My 97 SOHC 5 speed swapped sport street/drag build | Page 9 | 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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Very cool and impressive!

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Nice dyno numbers for N/A, keep up the good work.
Can't wait to hear what it does at the track.

I'm shooting for low 14's, my tuner thinks it should run in the 13's. Shoot for 14's and if it dips into 13's it's a bonus.

looks like im eating crow here. there was no way i thought that you would pull those numbers. you v6 guys are making us v8 (forced air inducted at that) look real bad!
nice job

Yes, 4th gear pull. 3.73 rear, 4cyl ranger gearing in my transmission and a 26.5" tall tire

Murphy's law.....

Well the truck may not make it to the track this year at all. My timing chain guide decided NOW would be the perfect time to let go with no warning. The engine has 118,000 miles on it so it's right in the ball park of needing them. No gradual noise like usual though so I'm afraid of the life expectancy with it. I'm torn if I should just get to the track and run it till it let's go or pull the plug for the season and start on the winter work early. I have no intentions of pulling the engine to do the chains just to have to pull it again over the winter to freshen it up and port the heads. Plus I've already hurt the M5OD transmission pretty bad and have some major bearing noise and sloppy shifter feel so I'd rather not put it back in once it's removed.

And it's official, truck is going away for the winter already. Jumped timing on my lunch break and has no power. So close to getting the time slip and numbers I wanted just to have a stupid plastic tensioner screw me over. I'm going to go beat my head against a wall for a while.

sorry about the bad news

One reason I've avoided investing a lot of money in my engine internals (high flow heads, performance pistons & rods, etc.) is the marginal reliability of the cassette guides. If a guide fails and a chain slips enough catastrophe occurs.

Yup, nothing made contact so my engine is fine at least. I'd had them on the "to do list" for the winter already but damn it... lol, would have been nice to have gotten one night at the track under my belt before tearing it apart again.

Timing Chain Guides

Two weekends and a little captain morgan, I would have them done.
Just saying.... lol.

Two weekends and a little captain morgan, I would have them done.
Just saying.... lol.

It's not a matter of doing the timing chains, it's the fact that the engine is coming back out over winter anyways so I can port/polish the heads, do the updated chains and swap the tranny. I've rushed and given up sleep all summer to get where it is now and I don't want to pull the engine two more times this year. Ill just have more time to squeeze a few more hp out of it naturally aspirated.

So far I've been right on track with its progress and where it sits compared to my original goals. I think I can get another 50+ hp out of it before I start messing with turbo's which puts me close to my 12 second goals. Unfortunately I won't have any track data to work with over the winter so I can only go off of numbers and educated guesses as to what it "should" have run. Assuming my tuner and I are correct it should have run mid to high 13's on a perfect run. Add another 50hp to the equation, a better trans, new chassis and 8 months to diet and 12's look like a very Achievable goal before any forced induction. It is going to kill me having to wait until spring to get any solid track times!

As much as I want the twin turbo's I think this engine has a lot more potential than where it is now, I feel like I'm in a good position to see where I can push things to.

It's running! Sorta

So I messed with the truck a bit and got the timing chain to free up (it had gotten bound and locked the engine) I actually even drove it home tonight from the shop since the exhaust is all off my daily driver and it seems to have most of the power back again. It still sounds like a typewriter on steroids but it's running at least! I may still be giving a run at list before it comes back apart for the winter! Even though it's hurt I still think, as long as it holds together for a pass or 2, that I've got enough in it as it stands to grab the #1 NA spot. Between family weddings and my daughter going back to school it will probably be another 2 weeks before I get it to the track but as it stands now I'm going for broke. My buddy with the V8 sport is going to run the same night so we will have those side by side runs for you soon (I hope!)


If it is one thing I noticed about you it is your determination, you will never give up. That is how to accomplish things! A great way to be successful.
I think a lot of us here have the same frame of mind. We meet all kinds of challenges and face them and keep going. Those who give up are the ones that never accomplish things and live with regrets.

Even if you do not do anything else with it this year, I know you will have it up and running like you said by next year. If you do go racing, that would be an awesome time slip to have. Two Explorers, side by side.

As long as the timing chain stays in place it will make it to the track. My biggest road block is that I have 3 other projects going on at the same time so I can only dedicate just so much time to one before moving onto the next. I'm trying to keep forward momentum going on all of them so none get pushed aside and forgotten about. My Bronco 2 is almost finished also and I've got about $1,000 worth of parts sitting here to go in. Both my powerstroke dually's are parked in the lot waiting to be finished. I'm at the point of notching my frame and installing the air ride suspension in one of those. Plus I'm trying to get my DD ranger all set for snow...yes I said it, snow! I plow commercially and that's my new driveway truck since I retired my dually from plow service. So I've been getting that ready for the season and mounting the plow. So like I said, very limited time frames depending on which season we're in.

Truck is out of winter storage!

We've had a string of exceptionally nice (warm) weather here so I pulled the Sport of of storage a few weeks ago. It still has the timing chain issue but I was hoping to bandaid it long enough to get it to the track before tearing it down again. ALMOST MADE IT TO OPENING DAY! Lol, granaded the M5OD transmission so I'm now on the hunt for a T5 replacement and unfortunately have to fix or replace the engine before it can see the track. The dream is still alive and I will get those #'s!






Glad to see you got the truck out of storage, not glad to see the trans broke.
What let loose in there?

Input and output shaft bearings, both seals also, synchro's had some wear and the reverse gears had some broken teeth. The new slave cyl started leaking and I pulled the tranny to address that when I saw how much tranny fluid was leaking. So I dove into it a bit more and came to the conclusion that I need a slightly stronger transmission for it. I'm actually trying to move to a new home with a garage so I'll have more time to work on my projects during the week while my daughter does homework or is in bed for the night. Right now I do all my work at our families marina on my days off when she is with her mother.

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