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'94 4x4 - Good idea to swap A4LD to M5R1?


94firstranger

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I have a 1994 Ranger 4.0L 4x4 with 170k on it and the A4LD transmission (also has 6" lift, 4.56 gears, and 33s for what it's worth). Runs fine, no problems, but it has high miles and I am thinking of the future.

I've read the tech articles on swapping in a manual. I am not a gearhead and will likely see if a transmission/custom shop can do this work. At a high level, are these the parts/steps needed to do the swap?

Need:
  • M5R1 transmission
  • PCM from '94 4.0L 4x4 w/ manual transmission
  • Pedal assembly
  • Clutch
  • Any supporting brackets etc. for a manual transmission

Steps:
  • Remove A4LD
  • Install M5R1/clutch
  • Install new pedal assembly and other supporting parts
  • Replace PCM with one from 4.0L 4x4 w/ a manual

I know it's not this simple, as I am sure installing all of the other parts to make the M5R1 work is a chore. Will the PCM from a '94 manual straight up swap with mine? Any differences in wiring or wiring harness? Any other big gotchas?

I don't beat on this truck much at all, mostly b/c I don't want to blow up the A4LD. Can the A4LD be built to be tougher, or is it just bad all around?

And I should buy a membership because this site is great :D Thanks!
 


RonD

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Welcome to TRS :)

You need Flywheel as well

And Steering column from manual if you want it to look like a manual

M5OD-R1(M5R1) has a one piece case so you have to get M5R1 from a 4.0l engine, one from a 3.0l, 2.3l, 2.5l will not work
Also needs to be from a 4x4 4.0l, 2WD had different tail shaft and housing

And I would see if you can find manual transfer case as well, if doing this swap

But, IMO, you would be better off rebuilding the A4LD right and stick with an automatic.
Automatics have an almost infinite ratio Low Gear because of torque converter.
You can also do gas pedal, brake pedal with two feet, when you add the clutch pedal it becomes challenging, lol, doable for sure just a learned skill set.
Feathering clutch pedal, then going back and forth between brake and gas pedal, then stalling engine(losing power brakes and power steering), and having to restart on a steep hill is always FUN, FUN, FUN

A4LD rebuild suggestions here: http://therangerstation.com/tech_library/a4ld.shtml
 
Last edited:

Denisefwd93

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stock, may get leveling springs in front "somday"
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Welcome aboard! I essentially have the same truck although it's a 93. My "bad" A4LD is still going okay after almost 3 years. It's slams from 2nd to 3rd and sometimes when it's idling but if I drive it like the old lady I am it shifts pretty good most of the time.

The good thing is: I've been able to gather up the parts except the clutch and flywheel which I would buy when we are ready to do the job.
But it's not something I really have to do.

Having the a4ld rebuilt seems like such an exercise in futility because I can't get anyone to State they will guarantee it more than a year. And it's always over $2,000. Compared to the $500 I spent four a 98, 4.0, m5od that are still in storage. I'm just biding my time.

Ron bless your heart, you love those Transmissions. I've always preferred manual shift, except when sitting in traffic which I don't do anymore since I'm retired.

Lately I've been thinking of finding the same truck with a extended cab and selling this one for whatever and change.

Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
 

RonD

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I prefer manual, but I don't think switching from auto to manual is always best course of action.

Yes, A4LD was used in Rangers from 1985 to 2012, had a good run and like all automatics had its problems, but overall there were ALOT MORE good miles racked up than breakdowns
 

Denisefwd93

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Total Lift
stock, may get leveling springs in front "somday"
Tire Size
235
I prefer manual, but I don't think switching from auto to manual is always best course of action.

Yes, A4LD was used in Rangers from 1985 to 2012, had a good run and like all automatics had its problems, but overall there were ALOT MORE good miles racked up than breakdowns
When go past mechanic and transmission shops I often see them accepting delivery of a transmissions (in a big plastic container) and it gets me to wondering which rebuilders these so-called repair shops use. They seem to go around $1,400 for the average person to buy, and 2000 to 2500 to rebuild replace by a shop. I'm sure most hands on shops do basic soft parts rebuilds.

I'm not one to deny anyone making a living but the rebuild parts are only a few hundred dollars And a properly equipped shop can drop a transmission in less than an hour.

There was someone here on the site name "transguy"? His comments on the forum kind of made me think "I'd like to have him to do my transmission" but I've not had any good conversations with transmission people anywhere otherwise.

Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
 
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Spott

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Well, the 5R55E in my '97 died a terrible death in early November (the used car salesman claimed it had a "brand new transmission" in July), and the 5R55E and variants are quite similar to the A4LD they evolved from. The local shop quoted me $1,750-2,350 for a complete rebuild, including removal and reinstallation in the truck, depending on how many hard parts needed replaced. The remans they sell and warrant cost around $1,950, plus ~$500 in labor to remove and install. They warned me away from the $1,400 remans from the auto parts store.

In the end, it took 3.5 days, cost $2,260, runs beautifully, has a bunch of basic upgrades for durability, and has a two-year warranty.

Mine was in really bad shape, dying over the course of 2 weeks with terrible slipping, shuddering, and squealing, until it wouldn't go forwards or backwards at all. I'm moderately pleased they came in within the estimate (I'm not pleased at all that the transmission failed, but what can you do?).

If you want a good transmission shop with a good warranty, I can vouch for A&B Transmission in Eastern Idaho. However, that appears to be the going rate for the rebuild of a Ford C3-derived transmission, unless you can do the work yourself.
 

94firstranger

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Thank you all for the suggestions and I apologize for the delay!

RonD - I've frequented the tech section quite a bit but must've missed this article. I read through the link you posted and I think I will indeed rebuild the A4LD when it goes. Thank you and everyone else for the pointers and info!

I saw that PATC sells rebuilt A4LDs for $2400ish using their performance/replacement parts and rebuild kit. Considering I do not know of a solid tranny rebuild shop in my area (I haven't looked too much yet) and will not have the time/expertise to do it myself, I may pick one of these up and have a shop swap it out for me. Has anyone used one of PATC's rebuilt trannys?

Also, mods - please correct me if this next question needs to be its own thread. PATC allows me to specify stall speed. If my reading is correct, stall speed is the RPM that begins to move the driveshaft and move the truck. Is this correct? Considering I am not going to build a race car or extreme offroad truck, what would be the ideal stall speed?

Thank you everyone!
 

Denisefwd93

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Joined
May 20, 2015
Messages
2,261
Reaction score
74
Points
48
Location
South East PA
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
stock, may get leveling springs in front "somday"
Tire Size
235
Thank you all for the suggestions and I apologize for the delay!

RonD - I've frequented the tech section quite a bit but must've missed this article. I read through the link you posted and I think I will indeed rebuild the A4LD when it goes. Thank you and everyone else for the pointers and info!

I saw that PATC sells rebuilt A4LDs for $2400ish using their performance/replacement parts and rebuild kit. Considering I do not know of a solid tranny rebuild shop in my area (I haven't looked too much yet) and will not have the time/expertise to do it myself, I may pick one of these up and have a shop swap it out for me. Has anyone used one of PATC's rebuilt trannys?

Also, mods - please correct me if this next question needs to be its own thread. PATC allows me to specify stall speed. If my reading is correct, stall speed is the RPM that begins to move the driveshaft and move the truck. Is this correct? Considering I am not going to build a race car or extreme offroad truck, what would be the ideal stall speed?

Thank you everyone!
How you spend your money is your business but that is a big chunk of change. I've been casually shopping rebuilt Transmissions they go around $1400, most shops do the complete job for about $2- 2400. this is a case where the quality of the rebuild really depends on the people or person doing the work and that is one hard thing to determine.

Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
 

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