Can I swap heads from 1996 to 2000 Explorer? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Can I swap heads from 1996 to 2000 Explorer?


New Member
May 18, 2013
Reaction score
City, State
Seabrook, tx
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 explorer
I have a 1996 Explorer with a bad transmission. This vehicle is in pretty decent shape, but I am out of money and I am going to part it out for a short period of time, then off to the junk yard or donate, which ever works best.

I am being given a 2000 Explorer with bad head gasket(s). I want to swap the new ones I just replaced on the 1996. The 96 also has a new water pump and radiator. Maybe I will swap those too?

They appear to have the same engine, definitely 6 cylinders. I know there are some differences in the transmission, so I wasnt looking to swap that, as I am personally sort of worn out working with transmissions right now. Sore subject for sure, after it went out one week after replacing the heads and then I damaged a new used one, trying to install it. I have worked on a few cars and I have never lost a battle yet, but the 1996 kicked my butt. As a gesture of appreciation, I am s**t canning it!

Are you sure the 2000 is the OHV engine and not the OHC engine? If so, I don't see why they cannot be swapped. You mentioned having new head gaskets, remember you definitely CANNOT reuse the gaskets.Also, from what I have read, the 96 heads are not as good as the later heads. If I were going to keep my 96, which has leaking head gaskets, I would go with the later heads. I am just going with what I have read on here.

In stock form the answer is, not suggested. The 96 would have 95tm with the larger exhaust ports.the 2000 would have 98tm with the smaller fast burn exhaust ports.technically they will fit tho.

But sense you replaced the heads on the 96 I seriously doubt you bought TRUE 95tm heads, you probably bought heads that said 95-2000 which is misleading because they really are 98tm heads.engine quest is the only company I have found that sell true 95tm the question is where did you buy your heads at and what brand are they.

As you know you can't use gaskets or head bolts again.

Thanks for your help. That is why, when I did the head gasket replacement on the 96, the gaskets had less ports than the actual head. I thought that was pretty peculiar.

Haven't done the swap yet and may not do it at all. Ready to call those "I buy cars, running or not" guys to get these outta here!
I have five fords and four of them are not running.