06 starter not fitting right... and shaft hitting the clutch assembly. Gear did line up with the flywheel but it's not gonna work.


Here is the Ranger style starter. Picking one up today...

Seriously... not having a truck sucks. On the bright side... sold my AutoTrans w/ tcase for $1500 :)


Now for the clutch pedals. I'm using the Ranger style manual one (right side) and will be cutting/welding the pedals to fit it. I will move over the brake pedal to centre it like the 06 style so I don't need to change anything on my brake boost master cylinder rod.



-manual M5OD-R1HD installed with customized length axle shafts
-new fluid in tcase and transmission
-stick shift welded up and installed. Fits really nice and feels great :)
-clutch pedals custom welded and sensors installed
-clutch master cylinder installed through firewall
-pedals all hooked up and feels amazing
-Ranger style starter installed

just a few things left!!!!
-ordered customized stickshift knob!
-ordered hursh stickshift rubber boot
-seal up the floor hole and firewall hole (ordered heavy rubber, sheet metal plate, and RTV gasket to self-tap screw to the body)
-secure fuel lines and existing wiring harness (had recently been clipped to the side of the auto trans)
-connect speedo switch
-figure out reverse gear lighting
-supercharge. HAHHA. But seriously... it has to happen next.


A small list has already started to grow for after supercharging.
-roof basket
-5th tire & rim for basket (6th if you include the spare underneath)
-intercool supercharger
-methanol inject
-paint rims, fenders, grill
-upgrade fuel pump

... I'll keep you posted.... Photos to come

I think I figured out the t-case wiring (thought that would be the worst)... also figured out the speedo sensor. Only thing is the backup lights..... the manual transmission has a simple 2-wire backup switch built in with dedicated red plug at the top... I think the Explorer Auto Trans has the switch built in to the large plug cause I don't see it anywhere on the wiring harness diagram :/ Can't find a simple backup switch anywhere.

I will double check the auto transmission's floor shifter and see if there is a sensor in there for the reverse gear (for Explorer Auto that was removed). I did notice a "park" switch on there and it might be required to be in "park" to start. If needed, I can wire the park switch to the new clutch pedal (the clutch pedal has a native ranger spring switch built into the master cylinder's clutch rod that engages when pressed).

Thought I'd give a quick update and ask a question to everyone...

I got some progress last night. As figured... I may have problems. The 4x4 button does not seem to do anything. It IS operating the shift motor ONLY when I press the "4x4 low" button. It moves "in" and "out" of the 4x4 LO positioning of the new Ranger t-case. I'm not sure what the default "other" setting it leaves it in ... but I believe it is 2hi (could be 4hi). I do hear the motor move back and forth and it changes my gearing (high to low).

Is is possible the pcm wants to "see" some type of signal to allow the "4x4" button to work? the "4x4 lo" is the only button that did anything after I tricked the pcm to think it was in Neutral (did not work in "fake park"). And even if I get the 4x4 button to do anything... maybe it only powers the clutch...

If anyone has ideas/comments... please pm me or chime in. I'm a bit stumped now.

I might need a tcase with the clutch? Ranger never had one like that... is there one available? If so ... what years.

ps. I had to do some wiring on the DTR cluster and wire in a 270 ohm resistor to trick the PCM to think it is always in neutral (in addition to jumping the neutral switch for starter). That allowed the PCM to power the 4x4 module and control the shift motor.

pss. Turns out... my truck also is programmed to have a max 3000rpm when in neutral or park.... LOL. so I'm not the fastest SUV on the highway right now. Feels really sluggish cause the rpms are limited quite a bit. It stalls out too if I stop too fast cause the rpms are too low at idle. Just some minor tweaks with my SCT ProRacer programmer to fix that. Bumping up the idle rpms to 800 and removing the rpm limiter in P and N. (I finally figured out why there is a signal to the "engine" from the transmission,... was worried about that).

... insurance back on the truck and now its on the road. Not the best for winter driving at the moment. LOL. I'd would also like to patch up the hole so I dont need to look at the road below my shift stick. hahah


Some nasty temporary wiring (had to use some resistors in series that I had on the shelf to make up a 270 ohm resistor to trick my PCM). Mine are only 1/4 watt and it could deliver almost 1watt if 12v are across it... so I ordered a 270 ohm 2W resistor to go in it's place.

... the saga continues.


This is insane! I don't know how you know how to do all of this. haha Good luck with the rest of it.

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I'll make a nice "how to" when I'm done so everyone can look like a Ford engineer :)

...it helps to have 8 years of post secondary engineering experience and be working with automotive design. Too bad I'm not an electrical engineer... would come in handy right now.