Shift linkage 4406 swap. QUESTION ? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Shift linkage 4406 swap. QUESTION ?


Well-Known Member
August 17, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
Calgary, Alberta
Year, Model & Trim Level
2020 ST
I just swapped in a BW4406, background info here . Put the shift linkage up to the transmission tail housing and the linkage's mounting hole spacing is shorter than the distance on my tail housing's mounts. See picture.

The link bar on the shifter linkage that connects to the transfer case shifter is much too long as you can also see.

Need some assistance here. Of all the 4406 swaps I have read there was not any mention of this as a problem. I filled the tcase with fluid, installed the rear driveshaft and tested operation with the truck on jack stands sucessfully. Then took it for a short test drive and everything works as it should in 2wd. Didn't go too hard on it, but was able to squak the tires up shifting into 2nd. New experience... :thumbsup:


another angle. The other thing I notice is the severe upwards angle from where the linkage bar on shift linkage would have to go up the tcase shifter. That is if it was even close to the right length.

This shorter link bar I am holding up is what I got from Ford as I needed one little grey grommet/bushing that goes on the "pin" on the shifter as I trashed the one on the transfer case upon removal at the junkyard. Perhaps I can use this shorter bar and remount the "pin" on the shift linkage to another location higher up??

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No ideas, but I gotta say you have some photo lighting skilz! That tight ass area is very well lit.


No ideas, but I gotta say you have some photo lighting skilz! That tight ass area is very well lit.


Thanks, combination of Cree LED headlight and flourescent work light and a steady hand with my Iphone camera.

I think the shifter will work if you drill a new hole. And yes, you need the shorter shift bar. :D

Is this common for 4406 swaps? Even with the short link bar its still too long.

I guess there is a little fab to make it work. Thought it was "plug and play" for the linkage.

No, that shifter is unusual, maybe it came from a manual trans truck?

I've done this swap 2 times now-the shifter bolts lined up both times with an auto trans-manual t case shifter.

The reality is it came from an auto truck as I pulled it myself. I may have to go look at the junkyard again at other trucks. It may be easier to look and pull another linkage assembly from a junkyard than to modify what I got. Some may say it would be easy to make what I have work and that may be true. But if it doesn't function perfectly it's a fail to me and that also means time wasted.

Both scenarios i dont like.

I'm going to measure how far the TCase shift lever moves in its range of travel. Then measure where the shorter link bar would need to be positioned on the linkage and measure the distance it would travel in its range of travel. If I can get those 2 measurements close to each other then I will modify what I got to work.

One more question. Is the link bar horizontal to the ground on a "normal" 4406 swap?

Edit: this is what i'm thinking would work if I modify the linkage I have. Does anyone see anything wrong with this line of thinking?

ok, so i just happen to be under the truck today hooking up the 4x4 lights (can only get 4 hi to light, but thats fine) and snapped a few pics for you, but i think they might be useless however



my iphone picture taking skills are no match for yours.
i did however take a measurement of that linkage. its roughly 6 3/4 end to end.

thanks for the photos, much appreciated. i gotta go compare with mine. looks like your link bar is almost horizontal... There is no way mine could ever be horizontal unless I do some fab.

I was thinking that maybe somewhere along the lines of my old and new tranny getting swapped out with my Lentech 4R70W tranny. Is it possible that there are other 4x4 transmission extension housings out there? Perhaps I have a different extension housing with different spacing/location of the threaded bosses? that is messing up the whole program.

I notice that the shift linkage plate that I have is not 100% flat like yours is. Mine has a bit of a contour pressed into it on the lower left side in front of the forward bolt.

there is something about your shifter that doesn't look right for some reason. i dont know, maybe its me. however, i also saw that you only have one bolt in it at the moment. what happens when you move the shifter ahead to the next thread boss, and bolt it down?

Well I could move it forward one bolt but then it's only in .... One bolt. It's worth a try anyways. I need to go look at this. Maybe after a 2 day break I can look at it differently.

figured out the problem. Case closed

I had a better look at the linkage I currently have and based on VroomZoom's pics and MountaineerGreen's how-to thread picture below you can see the differences in the linkage. Compare the first picture below with the other two of the incorrect linkage I have. Went under the truck to confirm. The big difference is in the linkage mounting plate and the mounting holes location. The proper set up locates the linkage further towards the front of the truck and uses the short link bar and not the long one I have. So i gotta get my hands on some new linkage.

MountaineerGreen's how-to picture

My junk linkage

backside of my junk linkage

I could get a new backing plate drawn up and laser cut but I would need something to copy in my hands which I don't have. The precision required would have to be spot on to make it work properly in my opinion. I measured how far the shift level actually travels and from 2H to 4H its only 1/8", then only another 1/2" from 4H to 4L.

Thanks to vroomzoomboom and Turdle here for helping. Perhaps someone may run across this again. Maybe i'm loosing my marbles and I did pull this from a manual truck. Can't think of any other reason....????//

Does this look like a manual F150? this is the donor truck I did surgery on :D

if it also helps you any, yes, mine also has a very short travel from 2 hi to 4 hi. then i have to pull the shifter to the left, and down about a inch or so then its in 4 low. i also found out that my truck does not like to be lifted by the jack point under the front drivers door, then shifting the case in a out of 4 hi and 4 low (fricken thing jammed on me, and i had to lift, and level the truck, because its lowered. then and only then it would come out of 4 low).
my case was from a 97 f150 that had a 4.6 auto in it. i wounder if there is a difference in years, or motor options as well?

Perhaps there are differences in years and engine sizes. My donor was also a 1997 F150 with auto V8. That's why this is a real head scratcher. I may go back to the junkyard and have another look at the donor truck to confirm engine and trans combo and try to grab another linkage from a different truck.

That sounds like a strange thing with how yours jammed up. Like I said this linkage needs to operate properly with relative precision to move the shift lever.

I did another set of measurements and clamped the linkage to my work bench and put masking tape on the table below the linkage. Then I marked 2H position then 4H then 4L as i moved the linkage through its range and measured the distance between each one. Those distances are bigger but similar to how far the transfer case shift lever moves between ranges except the linkage arm moves in more of an arc from the pivot point. The TCase shift lever moves in less of an arc because it it much shorter.

Just sharing my observations. BOTTOM LINE - AVOID LINKAGE WITH LONG LINK BAR.

Perhaps there are differences in years and engine sizes. My donor was also a 1997 F150 with auto V8.

was it a 4.6 or a 5.4? i know the 4406 swap thread tells your to get certain drive shafts from certain trucks with certain motors. i wonder if this may also be a factor.

Thought it was a 4.6V8 truck. Didn't think it mattered for the tcase or linkage. I know it is important in terms of the driveshafts. New linkage is coming tomorrow AM from a FORD dealer a few blocks from my work. I decided that its not worth my time to go scrounge the junkyard again regardless of how much I might save.

Items needed:

Manual shift BW4406 from 1997-2003 F150, there are three part numbers that I know of and cannot find any appreciable difference between them other than possible speed sensor issues.
Shift linkage including stick from the same or similar truck as the same transfer case.
1997-200? Expedition/Navigator 4x4 rear driveshaft. Suspension set up makes no difference that I can tell. Must be from a 5.4 V8 equipped vehicle
1997-200? F150/Expedition front driveshaft (obviously from a 4x4) Must be from a 4.6 V8 equipped vehicle

Linkage Comparison

Now that I have the proper linkage, I thought it would be good to share the side by side comparison.

Backside of linkage. Note difference in location of the backing plate mounting holes. The one on the right is the one that works. Note even the big pivoting arm is shorter on the proper linkage. This will make the shorter link arm sit horizontally.

Front of linkage

I am starting to think that my donor truck was a 5.4L and I didn't take the time to look. I just saw that it was a V8 and it was the better of the 2 manual shift 97-98 trucks available at that time at the Pick n Pull. Not only is the front driveshaft too long on a 5.4L truck, the linkage is also incorrect for an explorer swap.:eek:

Does anybody have the correct hole to hole distances for the link arms? Something is clearly incorrect on mine. I'll post some pictures in a bit.

i can get them later if i have time. i have my old trans under the bench in the shed......and ironically ford99_1979 drivetrain in my truck now.

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I went back through everything again and this time everything is lining up any shifting perfectly. For future reference, mine was 5.25" center to center between the holes and works correctly. Somehow I was installing it with the case slightly out of the 2wd position. Getting it in to place by hand and then connecting the arm and tightening everything down was the trick.