Ford Explorer 5.0L V-8 In Ford Ranger*

Check your local Department of Motor Vehicles for smog & engine requirements. 

Certain states, such as California, require the same year or newer engine as the vehicle.


Using the Explorer 5.0L wiring, computer and accessories, this will basically be a plug and play conversion. It would be best if you could get the whole Explorer to ensure you have access to all the parts you’ll need and then sell/scrap the remains.

You will likely have to deal with the PATS during your conversion. If you swap in the PATS from the Explorer, you’ll be set. If you use your existing PATS (key’s etc) you’ll have to tow your Ranger to a Ford dealer to re-program PATS to synch EEC, PATS module, and Keys.

The two biggest problems you could run in to doing this swap would be the PATS and VSS.

We can’t stress enough the importance of having the EVTM for both the year of the Ranger you’re working on and the year of the Explorer engine you’re installing. You’ll need it to figure out the VSS and PATS.

Some Quick Abbreviations:

4WABS – 4 Wheel Antilock Brake System

ABS – Antilock Braking System

AWD – All Wheel Drive

EBFD – Electronic Brake Force Distribution

EEC – Electronic Engine Control

EVTM – Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual – Ford Motor Company

GEM – Generic Electronic Module

OSS – Output Shaft Speed sensor

PATS – Passive Anti Theft System

PCM – Powertrain Control Module (computer)

RABS – Rear Antilock Brake System

VSS – Vehicle Speed Sensor

Engine Choice:

The easiest V8 donor for a 1998-2007 Ranger 4×4 swap would be the 1996-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer 5.0 AWD. The Explorer 5.0L has been called a GT-40 because the 1996-1997.5 Explorer 5.0L’s used Fords GT-40 cylinder heads. The 1997.5-2001 Explorer 5.0L’s were GT-40p’s. It’s easy to tell the difference between cylinder heads while they are on the motor because GT-40’s will have a big ‘GT’ embossed on the side and GT-40p’s will have a big ‘GTP’.

The Explorer 5.0L is mostly a plug and play conversion. All things considered, the 1998-2000 Rangers are the easiest year range for an Explorer 5.0L swap with 1999-2000 4×4 V6’s being the easiest within that group. You want a 1996-1997 Explorer 5.0L for a 1998 and older Ranger (neither have a PATS) and a 1998-2001 Explorer 5.0L for 1999 and newer Ranger. If you put a 1998-2001 Explorer 5.0L in to a 1998 or older Ranger, you’ll have to add a PATS along with the Explorer steering column. If you put a 1996-1997 Explorer 5.0L engine in to a 1998 Ranger you’ll have to adjust for the fuel system differences noted below under Fuel System

The entire 5.0 engine, transmission and AWD transfer case from the Explorer bolts directly into a 1998+ 4×4 Ranger using the Ranger mounting points and original driveshafts. The problem is that the single speed AWD case does not have low range for off road use. There is also a reduction in acceleration, fuel economy and tire life on the street with the full time AWD case. There are options below for adding a manual transfer case.

Ranger – Explorer Comparisons:

Vehicle Speed Fuel System PATS (Passive Anti Theft System)
1999 – 2001 Explorer ABS/VSS from Rear Axle No Fuel Return Line (Returnless) (56-72 psi) Type B
1998 Explorer VSS in Transmission/Transfer Case Fuel Return Line (35-45 psi) Type B
1996-1997 Explorer VSS in Transmission/Transfer Case Fuel Return Line (35-45 psi) None
2001 – Newer Ranger OSS in Transmission/Transfer Case No Fuel Return Line (Returnless) (56-72 psi) Type E
1999 – 2000 Ranger ABS/VSS from Rear Axle No Fuel Return Line (Returnless) (56-72 psi) Type B (6-Cylinders – None For 4-Cylinders)
1998 Ranger ABS/VSS from Rear Axle No Fuel Return Line (Returnless) (56-72 psi) None

What You’ll Need:

A complete Explorer with a 5.0L AWD would be the best place to start. If not, you’ll need these parts from a 5.0L Explorer:

  • Complete Explorer 5.0L engine with all accessories, wiring and computer

  • Battery cable harness

  • Cruise cable

  • Throttle cable

  • Radiator

  • Radiator hoses

  • The high pressure power steering hose

  • A/C lines

  • Exhaust manifolds and Catalytic converters

  • Transmission and transfer case

  • Airbox, MAF, and Zip tube

  • Fan and shroud

  • Motor mounts

  • Fuel pressure regulator

Motor Mounts:

The Explorer 5.0L mounts will go right in to your 1998+ Ranger. 


Use the 5.0L Explorers 4R70W automatic transmission. The 4R70W is also known as a AODE with a wide ratio gear set. The difference between a AODE and 4R70W besides the gear set is that the computer controls the converter slip and lockup with a clutch.

Transfer Case:

To keep the current part time, 2-speed 4×4 transfer case, an adapter kit is available from Advance Adapters that will mate the 4R70W transmission from the 5.0L Explorer to the original Ranger Borg Warner 1350/1354 transfer case. They offer either a 5-inch or 9-inch adapter kit. 

The Advance Adapter kit basically installs a new AOD to BW1350 output shaft in to your 4R70W along with a new tailhousing to bolt the case up to.

Measuring for the adapter:

Measure your stock transmission from the front of the bell housing back to the flange where the transfer case bolts to the transmission tailhousing. Now, measure the distance from the front of your new 4R70W back to where the tailhousing bolts on. In the photo below, you will see the new tailhousing bolted on for an idea of where to stop measuring to. Subtract the distance of the new 4R70W minus the tailhousing from the measurement you took from your original transmission back to the transfer case. The difference in length will tell you how long of a tailhousing you need to keep the Ranger transfer case in the stock location.

Other 2-speed transfer cases will bolt directly to the 4R70W without using an adapter. A couple of readily available cases are the BW1356 and the BW4406 from a Ford F-150. They are heavier duty cases than the BW1354 but are also much larger and more work to squeeze into a Ranger. 

BW4406 Transfer Case:

We won’t go in to a lot of detail on how to use these cases. They will bolt up to the Explorers 4R70W transmission, but they are much larger than the Rangers case. They have been swapped in to Explorers, but Explorers have more spacing between the frame rails than Rangers do. It can be done, but the case is going to be real close to the frame rail. 

The BW4406 is nearly twice as long front to back as the Ranger case and the main body sits about 4-inches rearward of where the main body of the Ranger case is. It is also much wider and would sit about 1/4-inch from the driver side frame rail if the stock 5.0L Explorer mounts are used. Even worse, the forward U-joint of the rear driveshaft would end up being about a foot farther rearward as compared to the stock Ranger, putting it adjacent and very close to the nose of the fuel tank.

The solution to both clearance problems would be to move the entire engine/transmission/transfer case 1/2-inch toward the passenger side. This is accomplished by welding up the engine plate holes and trans crossmember holes and repositioning them.

To use the BW4406, you’ll need:

BW4406 from a 1997-2003 Ford F-150 and it’s shift linkage.

Front driveshaft from a 1997-2003 Ford F-150 4×4 with a 4.6L engine. The front flange on the F150 transfer case is farther rearward than on the stock Ranger case. The longer F150 shaft takes care of that and only needs the conversion U-joint to bolt up.

Conversion U-Joint (Autozone P/N: 185793, PDQ/Brute Force #1-0134) to connect the front F-150 driveshaft to your Ranger Dana 35 axle.

Rear shaft will need shortened.

Rear Axle:

A Ford 8.8-inch rear axle is recommended. Ford doesn’t use the lighter duty 7.5-inch axle behind the 4.0L, so you shouldn’t use one behind a 5.0L, especially in a 4×4.

Fuel System:

The 1999+ Explorer fuel system is a returnless (no fuel return line to tank) and runs at 65 PSI just like a 1998+ Ranger. Earlier Explorer engines (1996-1998) run at a lower pressure and use a fuel return line. For the return line, you have two choices. Run a return line or use 1999+ Explorer rails which are returnless. Use the in-tank fuel pressure regulator from an Explorer pump assembly with 1996-1998 Explorer 5.0L engines. That is very important, as the 4.0L Ranger in-tank pump is set to ~60psi and the Explorer 5.0L pump is set to ~42psi.

Fan Clutch:

The 5.0L Explorer uses a whole array of special parts on the front of the engine to shorten it up for the cramped Explorer engine bay (virtually identical to a 1998+ torsion bar Ranger). The stock 4.0 SOHC Ranger fan/clutch assembly is about 1/2″ longer than the 5.0L Explorer. 

Oil Filter:

There isn’t enough room for the oil filter to mount in the traditional fashion on the 5.0L. 

The Explorer 5.0L uses an engine oil cooler (shown below). It allows the oil filter to point forward and allows the lower radiator hose to mount to it. This allows water to cool the oil passing through the adapter. The bolt shown in the center is used to mount it. 

(Explorer 5.0L Oil Cooler)

(Explorer 5.0L oil cooler shown with blue filter and hose running from water pump to the cooler)

Ford Racing has an oil filter adapter P/N M-6880-A50 that turns the oil filter 90 degrees (shown below)

Your best option is a remote mount filter like the Hayden mount shown below. Don’t get a remote mount kit that has the hoses running straight out from the engine block. They will run right in to the frame rail and won’t work. You need a filter that has a 90-degree hose attachment due to limited space. This is the recommended method that we would use.



Use the stock 5.0L Explorer radiator which is twice as thick as a Ranger’s. Use the stock belt driven fan. Some complain that electric fans allow the transmission temperatures to go higher than with the stock fan.


The factory Explorer 5.0 manifolds and down pipes fit in a 1998+ Ranger without modification but will need some custom exhaust work from there back. The factory manifolds are very restrictive. The only off-the-shelf 5.0 tube headers that will work on a 5.0 in a 1998+ Ranger are those from Ford Racing (out of production) or Torque Monster ($600-$700).  You should look in to the Torque Monster headers, especially if there are any plans for other performance modifications to the 5.0L.

Torque Monster Header (Driver Side)

Torque Monster Header (Passenger Side)


Here’s how you modify your Ranger tachometer for V-8 use:

1) Get your dash apart and disconnect the cluster
2) If you have a EVTM turn to the Instrument cluster section
3) Locate Pin 8 on wire connector C216 (Black/Yellow Wire)
4) Use a very small flathead screwdriver to release the pin from the connector housing
5) Find Connector C214 (largest of the 3 for cluster)
6) Install the wire removed from C216 in to slot 16 on C214. This slot is currently vacant.
7) Put everything back together and fire it up. You’re all done.


We have a whole page on the Ranger’s speedometer HERE. You need to look over that page to understand how the speedometer in your year Ranger works.

The speedometer may very well be one of your toughest obstacles. If you have a 1995-2000 Ranger you should try and get a 5.0L EFI setup that’s going to match the speedometer setup your Ranger has. This will simplify things for you.

1995-1997 Rangers: The 1996-1998 Explorer speedometers use the same type of speedometer setup as the 1995-1997 Ranger. It has a VSS located near the rear section of the transmission/transfer case that gets input from a gear driven speed sensor on the output shaft.

The Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) is a small signal generator that is turned by a gear inside the transmission assembly. The Vehicle Speed Sensor produces 8 pulse per rotation which a stock computer assumes 8000 pulses per mile. The Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) is a variable reluctance sensor that generates a waveform with a frequency that is proportional to vehicle road speed. When the vehicle is moving slowly, the sensor produces a low frequency signal. As the vehicle speed increases, the sensor produces a higher frequency signal.

1998-2000 Rangers: 1999-2001 Explorer uses the same type of speedometer system as the 1998-2000 Ranger – no modifications needed. The 1998-2000 Rangers are not equipped with a VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor). The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) receives vehicle speed information from the antilock brake system rear wheel speed sensor. The raw signal from the ABS/VSS sensor on the rear axle goes directly to the Explorer 4WABS module where the signal is corrected for tire diameter. Then the corrected signal is sent to the PCM, speed control, cluster, etc. In this system, the PCM is an end user of the corrected VSS signal.

2001-Newer Rangers: The problem comes when you drop the 5.0L Explorer engine in to a 2001 and newer Ranger. Starting in 2001, the Ranger gets its raw speed signal from the OSS (Output Shaft Speed) sensor on the transmission/transfer case. The OSS sensor is a magnetic pickup that provides transmission output shaft rotation speed information to the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) where it is corrected for tire diameter and axle ratio. The PCM uses the OSS sensor signal to help determine EPC (Electronic Pressure Control) pressure, shift scheduling and TCC (Torque Converter Clutch) operation. The PCM generates a 0~12V square wave. This frequency of the square wave is corrected to provide a standard 8000 pulses/mile using multipliers flashed into the PCM for axle ratio and tire diameter. It is sent to the speed control and the cluster. In this system the PCM is the correction and distribution point for the VSS signal.

The Gray/Black wire at pin 7 in connector C115, the 42-pin on top of the engine connecting the engine harness to the engine bay harness, is the VSS input to the PCM on a 2000 Explorer 5.0L.

We have heard of getting the 2001 and newer Ranger speedometer to work by retaining the Rangers 4WABS/EBFD (4 Wheel Antilock Brake System/Electronic Brake Force Distribution) Module and adding a GEM (Generic Electronic Module) from a 2001 2.5L. Both are driven in parallel by the rear axle ABS sensor. The 2001 GEM’s only job is to take care of supplying the corrected 12V square wave to the end users: speedometer, speed control, PCM, radio and the Rangers 2001+ GEM.

PATS (Passive Anti Theft System):

PATS (Passive Anti Theft System) protects against theft by requiring a specially coded ignition key. The vehicle starts and operates only with the key that matches the sensor in the vehicle, thwarting attempts to hot-wire the ignition. An indicator lamp shows the system is working.

How it works: A miniature transponder with integrated circuit and antenna is embedded in the ignition key. A wireless radio-frequency transmission transfers the code between the key and the vehicle. If the codes match, the module sends a signal through the wiring system to the engine electronic control, allowing the engine to start. There are 72 million-billion possible codes, so every Ford sold worldwide for the next 10 billion years could have a unique code. New keys for replacements or spares can be encoded by dealerships.

Type B (1999-2000 Ranger & 1998-2001 Explorer): Under the type B system, the key sends a signal to the PATS transceiver, the transceiver then sends a signal to the PATS transponder (PATS module), and this then sends a signal to the PCM that tells it that its ok to run. For a type “B” system, if the PCM does not receive the “ok to run” signal from the PATS module, then it will still allow the motor to crank, but it will not send pulses to the injectors cutting all fuel.

Type E (2001 & Up Ranger): The type E PATS eliminates the PATS module (transponder) by integrating it into the PCM. Under a type E system, the coded keys send a signal to the PATS transceiver, the transceiver takes the signal and sends it to the PCM where it checks to make sure that the key code is correct and then allows the motor to run. If the PCM fails to detect the properly coded key it will do two things. First, it will not allow the injectors to provide fuel to the motor. Second, if it doesn’t receive the proper signal it will not ground the starter solenoid and allow the starter to start the motor.

The 1999-2001 Explorer PATS is 100% compatible with a 1999-2000 V6 Ranger. If the Explorer PATS module and keys are also transplanted to the Ranger, they should work immediately with the Explorer PCM. If the original Ranger PATS module and keys are reused with the Explorer PCM, a dealer would have to “introduce” the new parts to each other before the engine could start.

If you wanted to install an Explorer 5.0L in to a 1998 Ranger you would have to either incorporate the PATS from the Explorer or use a 1996-1997 Explorer 5.0L and adjust for the fuel rail differences noted above under Fuel System.

The 1996-1997 Explorer 5.0L does not have PATS. The 1998-2004 4-cylinder and 1998 and older Rangers do not have PATS.

PATS Parts needed for swapping an Explorer 5.0L PATS type B in to a Ranger PATS type E:

1. Grab the module behind the passenger air bag
2. Grab the transceiver around the ignition lock
3. Get all the wiring that you can reach between the two

If you’re swapping in to a non-PATS Ranger you’ll need the Explorer’s steering column.

Explorer PATS Module

Vehicles With PATS Vehicles Without Pats
1999-2000 6-cylinder Ranger – Type B
1998-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer – Type B
2001-2004 4 & 6-cylinder Ranger – Type E
1996-1997 (1997 & Older) Explorer/Mountaineer
1998-2000 4-cylinder Ranger
1998 & Older Ranger

1996-1997 Explorer 5.0L Harness Modifications:

The 1996-1997 Explorer harness needs some slight rewiring to plug into the 1998-2001 Ranger harness:

Connector 115 (large 42-pin motor to truck plug): 

Pin 42 is a ground. You must cut it about 4-inches from connector. Solder and shrink is best, but butt connectors will do if you can’t solder. Remove the PCM before soldering so the hot iron doesn’t damage any circuits.

Take a 6-inch wire and attach a lug on the end to ground it to the firewall. Solder to the harness end of the wire you cut. Not the plug. 

The short Black wire with White stripe from the plug is now going to be used for the Yellow/White alternator wire. Get the plug and alternator wire from Ford or a salvage yard. The 1996-1997 Explorer harness has pin 41 empty. This is a Light Green/Red wire for the alternator light. From the alternator, connect this wire to the Ranger side of plug 41 or take the wire and pin from the Ranger motor plug and connect it through the plug.


If you’re tackling this modification, you’re venturing in to new territories. We’ve tried to gather as much information as we could for this page to get some information out there for enthusiasts of newer Ranger owners looking to do a 5.0L EFI swap. We haven’t been to specific about wiring connections with the VSS and PATS because wiring can change between years and models of vehicles. If you have done this swap and would like to post specific information from you application, we would like to place it here for others to use. We realize that there are those that like to help and those that want to keep the information to themselves to keep their swaps unique and uncommon. Sooner or later the information gets out. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t keep secrets and wants to help others from your experience, please submit the information and/or photos HERE. Thank you.

* The Explorer 5.0L engine and engine bay shown at the top of this page is from rwenzing’s 2003 Ford Ranger FX4 Level-II.

More Articles: