Trans Help.... ZF-5 VS M502-R2 - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 10-05-2010
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Trans Help.... ZF-5 VS M502-R2

Well i am currently building a 347 to toss in the ranger... so its not quite as slow... lol... any how i have been trying to think out what trans to run.

I have access to a, what im almost certain a M502-R2 Mazda trans from a 1995 F-150 4X4, with the t-case flange already on it and a fresh rebuild(3000MILES Ago) its been sitting for a couple years. But looks to be in good shape. im assuming its the M5R2, from what i have gathered online, now my dilemma is i've heard decent stories about them lasting in a V8, and horror stories as well...

Now that brings me to the ZF-5, wich will also bolt to a 302 block, but supposubly much more heave duty. I would first have to locate one, and also no clue what i can scoop one up for, i can get the rebuilt M5R2 for 200$, i may find a zf for that, but it wont be as fresh i suppose you could say.

Also will the BW1356 work on both trans, as long as they are 4x4's? just trying to see what people have had luck with what. I dont wanna be buying the wrong trans.


thanks in adavance
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Old 10-05-2010
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The M5OD-R2 is a nice trans, i ran one behind a mildly built 302 in my 96 f-150 and it was fine

the ZF is an awesome trans but it likes to be shifted slow, and at lower rpm so if you wanna beat on this truck a ZF may not be your thing
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Old 10-05-2010
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The M5ODR2 is plentiful and cheap. It is an OK transmission but not the greatest for shift quality or durabilty. Ford didn't use the R2 behind the the 5.8, opting for the ZF instead, so that should tell you something. The ratio spread is less drag race and more trucklike with medium gear steps. Watch the oil level and replace the rubber plugs on the back of the top shifter plate with something that won't fall out over time. The 96-back R2 from the 4.9/5.0 F-series/Bronco will bolt up to any SBF but puts the shift lever too far forward for an easy install in a Ranger. The R2 out of the 97~03 4.2 V6 F150 is the same bolt pattern as a SBF and puts the shifter in a much more Ranger-friendly position.

The ZF with the Ford small block bolt pattern has not been in production for about 14 years, so any junkyard example will likely have a zillion heavy duty truck miles on it and probably cost $500+. A rebuilt example is $1000+. First is a granny gear and useless on the street but should be an asset offroad. Compared to the M5R2, the ZF is gigantic and would require a 3" body lift or extensive tunnel mods in a Ranger.

Either transmission will bolt directly to the 1356, 4406 and most other full size domestic transfer cases using the common six bolt round pattern.

Both the M5ODR2 and the gas ZF use the same stupid internal slave cylinder used in the Ranger's M5ODR1. That makes for an easier swap but less reliability.

Unfortunately, there aren't that many easy choices for a 4x4 Ranger V8 swap. Rumor has it that a Mustang T5 with an S10 shifter and 4x4 tailhousing can be made to work but I don't have any confirmed info on that.
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Old 10-06-2010
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Bob, i know you are always right...but are you SURE you could not get a 5.8 with an R2? i have seen a few 351 trucks with ZF's but i have also seen 351 trucks with R2's, my neighbor has a 94 f-250 4x4 with a 351 and a R2 and his father bought it new...just wondering
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Old 10-06-2010
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How stout is a T5? there is always the option of getting a Divorced style t case and a custom linkage shaft to make it 4x4 compatible, rather then a mated case?

Easy setup... but is the T5 any more stout then the 1st 2 options?
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Old 10-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toreador4x4 View Post
Bob, i know you are always right...but are you SURE you could not get a 5.8 with an R2? i have seen a few 351 trucks with ZF's but i have also seen 351 trucks with R2's, my neighbor has a 94 f-250 4x4 with a 351 and a R2 and his father bought it new...just wondering
Could be but that's not how I remember it. I hope you're right because it would give me more confidence in the R2. There's a new one sitting in my garage waiting to go behind the V8.

Last edited by V8 Level II; 10-07-2010 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 10-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiftedSplash95 View Post
How stout is a T5? there is always the option of getting a Divorced style t case and a custom linkage shaft to make it 4x4 compatible, rather then a mated case?

Easy setup... but is the T5 any more stout then the 1st 2 options?
A World Class T5 is strong enough but a regular T5 could be marginal with a stroker.

The 5.0 Mustang T5 is set up for a cable clutch. The cable arrangement can be adapted to the Ranger or an external slave can be added to the T5 to work with the Rangers master.

The shift lever on the Mustang T5 is back at the very end of the tail housing so several inches back from the factory Ranger position. That's where the conversion to an S10 shifter would help.

The T5's ratio spread is tighter than either of the truck transmissions and the shifting is better.

Last edited by V8 Level II; 10-07-2010 at 05:28 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-07-2010
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ill have to keep an open mind to this. but the M5R2 is a great deal, value wize... and tempting, long as it will hold is all.
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Old 10-21-2010
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Just a question, will any 5.0L Flywheel/flexplate work in the M5O2 R2 Trans work, or am i limited to the f-150 flywheels, im looking to get a light weight flywheel? this answer would be very helpful!
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Old 10-21-2010
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Later 5.0 Mustang flywheels are smaller 157T and will not work with the starter mount on the M5R2. You need a 164T 302 flywheel with the correct imbalance for your engine. The later (82-on??) car and truck 5.0's are 50 oz-in imbalance. I believe that some earlier 302's car flywheels were 164T and 28.2 imbalance.

Many 347 cranks are intended for 28.2 oz-in imbalance. Others say that they can be balanced for the later model 50 oz-in imbalance. A few are internal (zero) balance. You must match the flywheel and harmonic damper imbalance to that of the rotating assembly or vice versa. It would be good to check with whoever is doing your balance work before buying a flywheel.

I decided that I didn't want the light flywheel for my 4x4, so I'm going with an SFI certified steel part instead. If it's what you really want, you should be able to find a 164T 302 aluminum flywheel that will work. Get a matching clutch and you should be good to go.
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Old 10-21-2010
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Thanks for the great answer Rwenzing, helps clarify alot on my end.


But this leads me to a whole new question lol... what differences will i notice with a light vs stock flywheel. as im doing a 4x4 as well... am i better off with one then the other.

At this point i found a couple different flywheels:
The first is stock replacement, 26's lbs in steel for around 80-100$
The second, was on ebay, all forged chromoly, 17lbs. 175$
The last, lightweight Aluminum, 13lbs. 350$


Now, the only experience i have with flywheels, is in a single cylinder atv engine...

Lighter, would have a crisper, quicker rev, compared to stock, but on the downside, easier to stall, and loose inertia withing the motor,

Heavier, would make it less prone to stall, keeping the engine inertia going, slow the revs up a bit however.

Are flywheels about the same effect on theses V8s' mind you the differences is now in lbs and not in ouces lol...


IF i were to go lightweight, i would go with the 17lbs chromoly one at most, vs the stock weight, for i would fell 13 would be way to light for my application, just assuming of course. plus the price is too high for my liking on the aluminum.

Now having a 347 motor im building, plan on running 4.10 gears. what would the best flywheel be for my application, any opinions?
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Old 10-21-2010
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Your comments are right on about quicker revving versus stable idle and stalling. IMO, the midweight chromoly would be a good choice if street and off road acceleration is your first consideration. I would (and did) choose a near-stock weight flywheel because it will be best at very low RPM and will not be finicky in a daily driver. I've been through this before with dirt bikes and sometimes more flywheel is better, sometimes lighter is better. It all depends on the intended use.
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Old 10-21-2010
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Yea its gonna be big tires, 4.10 hears, daily driver and towing mosty, im thinking of retiring it from the off road scene for a bit, and picking up something im not scared to dent and break on a regular basis. i'll have to look into it, considering im going to be running larger tires, around 35's i think i may be better off with the regular weight flywheel, it's half the price as well.... im trying to go about the build as the best bang for the buck kind of parts, of what i will need, if that makes sense.
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Old 11-14-2010
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I found an 88 351 164 tooth flywheel, stock one from ford, and its brandnew, what balance were they, i am gonna need the 28 stuff after talkinf to eagle and the machinist, will this flywheel work? or do i need to keep hunting.
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Old 11-14-2010
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To the best of my knowledge, all of the 5.8L / 351W engines were 28.2 oz-in imbalance. Will an 88 351W flywheel work with your stroked 302 + manual swap? I don't know. Somebody on the various Mustang boards would though.
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Old 11-14-2010
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all i know about the flywheel is its a 164T 88 351 stock flywheel, brand new, replacement or stock im not sure, the engine builder doing my block has it in his shop from some one who backed out of a deal, were just not sure what balance it is, and he is not familiar with the M502 R2 trans, but if it uses the the same 28.2 imbalance, summit list both engines use the same flywheel but there are different tooth counts on each, And if i need the 164 tooth flywheel, is there only 1 diameter 164 tooth, or is there alot of choices here... i may have to ask around on the stang forums, thanks for the info Rwenzing, ill have too look into it. but the specifics seem to be adding up, but ill have to really verify this, i do not want to get my rotating assembly balanced with a flywheel i can use...
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