2001 2.3 stick to auto? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 10-29-2007
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2001 2.3 stick to auto?

I have a 2001 2.3 XLT Ex Cab manual. It has 272,009 miles on it right now and the engine is going. I found a no mile 2004 2.3 W/ auto take out engine and trans(from Ford). I am wondering what it would take to swap the trans in along with the motor? I much prefer the stick, but since it came with the engine and I do tow, I figured it would be more convenient. Also, would there be any issues going from 01 to 04? I don't think theres any real differences but I'm not too familiar with the auto trans.

Heres what I am thinking it will require:
Have trans and wiring harness for engine/transmission
Pcm
Auto brake pedal(wire clutch interlock closed)
Steering column? Would I need the whole thing or just parts? And is it cable shifted?
Floor plate to cover hole and console
Cooler(not sure if I would run it with the radiator one or just a stand alone unit)

What else am I forgetting? The pedal and steering column parts should not be a issue, but the PCM I have no idea where to get.

Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2007
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You have the right idea on the manual to auto parts. IMO, working from a compatible junkyard donor vehicle would be a good way to get the majority of the pieces. Bought new, all of this stuff adds up quickly.

The base steering columns are the same but changing the automatic parts over is some work. Also, there are quite a few parts so a donor column is the way to go. Either that or swap in a complete auto column. 2001~2003 would be the most compatible.

The shifter uses a large cable to control the transmission. There is also a small wire cable that goes from the shift mechanism to the gear indicator in the cluster. The indicator easily swapped for the blanking plate in your manual cluster.

The automatic radiator has the heat exchanger inside and is a better way to go than just an oil-to-air unit. The best would be to use both an automatic radiator AND an aux cooler, especially since you plan to tow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now for the bad news: 2004 saw major changes to the electrical system throughout the truck but especially in the dash which got a new instrument panel with its own internal microprocessor. So, trying to make everything in your 2001 truck compatible with a 2004 automatic PCM would probably cause some major heartburn. On the other hand, you could try a 2001 auto PCM but it is quite possible that it might not be completely compatible with the 2004 engine harness and the transmission/engine controls - don't know.

In either case, you'd be looking for a 2.3L auto PCM only. Anything for a V6 and/or a manual won't work. Also, Ford made both 2.5L and 2.3L 4-cylinders during 2001 model year. The 2.5 PCM will not work in the 2.3.

PATS would need to be set up after the PCM is changed and that requires a special tool used by dealers or locksmiths.
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Old 10-29-2007
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Thanks a ton, that covered just about everything.

The point of going to auto is to save money, so junkyard parts are the only way to go.

Steering column: The newest any junkyard here has is 2000, anything newer never sees the yard and you cant pull parts yourself. I guess ideal would be to get an auto column and put my electronics on it. Would a Explorer column work here? They are much more plentiful.

The gear indicator I have covered, I have a Sport Trac one to go in and it is for an auto.

My radiator has the fittings? for the heat exchanger, so all I should need to get is a secondary cooler.

I completely forgot about the 03-04 wiring changeover. Is there anywhere to get the pin outs for the computer harness? Specifically for the body to engine harness connector and the ECM itself? Ive done this kinda thing for 5.0s before, but never with OBDII.

And I never even thought of the PATS issue. I know the codes are stored in the ECM but it never dawned on me that I would be removing those codes and replacing them with someone else's! That one really would have driven me nuts once this was all done and I couldn't get it to start!
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Old 10-29-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod88
Steering column: Would a Explorer column work here? They are much more plentiful.
I used parts from a 98 Explorer column to convert my 2003 manual column to auto. It's kind of a hassle to do. If you decided to swap in a complete 98~2001 Ex column instead, you would need to change the PATS Transceiver Module because it's type B PATS in the Ex and the 2001~2004 Ranger is type E. 97 and earlier Ex columns don't have PATS at all.

The airbag plug connector is different on a 98 Ex clockspring and won't match your 2001 Ranger. As far as I know, the 99~2001 Explorer and 2001~2003 Ranger connectors are the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod88
My radiator has the fittings? for the heat exchanger, so all I should need to get is a secondary cooler.
My manual radiator didn't have the auto trans heat exchanger tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod88
I completely forgot about the 03-04 wiring changeover. Is there anywhere to get the pin outs for the computer harness? Specifically for the body to engine harness connector and the ECM itself? Ive done this kinda thing for 5.0s before, but never with OBDII.
OBDII and PATS make it more challenging.

IMO, you'd be doing yourself a giant favor by getting the factory Wiring Manuals for your truck and the newer engine/trans. I don't recommend the 2001 Wiring Manual because it was in a different format for 2001 only, "experimental" so to speak - it is harder to use because of it. The dealers must have squawked because the format was changed back to the earlier style in 2002.

2001 and 2002 2.3L Rangers are virtually identical electrically, so using 2002 and 2004 manuals should be perfect for this project.

This eBay seller has them for $10~12 each used vs $60 new from Helm (Ford's service publications printer/distributor).
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Old 10-29-2007
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if i remember correctly, 2001 was the only year 2.3 to have EGR
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