My 97 SOHC 5 speed swapped sport street/drag build | Page 3 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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My 97 SOHC 5 speed swapped sport street/drag build

I picked up a rust free 2wd 97 big flare sport with the SOHC 4.0l about a month ago now. This thing is SPOTLESS!!! I bought it for Penny's with a bad transmission in it and the plan to turn it into a 12 second turbo'd street/drag truck.
As of last week I finished swapping in a 5 speed manual transmission I built for it with the lower gear ratio out of the 4 cyl ranger. 3.73 posi rear end, I put on a custom bent Magnaflow stainless exhaust, lowered it 3" and put a set of 18x10 Ford Racing "Cobra" wheels on it.
The difference in power and acceration is incredible with the 5 speed compared to the 5r55e. I'm not entirely happy with the M5ODR1 though and will be swapping it out for a Tremec before I turbo it. I'm also swapping back to taller gears in the transmission since this thing has no issues launching in second gear with excessive tire spin as it sits now.


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Subscribin'---All the trucks you built/building are incredible-Love the new Sport. The $400 Jeep story is great!!

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I guess some people can not handle getting beat! LOL.
Awesome story and pictures, and trucks.
I will be in even more anticipation now to see the progress on your Explorer Sport!

Let's hope the sport lives up to the hype. Lol, I am putting more into this one than my normal builds so it should come out ok. I'm just hoping it comes close to the numbers I'm aiming for.


If it don't you can just put bigger jets in for the nitrous!

:biggthumpI've got a 15lb tank waiting

Small update.. engine is finally on the stand in the shop ready to be torn down starting tomorrow! I also found a semi local engine tuner/ dyno shop who specializes in ford mustang and trucks. He charges $499 for the SCT Xcal 3 with a custom burnt dyno'd tune on it. Or for $599 I get the same tuning package but with the SCT Livewire tuner. He says he will mail me the tuner with a semi custom "safe" tune to get it up and running and broken in. Then I bring it in for dyno time and fine tuning. Small step but it's a major hurdle I don't have to stress about down the road now.

chicken soup out of chicken sh#$!

So here's the mess I'm starting with. Around 100k on it and it still spun all 4 tires on pavement before I pulled it from the donor truck. It spent a harsh NH winter under 4' of snow and needs some polishing. Time to work some magic!



Chicken S....

Loved that chicken title! lol.

For what it's worth, the SCT Livewire is supposed to have more analog inputs. So if you want to add sensors for fuel pressure or boost etc, you can tie them in to the analog inputs of the Livewire and datalog them for future viewing (when you don't have to look at the road). I don't have one but have been looking into them for that purpose.

I love the broken pulley on top of the intake, damn plastic.

I wasn't as gentle as usual with the forklift. I bumped the radiator also and bent the fan. Oops, haha. I figured for the extra $100 the Livewire was probably worth it. And the tuner also guarantee's my truck will pass inspection with no check engine lights or codes once he's done tuning.


The explorer got pushed aside for a few weeks while I went over some numbers and reevaluated my end goals with the truck. My conclusion was why not build it right the first time so i decided to swap the pistons and might as well do a complete rebuild punched out to a 306ci. Of course my friends are a bad influence and keep pushing me to do more. Lol, we are now waiting for a Scat forged 331 stroker kit..... I moved onto doing some custom work on my dually powerstroke in the mean time to keep going on all my projects.

Yesterday my buddy that was doing the other GT40 swap in his 2wd sport showed up in the finished Ex. After taking his for a beat run I expected to be blown away with the power, let's just say it left some to be desired! We got talking about how fast mine was with the SOHC/5 speed compared to his GT40/auto. Both trucks are 2wd sports with 3.73 gears so we got to thinking it would be a perfect opportunity to get some real world #'s on which swap gives the most return in performance. I had a spare SOHC sitting at the shop so we threw it in mine this weekend and will be getting it to the track lined up next to his V8 swap this Friday or next.

I haven't given up on my built V8 at all!!! I just miss the Drag strip and figured no one here would complain about the comparison between a V8 sport and a 5 speed SOHC sport.

Adam's 99 2wd sport with the V8

2001 Explorer V8 with matching 4R70W and 3.73 gears

My 97 SOHC 5 speed with the junk engine out

My replacement SOHC out of a 2001 4x4 with low miles


Bring on the races! Hell yeah!

Sweet rides

I've been driving mine for a couple days now with the SOHC replacement and as of tonight I think I've got all the little engine swap bugs worked out. I did some minor intake porting while I had it all apart (nothing crazy), swapped in 19lb injectors, cold air intake instead of my K&N drop in filter and got an Electric fan on it instead of the stock clutch fan. Plus it dropped a couple lbs. I'm heading to the dyno shop at 6am to pick up my new SCT X Cal 4 and custom tune. Pulling the trans functions out, removing the speed governor and raising the rev limiter a few hundred RPM on top of the tune itself he's doing for me. Supposedly this guy is the best in New England with Ford and Mustang tuning so I'm hopeful.

It's looking more like next Friday before Adam and I can get to the track. He is waiting on a new driveshaft to be made for his now so Ill keep tweaking mine till then. I'm optimistic that ill be taking the #1 NA Explorer spot soon and with a hand me down loaner engine that I thoroughly beat in my mud drag truck! Haha

The Ex has been tuned!!!

I got my ex into the Dyno/tuner this morning before work. I bought an SCT Xcal4 loaded up with some custom tunes. We also figured out my lean run issue and bandaided it. When I "upgraded" from the stock 17lb injectors I thought it had to the 19lb injectors it currently has I actually got douped by fords random color coding system. What I took out were 24lb injectors according to the tuning print out and not 15's so the engine has been starving for fuel. This weekend I'll pull the intake again and swap in the right injectors.

As for tuning upgrades... I had my transmission functions removed for the 5 speed swap, speed governor removed, fuel and timing remapped for premium/110 octane fuel, idle speed lowered, rev limiter raised to 6,500 and tuned to run at a lower temp range since I'm running the 180° t stat.
I had all the above features put into all 3 of my tunes but had one mapped for the current 19lb injectors to get me by until I pull the engine apart again. One set up for the 24lb injectors and a third tune set up for the 24lb injectors with all EGR functions removed. My tuner thinks my system will pass the state plug in emmisions test with both cats and all EGR items removed. It fly's now! I think I'll be ready for the track next week. Can't, wait to finally run it!!!


Those are both really nice trucks, you should get your buddy to join Explorerforum too if he has not already.
I will be looking forward to the results of the race.
You don't mess around, already got that engine in and tuned, keep up the good work!

I took a drive to Adams house tonight and brought him for a ride in mine. It scared him. Hahaha, PERFECT!

This is the Xcal4. I love it, been monitoring the truck all night and playing with data logging


These are just 2 of the 6 Mustangs that were there to be dyno'd. There's a built GT 500 on the rollers inside, another GT 500 on the other side of the red cobra and a couple of enclosed trailers on the lot. He said he had 10 to tune between yesterday and today. Guy def knows his stuff! If you need custom tuning try Pete at Performance Dyno in Loudon, NH. He does custom tune packages shipped for $399 with the SCT Xcal4



You should change your front bumper to the one your friend has, it is 13 lbs lighter. I did the same a few years back.
Also look at the rear bumper, there is probably a thick metal plate bolted on the underside of the bumper, it is also about 13 lbs, don't need it.

You should change your front bumper to the one your friend has, it is 13 lbs lighter. I did the same a few years back.
Also look at the rear bumper, there is probably a thick metal plate bolted on the underside of the bumper, it is also about 13 lbs, don't need it.

I have a skin only off a 95 limited for mine plus 2 of those 98+ sport/limited bumpers. I didn't like the way it looked with the round fogs on it. Mine wasn't on the road so I didn't stress about getting the front skin painted or rear roll pan done. Now that I'm driving it again ill start pecking away at the other stuff. I gutted my hatch last week and removed about 15lbs from the front when I had the engine out.

4pointslow, need some input!!! hit a stumbling point.

So... what if anything have you done as far as chassis bracing or cage work? After doing some hard launches the other day I noticed some dents starting on the pillar between my rear Windows. I've had it happen to me before with a supercharged second gen GTI I built a few years back. That one twisted so bad the transmission tunnel hit my shifter and locked it in first gear and creased across the roof line.
Have you had any issues with frame/body flex? Yesterday my buddy pointed out that I had also cracked my windshield. I marked the crack with a sharpie and launched it hard again and sure enough the crack spread up the windshield. Any input from your experience lifting the tires?

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I never even looked for any body twisting/damage. I have an automatic so I load everything up(stand the converter) and maybe there is less shock.
Can you post a picture of the dents forming, I will look at mine closer to see if it is doing the same thing.

These things do have a frame under them, unlike many weaker made lighter vehicles. Maybe check your frame mount bushings to see if they are all in good shape.

As far as the windshield, I got hit by a stone driving home from a race one day, I saw the stone and heard it hit. Right smack in front of me is where the windshield cracked. Before that no problems, and after that still no problems.

Last year in December I did some weight reduction, one thing I removed was the transfercase skid plate. I raced it since then and didn't notice anything with the body. I also did not look very close either. lol.

Don't need a cage until under 12.00 in a 1/4 mile, but that would stiffen it up. It might be a good idea anyway, have you ever seen what one of these looks like after a roll over? I think I read somewhere that the second gen explorers had one of the worst rollover ratings out there. lol.

Edit: Also, since we are on the subject of safety you should look up the pictures that James Henson posted of his second gen explorer. The axle broke and he rolled it. replacement axles should be on the list of things to do. Wish I wasn't spending all my money on a roof this year.