Question: I have a two-year-old Ford Explorer with the 4.6L engine and auto transmission. I bought it used with a lot of miles on it, but the price was right and it seemed at the time to be a good deal. I am having some strange transmission problems that only occur on cold mornings when I first start out. After the vehicle has warmed up, it shifts fine. What happens is that when I put the transmission in gear, it feels like it shifts OK but nothing happens. I may have to put it in and out of gear several times before it catches, or sometimes I have to push the throttle all the way to the floor and then in. As you can figure, it then grabs with a jerk and is pretty scary. Is there something wrong with the linkage that I can fix, or is it rebuild time?
Kansas City, KS
Answer: I had to do a lot of checking on this one before I came up with a "most likely" cause to the problem. However, it's unfortunately not something that can be solved by a linkage adjustment. The transmission expert whom I spoke with told me that it could be caused by a groove worn into the sleeve that the flow control valve rides in, which is causing the piston to stick. He said that also there were a few other problems that could cause this. The bottom line is that it's time to rebuild the transmission.
Question: I want to buy a Ramcharger with a manual transmission but all I can find is one with an automatic. I was wondering where I could find information on how to convert it and how much it would cost me. I would like it to have an overdrive gear but I could live without one. I would also like the kit to have everything I need to convert it and not just some of the parts.
Answer: I doubt that you're going to find any written information on making the transmission swap, but it really shouldn't be all that hard. First step would be to find a donor truck in the same model-year range. It could be a Dodge Ramcharger, or a 1/2- to 1-ton pickup that has a standard transmission. You're going to need the entire brake and clutch pedal assembly, assorted linkage, as well as the master cylinder. You're also going to need a flywheel, clutch, pressure plate, and the bellhousing. You might want to find a 4x4 version and use the transmission and transfer case. That way, you won't have to come up with an adapter. As to cost, well, that depends on what kind of price you have to pay for the parts and if you're going to do the work yourself or not. It will probably run $500 to $2,000 for the parts, and somewhere in between to have a shop do the install.
Question: I recently bought a '92 Dodge D250 two-wheel drive. I got it for only $900. It has a strong 318 and a 727 transmission. I have found that the D250 and W250 share frames. Is it worth it to convert it to four-wheel drive?
My plan is to cut the stock IFS out, go to a junkyard and remove the entire front assembly (axles, springs, brackets, and steering linkage) from a four-wheel drive, then weld the brackets in for the leaf springs and bolt the entire assembly to the frame.
I would also use the donor truck's NP205 transfer case. I plan to divorce the transfer case or swap the whole transmission and transfer case as one unit.
Can I use a Dana 60 out of a W350, or do I need to stick with the D250 front axle? Will the driveshafts from the donor truck work, or will I need new ones? The steering box in the D250 is the same as the W250, right? How much will this swap cost if I use all salvage parts?
Chris T. Welch
Answer: I will have to take your word for it that the frames on the two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive trucks are the same. However, you will have to take my word for it that making the conversion to four-wheel drive is not worth it. I've said it many times before-you will be money and time ahead if you sell your truck and buy a factory-built 4x4.
If you're dead set on making this conversion, then I really suggest you buy a complete wrecked 4x4 truck of a similar year. This alone will save you from making numerous trips back to the wrecking yard to pick up that part you forgot to get originally. Besides, you never know when some of the extra parts you obtain just may get put into use.
I don't see any reason why the Dana 60 shouldn't work in place of the 44, but you'll find them a bit on the scarce side, especially for a Dodge. It's hard to say if the driveshafts will work, as there are a lot of variables here.
Cost? Depends on how good of a deal you get and what you buy. For example, a Dana 60 frontend will go from, if you're lucky, $1,000 up to $1,800. Total costs of all of the parts from a salvage yard by the time you're done will run $2,500 if you're a good "wheeler and dealer" or more, but that's just a guess.