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Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 04-12-2016
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Icon5 Ranger Transmission interchangeability

Hello Ranger community, this is my first time posting here seeing as my research on this idea has come to confusion and contradicting ends.

I have a 2001 3.0L RWD, Automatic, Ranger with a transmission holding maybe a month left on it. Bit of a bummer, but at 325xxx and being the original, it doesn't owe me anything.

Now here's where my confusion begins:
  • According to my VIN Sticker and this Ford Ranger Automatic Transmission Identification walkthrough, my transmission is a 5R55E; Represented by a 'D'
    Though the table is incomplete and based on my engine, I should have the 5R44E. Both of these transmissions are 5-Speeds.
  • Mine is equipped with a 4-Speed (Over Drive transmission).
  • I have a 4 series transmission, more likely the 4R44E since the 2000 3.0L Ranger was equipped with one. My guess would be 2001 was a transition period for some manufacturing plants and mine pulled the short stick.
  • I'm looking to put a 5-Speed into him as a replacement.
  • I'd be looking for a 5R44E with an ECU, though I'm concerned that I was given the entire 3.0/4R44E drive train and they are not interchangeable.

I've read about fifteen posts that say they are not, they are and everything in between. I'm looking for someone who has tried or completed this swap, or simply just has enough experience with the Ranger varieties to provide a supported argument for or against my cause.

Summarizing, my questions are:
(Assuming I have a 4R44E transmission)

Is the 4R44E interchangeable with a 5R44E?

Bolt Pattern? Wiring Harness?

Are the _R44E (2.5/3.0L) transmissions interchangeable with _R55E (4.0L) transmissions?

Bolt Pattern? Wiring Harness?

I've never worked with ECU's so my knowledge is absent here:

Obviously a 5-Speed ECU is required;

is an ECU a plug-and-play thing?

Can they be reprogrammed?
Say if I took it to a ford dealership? Cost?

I assume the 4.0 ECU would account for power differences and not work with my 3.0?
I believe they have different bolt patterns.

Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks guys!

Here's a picture of my one and only sitting on the nails to my transmissions coffin, 31s (they were free). Blue Racing stripes on the hood for an enthusiastic 3.Slow.
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Old 04-13-2016
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Welcome to the forum

4R44E and 5R44E are pretty much the same transmission internally.
FYI, XX55E were only used with 4.0l engines

Ford added the 5th gear electronically, when trans needs to shifts out of 1st, OD is engaged, this is the "new" 2nd gear

4R44E has these gears: 2.47 / 1.47 / 1.00 / 0.75

5R44E has these gears: 2.47 / 1.87 / 1.47 / 1.00 / 0.75

You can see the "new" 2nd gear ratio inserted, 1.87
1st and OD engaged at the same time:
2.47(1st) X .75(OD) = 1.85(new 2nd), with mechanical transition it comes out as 1.87

Computer added 2nd gear, since computer already had control to engage and disengage OD, it was just a firmware change, and Ford gets a "new" 5-speed

So yes you do need a different ECU to control the 5R44E

ECUs are specific to engine and transmission, also PATS(Fords Anti-theft system)
So you will need 3.0l/5R44E ECU and you will need the Keys for that ECU and have your ignition and doors re-keyed for those keys.
Or after the install have a mobile locksmith come out and add your PATS keys to the new ECU.
ECU must be installed in the vehicle and all wiring working in order to reprogram it, you can't added keys otherwise, not even Ford can do that.

Automatics(and most manuals now) have integrated Bell Housings, can't be removed and changed without total rebuild.
3.0l has a unique block bolt pattern.
So you can only use a transmission from a 3.0l engine, and in your case a 2WD transmission, 4WD won't work and can't be converted without total rebuild.

Since XX55Es were only used with 4.0l engines they won't bolt to a 3.0l engines

Overall I see no benefit in changing from a 4R44E to a 5R44E you don't get more power, maybe if you are pulling a trailer alot the Faux 2nd gear might be helpful in getting started but all the other gear ratios are the same.

You can call a Ford Dealer and ask them if they can change the firmware, that would be a better option than dealing with the PATS system.
But it has to be done IN the vehicle, so you would have to get the vehicle to them, current ECU should work fine with 5R44E, just no 2nd gear, so would be drive-able to get to the Ford Dealer, IF.........it can be given new firmware, which is a question mark.

Since these two transmissions are identical, drive shaft and trans mounts will be the same

31" tires, when you change the tire diameter you change the axle ratio, if you go larger you get better top speed but lose low end "pep"
On the door label will be an AXLE code, get it and look here: http://www.therangerstation.com/tech...le_codes.shtml

Get your axle ratio, 3.73 is the most common
Get stock tire size, on that door label as well

Then go here: http://www.therangerstation.com/tech...ioChange.shtml

Put in new diameter and old, then axle ratio
The lower the number the less "pep" you will have
Look at "new" ratio, thats what you would change to to get back to original ratio
If you have a 3.73 and changed to a 4.10 rear axle then you would get the "pep" back and the speedometer would be correct, bonus, lol.

Last edited by RonD; 04-13-2016 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 04-14-2016
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this was very helpful! I did not think about the anti-theft system.. with that being in place, I'll just stick to the 4R44E.

As to my 31s, I'm well aware, they add ~7% to my speedo and odo... I don't mind (they were free haha), not too noticeable on my first gear anyways, just hard in second if it shifts down below my power band.

That's the main reason I wanted the faux gear, unless you give some hard throttle, the first to second transition puts you just below the meat of the 3.0 power band.. and with an older transmission that's reluctant to downshift when you meet a hill, forcing it down seems redundant to having an auto, and the amount of throttle needed to downshift sometimes makes me feel guilty... high rpms > high gas input imo

anyways, thanks a lot.. I've got a few leads in my local wreckers I'll be checking out tomorrow.

Would you recommend grabbing a shiny new torque converter since I'll have it apart?
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Old 04-14-2016
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Yes, always a new torque converter.

And ALL automatics need a 2nd trans cooler, Rad trans coolers are the bare minimum manufactures can get away with, $60 will add years to an auto transmissions life.

And I think sticking with a 4R44E is a good decision.

Last edited by RonD; 04-14-2016 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 01-11-2017
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Old 01-11-2017
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If it is an automatic transmission you may have broken the transmission, if torque converter was not correctly installed ON THE TRANSMISSION first, and you tightened up the bolts then you broke the front pump and trans is toast.

If manual then put trans in Neutral

Video on how you MUST install torque converter: www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7klzEV0kng

You can NOT install torque converter on engine, and then slide it into transmission
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