5.0 Explorer Swap in 66-keeping it distributorless

MARKDTN

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Apr 5, 2019
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Chattanooga, TN
I have a 1966 Mustang that I bought in about 2002. It was originally a 6-cyl/3-sp. The original engine was rebuilt in 1982 and 2 weeks later they hit a deer. He went and bought NOS fenders for it (which I still have) and then it sat. I replaced the floor pans and patched the cowl. I sold the original engine, transmission, and rearend and put in a 302/AOD out of an ’84 van with Granada brakes and rear axle but my heart was just not in a carbed motor (but now I have manifolds, mounts, oil pan, etc.). I want fuel injection. So I pulled that out and bought an ’88 Cougar from an impound auction for $62. I put in that 5.0/AOD in and was close to hearing it run in 2005 when we moved here. I had hoped that one or both of my sons would get interested, but they were not. So I spent those years with the Mustang in the garage corner and doing the things that the boys wanted to do. Both boys have now gone on to college, so I am ready to start back on the car. The donor Cougar was rough and the engines in these are so underpowered. I heard it run a few seconds but no idea on transmission condition. I am now thinking that I will buy a running 96-01 2wd 5.0 Explorer and put the complete engine and transmission in and disk brake rear (shortened). I am not scared of wiring or fuel lines. I am a fairly experienced fabricator (I built a 2N tractor with flathead V8 and done many GM FI swaps among other things). I have read and read on this but it is hard to find somebody to talk to that has actually done this. I don’t care about GT40 vs: GT40P heads, but I would like the upgraded transmission in 98 if I can. My thought is to use the donor Explorer harness and stock PCM. I will use the motor bone stock. Where I get confused is where/how to get the PCM programmed. I want to remove PATS (98 up), rear O2s, and any tank pressure stuff. HP tuners does not support these. SCT seems to, but the site says it won’t remove emissions stuff. Other places mention Quarterhorse but hard to tell what it needs to go with it. I just need a push in the right direction. Who can program a stock Explorer PCM to remove what I don’t want so I can make this one work? Or what programmer and/or software will do what I need? I do NOT want to put in a distributor and convert to earlier Mustang stuff. I will convert the speedo to electronic. Is it better to stay 96-97 to avoid PATS? Any advice? Thank you!
 
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a91what

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have you considered using a standalone ECU? a megasquirt or even a cheap little microsquirt will do that job no problem and let you fully tune the engine. you can keep the EDIS ignition and it will work with all the factory sensors, you can choose to either run it speed density or MAF your choice.
you can check out diyautotune.com or even stinger.com to purchase the unit from.

not sure if anyone has a pnp ecu for the explorer harness @Stinger may be able to shed some light on that.

if it were me i would only use what i needed out of the harness and ditch the rest.
 

MARKDTN

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Apr 5, 2019
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Chattanooga, TN
I have considered that, but would like to keep the electronic transmission. I have an AOD that was good almost 20 years ago (out of the '84 van) and the unknown one from the Cougar but I would rather stay all 1 integrated driveline so parts are easier to specify later. My plan was to buy an Explorer and do the PCM changes/program before I knock it in the head. That way I know it ran and there would only be wiring to blame if it won't start (I haven't had one yet that didn't). I have read about 1 guy that did this in a Bronco I think that kept the Explorer wiring. He had issues with PATS. I just think there has to be somebody out there that can work on the PCM. If this was GM stuff it is easy to get this done. Surely somebody can do this for a Ford? Or I can just stay 96-97 and avoid PATS but I still have to deal with rear O2s and OBD2 fuel tank monitoring stuff. I want a "no SES light on" installation. My goal is to drive this Summer 2020 on Route 66 with a friend. The car is coming out of the corner in a couple weeks, I'm cleaning the garage now. One other question that I have not seen answered is will the Explorer accessories work in a 66? I know I will have to adapt power steering and make a/c lines, but will they physically fit? I will figure out a dipstick (tube) if I have to weld it into the pan.
 

a91what

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megasquirt can do transmission control as well if you cant find someone to do the tune for you. I can tune MS i do not mess with OEM ECU.. you can ask around on efidynotuning.com they may be able to help you with a tune of some kind.
 

a91what

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I did not know that MS could control the trans. Interesting. I may look into that if I can't go stock. Thank you!
technically it will require 2 ECU... one for the engine and a microsquirt with firmware making it a 'TCU' or a transmission control unit. they talk to each other over canbus.. you can do this on the cheap if you wanted to.
there is also the option of using a baumann controller for the trans. let us know what you decide to do, with the MS you could even do some cool stuff like paddle shifters and such.
 

MARKDTN

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Apr 5, 2019
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My vision for the car is very stock looking 1966 Mustang. 14" wheels with pony wheel covers. Stock inside. I want it to be reliable and quick. Fuel injection and overdrive make these old cars faster than new (stock) with better mileage. When I was in high school in the mid-80s several guys had 65/66 289 Mustangs (and then there was the 2 red/black '69 fastbacks-a 428CJ/4-sp and a 351/auto with nitrous-and the family acquaintance with a '69 Shelby GT500KR convertible) and I had a boss with a 66 4-sp GT that the original motor was gone and it had a '70s 302 /2bbl smog truck motor and it was still fast! I always wanted one of those early ones. So here I am 30+ years later building one. I have pulled the original straight steering box and put in a 67L collapsible column and steering box. Added front disc brakes and will add rear although rear is not as helpful. I want it safe and stock looking with parts I can buy at any parts store in the country. That is why I prefer stock if I can make it work.
 
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MARKDTN

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Apr 5, 2019
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So for my knowledge, which MegaSquirt kits would I need? Looks like a MS3 with MS3X for the engine and what would I use for the transmission? I would just create my own harness by cutting up a factory one to get the plugs? Is it worth it to buy them DIY or complete built is best? (I'm not scared of soldering a board)
 

a91what

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You can save money if your solder savvy. The ms3x is the most bang for the buck and can do just about any damn thing.

Look at the microsquirt to use as the transmission controller.

I make my own harness but I like to do that kind of stuff.
 

marshall69

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Feb 12, 2014
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I put a crank trigger 5 litre Windsor from an Australian AU Falcon in my 66. Transferred the whole Falcon wiring loom after cutting out all wires I did not want and kept the stock ECU. This has given me electric mirrors, window, seats, variable wipers, etc. Mine was a manual 5 speed which I have recently swapped for a non electric AOD. The combination works great. 300HP and all stock sensors so the (old) Ford mechanics know how to diagnose and fix any problems.