E4od zf 5 spd swap in 92 e350 4x4 - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



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E4od zf 5 spd swap in 92 e350 4x4

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Old 01-18-2018, 08:26 PM
Ciansul Ciansul is online now
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E4od zf 5 spd swap in 92 e350 4x4

Hello there,

looking for for any advice on doing a transmission swap from the E4od to a zf 5 spd the van is 4wd and has the 351w gas engine in it

I know that this swap is possible, just looking for input by anyone who may have performed a similar swap in the past either on an ecoline van or into another stock 4wd mid 90s Ford truck.

I would appreciate any any input on crucial parts to purchase rather than repurpose or reuse out of a donor vehicle.
I would also appreciate some general input from someone on the procedures itself before I start the undertaking.

thanks in advance for helping!
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:17 PM
fordman75 fordman75 is online now
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Originally Posted by Ciansul View Post
Hello there,

looking for for any advice on doing a transmission swap from the E4od to a zf 5 spd the van is 4wd and has the 351w gas engine in it

I know that this swap is possible, just looking for input by anyone who may have performed a similar swap in the past either on an econoline van or into another stock 4wd mid 90s Ford truck.

I would appreciate any any input on crucial parts to purchase rather than repurpose or reuse out of a donor vehicle.
I would also appreciate some general input from someone on the procedures itself before I start the undertaking.

thanks in advance for helping!

The hardest part of the swap will probably be the clutch pedal. The 92+ vans have a narrower foot well then the 75-91's. Hopefully one of the guys have done this swap will chime in on what they did.

The ZF is shorter then the E4OD so you'll need both driveshafts modified/replaced. You'll need a longer rear driveshaft and shorter front.

Your best bet is to pick up a complete F250/F350 4x4 donor truck with a 5.8L/ZF 5spd set up. That way you will get the complete set up for the swap. Otherwise you will need the transmission, clutch kit, flywheel, block spacer plate, starter, clutch master cylinder and feedline, T-case shifter and linkage ( may be able to re-use current ones, may need to shorten/lengthen linkage ) . The van is a different animal then the truck so I doubt the truck driveshafts will be the correct length. But you won't know until you measure them. And the truck clutch pedal will not work with out some major surgery.

Oh yea make sure not to forget to install a pilot bearing/bushing in the crank before you install the clutch & transmission.

I'm going to be doing a similar swap on my 96 E250 351W/E4OD 2wd. When my E4OD finally craps outs I'll be swapping in a NP435 just because it's tougher & cheaper and it uses an external clutch slave cylinder. I hate the ZF's slave cylinder set up. When ever there is an issue with it you have to pull the transmission to replace it. On the external set up, you pull a clip and the cylinder can be removed. I will miss the OD but I love the NP435. Most people don't like it very much.
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:25 PM
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whats the length difference
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:09 PM
fordman75 fordman75 is online now
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I don't remember the exact measurement. It's been a while. But I seem to recall it was just over 5" shorter then the 4x4 E4OD.
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Old 01-20-2018, 12:22 PM
jayro88 jayro88 is offline
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I have talked with individuals who have gone down this road. Not sure if they ever actually did the swap after collecting the parts, but they said that finding the parts that work with the Econoline is very tough. There were some manual Econolines made from the factory, but they were rare. The truck pedals don't work in the van, so you either have to find a rare pedal set or fabricate something yourself. It is a much harder swap than doing it in a truck where there were multiple factory setups of both.

So with enough time,money,ambition and skill you can do it.

What was the goal in switching from an e4od to a zf5?
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jayro88 View Post
I have talked with individuals who have gone down this road. Not sure if they ever actually did the swap after collecting the parts, but they said that finding the parts that work with the Econoline is very tough. There were some manual Econolines made from the factory, but they were rare. The truck pedals don't work in the van, so you either have to find a rare pedal set or fabricate something yourself. It is a much harder swap than doing it in a truck where there were multiple factory setups of both.

So with enough time,money,ambition and skill you can do it.

What was the goal in switching from an e4od to a zf5?
There were no factory 92+ manual transmission Econolines. The last manual transmission equipped Econolines was 1990 in the old body style. And those pedals are different then then 92+. On the 92+ you are talking a custom pedal set up. That's why I said the clutch pedal would be the hardest part of the swap. You can either take a clutch pedal from a truck and do some heavy modifying to it or buy an after clutch pedal like Wilwood, CNC, Tilton, etc. But the floor are will also need to be modified due to space. It's not a huge deal but will take some time and work.


jayro88 some people just don't like automatics ( like me ) . The manual transmission is simpler, gives the driver more control, takes less room, is more reliable and the van will also run cooler because it's not transmitting the heat from the transmission cooler lines into the radiator. And the manual transmissions will have a lower first gear. Which greatly helps for towing, hauling and off road driving. Plus the E4OD is a expensive transmission. So if there is a issue it's not cheap to fix. I've seen cores that need rebuilding sell for $600-$800.
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Old 01-22-2018, 11:45 AM
baddad457 baddad457 is offline
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I don't think cooling is ever an issue in these vans. The radiator is far bigger than it needs to be. Only time I ever had cooling problems was in my old 95 E150 when the fan clutch quit in Nevada, climbing up out of Boulder Canyon in 120* heat. That combined with a pin hole in the top tank that seeped coolant over a 3-4 year time span plugging up the cooling fins (with dust) and cut air flow, served to over heat the engine (actually the engine never got hot enough to put the idiot light on) and vapor lock it.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by baddad457 View Post
I don't think cooling is ever an issue in these vans. The radiator is far bigger than it needs to be. Only time I ever had cooling problems was in my old 95 E150 when the fan clutch quit in Nevada, climbing up out of Boulder Canyon in 120* heat. That combined with a pin hole in the top tank that seeped coolant over a 3-4 year time span plugging up the cooling fins (with dust) and cut air flow, served to over heat the engine (actually the engine never got hot enough to put the idiot light on) and vapor lock it.
I know I have had plenty of times when my vans run hot. My experience is the vans always run hotter then a equally equipped truck. My 96 hasn't boiled over but I have overheated a few 91 & older vans. But I also haul/tow fairly heavy loads. My 96 E250 runs right around 200 degrees empty. But it's not unusual to see it hit 220 with a load on it. And those readings are with a good mechanical temp gauge. not the factory worthless one.

So anything I can do to get them to run cooler is fair game to me.
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Old 01-25-2018, 09:00 AM
Ian F Ian F is offline
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I have pondered a manual conversion in a van for years. One big detractor for me is the shifter location, which will end up essentially behind the front seats. So the only way I'd do this is if I can figure out how to column-shift a 5 spd or come up with some way to use a cable shifter (common on FWD cars) mounted in the dash. Keeping the floor clear is paramount in my van which is mainly for camping and whatnot.

My vans are the only automatic vehicles I've owned. My 5 other cars all have manuals.

Some 25 years ago I had a F-150 with a NP435/NP205 combo. I miss that truck.
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Ian F View Post
My vans are the only automatic vehicles I've owned. My 5 other cars all have manuals.
Same here. Get use to the idea that we are on the way to extinction; It is getting harder even to find decent cars with clutch pedal.
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:15 PM
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i think you can still get allot of commie cars with stick shifts new. sometimes they try to trick you by putting a automatic in them and saying its manual when its electric solinoids shifting a auto and no clutch pedal
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Ian F View Post
I have pondered a manual conversion in a van for years. One big detractor for me is the shifter location, which will end up essentially behind the front seats. So the only way I'd do this is if I can figure out how to column-shift a 5 spd or come up with some way to use a cable shifter (common on FWD cars) mounted in the dash. Keeping the floor clear is paramount in my van which is mainly for camping and whatnot.

My vans are the only automatic vehicles I've owned. My 5 other cars all have manuals.

Some 25 years ago I had a F-150 with a NP435/NP205 combo. I miss that truck.
I think you are a little off there. That may be true on dodge & chevy vans and first and second gen Econolines. But on 75 & newer vans not true at all. The 5spd and grany low 4spd( truck type transmissions ) vans actually have the shifter come thru the dog house.

Here's some 5spd's:





This one is a NP435 or T18:





Now with the car type 3 & 4spd transmissions that have the external shifters, etc. The shifter is farther back but still not behind the seats. But it will come thru the floor.






Column shifters and cable shifters will make things more complicated. The problem with a more complicated set up is your more likely to have issues with it. The more parts, the better the chance of a part failing.
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:22 PM
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i like that sweet stetup thru the doghouse, is that how it comes out with a np435?
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by GreeVan View Post
Same here. Get use to the idea that we are on the way to extinction; It is getting harder even to find decent cars with clutch pedal.
Most of Fords sportier cars ( Mustang, Focus, Fiesta ) are available with 6 spd manuals.

It was a sad day for me when Ford no longer offered a manual transmission in their trucks. Just another reason to like the older stuff. I hate automatics!!
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Skip1970 View Post
i like that sweet stetup thru the doghouse, is that how it comes out with a np435?
That pic of the blue interior with the shifter thru the dog house that jogs to the left was from a early 80's E150 van with a 460 and either a NP435 or a T-18. I don't know if it was a factory set up or a swap. I came very close to buying it. If it would have been a E250 or E350 I would have bought it.

I haven't done my NP435 swap on my 89 E350 yet. But yes it will come thru the back of the dog house.
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