97 Speedo and Cruise from a 99 V8 Swap | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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97 Speedo and Cruise from a 99 V8 Swap


September 3, 2009
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City, State
Pikes Peak Region, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT - 347 V8
TLDR: If you have a 97 (may only be applicable to early 97 models) with a 99 parts truck for a V8 swap, make sure to swap the Cruise Control, ABS, and Instrument Cluster.

Just wanted to share what I learn from swapping my supercharged V6 SOHC to a V8 347 (from a 99 Explorer 302). The plan was to make sure all stock gauges and equipment worked on my 97 Explorer XLT. Originally I was going to use a '04 Ford Crown Vic ECU and a Quarterhorse, but after Moates left the scene, I managed to score a deal on a Holley Terminator Max with wiring harness for a Ford 4.6 2V. Given that I had a whole 99 Explorer parts truck, I put in the 99's Master Cylinder and ABS module. I knew I would need the ABS module since the AWD case wasn't provisioned for the VSS sensor. I also didn't want to waste precious output on the Holley ECU for a speedo. I knew it would be better to have a 97 V8 to swap into my 97 V6, but when I could get a whole 99 Explorer with a V8 for $500, it was a deal that I couldn't pass up. Hindsight 20/20, I wouldn't do it again.

For the most part, everything worked with some troubleshooting and building out spreadsheets to re-map pins to make the 97 wiring harnesses work with the Holley and the 99's parts. Though after the swap, I couldn't get the speedo and the cruise to work with the 99's ABS assembly. I tried a combination of VSS with 8000 PPM output from the Holley (to test) and the ABS' VSS output with no luck. I also double checked the wiring and even did a jumper from the VSS output on the ABS to the Speedo. Afterwards I tried a Dakota Digital SGI-100BT and had some success converting the PPM signal (suspecting it is square wave) to an AC signal. The cruise control worked at any speed with the SGI-100BT and the speedo worked up until 30 MPH before going back to 0 MPH. I took the cluster from the 99, changed the odometer to match my truck's mileage and everything worked.

For S and G, I took the Dakota Digital out and found out that the 99's cluster continued to work, but with no cruise control. I swapped over the 99's Cruise Control and that was the key; needed to swap the 99's Cruise Control and cluster to get speedo and have cruise control. I figured that I would share my experience since I wasn't finding much on the internet to figure out why I was not getting speedo or cruise. I also suspect that things are a little different since I think I have an early '97 and I know that the Ford Service Manual differentiates between 1997 and 1997 1/4 model years.

Feel free to ask questions and I will try to answer, but I consider this swap a success and the truck has been a lot fun with the built V8 with an almost factory feel and look. I do miss the supercharger whine though. In the end, I learned a lot, really enjoyed the experience and process, and I am no welder when it comes to welding fabricated parts. Winter time, I do want to do some clean up, but just glad to be able to drive the Explorer again after working on it for the last two years.


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I like it, well done, and it looks almost factory. What is the heat exchanger for, was that used with the V6 before?

That's good to know about the CC and instrument cluster, there are many variations of different parts that have to be swapped out of altered. The tach can be fixed in these by just moving one wire/pin on the cluster. I think the CC is inside the GEM module, do you mean you installed a 1999 GEM module?

What did you use for the ABS signal, the speed signal? In the 1997, it's a VSS on trans/TC, from 1998 it's an ABS sensor on the rear diff. The Dakota Digital device should work with that ABS signal to feed the speedometer and PCM directly(as done many times by Jamie here).

I like that placement of the Holley PCM, in the old space/It gives me ideas of how my project may go, I have a 2014 PCM to run my intended 337 and 2.6 KB. Those have the wider placement of three connectors coming out, making it fit there will be interesting.

So now drive the hell out of it and enjoy!

Good job! Now supercharge the 5.0!!!

I appreciate that. Sorry for the long reply, please accept a better picture.

The Heat Exchanger - haha, I didn't want to say it :). So not only did I do a built 347, but I told myself that I can fit a single turbo where the air box used to be, along with building a crossover for the exhaust. While I am at it, see if I can get an intercooler in the mix somewhere. So I did. It is a cheap VS Racing 78mm 0.96 A/R T4 turbo. I built custom log manifolds that are 1.5" into a 2" log and then passenger and driver side merge into a 3" before going into the turbo; the merge is right beside the belt tensioner. I have a front mounted water to air heat exchanger that I am quite proud of as I was able to stick it behind the factory bumper while not moving or removing anything. What you are seeing is the intercooler after the turbo; barely fits under the hood with very minor rubbing on the rubber 90 degree hose that connects the turbo to the intercooler. Even when I am forcing 12 psi of air, it seems to keep the hot air in check.
All in all, I think I might be restricting the engine some with the exhaust diameter, but what are you going to do in an Explorer engine bay; the thought came across my mind to not run a hood for twin turbos though :). My goal wasn't to make a lot of power though, my goal was to make more than the supercharged V6 and a tad more than the F150 3.5 Ecoboost. I still need to dyno the truck but it feels faster than the F150 so mission accomplished I guess.

Regarding the GEM, I stuck with my V6 GEM; I didn't see any need to swap over the 99's or get a V8 specific GEM. Not going to lie, I do have a V8 GEM from a 97 sitting on a shelf just in case. Also I didn't know if there were provisions for PATS on the 99 so I elected to avoid it. The only wiring I messed with inside the truck was the cluster. I did fix the tach by moving the ground wiring for the V8 and switching some wires around for the Door Ajar and Check Gage indicators when I went with a 99 Gauge Cluster.
For the CC module, I swapped the full module that is by the washer reservoir in the engine bay. From what I could tell in the Service Manual, most of everything CC related was tied to that module versus the GEM. There were some concerns for the buttons on the steering wheel as I believed they run thru the GEM, but it was a non-issue for me and just worked.

For the Speed Signal, the 99's ABS Module takes the ABS sensor from the rear diff and converts it to 8000 PPM; nice because it is dual purpose, monitoring for front and rear wheel speed differentials and converting that rear ABS signal for VSS. Basically, the ABS from the 99 does the same thing as the Dakota Digital - ABS Sensor in (20000 PPM, I believe) and VSS out (8000 PMP).
So one of the pins on the 99 ABS module's connector is labeled for VSS Output on the Grey and Black wire; Pin 19. In the service diagram that wire feeds the Cluster, CC, factory ECU, and a couple of other things. On the 97, the VSS sensor on the transfer case is the same Grey and Black wire and it is already outputting an 8000 PPM signal (though probably not square wave but AC Sine wave) and feeds directly to the same things. So when I wired in the ABS module from the 99 into my 97, then I just needed to make sure that I splice the ABS' Pin 19 (VSS Out) into a grey and black wire. Honestly, I had to dedicate a weekend to getting the ABS module wired up since on the 97 there was the pump and servo assembly and then the actual control module mounted behind the battery, where the 99 ABS is all in one unit. I hope that makes sense. I didn't know if this would work, but in my mind and the research, I didn't see why not.

Outside of the engine, trans, transfer case, and drive lines, I swapped the Cruise Control, ABS Module, Master Cylinder, Instrument Cluster, throttle pedal and cable, and Brake lines from the 99 into my 97. Those are the things I can remember off hand. There might be more minor things but those listed were the ones that I knew gave me issues along this journey.
I also needed to buy 97 V8 AC Lines; Colorado plains can get pretty hot and this project was going to be a no go if I didn't have AC.

Here is more pictures. I did end up heat fatiguing and cracking the coolant reservoir due to proximity to the hot side of the turbo after several thousand miles, so I am putting in a metal one.
Also there is the heat exchanger's radiator behind the bumper with a small electric fan. Hard to see but it is there.



Excellent. Lots of details and you threw everything at it. I thought hard about a turbo many years ago and didn't like the remote piping idea, or the very limited space there along the right side. You did an admirable job of fitting it, I would like the efficiency of a turbo better than a blower.

FYI, did you look at the firewall behind the gas pedal at all? That pedal bracket is not attached very well, most at this age are breaking the spot welds. I have had to add bolts/nuts to three of my 2nd gen's, and haven't looked at my Mercury yet. It's an easy fix, find two short OEM bolts like the fender bolts, with the largest washer version you can. Drill two holes through the bracket and firewall, spaced near the top and bottom, and ten the nuts, done.

I forgot the 97 and older used the old style of CC, the 98+ has the nice modular units with a long cable(that can be located in a fender like on a Mustang). I also forgot the ABS sensor is on all 2nd gens on the diff, so it becomes just wiring, good. I might have an issue if I swap to a four channel ABS from a 99-04 Mustang, if it's compatible with later model(2014) traction control.

Your truck should fly, that's a good combination of parts.

Appreciate it again. Totally agree. When I decided on getting a turbo, I wanted it top mounted and with some creative clocking and routing angles, it is doable.

Thank you for the note on the gas pedal. I will check it out and add reinforcements, I did notice some weird play with the pedal and it is probably the bracket separating from the firewall you mentioned.

I love surfing this forum to see what everyone including yourself are doing with these 2nd gen Explorers. Looking forward to seeing your project. I know it takes a lot of custom work to do exotic things on these trucks, but it is doable when you have the know how (or willing to learn and try), the time, and the motivation to do it.

Appreciate it again. Totally agree. When I decided on getting a turbo, I wanted it top mounted and with some creative clocking and routing angles, it is doable.

Thank you for the note on the gas pedal. I will check it out and add reinforcements, I did notice some weird play with the pedal and it is probably the bracket separating from the firewall you mentioned.

I love surfing this forum to see what everyone including yourself are doing with these 2nd gen Explorers. Looking forward to seeing your project. I know it takes a lot of custom work to do exotic things on these trucks, but it is doable when you have the know how (or willing to learn and try), the time, and the motivation to do it.

I wish I could have documented my last experience with the gas pedal bracket failing. I was at work on my route with my white 98 Limited, delivering mail. I noticed a lack of throttle response when I pressed the pedal. What was happening was the bracket had already broken loose enough to deflect to the left. I sit in the right seat and drive with my left foot, that ends up with my foot pushing a little to the left. The pedal and bracket broke or folded over to the left about two hours into my route. I saw it immediately and knew what happened. The firewall was torn almost completely for both spot welds.

By hand I pushed the bracket back into place and lamented how I was going to get home, drive the truck, or finish the route. Long story short, I did finish, it required pushing the pedal with my left foot by pushing at an angle, twisting my ankle to the right, (pushing with the right side of my left foot). I managed to finish driving it another three hours of work, and then home. The bracket was ready to fall out when I got to working on it at home, it was barely attached. I had to spend some time straightening out the bracket, the firewall, and drilling one hole a little farther from the top spot weld to work okay. I think I tried to take a few pictures of that repair process, but it is on my old digital camera if I did.

BTW, do you know anyone that needs a KB 2200 blower, new and bare(no kit parts, no snout either)? I got it for this project maybe 15 years ago, and decided it's a hair small for my plans. It's the unit that upgrades any Fox KB kit, or the Cobra, and was the first used in the 4.6 2V kits.

The pedal fell off my old 96 one time, like you I was able to limp it home by using my foot to push it sideways!
I will check the pedals on these sport tracs make sure they don’t have similar issues!

I’ll put word out on that 2.2
I have the 52 ford project coming up that would be cool w a blower for sure

Well done on this truck! I knew there was a turbo hiding in there somewhere lol

Did you use factory style engine mounts?
Would love to see some pics of the headers

FYI the Dakota box can work well if needed. The 01+ sohc trucks the pcm does the vss smoothing so when doing v8s we must use some sort of interface as the v6 pcm went away and the abs modules no longer feature the grey/black output

I bet that 347 w 12 psi is a blast!!!

Some use bolts, I shot rivets to reattach mine

If anyone is reading this and you haven’t done this repair yet, do it NOW. It will happen eventually…