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2003 2WD 3.0, 5R44E to 5R55E swap, worthwhile or worthless?


bhgl

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Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Mazda B3000
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Hey folks,

For context, this is mostly in the name of research, the best option for swaps with these trucks of course is to just buy the truck with the powertrain you want, but since I'm a sentimental guy I'd rather keep the truck I have and the modifications I've done to it already.

I'm looking into 2wd transmissions for my truck, I know the 5R44E can be less than reliable at times, and in my use case I travel long distances at high speeds with a not insignificant payload, and just for fun I would be curious to see how heavy I could tow with this little ranger.

My plan would be to purchase a 5R55E used, and have it rebuilt with fresh or upgraded components including a shift kit, then install it, or purchase a full pre-built unit from one of several different companies.

My main questions are:
  • Will the 5R55E work seamlessly with my existing PCM, given that my truck is from that weird era (2001-2003) and uses a VSS sensor for speed, will I need to purchase a specific year of 5R55E for it to work?
  • Are bellhousings/input shafts compatible? The bellhousings for 3.0, and 4.0 transmissions are in fact different, but would a 3.0 bellhousing bolt to a 5r55E transmission?
  • Will I need a new/custom driveshaft? I believe these transmissions are effectively the same with the 55 being slightly beefier, but regardless I'd prefer to minimize the number of new or salvaged parts needed.
As always, any and all help is appreciated!
 


05MountainGoat

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Location
Vancouver Island
Vehicle Year
2005
Make / Model
Edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
Vulcan V6 3.0
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
1.5" T-bar Crank, Aftermarket Forged Keys
Tire Size
32"
I've looked into this in the past. Its not worth it. Your biggest hurdle is gonna be adapting the 5r55e tune to your ECU to take advantage of the "5th" gear.

The bellhousings are integral to the Transmissions on late ranger automatics AFAIK. You can find some detachable bellhousings for the 3.0, but they're pricey or very rare- could probably find a 5r55 derivative with a factory detachable bellhousing- maybe, idk. Most enthusiasts with the detachable bellhousing seem to swap in a completely different Auto Trans.

Ive looked into this and it isn't really worth it. I'd just slap a 4x4 pan on her with a new 4x4 filter, fill her up with fresh fluid, and call it a day. If your feeling fancy you could do a shift kit too, if you feel it's necessary, or an additional transmission cooler.
 

bhgl

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Location
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Vehicle Year
2003
Make / Model
Mazda B3000
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
I've looked into this in the past. Its not worth it. Your biggest hurdle is gonna be adapting the 5r55e tune to your ECU to take advantage of the "5th" gear.

The bellhousings are integral to the Transmissions on late ranger automatics AFAIK. You can find some detachable bellhousings for the 3.0, but they're pricey or very rare- could probably find a 5r55 derivative with a factory detachable bellhousing- maybe, idk. Most enthusiasts with the detachable bellhousing seem to swap in a completely different Auto Trans.

Ive looked into this and it isn't really worth it. I'd just slap a 4x4 pan on her with a new 4x4 filter, fill her up with fresh fluid, and call it a day. If your feeling fancy you could do a shift kit too, if you feel it's necessary, or an additional transmission cooler.
I'm pretty sure the 5R44e has the same number of gears (4+OD) as the 55e, you may be referring the the 4R44E, so I'm assuming the programming from the PCM would be sufficient as long as all the right wires and sensors are in there.

Thank you for your answer though, because it got me to do some more digging, and according some fairly old forum posts, it looks like the 5R55E was in fact installed in the Edge/Dual Sport models of trucks that used the 3.0 V6.

That gives me at least some hope that they made detachable bell housings, since it seems unlikely that Ford would build a solid casting just to accommodate those trucks.
 

pjtoledo

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towing ability has a lot to do with rear axle ratios and tire sizes, and a trans cooler.
by the time you reach "how much can I tow" the brakes are inadequate.

yes 5R44e and 5R55e have the same number of gears. guess what, that is 4 mechanical forward gears.
a "5 speed" Ranger auto transmission is actually a 4 speed with software/computer control to create a 5th gear
by applying overdrive to 1st gear.
such as:

1st = 1st
2nd = 1st + overdrive engaged
3rd = 2nd (no overdrive)
4th = 3rd straight thru 1-1
5th = 4th real overdrive

that's how the 5 speeds really work.

1st and 2nd have a sizeable gap, applying OD to 1st puts a "gear" right in the middle between the two.
 

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