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Recommendations for 89 AOD rebuild/upgrade parts

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Old 10-03-2012, 01:53 PM
Reed Reed is offline
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Recommendations for 89 AOD rebuild/upgrade parts

I have an 89 E-150 (that's a full size Ford van). The van originally had a 302/AOD combination. but the 302 died so I swapped the van to a 351/C6 combination. I would like to rebuild the AOD and reinstall it to improve highway fuel economy.

I already have the correct flex plate to mount the 351 to the AOD, however, I have read that AODs in stock form don't last behind a 351. I would like to upgrade the internals of the AOD to make it work better behind a 351 in a heavy van. I am not build a drag strip or high performance transmission, just one that will last in my van. Here are my questions:

1. Input shaft
I have read that the main weak spot is the two piece input shaft. I have also read that one piece shafts are available, but using one requires using a non lockup torque converter. Since the purpose of this rebuild is to improve fuel economy, I don't really want to lose the lockup torque converter. Is the stock input shaft really that weak? Is there an option that will let me keep the lockup converter but strengthen the input shaft?

2. AODE internals

I have also read that the AODE transmission had improved clutch packs (specifically more clutches) as well as a wide ratio gearset. I have also read that these parts will swap right in to a AOD case. Is this true? I would really like the wide ratio gearset since I am not drag racing and since my van weighs over 6000 pounds empty and often has to haul five+ adults and luggage for a vacation. A wide ratio gearset would help get the van moving and also decrease stress on the input shaft.

Will the gearset swap right in? What about the clutch packs? Is there a certain AODE year or application I should look for?

3. Torque converter

I still have the original 89 AOD torque converter my van was built with. It was working fine when I pulled the transmission. However, when I installed the 351, I used the wrong flex plate and damaged something on the front of the transmission which made tranny fluid come pouring out. The transmission still worked, but it slipped. I suspect I damaged the front pump housing. Should I replace the torque converter? Any specific brands I should avoid if I do?

4. Shift kit

I have used TransGo shift kits in Mopar transmision with great results. Any reason I should avoid using one in a Ford AOD?

5. Anything else?

I have rebuilt several Chrysler 904 transmissions and this AOD doesn't look much more complicated. Is there anything I should be aware of? Any other tips to build up a transmission for this application? Remember, I won't be putting 400+ horsepower through it or doing drag racing, just regular driving in a big heavy vehicle.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:19 PM
85e150six4mtod 85e150six4mtod is offline
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Note the upgrades these outfits list for the AOD. You seem to be on the right track.

www.CKPerformance.com

More of the same, plus parts including the wide ratio gears.

AOD Transmission from PATC, AOD Transmissions
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:37 PM
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Good lord. $2000 for a transmission? I was hoping to do all the work myself and just source the upgrade parts and spend far less than $2k, hopefully less than $500.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:47 PM
Lazy K Lazy K is offline
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:48 PM
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Yea, stunning ain't it? $1000 or so for a "race" C6, but it jumps to $2500 when you add the OD. What, OD is voodoo or something?

Anyway, if you can DIY, you'll be money ahead. I see some threads with fubar'd DIY trans jobs here, but since this isn't your first run through the gears you'll probably be able to shift for yourself.

Sorry, couldn't help myseffffff
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:51 PM
Reed Reed is offline
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Thanks LazyK, I'll keep that rebuild kit in mind.

I rebuilt the three Chrysler 904 transmissions for under $100 each. They all work good as new. I follow the factory service manual procedures, go slow, keep it all clean, and it works fine in the end.

I will keep researching and hopefully come up with a rebuild option that is economically feasible.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:51 AM
Lazy K Lazy K is offline
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I think, if it was me, I would send a PM to Conanski, usually found on the `87-96 F Series page. He has a self built AOD behind a 351W.
Good luck.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:28 AM
stuart1 stuart1 is offline
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Or you could keep the C6 and install a gear vendors overdrive behind it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:05 PM
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I don't like gear vendors for several reasons:

(1) I have driven full size Ford vans equipped with both Gear Vendor's overdrive and the factory Ford AOD overdrive and I prefer the AOD. The RPM drop is greater with the AOD which means more fuel savings when the overdrive is engaged.
(2) I don't need underdrive. I tow and haul, but not often enough and not heavy enough loads to need the underdrive option Gear Vendors offers.
(3) They are way overpriced for what they sell. Gear Vendors wants $2,995 for a unit that will bolt to my C-6. I might as well pay the $2k for a rebuilt AOD.
(4) The Gear Vendors unit is too cumbersome and complicated to operate in my opinion. With a factory overdrive I can just put it in drive and go. With Gear Vendors I have to flip the energizing switch to arm the system and then step on the foot pedal to engage the gear. Maybe I'm lazy, but I just don't want to work that hard when there is a simpler option.

To me, Gear Vendors units are like K&N air filters- people want them because they want to say they have them. But when you look at the actual performance specs of the units, for the vast majority of drivers the products just aren't worth the cost. Gear vendors used to be the only game in town as far as overdrive automatics went. But with the introduction of AOD and A500/A518 transmissions, why pay an extra $3000 for overdrive when you can have one from the factory for far less?

I already have the AOD and it will be much cheaper and easier to install the AOD than to pay for Gear Vendors. Like I said above, I used to have an 84 Ford E-150 with a C-6 that had a Gear Vendors overdrive unit on it and I hated it. The original AOD unit in my 1989 van lasted 150,000 miles towing a 24 foot trailer cross country and on vacations with the previous owners. The original 302 in the 89 van died before the AOD did. The AOD was working fine until I was stupid and used the wrong flexplate to bolt the 351 to the AOD and I killed the front pump. AOD for me, thanks.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:00 PM
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i would check these guys out if i were to rebuild an AOD
Baumann Electronic Controls

they have many parts intended to upgrade and improve durability.

from experience, i would also look into a constant pressure valve body. This allows much more room for error when hooking up the TV rod.

A google search for AOD constant pressure valve body reveals a multitude of choices to explore.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:08 PM
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Thanks. Yes, I found Baumann. I have been reading their site. It sounds like what I want to do is build a hydraulically controlled 4R70W. Hopefully I can get the pertinent guts from a junked 4R70W and swap them into my AOD case and then use a product from Baumann to revise the shift points as necessary. <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-alt:"Times New Roman"; mso-font-charset:77; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-formatther; mso-font-pitch:auto; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style>
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:09 PM
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Curious, what 351 do you have?
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reed View Post
Thanks. Yes, I found Baumann. I have been reading their site. It sounds like what I want to do is build a hydraulically controlled 4R70W. Hopefully I can get the pertinent guts from a junked 4R70W and swap them into my AOD case and then use a product from Baumann to revise the shift points as necessary.
updating an AOD with 4r70w gearsets has been a common mod for AOD builders. You do lose a little bit of OD gear ratio as compared to an AOD, but the wider ratio 1st and 2nd seem to make up for it and people seem to be happy with the change.

i think i would add the 2" OD band and 'A' servo for truck use. I would also ask baumann if their valve body re-calibration kit is compatible with a constant pressure valve body before purchasing one.

Unless i could find a TV rod from a source vehicle that was an EXACT match to your combination, i would not even consider an AOD without a constant pressure valvebody. the TV rod curve is just too finicky and too critical. "close enough" will only lead to an early death for the trans .... ask me how i know

that being said, the kit from Lokar looks promising.
http://www.lokar.com/downloads/pdf-i...aod_kd_kit.pdf
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:18 PM
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Thanks for the input. I want to use the AOD transmission that is original to the van, so all linkage components SHOULD be correct for the application. The only difference would be the MAF 351 instead of the speed density 302. The van also has a factory transmission cooler, so I am hopeful that once I open up the AOD I will find that it has the towing package upgrades.

I don't mind losing a bit of overdrive. Some overdrive is better than no overdrive, which is what the C6 in the van has now.

The 351 I have now is a 1984 351W H.O. motor that was rebuilt and bored out to 357 cubic inches. The cam is a near copy of the Edelbrock Performer cam. The 351 started life as a carbed motor but is now a MAF based fuel injected mill. I am still fine tuning the MAF swap using a TWEECER, but so far it has been working well. I want to upgrade the AOD to deal with the combination of increased power from the 351 motor and a heavy vehicle that tows and hauls heavy loads.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:46 PM
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i wasn't sure what the original combo was which was why i said something about the TV cable.

If you have a cable, and there is enough room to accomodate any difference in throttle body location, then there should not be any issues with getting everything to hook up and adjust correctly.

there is a pretty easy way to adjust the TV cable once everythign is hooked up, especially if you can use the factory cable and ends (which you should be able to).

It seems to me that the F150's with 351's in the early 90's were the ones that got the 2" OD band from the factory, most others got the 1.5" if it was behind a V8. The vans may have had the wider band as well, to that i'm not sure.

Good luck, sounds to me like you are well on your way to a solid install.

I had an AOD with a ATP shift kit, and that seemed to work pretty well for me (it was in a crown vic), seemed noticably better than stock. I've also hear nothing but good about the transgo kits. Would be worth your time to google the "J-mod" and see if that is something you are interested in doing or not. I've not been impressed with B&M's shift improver kit, though .... didn't seem to work well for me with the one i did.

good luck!
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