5.0L swap into 2004 Sport Trac? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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5.0L swap into 2004 Sport Trac?


June 20, 2016
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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
City, State
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Explorer Sport Trac
After watching many threads regarding engine swaps, it seems pretty straightforward to swap a 5.0 engine/transmission assembly from an Explorer into a Sport trac as long as the engine is split from the trans during installation and some minor electrical modifications.

My problem is there are literally NO V8 Explorers in my area, I would have to have one shipped from half way across Canada.

So my question is...does a 5.0 from an F-150 bolt up to a 55r55e trans? After 338,000 km (about 203,000 miles) and still going strong, the 4.0 has developed quite a bit of chain tensioner rattle and sometimes it sounds like it wants to start up backwards momentarily. All that slop in the timing chains for sure. Not going to waste time putting in another 4.0 so certainly the 5.0 is the way to go. But what about the trans and possible oil pan clearance problems?

The trans has been slipping and missing shifts into 2nd gear sometimes over the past year or so, and despite driving with a feather foot so as not to detonate the trans, missed shifts are becoming more and more frequent. Was going to replace the valve body plate and gasket but reality sets in...the trans is just worn out after 338,000 km. Plain and simple.

There are plenty of F-150 low mileage engines around and plenty of Explorer V6 transmissions, but I am uncertain about compatibility. Also will a V6 trans take the torque and HP from a 5.0 reliably? What about the rear diff and front diff from the ST? I have access to a reasonably priced machine shop that can shorten the axle housings and axles from an F-150 so maybe going with an entire F-150 transplant, engine, trans, front and rear differentials, and probaly also the transfer case and propellor shaft too is the right answer. A bit concerned about the front axle shafts though. Not trying to build a monster truck, just reliable transportation.

Anyone know of a good cam swap into a 5.0 that does not require replacement valve springs that I can use the original lifters from the 5.0 with the new cam? And also headers? On a shoestring budget and not trying to make gobs of horsepower, just trying to open things up a bit and let the beast breath a little bit easier.

Definitely need to keep the 4WD. It snows a wee bit in The Great White North.

Looking forward to seeing your experienced replies and good advice. All modifications will be well documented and shared for all to see.

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I'm considering swapping in a V8 into my '01 RWD ST when the V6 dies. I figure I'll need an entire donor vehicle to make it as easy as possible. The things that will have to be changed that come to mind are:

- Radiator (and maybe A/C condenser)
- Engine and transmission
- Engine and trans wiring harnesses
- Drive shaft, which may need modification
- Misc brackets and under-hood peripherals
- Exhaust system pieces and/or modification

On a 4x4 swap, do you plan to use the AWD center diff/t-case? I imagine the front driveshaft will need to be modified changed.

If you use a 5.0L engine, trans and manual t-case out of an F150 you'd be better off with also having the entire donor vehicle and you may still find you'll need a bunch of Explorer V8 specific stuff. IMO the F150's manual t-case would be an big improvement over the AWD t-case.

The swap can certainly be done, but it is not a simple swap.

The computer used for the 04 truck and 302 is a key issue, the Explorer (98-01) 302 PCM's required the Explorer ABS module and the G-force module on the frame rail. Those are minor once you know of them, but the wiring is a pain to go into a vehicle without those items.

The front drive shaft and transfer case can be the same as used in any 2nd gen Explorer, the front frame of the first Sport Trac is the same.

Hunt around to find the guys who have done more than one of the 302 swaps into Sport Trac's, they will be the best to listen to.

The 302 needs the 4R70W trans, for reliability and the computer control. You can use any two bolt starter 4R70W from 98 until they ended in 2004 in the V6 Mustang. The wiring for those is no trouble when the wire colors are confirmed to be right. For any stockish engine any 4R of those will be fine. Only for bigger HP upgrades would it matter to avoid the truck versions(the valve body is the weak link). Then a car VB is better for any real kit installed in the VB. The truck VB is fine for normal applications or the basic correction kits common now.

I'd suggest locating a decent mileage Explorer 302 engine and the wiring for the vehicle with it. You can probably manage all of the other items, but some like the wiring will be expensive if you have to buy them one at a time.

keep a eye on the mpi auctions. it took time for me to find one, but i did find one. that or kijiji. yes, the wiring will be the ugly part of all this. the diffs and trans will hold up fine to a lightly moded 302 (i had a supercharger on my 302 and they are still holding, even with the way i drive and it now has a bigger supercharger, and a bigger c.i.d. motor). you can put a stock mustang cam in without changing the springs, i just wouldnt wing the motor too far past 5500 rpm. a f150 will fit....sorta....the explorers front dress is shorter then all but the 94-95 mustang gt's so you might run out of space near the rad
oh, btw it is also your lucky day. i live in selkirk :D

The later F150 302's can be used easily, but you really need all of the Explorer external parts, wiring and front dress, plus the heads and intake etc. They do have the same cam though, it's the truck roller cam. The 302 HO cam is the best drop in, while the engine is out choice.

A 99-01 Explorer would be your best donor vehicle though, it has the most parts that you will need.