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Next project vehicle?

I want a mid-size 4 door SUV to drive when my 2000 Sport is being modified. I was planning to purchase a 2000 4 door Explorer with the SOHC V6 to take advantage of what I've learned, spare parts and my SCT PCM programming software package. However, I realized that at my age my next project vehicle will probably be my last. I've always been partial to DOHC engines since I purchased a 1958 Jaguar XK-150 in 1965. A recent thread: '02 limited 4.0 to 4.6 dohc swap has captured my interest. I didn't know that the Aviator came with a DOHC V8 engine and was based on the 3rd generation Explorer. Since I don't like the looks of the Aviator front or the 500 lb weight disadvantage I've become very interested in swapping an Aviator engine into an Explorer. My long term objective would be a fairly quiet rear wheel drive 3rd Gen with a DOHC 4.6L V8 stroked to 5.0/5.1L and possibly forced induction.

I'm aware that the 2002 Explorer is probably the most complained about Explorer ever. Most of the complaints are associated with transmission failures. I could use some help researching which 3rd generation Explorer would be the best project vehicle.

I think the 5R55W and the 5R55S were possible transmissions. Were both used with the 4.6L? If so, is one more robust than the other?

Which transmission was installed in the Aviator with the DOHC 4.6L?

I've started another thread about the planned engine: DOHC 4.6L V8 build

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Streetrod, Drew here. I realize that you're looking to modify (e.g., stroker, turbo) a DOHC Aviator engine in your new '03 Explorer. I noticed that the '06 + 4.6L SOHC with three valves (variable cam timing) approach 300 hp (290-something), and have cast iron blocks (maybe more durable for high mileage rebuild). While I know nothing about their ability to be souped up to 500 hp, I do know that the aluminum-block version of the '06 + Mustang 4.6L v8's (of which there should be plenty around) landed on Wards Ten Best Engines list for three or four years.

Question: DId you consider--or have you heard of--anyone upgrading a third gen 4.6L explorer to a 3-valve, vct engine, to get the substantial performance boost? Presumably you'd need a to use a the '06 PCM and wiring (e.g., for vtc), so maybe that's a non-starter.

Nice looking '03 you got there . . . .

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3 valve block

Since I already have the Aviator aluminum block I didn't consider other blocks except the stock block in the 2003 Explorer. I really don't need high mileage durability or high power strength since I only drive 3K miles/year and my target is only 500 fhp. I'd rather stay with the aluminum blocks for less weight resulting in better handling and acceleration. I can't find the article right now but I think I remember reading that the 3 valve aluminum block is comparable in strength to the "Aluminator" block and stronger to all the other 4.6L aluminum blocks except the original Teksid block.

I don't recall reading about any 4th generation engines being transplanted into a 3rd generation vehicle. The subsystems (engine control, instrumentation, HVAC, user interface, security, etc.) in Explorers become more and more integrated with each generation making transplants more difficult electronically.

Edit: I still don't have the Explorer. It turns out the parents of the seller are either separated or divorced, live in different cities, and are co-owners on the title. I did not want to buy a vehicle, make extensive modifications involving time and money, and then have it later become the item of a divorce property settlement. So I'm waiting for a clear title with just the daughter's name on it become I pay for the vehicle and take delivery. The daughter and her future husband are leaving for New York tomorrow for a get-a-way so I don't know how much longer it will be before I actually get the Limited.

rotating assembly ordered

In searching for parts suppliers I happened on CNC-Motorsports whose sales representatives were willing to create a "modified" Eagle rotating assembly with the pistons I need. Here's what is now on order and what it cost.

Standard Eagle Rotating Assembly 16414020 with Arias pistons (+.020 bore), $1724 from Summit

Eagle cast steel crank ESP-102813554, $310 from Summit
Clevite main bearings MS2259P Eagle modified to match crank, equivalent MS2202P $70 from Summit
Eagle forged H beam rods with floating pins CRS5933F8740, equivalent 5933F8740 $495 from Summit
Clevite rod bearings CB1442H Eagle modified to match crank, $15 from Summit
JE forged pistons +.020 bore, -10 cc dish 257545, $795 from Summit
JE file to fit rings +.020 J68008-3570-5, $265 from Summit

total from Summit $1950 free shipping, total from CNC Motorsports $1720+$60 shipping = $1780

One reason suppliers are hesitant to substitute parts in the Eagle kits is because they are shipped directly from Eagle in Mississippi to the purchaser. In my case the JE pistons and rings are coming from JE in Ohio and everything else is coming from Eagle. It is important to point out to those that want to purchase their own parts and make a kit that the rod and main bearings need to be modified to be compatible with the Eagle crankshaft.

I hope to deliver the block and rotating assembly to the local machinist next week.

Edit: I still don't have the Explorer. It turns out the parents of the seller are either separated or divorced said:
Shouldn't be a big deal for her to get each of her parents to sign the title. Doesn't sound like a property issue to me (and I'm a *gasp* lawyer!).

lost the title

Shouldn't be a big deal for her to get each of her parents to sign the title. Doesn't sound like a property issue to me (and I'm a *gasp* lawyer!).

Thanks for the assurance. The other complication is that the father lost the title when he moved. He went to the dept of motor vehicles and completed the paperwork they requested and then sent that to his daughter. I think the mother then completed similar paperwork. I hope that soon there will be a new title in the daughter's name.

max power limitation & driving pleasure

If I assume that the safe maximum power for the ordered rotating assembly is 500 fhp then I can estimate the max rwhp assuming 85% efficiency and 40 fhp to drive the supercharger:

(500 - 40) * .85 = 391 rwhp

The published curb weight for a 2003 Explorer with rwd and 4.6L V8 is 4100 lbs.
4100/391 = 10.5 lbs/rwhp

The published curb weight for my 2000 Sport is 3900 lbs and my last dyno performance was 227 rwhp.
3900/227 = 17.2 lbs/rwhp

My Sport is currently fun to drive but the Limited has the potential to be significantly more fun to drive.

1st datalog

I had to drive downtown to purchase some Christmas concert tickets so I decided to try my first datalog. I purchased a used X3 PowerFlash for the Limited so I hooked it to the OBD-II port and my laptop. The dataport is vertical in the Limited instead of almost horizontal as in the Sport. That results in the connector and cord being too close to the brake pedal for safe driving. I'll investigate reorienting the connector. When I tried to set up the datalog I was notified that the X3 firmware was too old and no longer supported (I'll update it in the next day or two). So I went back in the house, got my Sport X3 and then hooked it up. I assumed that I could use my Sport configuration file but when I started the datalog the only pids that were compatible were open loop flag, TFT and analog 1&2 which were 0 because I don't have an AFR meter. After a 30 minute drive the TFT increased from 41 deg. F. to 140 deg. F. There were multiple spikes (-4000 & + 2000) indicating that the OBD-II connection is noisy.

After buying the tickets I spent some time setting up another configuration file. The number of pids available for my Limited are many times the number available for my Sport. I did another datalog on the drive home and the Livelink program crashed due to the excessive spikes. I'll have to check the ground connection to the dataport.

I've noticed while driving the Limited that the acceleration seems to lag the throttle depression compared to my Sport. I thought it might be due to the greater weight, 3.55:1 rear axle and no supercharger. Below is a plot of a normal acceleration of my Sport.

And the following one is for my Limited.

A data comparison indicates that the Limited starts to move at a much greater engine speed.

Sport: 1077 rpm, TP=26
Limited: 1733 rpm, TP=101

I suspect the Limited has excess slip in the torque converter or transmission. I decided to compare performance. Below is a plot of my Limited at WOT.

And the following one for my Sport at a significantly lower throttle position.

A data comparison indicates that my Limited at WOT on a cold day accelerates 15% slower than my Sport on a hot day at 85% throttle.

Limited: 4340 rpm, TP=752, 40.4 mph, 5.08 mph/sec
Sport: 3311 rpm, TP=635, 40.5 mph, 5.87 mph/sec

There is a known issue with the torque converters in 02-04 in v8 trucks. I drove a customers v8 mountaineer the other day that was horribly sluggish at first and as soon as the torque converter rattle went away (about 3k rpm) it would lock up and take off. It had a noticeable rattle at idle also. I have another customer with an 02 that has had just her converter replaced about 2 years ago, it has great lockup and takes off well from a dig.

lock up piston

I've read the rattle is from the stock lock up piston. What flash stall speed would you suggest for a street only vehicle? I wonder if my Limited has a greater stall speed than my Sport. That could explain the start out lag but not the lesser acceleration rate. Although my Sport does have a power, weight and gearing advantage. I should get on the dyno and baseline my Limited.

The 4.6 V8 trans will have the wider ratios, and thus a "lower" first gear etc. The 5R55E is a close ratio trans. The 1st gear of the 4.6 V8 trans will be in the 3.2:1 range, the 302 trans has a 2.84:1 1st gear. Those ratios do affect what the best rear gears will be. Your blower allows higher gearing with efficient acceleration, and economy. John's 13 second truck is using 4.88 gears, he's really wanting to get it off the line quick with those.

chain tensioners

That has peaked my curiousity. I am trying to find the difference on them. The 03 and up block has a casting number with 2003 in it. That means that they definetly changed something and revised the part in 2003. I also found at least 4 pcms on eBay for less than $50 with the same ID number as mine. "HMJ4"

I realized one change that happened in 2003 was the replacement of the metal base timing chain tensioners with composite base tensioners on the 4.6L SOHC V8. The 4.6L DOHC V8 continued to use the metal base tensioners.

Modular block coolant flow diagram

I finally found a coolant flow diagram for a 2008 Mustang GT. The reason I couldn't understand the Aviator cooling configuration was I thought the port on the driver side of the block was an outlet but the diagram shows it as an inlet which changes everything. So now I feel comfortable about purchasing an Aviator crossover tube and running a heater hose from the port on the crossover tube to the heater control valve as shown in the 3rd photo below. Then I'll install the ICT Billet cooling mod adapters for the rear of the 4V heads as suggested by jd4242. I'll use a "T" to merge the combined head outputs with the heater output.




Suitable pre-luber?

For the past few years I have been watching for a suitable electric motor driven pre-luber at a bargain price. The Accusump on my Sport works fine but there are complications when performing a complete oil change. If the engine is not started for six months or more the system only charges the engine oil pressure to about 10 psi. Also, every few years the accumulator must be purged and then re-pressurized with an air compressor. I decided that I would try an electric motor driven oil pump on my Centennial. Pre-lubers are more common on marine applications because boats often are not used during the winter months. I have seen one new specific manufacturer complete kit (shown below) offered on eBay several times for $650 to $750 which I was not willing to pay. The kit includes a motor/pump assembly, electrical control module, oil filter mount adapter, numerous fittings and hoses. Last night I found a used unit (shown below) that includes most of the components offered for $150. I made an offer for $95 and this morning was notified the seller accepted with me paying the $12 shipping cost. The pump includes a check valve, pressure bypass and screen filter. The motor contains ball bearings instead of sleeve bearings and should last for many years. The seller will not accept any returns and I don't even know if the motor will run but I decided to take a chance. I know a very capable shop owner who rebuilds alternators and starter motors so I suspect if my pre-luber doesn't run he can probably get it going. It may just need new brushes.



Great, I hope that pump makes good pressure and will last forever. If the space is available, it'd be excellent to install such a pre-lube pump on all cars.

My preluber implementation will be to mount the stock Aviator coolant/oil filter adapter to the side of the block.

Oil flows from the oil pump thru the bottom port of the block into the filter. Filtered oil returns to the block via the upper port identified by the red arrow. The blue arrow identifies where cooled coolant enters the block. The oil pressure switch mounts on the Aviator adapter port that connects to the filtered oil returning to the block.

Most quality oil filters have an anti-drain back check valve allowing the output of the pre-luber to be connected to a "T" fitting common with the oil pressure switch. However, the pre-luber will draw unfiltered oil from the oil pan and the screen filter in the pre-luber pump will not catch small particles. Therefore, a replaceable inline oil filter would have to be installed between the oil pan port and the pre-luber pump inlet. Or, I could leave the oil pressure switch as is and install a "T" fitting at the inlet to the remote oil filter mount and install a check valve between the block outlet port of the stock oil pump and the "T" inlet to the remote oil filter mount. And connect the other port of the "T" to the output of the pre-luber. That way the oil from the stock pump and the pre-luber would flow thru the same filter and backflow thru the stock pump would be prevented. From a maintenance standpoint I prefer the latter implementation although the cost of the check valve will exceed the cost of a second filter. One disadvantage of the latter implementation is if the check valve sticks closed there will not be any oil flow from the stock pump. Therefore, I should purchase a very reliable check valve. I installed a Moroso check valve in my Sport several years ago as part of the Accumsump installation and have never experienced any problems with it so I purchased another one.

The head coolant mod adapters arrived today. I was a little disappointed in their design. I thought the mounting tab was a separate piece allowing the adapter to be "clocked" to any desired position. Instead, it is part of the adapter and must be clocked according to the mounting screw hole in the head.

That means the driver side port will be at 3 o'clock relative to the head deck and the passenger side ports will be at 8:30 and 11:30 o'clock relative to the passenger head deck. The EGR tube must be routed from the rear of the passenger side exhaust manifold up across the rear of the head to the driver side of the Mach 1 intake manifold. Hopefully I won't have any interference problems. Since flow is worst in the driver side head I want to maximize flow on that side. I'll route the adapter port to a "T" connected to the heater return pipe. The other "T" port will be routed to the 8:30 o'clock adapter port and the outlet hose from the heater will be routed to the 11:30 o'clock adapter port.

The coolant bypass assembly also arrived today. Unexpectedly, it is all metal instead of some composite material. I anticipated that the long and small diameter pcv valve heater tube would be damaged but the assembly was packaged with lots of padding and the pcv valve heater tube was in good shape. However, the assembly appears to have been thrown into a warehouse storage bin hitting another stout part. The temperature sensor was destroyed and the nearby large coolant port has a bad dimple.


I notified the seller and the individual I spoke with acted like warehouse damage wasn't unusual. Another one is supposed to be sent with free return shipping for this one. Time will tell.

ESM selected

I decided to purchase a Standard Motor Products EGR System Module P/N EGV1041 that is compatible with 2004-2005 Explorers/Mountaineers because I found a new one on eBay for $72 with free shipping. It has short vacuum ports to the side instead of long ones to the rear that may not get broken off so easily. The EGR pipe port is to the rear as desired. The electrical connector faces forward but that should not be a problem unless I mount something large in place of the EVR.



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It would be informative to see the resistance values of the old solenoid vs the one on the new ESM assembly.
The metal tube you will need from exhaust to egr, would not have any little tubes for a sensor since it is built into the ESM.
The two small ports on the ESM are both vacuum(manifold).
Make sure you use the metal gasket that comes with the ESM assembly, since it is the differential orifice.