4x4/v8 conversion 2003 ranger edge 2wd - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 12-12-2010
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4x4/v8 conversion 2003 ranger edge 2wd

Hello everyone,

First of all I would like to thank the community for providing me with most of the information that I have gathered. Most of the forums were very helpful and with enough searching would probably answer all of my questions. However, I have searched and searched and I'm tired of looking. This is my attempt to localize some very specific information. I am new to forums and this site so please bear with me.

I am wanting to drop a 5.0l v8 from a 99-01 explorer/mountaineer into my 2003 ranger edge single cab. I discovered that this is fairly easy to do aside from wiring complexities. In the future I also plan to convert the drivetrain to 4x4. So far finding a 99-01 5.0 exp/moun for a donor vehicle has been very easy; however, finding one with a 5.0 and 4x4 has been a task.

It seems to me that the easiest conversion would be to find a complete donor vehicle equipped with 4x4 and simply swap the parts, but I want to hear your ideas. Using a manual transmission/transfer case/front drive shaft from an f150 is another option that I would prefer to use. I have heard that it is a very tight fit and I don't want to move all the motor mounts a 1/2" to the right, so if you know that it won't fit please tell me. I read that the np205 is a smaller t-case with the six bolt pattern, does anyone know if it or another t-case will fit? I would also like to know other potential problems and how cost effective this is vs buying a 4x4 explorer.

Keeping metal fabrication to a minimum and simplicity are my main goals for this project. I have seen that using the front diff. from appropriate year exp/ranger/mountaineers only requires 1 mount fabrication which is great. Are there any other relatively simple 4x4 conversions? Old explorer 4x4 components are cheap and abundant and if any of these parts are simply installed I would like to know $$$. It turns out this is more of a drivetrain question than a v8 question, but both have to be considered. Plus, I saw that all v8 talk should take place here. I am a noob, but I think this thread is appropriately placed. Thanks for the help in advance.

Last edited by jjaurs; 12-12-2010 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010
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you will not be able to fit the f150 transfer case on your single cab. it interferes with the gas tanks. you will have to run a 1354 case from a Ranger. electric or manual. either way. or you could use the AWD t-case from the donor 5.0 Expo. I would suggest, if you leave it 2WD for awhile, that you install the t-case and have the rear drive-shaft made to fit for it so you don't have to have a new drive-shaft made twice but obviously not have a front axle or a front drive-shaft. then later you can add those items to get your 4x4/
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Old 12-13-2010
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Originally Posted by Masteratarms93 View Post
you will not be able to fit the f150 transfer case on your single cab. it interferes with the gas tanks. you will have to run a 1354 case from a Ranger. electric or manual. either way. or you could use the AWD t-case from the donor 5.0 Expo. I would suggest, if you leave it 2WD for awhile, that you install the t-case and have the rear drive-shaft made to fit for it so you don't have to have a new drive-shaft made twice but obviously not have a front axle or a front drive-shaft. then later you can add those items to get your 4x4/
Thanks for the quick response, I'll be going with the 1354. Which transmissions accept the transfer case and will hold up behind the v8? Is the 4r70w 4x4 transmission the best option for this application?? What about the 5r55e (overdrive would be nice)?

Last edited by jjaurs; 12-13-2010 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010
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The 5R55E is not up to the V8 torque and it will not bolt up to a 302 anyway. The 4R70W from the Explorer is also an overdrive transmission and is the best overall choice for an automatic behind an Ex 5.0.

Obviously the 5.0 AWD Ex version of the 4R70W will bolt directly to the Ex 5.0's single speed AWD case.

If you want to use a part time, 2-speed Ranger 1354 behind the 4R70W, you'll need to install an AOD/1354 adapter kit and an AODE oiling kit from Advance Adapters - over $600 for the parts plus installation. Plan on custom length driveshafts, too.
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Old 12-13-2010
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Alright this changes things, obviously I'm not too concerned with fuel efficiency so I think I'll plan on finding a complete donor vehicle and removing the front drive shaft out of season. I saw on mudslanger's how-to that he used the adapters and kept the 1354, but I didn't know they cost that much. Plus, all that fab work sounds like a pain.

So here's what we've got so far:
-5.0l
-4r70w
-AWD t-case from exp

Using these parts, where should I look for:
-appropriate length driveshafts (if possible)
-front axle (I currently have a limited slip 8.8" 4.10 in the back and I'd like to keep it)
-other front end components

Last edited by jjaurs; 12-13-2010 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010
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If you don't mind full time AWD and can live without low range in the T-case, the 99~01 5.0 / 4R70W / AWD case is by far the simplest swap.

Using these parts, you should be able to bolt up stock 98+ Ranger 4x4 reg cab driveshafts and a stock 98+ 4.10 front axle. I'd steer clear of the troublesome 98~2000.5 PVH hub system and look for the 2000.5+ live axle version instead. For the best setup possible, get the entire front diff/axles/knuckles/brakes/etc from a 2003.5 or newer 4x4 and you'll also get larger 12" front disc brakes in the bargain. Depending on which wheels you choose, some factory 15" wheels will hit the 12" brake calipers but most aftermarket wheels will clear.

The front axle will need an extra mount added to the 2WD Edge frame.

Your stock rear axle is fine as-is unless the Traction Lok needs a rebuild.
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Old 12-13-2010
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what about twin sticks? i want to do this same thing in a lil while and im not going to have automatic anything due to the failures of automatic things no matter what they might be.
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Old 12-13-2010
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Thanks for the help Bob, I think I've got a pretty good idea about what I'm gonna do now. I do hate the fact that I'll be stuck with a problematic ford auto tranny (bad luck in the past) and awd without low, but my budget's tight seeing as I'm in college. It will also take me a while to complete this due to college, but I will be sure to document the build and post it in an attempt to return the favor.

One last question, if I find a 4wd donor explorer will the front axle/knuckes/etc bolt in just as easily? The reason I ask is because they don't have the vacuum hubs and it would save me some money. I do like the idea of bigger brakes though, especially since I'm adding quite a bit of weight.

Last edited by jjaurs; 12-13-2010 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010
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I believe that the Explorer 4x4s and AWD's got the bigger 12" front brakes before the 4x4 Ranger did. Not sure which years. You should be able to use a gen2 Explorer front axle in a Ranger - just watch out for the earlier years (95? 96? 97?) that had some kind of automatic disconnect vacuum axle in the 4.0's. It is my understanding that those will not clear the 5.0 pan. Whichever you get, Ranger or Explorer, be sure it's a 4.10 so you don't have to regear it to match the rear.


BTW, the 4R70W is one of the better RWD Ford automatics IMO. The 99~01 4Rs are the best of the 5.0 Explorer bunch with several key upgrades over previous years. There are very good, inexpensive and easy to install shift kits that will tighten up the action and help clean up the soccer mom sliding shifts. I used TransGo. Baumann and Superior are a couple of others that have a good rep.
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Old 12-13-2010
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all that crap is the reason i am going with a 4.0 swap lol
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Old 12-13-2010
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Originally Posted by Masteratarms93 View Post
all that crap is the reason i am going with a 4.0 swap lol
I can definitely see why. If I didn't dream about a loping 5.0 every night I'd definitely do the same.

I did some more research on these dana 35 axles and in 1998 they switched the gearing from reverse rotation to standard rotation. Looks like I'll be shooting for 98-01 front ends from an exp to kill two birds with one stone. Otherwise I'll go for the 03.5 ranger front end. I appreciate the heads up on the sloppy shifts, I'm adding TransGo to the list right now. Thank y'all for the help, now I'll start tracking down parts for the next 2 years...or until I break something.

Last edited by jjaurs; 12-14-2010 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 12-14-2010
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If you decide to put in a fuel cell where the spare tire goes you can free up some space to run the f150 case.

I have been acquiring parts for my swap(s) its a slow and long road, i just decided to go back to school. My plan 5.0, 4r70w, np205 twin sticked, on 37's with d44/d60 sas. Very ambitious and will need to be done in stages. I do need a new DD for this long project.
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Old 01-11-2014
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Sorry double posted on my phone cause my long ramble got refreshed and i thought i lost it. so it was there and i was like heck ya LMAO thx for the help

Last edited by christobal.boskez; 01-11-2014 at 12:33 AM. Reason: double post making it shorter and less obnoxiouse SPELLCHECK
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Old 01-11-2014
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Originally Posted by rwenzing View Post
I believe that the Explorer 4x4s and AWD's got the bigger 12" front brakes before the 4x4 Ranger did. Not sure which years. You should be able to use a gen2 Explorer front axle in a Ranger - just watch out for the earlier years (95? 96? 97?) that had some kind of automatic disconnect vacuum axle in the 4.0's. It is my understanding that those will not clear the 5.0 pan. Whichever you get, Ranger or Explorer, be sure it's a 4.10 so you don't have to regear it to match the rear.


BTW, the 4R70W is one of the better RWD Ford automatics IMO. The 99~01 4Rs are the best of the 5.0 Explorer bunch with several key upgrades over previous years. There are very good, inexpensive and easy to install shift kits that will tighten up the action and help clean up the soccer mom sliding shifts. I used TransGo. Baumann and Superior are a couple of others that have a good rep.
So I'm obviously very new to the forum and New to vehicle modification in general. I have the 03, 3.0 edge single cab, short bed, flare side. I have been looking underneath every newer 4x4 ranger in Columbus trying to understand the differences, 4x2-4x4, I did this because I have always figured things out for myself. There are however a few things that I don't quite understand or haven't known where to find the info. I don't know about tranny to motor linkage. Eg. Bell housing bolts to motor, and splines(could really use some direction on better understanding that). I don't need more power and I'm sitting on a reliable 3.0 and manual 5spd.(Need to know if those will work with the man transfer case from the fx4v2 Recently I crawled under another. The 2003.5 or newer fx4 level 2, this one looked like it had independent front susp a bolted on differential and some half shafts.

Now I understand the front wheel hubs and bearing are different 4x2-4x4 As well possibly the control arms torsion arm and so on. Those are the other variables I'm not sure of and don't know where to look, I don't want to junk yard all this stuff in 1 day and spend more than I need to and remove more than I need to. Very good at getting things out of tight spaces:) good junk yard here. Anyway you guys seem to know this truck all over.
Will be sticking around here.

Really what I need to know is which fx4 v2 parts do I need or not need, obviously I'm going dual stick with the manual transfer case(No electrical stuff to mess with:) even If I have to buy that new, sway bar and other front end susp parts needed or not needed. appreciate the time you spend helping me. i have been thinking about this for quite a while with a lot of suppose to be experienced people telling me it would be too much work LOL. WORTH IT

More info Edit: So i did some more internet research for myself and was able to narrow down i have the m5R1 Trany and that bw 1354 transfer case will work I think i still cant seem to find anywhere that conclusively says how many splines each of the components shafts have ERRRRRRR

A full list of all the parts that will need to be replaced, front end and any brackets to be welded front differential.

Last edited by christobal.boskez; 01-11-2014 at 03:17 AM. Reason: More info
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