A completely insane/stupid 4.9l swap. Yes, I'm serious. | Page 8 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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A completely insane/stupid 4.9l swap. Yes, I'm serious.

Quick update for you guys, it's been a while. Got the transmission (mostly) bolted up, had to cut even further up from the manual trans hole in the X body, figured that'd be a problem early on though. Gonna have to make a "Z" link for the shifter, unless I only want N, 2, 4, and R... Kinda defeats the purpose of having a granny low. Also, once again I have been scorned by the SAS gods. All the torsion bar stuff is in the way of the trans crossmember, but I flipped it and I'm only off by around 1.5", so a little fab work and I should be in good order. Gotta get a few measurements from that, then grab the plasma at work. Gave up on that for tonight, instead decided to start on the monumental task of reassembling the dash. Next update should have some pics for ya.

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Tranny and t-case are in!!! (-ish...) Trans needs 2 more bolts (for the top, couldn't be 3/8", couldn't be 1/2", noooo, they had to be 7/16" :splat:), and the t-case needs 2 more bolts put in it as well. The new bolt holes I drilled... How I needed to grind the flange down so that they'd fit? Yeah, discovered that when I went to hook up the t-case, and realized the holes were on the nightmare-to-get-in-place transmission that I had already mounted up... SON-OF-A-B-("In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.") So, drop the trans mount, lower the tail end of the transmission (please don't fall off the jack), tape off holes, grind in a tight space, reverse order. Grand. Whatever, though. Got 'er done.

This was just starting to get the trans into the body. I still had about 3-4" to go.
trans thru floor.jpg

Try #4 or #5 of cutting finally gave me enough clearance...
trans thru floor - cut.jpg

Couldn't figure out why when I got the trans where I wanted it, the damn thing was stuck solid. This'll cause a problem. Some weird transmission "tab".
trans tab hitting body 1.jpg

Side view of it. Still have no idea what the purpose if it is. Cut it off with the ol demo saw. May still have to grind it down/"massage" the firewall with a 4lb'er.
trans tab hitting body 2.jpg

This is the difference I had to make up with the trans crossmember on the lower framerail.
trans crossmember before.jpg

Don't laugh. It works really great, actually. Don't think they'd let me take home the magdrill from work, so I had to improvise. Left me free to do the really important things like, pull the trigger, and listen to deathmetal. Also, I assume no responsibility for broken drills because you tried this at home. This is like, done by professionals and such.
drilling makes your arms tired.jpg

More pics:

Top view of modded crossmember
crossmember mod - top.jpg

And front. Went from about 1 1/2" to 2 1/4" offset passenger to driver sides.
crossmember mod - front.jpg

Didn't quite take into account the drop. So much for not getting deep into modding the crossmember. Probably do that when I do the SAS though. It'll work just fine with the case in 2wd. Thinking maybe 3/8" x 4" or 5" id tube with bracing across the top would suffice. Another day, another fight though.
t-case issues.jpg

Another update for y'all.

Thought I was going to have to use a BFH to wail on the gas tank to get clearance for the driveshaft, wrong. Just had to remove the plastic cover over the front of the tank. Thought I was going to be able to use the front driveshaft from the F150, because it was shorter. Also wrong. The shaft is shorter, but only by around a couple inches, if that. Unfortunately, I need closer to 7-8" removed, so this'll be a first for me, shortening a driveshaft. There's a shop near here that could do it for me, but it'd be around $150-175, but a balance is closer to $30-40. Just gonna use the stock Ex shaft because it looks a little beefier that the F150 shaft, but if I wreck the Ex shaft, I'll use the F150 shaft.

Being that it's getting down there on the major hurdles to getting this thing on the road, figured I'd start on the wiring, figuring out the splicing, etc. Turns out I have to do a lot less splicing than I'd originally thought. My major concerns are the oil pressure gauge, coolant temp gauge, and the speedo. The speedo is controlled by the ABS system, so I'm good there. The oil pressure gauge it turns out is also stupid simple (according to the book anyway), a simple push on connector, same on both systems, same oil pressure range making it simple for me. What I don't know is if the coolant temperate resistance range is the same, it doesn't list it in the manual for the F150. Haven't internet searched it yet, though. The TACH is a different story though... I didn't realize it was controlled via the 35(36?)-tooth setup on the 4.0 crank. The 4.9 is controlled via a lead wire from the EEC/IGN setup. Worst case scenario, I'll have to pick up a TACH from Summit or something. Some of the wiring is exactly the same colors for wiring up starter relay/fuel pump relay/etc, so that's a plus.

I need to figure out the clutch setup. The clutch pedal from the F150 is at least 4" too long, and on top of that, I need to figure out the linkage to the master cylinder. Sort of thinking I can run it through where the old auto trans cable was, but the puts the reservoir WAY down low... Still brainstorming that. The EGR tube runs along the rear of the engine, and down the right side to the rear side of the exhaust manifold. The issue with this is that it runs right by the plastic box/cover for the HVAC stuff. I'd rather not melt that. Figured that out after putting on the top intake manifold. Steel pipe, so hopefully it's in good enough condition to weld. Barring that, I might be able to braze it. Fueling is another issue. The pressure is about the same, But I don't think there's a return line that I could find on the Ex... The 4.9 has a return line. Might be able to hook up the return line to the vapor management line... Dunno yet. The AIR pump for the 4.9 seized... BADLY. Soaked the inside with WD-40, then put a pipe wrench to the pulley... Didn't even budge it, so I'm gonna omit that... Leaves room for a supercharger eventually, I guess.

The list is getting down there. I'll tackle the cooling system after I get some of these other issues solved first, probably the wiring.

Update: Going through the wiring right now. Not super difficult once you realize what you can cut off... which is a lot. Cut the forward section off with the fuel injector wiring "spider" and most related stuff, chased the wires I need back to the main harness. The F150 harness on the other hand is a completely different beast. The Ex harness was more of a modular design, just for the engine. The F150 harness is the whole kit 'n' kaboodle, lights, engine system, starting wires, ECU/PCM control wiring, and it went AROUND the entire underhood area in a large "U" shape. There's going to be some massive shortening occurring in a few places because right now it's a complete disaster attempting to try to figure out where to route everything. Which brings me to another issue: figuring out where to put the 4.9 ECU. Might've come up with a little bit of an idea for that, we'll see how it pans out. Also, to keep the factory tach working the way it's supposed to, I'm going to remove the 4.0 crank, cut the gear teeth off the pulley, cut the center out of it, and weld it onto the 4.9 crank. After that, I'll make a bracket to mount the sensor to. That'll be pretty awesome. Til then, gents.

Been awhile, been busy. Bought a new house, traded in my Bowtie garbage Blazer for a Super Duty, and have done a few things to the X. Not going to post pictures quite yet, but I have a few. Got the rear driveshaft cut down, but with all the projects around the new house running to the truck center to throw down $90 for just a driveshaft balance isn't high on the priority list. Could only get the shaft to within about .01-.015 tolerance, because that shaft was SUPER pitted and rust-scaled. Might end up cutting down the 150 front driveshaft at some point in the future because that thing is in much better condition.

Still trying to figure out the clutch master setup... Not going to be super pretty due to where the brake booster is set up, and the intricacies of the master cylinder rod. Trying to figure out a linkage to get it to run straight into the cylinder and not bend the rod.

So, I figured I'd get this thing started. I haven't heard this engine run in 3 or 4 years, and I figure that's the first thing I should be focused on, rather than all the other issues at the moment.

The I6 has a fuel feed and return line, both in the same location, springlock connectors (I'm going to replace them with AN fittings)

According to my Haynes manual on the Explorer, there is a feed and return line, but all I see is the feed line from the fuel pump, but the only "return" line I see is the the EVAP line. My question is this: where does the fuel pressure regulator on the Explorer relieve the excess pressure to?

On your Expo, the FPR is in the fuel tank with the return coming out of the back of the fuel filter. (middle spigot if I remember correctly, not the offset one)

You'll need to remove the in-tank FPR and plumb the F150 fuel return line to that hose that goes to the tank, probably need about 3' of fuel line between the engine and fuel filter area.

With the FPR removed, you'll re-use the original fuel return going back from the filter and into the tank.

I was thinking it might have been integrated with the in-tank pump, due to the 1 fuel feed line and no obvious return line, but the Haynes manual stated there was a FPR on the fuel rail of the 4.0 sohc. They must have changed that at some point. I may not have to run a return line at all depending upon the unregulated fuel pressure from the stock X pump. The 4.9's fuel requirements were 0-15 psi higher than the 4.0's regulated pressure, with a max of 5 psi higher. I'll just cork the return line for the time being before I go do potentially wasted work.

Well, got going on getting it started, buuut... Problem. Took the old battery, hooked a charger up to it and poured a bunch of Epsom salt in it, maybe I can get use out of it for a short time. Mostly just testing purposes. Ran all the wires (temporarily) for the relays (PCM, FP Relay), put the steering column and gauge cluster back in, then turned the key on to see where we were at. No dice. Fuel pump wouldn't kick on, theft light continuously flashed (code 16), then spent around 2 hours researching, thinking the PATS system was bad. After looking up how to bypass it, and researching how to bypass it, thought about the PCM. After spending around a half hour or so looking at both wiring diagrams, decided to look at the X harness and found out with all the hacking and slashing, one of the wires cut was a solid red wire... Turns out it was the PCM power wire... Oops. Not entirely my fault, that was routed into the fuel injection spider and accessory wiring, wired somewhere into that harness. Hooked it into power, no more flashing theft light. Problem is, fuel pump wasn't kicking on. After much troubleshooting, going as far as to jump the connection at the inertia shut off... Still wouldn't turn on. Lights dimmed, still nothing, so tomorrow I'm going to drop the fuel tank and test the pump. Don't know how it went bad just sitting, but I guess it did; I suppose it wasn't in the most ideal circumstances, but still. Would've been nice if it would've gone bad under normal circumstance. Found a Bosch pump for $50, so hopefully I'll be grabbing one in the next week or 2.

Did some more work on it today. The old battery was completely shot, wouldn't crank the engine, even when jumped. Pulled the fuel tank, found that it has an internal regulator between the pump and the outlet. Also, man did that gas do a number to some of that stuff. The fuel sock had 1/2 disintegrated and turned the submersed hoses to a gummy substance. The pump wouldn't turn, even after tapping it with a chunk of wood and running a bunch of pb blaster, gumout, and compressed air through it. Since the pump was "shot" anyways, I peeled the end cap apart with a screwdriver to figure out why it went bad... Found some green oxidation stuff on the fuel pressure rotor, just guessing, but I'm going to take a swing at ethanol blend gas. Some of you guys may be familiar with this episode of Roadkill showing what ethanol gas can do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGjMIjNkwhc

Anywho, after rotating the fuel pump with a set of pliers until it felt "free" I hooked it up to the power source and it turned just fine. Figured, what the hell, lets reassemble it. Got a new fuel pump strainer, hose, and oil filter, along with about 4 quarts of 5w-30 I had laying around at the old house. Changed the oil, put the new filter on, replaced the pump, gave it a try. Wouldn't fire on the old gas, could be that it only had 35 lbs of fuel pump pressure, going to remove the fuel tank again and remove the fuel pump regulator to see if that gets me closer to 45-60 lbs of fuel pressure, which is where the stock 4.9 pressure is supposed to be. Probably going to drain as much as the old fuel as possible, replace it with a couple gallons of premium.

So, I had everything hooked up, minus good fuel pressure. Tried with the old battery, no go, put in a fresh battery. Cranked the engine over, nothing happened. Tried repeatedly with starting fluid and still got no fire. After doing that about 3 times, pulled the #3 plug to check for spark, which I had. When I originally got the F-150 I had issues with the timing on the way home, leaving me stranded, so I decided it'd be a good idea to check it after all this time. Ran to tdc, pulled and cleaned the distributor cap, it seemed to be more or less where I wanted it, but it wouldn't fire. I started to retard the timing, and after about 10 tries, got it to fire on a couple cylinders on ether. Nothing real fantastic, just a "puff-puff", but I'll take it for the time being. Within the week, I should (hopefully) have a video up of it running. Going to mess with the pump, timing, and refresh the fuel to see if I can't get that cranky pig to fire. Until next time...

[In best Hubert Farnsworth voice] "Good news, everyone!" (Well, aiming for it, anyways)

Tomorrow may very well mark the fire-up day! I would do it tonight, but it's late and the exhaust is just a straight dump off the headers. Dropped the tank, removed the old gas (which, wow... so bad), put some fresh premium in it (which made the old fuel smell even worse, like, eye-watering bad), pulled the FPR, put the tank back up with a jack, but no go on the fuel pressure increase, still stuck at 32-35 PSI. That meant a trip to the junkyard to find an inline pump. Good lord... Needle in a haystack. According to O'Reilly's site, there's a difference between the 4.9 inline-fuel-pump and all the rest. Went to the yard, 95% of the trucks with 4.9's didn't have the inline pump. Found one on an old F250, first clue should have been the amount of rust underneath that thing. The case around the pump that holds it to the frame rail FELL OFF when I grabbed it... Not to mention the fuel was that disgusting yellow and reeked of badness. Drove all the way back home to find out it was broken because I didn't test it on my own truck battery in the lot first :banghead:. Took it back to try to exchange it with one that worked, they almost didn't let me. "Bought a bad part from you guys because you leave me with no way of testing it in your yard, so can I get one that works?" "How bout 'no'." Customer service at it's finest.

Anyways, found probably the only other truck on the yard that had one, this time I was in business. Not an excessive amount of rust, gas was clear and still smelled good, but not to make the mistake of leaving with a bad fuel pump again, dropped the Li-Ion battery off my impact driver and ran jumper wires to the pump. Instant gratification.

With good working fuel pump in hand, made it back home, removed the fuel hose I had run from the drivers side connection to the feed for the rail, turned it on, and WOW! Not running the fuel pressure regulator is NOT an option, within about 3 seconds it nearly pegged my fuel pressure gauge at 100 psi. I'll have to put a tee in behind the high-pressure pump to make that my return line into the fuel system... Hopefully that'll do it and I wont have to put a return on the tank.

Now that we've got more than adequate fuel pressure, I decided to try another start. No bueno. When I tried to fire it, the fuel pressure didn't drop a hair... Which means that the injectors weren't firing. Here we go again. Rented a noid light set, plugged it in, confirmed my suspicions. Back to the ol' wiring diagram. Of course there's nothing in between the wires that ground the other side of the injector when it needs to fire. And of course the side that needs to be hot is hot... What the hell... Fired up my friend Google, trolled the Ford Trucks site for a bit, gave me a bit of insight on what I should be poking around for. The 4.9 injection is controlled by the ECM/PCM and EEC, none of which I could adequately explain (being that my understanding of the 2 systems is a bit fuzzy). Well, when I went through the 17+ feet of 4.9 wiring harness, I found it had ground connections every 2 or 3 feet or so. I'm all for redundancy, but, c'mon now. Turns out that the ECM/PCM requires multiple external ground connections for the negative side of the injectors. I just happened to be lucky enough to have saved these 2 wires and ring terminaled them together. Test fire, BOOM! Noid light lit up on the injector plug I had pulled. Hopefully this means that I'm nearly done with the wiring and can button all that up and move on to the clutch setup and radiator setup.

All that being said, I WILL TRY MY DAMNEDEST TO GET YOU GUYS A STARTUP TOMORROW! Pretty eager to hear her roar to life again, myself. Also, thank god for hearing protection.


I know I'm not one who would normally be counted on to deliver, but here it is:

On to the boring details:
First things first: TIMING
When I say this thing was off, I mean by a country mile. I must've swapped wires before because the timing on this thing from where it was supposed to be it was off by probably close to 120 degrees. The last time I did timing on that engine, all I had to go off of was the books I had for it, and I must've gone off the wrong timing marks. These things are near impossible to time if they aren't already running, due to the timing marks being buried on the passenger side of the motor and the timing mark on the crank is nearly impossible to see. I had to use a tape measure to ascertain the approximate location of the mark, then clean it up with sandpaper. A wire brush will not do the job. Not to mention the marker SUCKS. Anywho, retimed at around where it was supposed to be, put the cap back on, rehooked the plug wires and went to go work on fueling.

Decided to try a run on just the X fuel pump, wanting to know if it'd run on the lower pressure. It would not. Soon as those injectors started firing, you could almost see the injectors firing on the gauge. 20-25 PSI wasn't cutting it. So, fabbed a custom part out of a stainless steel bolt for the fuel return into the tank, drilled a hole in the top of the sending unit (dropping the fuel tank 4 times in one week doesn't get old at all...), ran some line to the regulator line on the engine, fabbed a custom piece to mate the skinny 1/8" line to the 3/16" line on the FPR line (temporarily, til I get some fittings to make it all work together nicely). Reconnected the high pressure fuel pump, went to fire.

Initial firings:
It took me around 6 times to get it to where it wanted to fire. Try fire, nothing, adjust distributor, repeat. Immediately after it fired, I made the video and called it a day. Gonna be buttoning up the wiring and move on to the other things that need to be done.

Alright! :chug: :party:

First off, I definitely need to apologize for dropping the ball completely with this thread, a LOT has been going on in the last year and a half. Will be posting some updates soon on the build (gotta fix an issue with my elite explorer status), finally have the time and garage set up to where it needs to be, so I can finally get some work done to it without wearing a Carhartt in the previous cave that used to be my garage.

Alright, so where I left off was getting the engine running and then got busy. One of the problems I had was figuring out where to put the clutch master cylinder and how to get everything routed, which I think I may have that covered... And then I looked in the engine bay... Spiderwebs: wire harness here, wire harness there, random jumper wires, fuel line, fuel return line, it was a mess. To top it all off, I had originally made a box to mount the ECU in the engine bay (bad idea), which I had apparently changed my mind and run a hole saw through the firewall near the drivers footwell (no idea how I thought that was supposed to work), until I finally settled on a 2" hole about 5" to the right of the throttle cable that goes right under where the radio is behind the climate controls (which it barely fits behind).

The new ECU mount position caused more wiring problems (too short), which left me having to extend 30-some wires. Went and got a roll of 12ga and got to work in pic one.

2nd pic: Got the explorer splices done for the 300 ECU connections

3rd pic: The nearly finished product. It's much cleaner than it was, the hood hinge is lightly touching the looms, which I think I'll put a piece of rubber over the area it touches. I may grind the hinge a little, but it's not my first choice. The area near the brake booster is super crowded, so this is the best I could come up with.

What's next:
Fuel system and the clutch. I haven't really gotten anything ordered yet because getting everything set up (fuel supply & return) in 1/4 hard tube and -4an fittings without running 50 fittings isn't easy, because I'm having trouble finding the right ones. If I was running -6an and 3/8" tubing, it'd be a snap, but the fuel supply looks to be 1/4" or 3/16", so between the fuel supply to the engine, secondary fuel pump, fuel return off the rail, and fuel return bung to the tank, I'm trying to keep it all the same size, with the right fittings.




There are ZF-5's in the older F-series, as I have one behind the 4.9 that's going in the Exp, but unfortunately, there's 2 different bolt patterns. A SB pattern behind the 300, 302, and 351, and the BB behind the 460 and 7.3, and from what I've read, you can't use one from a SB in a Cummins conversion, I would assume due to clutch/flywheel size limitations. But that ZF in the X is gonna be neat! :D
There is actually 3 different zf5 cause the diesel an the 460 don't match either just a heads up

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