Dodge V-10 Computer Gremlins
Question: I bought an '01 Dodge 3/4-ton truck with the V-10 engine and the automatic transmission. It ran fine for several thousand miles, and now a problem has developed. Once in a while when I shift from Park to Drive, the engine will just stop running. I can put it back in Park and it will restart, and then be just fine for a few days. Any idea how I can fix this problem?
Kansas City, KS
Answer: This I believe is a computer problem that Dodge had with several different models that used the V-10 engine. You're going to have to take the truck to your local dealer and have them reflash the engine's computer with a new code.
Pinpointing Explorer Driveline Squeal
Question: I own an '03 Ford Explorer that has a strange noise. It's kind of like a high-pitched squeal, and it varies in noise level as speed is increased or decreased. It started after I had the vehicle in for a transmission rebuild. I took it back to the transmission shop, and they say it is not coming from the transmission but the transfer case. They now want to rebuild the transfer case. Could they have done something to the transfer case when they took the transmission out to repair it?
Answer: Yes, they could have, but I don't think that it is anything major. I believe your Explorer has a BorgWarner 44-11 transfer case which offers three different drive modes: full-time four-wheel drive, high-range, and low-range. On the transfer case are two speed sensors that relay driveshaft speed to the control module.
My guess is that they had one or both of the speed sensors out for some reason or another when they pulled the transmission out. It's easy to cock the speed sensors just a bit when reinstalling them, and the end result will be this high-pitched squealing noise you're hearing. Take the vehicle back and have them pull out the speed sensor, lube the O-ring really good, and reinstall it, making sure that it is flush with the case.
Turning An AWD Explorer Into A 4WD
Question: I have a '99 Ford Explorer with a 5.0L and all-wheel drive. I want to lift it and put in a high/low transfer case. I want to try to keep the cost down, so I would like to use a Ford F-150 transfer case. I don't know want would work best and go in fairly easy. I have been a truck and coach mechanic for 10 years, so I am very handy and could make anything work-I just need a bit of help on what parts to look for on the transfer-case job.
Answer: While at first it seems like a pretty easy swap, just pull out the present 44-03 and bolt in a manual-shift transfer case from a Ford F-150, it just may not be that easy or it may work out just fine. I talked to my transmission/transfer-case expert, Bob Hutchins of All Transmissions in Portland, Oregon, and he agreed. Ford also used in the Explorer a B-W 44-04 and 13-54 transfer case with a low-range; however, they both used an electric shift motor. No big thing, you say, just run a power lead connected to an on/off switch to the motor. But it just won't work like that. You see, Bob says that the electrical plug is a multiwire connector. Where do all these wires go? Well, to the computer, the antilock brake module, and a couple of sensors. Most likely, you're going to have a "check engine" light on all the time. But you don't have this wiring plug.
Bob says his books show a 13-54 in a manual-shift mode was also used in the Explorer, but I can't seem to find any reference to it. You have to go back a few years to when the F-150s were using the same 4R70W auto transmission as the Explorer and the 5.0L motor. They used a 44-06 manual shift or a 13-56 in electrical- or manual-shift configuration. My guess-and do keep in mind that it is just an educated guess-is that the transmission spline count as well as the length of the transmission's output shaft is the same for all the transfer cases, and the ones from the pickup should bolt right on. There should not be any electrical connections that you would have to worry about other than the plugs that send a signal to a "4WD/low range" indicator light. A warning light as such shouldn't be any problem to hook up. There also may be some variation in driveshaft length that would require new shafts to be made up. If it was my project, I would pull out the existing transfer case and make up a drawing of all the critical measurements and then go wrecking-yard hunting.
As to a lift over 4 inches not being available; it's because the halfshafts or drive-axle CV joints can't handle any more operational angle than what a 4-inch lift will cause. I would think that with a 4-inch lift you could use a 32-inch tire without any problems and most likely even a 33.