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Soul Eater 5.0L Swap log

Justin_

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Hey guys,

Im still looking at swapping a V8 into my 2-door and I am back to looking at rebuild parts.


Still looking at the rebuild part of that. I know that if nothing else I want to do all the seals, berrings, rings, hoses, etc and looking at parting that out. Not looking to do anything crazy, just want to throw something solid in that I won't regret swapping in 5000 miles.

Running around Summit Racing I see that I can part out most of the internal parts for about $700 ish, but then I found some Federal Mogul kits that are only like $580 for 1996 302 engines. From what I can tell off Wikipedia it looks like the 1998 (keeping same year for electrical compatibility) V8 is a Ford 302 engine.

First off, anybody ever use Federal Mogul kits? Are they good for a daily that hit the hills on the weekend? (looking to eventually have it be more off road focused long term)?

Second off, is the 98 Explorers V8 a normal Ford 302 engine?

Third, if both the above are positive answers, are there any real differences between 96 302s and 98 302s that would make me need to change out parts from the kit?

Beyond that, when I am looking for a vehicle to pull a V8, trans, etc from is there anything in particular to be on the lookout for? I know it's solid for the most part, but are there any specific red flags on them? Also, if I tear it down, have a machine shop look it over, and get some nice new parts on it is there any reason not to start with an engine that has 220K miles on it?


I know this is a lot of questions in a small post, but hoping I might be able to get things together and get started on this.



****EDIT****
Changed the name away from "Looking at/for V8 rebuild kit. Still wanting to swap a rebuilt V8 into my 2-door" as this ended up being the build log
 
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CDW6212R

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Most of the value in such a rebuild kit is the pistons and rings, which have the widest ranging quality available. The cork gaskets are crap, use the OEM oil pan part, and the valve cover gaskets for a 90-92 Mustang 302(thick steel with rubber, last forever). You can buy the other small items feasibly from Summit, with top brands like Felpro etc. Felpro has head gaskets that run about $25-30 each for the best popular ones, others cost too much and don't hold as well.

You can build almost any roller 302 engine, you need the GT40P heads for the 98-01 type, matching manifolds and EGR etc. Internally there's nothing really different from a 2001 Explorer, to a 1987 302 HO engine. So hunt a 98-01 truck to get the engine and all related items to the engine/trans, for those models. But a solid older roller shortblock can be built if it's cheaper or easier to find. If the mileage is over say 100-125k miles, I would install new roller lifters, newer than that you could reuse the others.

Buy new valve springs and retainers from an aftermarket company like Alex's springs; VALVE SPRING KITS - Alex's Parts Sales
They have kits for replacements which are better than stock, and upgrade stuff for higher end cams and lift etc.

If you have to bolt it in and not do any tuning to the PCM, keep the stock compression(piston top dish size), and the stock truck cam, or the HO cam if that turns up.

If tuning is possible($500 etc), then I'd hunt for a light weight pistons such as Wiseco, which with higher compression will gain free power. You might gain 30hp with just those better $500 pistons and compression near 9.6:1, typical cheap pistons will be close to $350 with rings. A custom cam would help the compression work better all around, idle, efficiency, cruise, and top end, but those need upgraded valve springs(an extra $100+ versus plain springs).

You can build a bone stock level 302 reasonably cheap, the machine work and labor to assemble will be most of it. For a next level that has higher compression, and tuning, cam etc, add a minimum of $1000. Change heads and intake, plus more, and the budget goes way up then.
 
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Justin_

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So it just so happens that I found a V8 explorer for cheap (will see how much that bites me) shortly after posting this. Got a 98 5.0 2WD explorer with "'130k miles'" (dead odometer too!) that runs and drives for $800. I had to drive about 900 miles yesterday to get it though. Overall it looks good, only thing was it took a moment to shift into 3rd, but it was leaking from the trans pan gasket so I figured it was just low on trans fluid. Engine seemed solid. Responded fast, idled just fine, and ran smooth. Had a small exhaust leak, but whatever. It also looked fairly well maintained. The front end parts all looked solid and newer than factory, it was quite clean, the air filter was not packed with dirt, etc.

Managed to run my tow vehicle out of gas on the way home (dont turn all the dash lights off) so I Jumped into the explorer and ran to the gas station about 35 miles away. Just as I was rolling back up to my tow vehicle I had 3rd gear go out on me. Smelled some strange burning smell, then the car acted like it was in neutral when it was over 35. I already needed to pull it apart to swap the 2WD shaft for a 4WD one, but still not great news.

Haven't had the time to dig into it yet, but this is what I am looking to clean up and move over.

PXL_20210914_035056993.jpg

PXL_20210914_114143501.jpg

Definitely a project to last over the winter and well into next summer. Since I already need to case down a transfer case anyway I figure ill get started on a 4406 swap while im at it.

Given my budget range right now im looking to stay stock adjacent. If I can upgrade things here and there without spending hundreds more per part i'll do it, but primarily I'm just looking to build something solid. Im happy to be working on moving away from having 5 timing chains, tensioners, and guides to something more reliable and basically just want to put in work up front so that I hopefully only need to do normal maintenance over the next 100-150k miles.

Honestly I just like putting time into this truck and seeing what I can do with it. Ive never hit a point where having a V6 is limiting (did have a rear guide go out on another explorer though), just see this as the next step I can take to screw around with my truck.

A custom cam and upgraded springs are something I might consider if that can help out without a tune (probably out of budget for now). Ill look into that and see what I dig up. Ill also need to look into the diffrent types of springs then and see what diffrent ones are better for.

Ill also need to start looking at how I am going to rebuild the trans. What I might do this fall is pull the trans apart, rebuild it, then drop it back in the explorer just to check its all solid, then start on the engine.

For the moment I need to start looking for a 4WD output shaft and tail housing. Anybody on here have one they are looking to part with?
 
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CDW6212R

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Good find, even if it needs some work. Check the fluid first, if the trans is low, it may just be that, from a slow leak.

A custom cam isn't much good without upgraded other items, that would be similar to doing a tune on a stock engine. It would gain a little, but not 25hp, maybe 10-15 at most. For a rebuild, the valve springs have to go, but the stock ones are not the greatest for either performance or lifespan. So instead of $100 stock springs, the easy to come by $140 type are worth the money. I've read about Alex's spring kits many times, I see they also have higher level beehive stuff, which is what good custom cams need. A cam designer like Ed Curtis will specify a spring he wants, so he can create a best cam with more duration and lift, and still idle great etc. Lesser springs limit what a cam can do, and OTS springs listing as "good for .600" lift) are basic springs, not great springs. That's stock type stuff, not expensive and not really special either.

Look on eBay, find lots of other 4R70W parts there. You might find the trans extension there, and the 4WD output shaft. But contacting many of those sellers, someone will have the parts and gladly sell them separately to you.
 
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Justin_

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Good find, even if it needs some work. Check the fluid first, if the trans is low, it may just be that, from a slow leak.

A custom cam isn't much good without upgraded other items, that would be similar to doing a tune on a stock engine. It would gain a little, but not 25hp, maybe 10-15 at most. For a rebuild, the valve springs have to go, but the stock ones are not the greatest for either performance or lifespan. So instead of $100 stock springs, the easy to come by $140 type are worth the money. I've read about Alex's spring kits many times, I see they also have higher level beehive stuff, which is what good custom cams need. A cam designer like Ed Curtis will specify a spring he wants, so he can create a best cam with more duration and lift, and still idle great etc. Lesser springs limit what a cam can do, and OTS springs listing as "good for .600" lift) are basic springs, not great springs. That's stock type stuff, not expensive and not really special either.

Look on eBay, find lots of other 4R70W parts there. You might find the trans extension there, and the 4WD output shaft. But contacting many of those sellers, someone will have the parts and gladly sell them separately to you.
I have a coworker that also does a lot of car stuff that's trying to convince me to go all crazy so we'll see where this ends up in the end.

I have seen that the output shaft is on eBay, did not see any tailhousings. Good idea to ask around though I'll see if that turns anything up.
 
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Justin_

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Just pulled up the transmission dipstick. There is definitely enough fluid in there without it being overfilled and it smells terrible. Something definitely burned up in there.
 
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CDW6212R

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Oh well, stop driving it and plan to R&R the trans.

I like crazy engine stuff, but the costs have gone up big time. Also now there are low supplies on tons of parts. Machine work used to be the slow step of an engine build. Now collecting all the parts can be very slow. A lot can be done to improve the 302, but the cost jumps $1000 instantly when you have to do a tune, then it goes up more with heads, intake stuff, fuel injectors, MAF, TB etc. You can spend $4k-$5k quickly on just a 302 build, without a stroker kit, which adds another $1500 maybe. When you get to the $4k total level, then I'm thinking stop, a bone stock late(2017+) V6 from a junkyard will outrun moderate 302 builds. So the budget should really never hit $4k, or else there's a better way. The late 3.7 makes almost 300hp, and gets 25-30mpg in most Fords they put it in(F150, Mustang, Explorer, and the big van).
 
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Justin_

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Oh well, stop driving it and plan to R&R the trans.
Definitely. Fortunately even though I had to drive it about 70 miles 3rd gear burned up about 500' from my tow truck, so I didn't run it like that long.

Probably has something to do with me seeing what a V8 can do on the open road. Had it up to the 110 limiter a few times.
 
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EB4X

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Interesting with the Jeep ZJ Timberline wheels on it...look good on second gen as well... I have those (minus the gold spokes) on my WJ.
 
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Justin_

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So, looking this all over again I think the plan will be to repair the trans first, then do normal maintenance on the engine, all the 100k work and such, and throw it in for the moment. I do want to do some more in depth work on the engine at some point, but I don't /really/ have the budget for it right now. Still a broke ass college student.

I was able to track down a transmission output shaft and tailpiece to swap the RWD trans over to being 4WD. What are the thoughts on the torque converter? I would imagine that I should replace it since there was trans fluid circulating after a blown clutch right? They look to cost as much as the rest of the transmission does to rebuild though. Do you think I could get away with keeping the same one if the inside of the trans isn't too bad?

I do want to do the 4406 swap, especially as I need to track down a transfer case anyway. For the time being I am going to work towards doing an electric swap. If I understand right, since I am starting with a 4WD truck with a 4WD GEM and the wiring for all of it it /should/ be drop in right? I don't need to do any special wiring or anything to get it to shift? There may-or-may-not be issues with clearance. I see lots of people with clearance issues against the 4DR gas tank, but then also people suggesting its not a problem on 2DR vehicles. Any idea here?

Next up. Thinking about keys. I know you need a PATS key or a tune for a 98, but can I just reprogram the ECU to work with my existing chip key so I don't need to swap all the cylinders over? I know I can go down to ACE and have them program a new key to my truck, so is there any reason not to do that? I would need to do a bit of swapping out key cylinders or other trickery to get the programming sequence down, but wouldn't imagine it would be that bad.

Next I know the driveshafts are diffrent. I know it's also diffrent between 2dr and 4dr trucks, and if I remember correctly the rear shaft needs to be fabricated. Could somebody offer some advice here?

Also when i'm actually swapping all this in I would think it would probably be easier to pull the body off, especially when dealing with shift motor clearance. Any reason NOT to do that? I've done it before. It's only like 10 bolts and a few electrical clips here and there more or less.

I know I'll have a lot more questions, but this is what is on my mind at the moment. Hoping to pull the trans and start rebuilding it soon. Need to get some cash together for a rebuild kit :p



Thanks guys!!!
 
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CDW6212R

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You should buy a new convertor, and that could be under $200(I bought a V6 unit for less than $175 last year. The 2dr gas tank is shorter and makes more room for a shift motor if you go with the TOD version of 4406. Doing the swap can be easier with the body off, the big engine and trans stuff. But you have to have a place to store the body for a while, if you do then great. For a used engine, do at least the front and rear crank seals, and all coolant hoses, pulleys etc. I'd put on a new balancer in any case, that one is old and a new one isn't that much.
 
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Justin_

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...For a used engine, do at least the front and rear crank seals, and all coolant hoses, pulleys etc. I'd put on a new balancer in any case, that one is old and a new one isn't that much.
I was definitely planning on replacing all the seals that are easy to get to. All of those, the oil pan seal, and valve cover seals at least. Also plugs, wires, air filter, fresh oil, etc. Was not thinking of the balancer, but if it's worth doing I can definitely do that.
 
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Justin_

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So I was a bit busy today, pulled the transmission out of the old truck and it went quite smooth. Didn't have any trouble with bolts, and even the exhaust bolts just came right out. It's still a process to get it out and all though.

PXL_20211003_230648294.jpg


I drained and pulled the pan, and yeah, definitely need a rebuild. Hopefully there is not all that much damage inside, but we will see soon enugh

PXL_20211004_001145575.jpg


No big chunks in there though, guess that is good.

PXL_20211004_001512519.jpg


Im definitely down to buy a new converter after seeing that, and after your advice. Looking a bit more I see they are not all too expensive. Does anybody know the stock stall speed? Can't seem to be able to dig that up online.


Anyway. Might be a few weeks before I get to pop it open, just wanted to get it out before it got cold up here.
 
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CDW6212R

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That material in the trans pan is not too bad for the mileage, it may just need a normal rebuild. That material is the kind of thing which affects the valve body operation though, which is why regular ATF changes are wise.

It's great that you had no major issues removing things, be happy and keep going.
 
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Justin_

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Well I got the transmission torn down today. Ive been using the Transmission Bench guide videos and they are great!! They go over every detail and verriant while also naming every part as they work on it. Can't recommend it enugh for anybody new to transmissions. The transmission came apart no problem, but ran into a few surprises. For one it has definitely been worked on before. But first, thought I would show off my makeshift workbench.


PXL_20211007_191312416.jpg



I took a sheet of plywood and edged it with some scrap wood to make a table that can hold fluids. 2x4s under it for support

PXL_20211007_191538640.MP.jpg


Threw some plastic on it and used that as the bench.

PXL_20211007_212437338.MP.jpg


I started pulling stuff apart. The whole pan went fine, but found some damage to the center support bushing. I have not checked out the matching edge on the planetary gear assembly yet, but I now see in the back of the photo that it does not look great. I'll do a better check later.

PXL_20211007_212512719.jpg


Quick photo of after I pulled everything out of the case

PXL_20211008_000810385.jpg


The direct drive clutch pack has definitely seen better days. You can hardly tell the frictions from the steels.

PXL_20211008_035050407.jpg


Upto this point I had guessed that I was not the first one in the transmission. There were a few things off, like how the anti rattle clip was missing, but when I pulled the clutch pack out of the forward clutch I found this metal disk in the bottom. That can't be factory.

PXL_20211008_035509033.jpg


I also found some scattered rust on the forward clutch. Nothing terrible, but it has definitely been exposed to weather.

I still need to clean everything up and do a better examination of everything, but it didn't look that bad inside. Nothing catastrophic. For what it's worth many of the berrings near the direct drive clutch had some material in them from the clutch itself. A bit crispy when testing them. For as cheap as they are I will just replace them while i'm in here.

Looks like a few hundred more tops, but it will be great to have a like-new transmission. Hopefully I will be able to go over the engine like this within a few years. At that point I will have had my hands in just about everything on the truck. I have not had to do any repairs in months now, but it will be great to have that number possibly reach years.

I also think I found the reason of the direct drive clutch failure. The inner seal on the piston was completely missing! Guessing that caused slipping and thus heat. There was a lot of heat on that clutch. The outer seal was melted out of shape and the whole drum was discolored. Ill post some photos lator. It does not look damaged, but was definitely overheated.

Hopefully I will be able to clean everything up this weekend and get a final list of replacement parts, but will see how the weather behaves. Don't really want to be doing this if it is only 45 out.
 
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CDW6212R

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Good progress there. The damage looks moderate, the big worry should be the main hard parts, not the clutches, bearings, or seals. It does sound like someone messed it up working on it the last time. Missing a piston seal is a huge deal.

Keep the parts in order as possible, clean the main stuff, discard all frictions and steels. Get the new bearing kit(nine in it I think) and keep the old ones where they went until you have the new ones to swap out. The bearings are not simple to identify to location, many look very similar in dimensions.

Do you have the main trans tools yet? You will have to have the seal installers, and a piston compression tool of some kind. I haven't found my box of tools for many years, which is part of why I haven't begun my 4R projects still.

I would suggest replacing the direct drum if it doesn't look perfect, that is a big weak link. Inspect the one way clutches very well too, and clean everything fully, to perfection. Any tiny particles can eat up bearings, and any clutch or wear surface.
 
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Justin_

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It (so far) does look like most of the damage is the bearings and bushings. The main clutch drum is definitely discolored and I do plan on replacing it. The rest I just glossed over as I didn't notice anything yet.

Definitely keeping things in order and will clean everything well and go over them again before placing my parts order. I've been keeping things organized. Seals with assembly's, assembly's together, roughly in order on the bench. That shouldn't be a problem. I have been keeping the bearings in place for the time being. I will be getting a new barring pack.

I haven't ordered any tools yet. Like I said I have been going along with the Transmission bench video series and in those videos he shows you how to make a piston press with some scrap wood so I did that. It worked quite well. I have looked into the reassembly part of the video and he shows you how to do it without using special tools, but I might grab some of those seal tools.

The mechanical diodes seem fine to me. They don't have the crunchy feel that some of the bearings have
 
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CDW6212R

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Very good. Use up a can or two of brake cleaner, blast anything well that has crevices etc, that you cannot see or get to. The rear drum(direct) is suspect for warpage and wear on the surfaces that the other parts ride against. The direct should be replaced unless it comes out of a perfect condition trans, known decent mileage etc. I anything doesn't look great inside a 4R, change the direct drum, the $60 or so is worth the money to gain the best possible part. Sonnax makes a direct drum kit that is super expensive($650), but it's for high power and includes other parts, and replaces the weakest link(the connection between the direct drum and the stub shaft(they make it int one part)).

Which "...main clutch drum is definitely discolored...", the reverse or forward drum? The front one is the reverse drum(with the mechanical diode), and the one right behind that is the forward. I like the Sonnax Forward drum top replace that one, theirs is much stronger, and holds two extra clutches. Sonnax makes two of those forward drums, don't buy the lower cost one, that one had(may still have) an issue with the inner retaining plate not having full tooth contact with the drum. The better one was about $185, the pictures show it as black instead of silver, and that's the best choice if you need a new forward drum. I have all of those Sonnax parts, from plans to build about three 4R's for my projects. I haven't used them yet, but they are very good parts for sure.
 
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Justin_

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Sorry, by main drum I meant to say direct drum. Will definitely be replacing that. I've been going with Sonnax parts where I can. Getting my birring kit from them and have there Sure Cure Kit to go in as well.

I hope to work on cleaning today, but will see if I have time for that.
 
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Justin_

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Well I did actually manage to get everything cleaned up today. Didn't really find any more surprises.

PXL_20211010_003827222.jpg


Here is a photo of the messy direct clutch. It was a huge pain to clean this far. Is covered in clutch/melted seal material, and a bit discolored from heat in places.

PXL_20211010_003154729.jpg

PXL_20211010_003159884.MP.jpg


I also found the piston was slightly discolored in some places, but nowhere near as bad.

PXL_20211010_004037287.jpg


Moving on, I found some strange surface on the ring gear. I would assume this is just casting material that was not cleaned at the factory, but thought I would get a second opinion before I ignored it.

PXL_20211010_013012088.jpg


Looking back at where the barring seats on the planetary gearset you can see some maring of the bearing surface, but it is very minor. I honestly cant even feel it.

PXL_20211010_013636309.jpg


Overall what I think happened was when the transmission was last rebuilt (or more likely just had a few parts swapped, many of the seals are still old) the inner seal on the direct drive piston was not installed. This allowed ATF to blow by the inside and lead to low oil pressure, and thus low clutch pressure. That caused the material to start breaking down and overheat, leading the the destruction of the clutch. This dumped a fair bit of clutch material into the oil and that worked its way to some of the berrings tearing them up a touch.

Anyway, teardown and cleaning is basically done now. About ready to place my orders.

Im planning to get the following items
Center Support Bushing -- Bushing damage as photoed
Rear Planet Bushing -- Bushing damage as photoed
Anti Rattle Clip -- Was just flat out missing
Bushing Kit w/all bushings -- Grit from direct clutch messed up a lot of them
Direct Drum -- Was a mess as photoed above
Assembly Lube -- Can never have enugh lubes
Torque Converter -- Not internal, but still need one

I can also order a direct clutch piston if yall think I should

Beyond that I don't think I need too much else.
 
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