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Has anyone yet considered a 4R70W upgrade?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Has anyone yet considered a 4R70W upgrade?
    Posted: 01-October-2020 at 1:41PM
The 4R70W transmission is a very strong four speed automatic, much stronger than an AOD and similar to a well built C6 etc. It's the descendant of the AOD that began in 1980. The early 90's Fords had the first electronic version of the AOD, called the AODE.

Ford quickly learned that the new modular engines didn't have as much torque as pushrod V8's, so they finally made a wide ratio gear set and called it a 4R70W. That got a few more revisions over the years, and the 1998 model was the best step to limit your choice if you go hunting one. The 98+ versions got a big upgraded one way clutch at the front, called a mechanical diode. That one part will swap into any AOD or AODE, as many other parts will also.

There have been a couple of controllers made to operate the 4R70W in vehicles without the OEM computers made for them. The one I knew of was by Baumann Electronic Controls, and they are the best known now for controllers for a few transmissions, including the 6R80 that is popular from late Mustangs etc.

There's a used one on the Corral now for use with the 4R70W, the member is asking $325;

It's not a common product now given the demand for later model 5.0 engines and transmissions. But it is a very good product for the 4R, I've never dealt with one but others praised it when an example popped up on a forum.

That controller way back when was around $450 or less when it first came out. I know it requires a speed sensor that is typically on the back of the trans. But the one issue I wonder about is the speedometer cable that is in all older Fords. The later transmissions quit using a cable in the late 80's or so, varying by models. So I'm not sure what Ford trans may have a cable with a speedometer sensor in it at the same time. That would be needed to maintain the OEM speedometer.

Does anyone know mire about the speed sensor in the back of the Ford transmissions, those of the 80's and 90's during that change over period?
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockatansky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-October-2020 at 9:18AM
is there a 4R70W case that uses the 289, 302/5.0, 351C, 351W small Ford bell pattern?

i've been hearing about a V6 case that shares our bell pattern but i don't have specific info.

you can always go to a GPS speedo driver https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/41800/10002/-1


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-October-2020 at 9:45AM
The 4R trans came in both cases, SBF and modular. The two bolt starter is how to visually tell them apart. The modular versions have three starter bolts.

All 96-01 302 Explorers have the 4R, and there were a few years of the 90's F150's with 302 or 351 in them, and there's one V6 that has the same SBF bell housing pattern. Any early 2000's Mustang V6 uses that 4R, the 2004 was the last Mustang with that 4R in it, plus it has the "Jerry's Mod" built into it.

I have three spare 4R's to build soon, one for my 92 Lincoln, one for my 98 Explorer, and one for my Ranchero. One of my 98's needs a rebuild(lost 3rd/4th gears), so I will have a few apart next year.

That's an interesting contraption, spinning a cable for the speedometer; GPS speedo driver https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/41800/10002/-1


Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-October-2020 at 10:53AM
For a SBF bell pattern, look at 97-2004 F150s with the 4.2 V6.
Mustang/Thunderbird 3.8 are not as heavy-duty.
If you are rebuilding it, the 4r75 parts fit the same case and are even stronger.
you will need a harness and controller.
AOD or FMX flexplate works, you will need the 4R70 trans yoke.
you will have to move the trans crossmember tabs back (or cheat, get a 72 crossmember and drill mew frame holes) and shorten the driveshaft.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-October-2020 at 11:43AM
The parts in the later(1998-04) 4R's are the same parts, Ford stopped shorting lesser applications like the V6 Mustang. The 03/04 V6 trans is identical in strength to a truck version, same number of clutches in all drums etc. The VB calibration though is a slight difference, some shift kits don't work well in trucks. That I gather, has changed a lot since the early 90's, it was a big deal before the 90's.

The 4R75 uses a different intermediate clutch system, that's the main change of the 4R75. So the rebuild kits differ slightly, plus the later models have additional speed sensors in the side, and non metallic parts in a couple of places. The one part of a 4R75W that is slightly stronger than a 4R70 is the planetary itself, the attachment points are supposed to be welded instead of the typical crush plugs(like a rivet). I bought one and the difference is almost not noticeable.

One of my 4R's I have to build is a 90k mile 03 Mustang V6 4R. The biggest key is finding a trans with reasonable mileage to build. They are very strong, but all automatics will accrue some wear of the main case over lots of years and high mileage. You want one with under 100k, over 200k is not the ideal for a keeper car. The EPC case bore is the biggest concern for a 4R, sometimes those look like new with high mileage, but some are wore out with much less. You can't fix a worn out case, so always hunt a lower mileage unit.
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bueller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-January-2021 at 4:38PM
 A little late to the party, but after some soul searching I’ve gone from rebuilding the stock C6, to doing an AOD, to skipping all of that and going to the 4R70W instead.  The wife and I wanna do some power tours eventually, and I wanna put some miles on it, because the car has had maybe 1000 miles pit on it from the last 2 owners (coworkers) in the last 5 years or so. 

Snagged one out of an ‘01 F-150 at the boneyard the other day. Engine was out already, and it was just hanging out, sitting on the crossmember waiting for me. Oddly enough, it was the only one I could find that still had the pan on it...go figure..not sure what everyone is after..the valve bodies were still in most of them. Even the solenoids are reasonably priced brand new.

Anywho..if you guys wanna share info, I’ll go first. Been researching this transmission for about 2 weeks solid, lol..the stand alone US shift4 (Baumann) controller is around $600, TPS kit for an edelbrock is $150ish, wiring harness is $150ish, for a total of about $950 after shipping. That’s not even touching the transmission yet. Very complete overhaul kit with a sonnax slick shift kit $500ish, TC probably about the same. I’m planning on upgrading the forward drum ($200) because of a weak design around the snap ring (and it also has room for another clutch), and possibly a sonnax direct drum/sun gear upgrade kit ($650) along with some other small tweaks. I’m figuring around $2,500 total to do the swap, but it should last a very long time, and be bulletproof for potentially 5-600 HP I wanna eventually have going through it. That’s no labor cost involved ‘cause I’m doing it all.

Fitment wise, I’m thinking it won’t take a whole lot, since it’s a little bit bigger than a C6. There’s a speedo cable hole in the tail housing with a block off plate, and a speedo gear still present on the output shaft until ‘03 at which point they got rid of both provisions.

Anyone have anything to add?

Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-January-2021 at 2:54AM
Nice work Frank. They did away the rear speedometer drive gears at different times for each car model, so you found one of the last years it seems. The Explorer has no speedo gear after 1997, because they put the sensor in the rear diff, it's the ABS sensor from 98+ in those.

You might hunt the trans controller on the Corral if you still can, I've seen them turn up for about $400 total a few times, maybe once a year. I didn't know the wiring harness didn't come with it as new.

BTW, that Sonnax forward drum, do not buy the lesser version that is silver in color, costs maybe $150-$175. That one had a manufacturing defect which may not be fixed yet. There is a video online posted that shows the issue, they cut the inner piston "pocket" a little big, the bottom plate barely catches the edge of the splines and may let go at some point. Buy the better version, it's about $200 from Summit, and is a dark color, it holds the most clutches. The bad part number ends in "254" I think, and the good one ends in "255." I have all of those.

The basic rebuild kits are under $150, the solenoids will be around $100. The best shift kit will be the do it yourself "Jerry's Mod." That takes some researching to figure out what holes to drill etc, and which sizes are best for the application. Most of what is known and online, will be about Mustangs and 90's Thunderbird's, Mark VIII's. You will have to be conservative on the hole sizes etc, the accumulators too, to dial in your application. I plan to do that and expect to go back in to the VB to open up a hole or two, to adjust the shift firmness a little.

The trans controller helps a lot to fine tune the shifting, but the inherent shift firmness should be done with the best accumulators and holes(which is what the JMod is about).
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bueller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-January-2021 at 3:36AM
Good to know about the drum..I’ve looked at the dark one and was kind of wondering what the difference was.

As far as the J-mod goes, I can’t seem to access the information on the phone, because it wants you to download Adobe flash, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Haven’t tried a desk top yet. I did see where they did ithe mod on a 97-98 version, but Ford changed stuff around every year it seems, and there was no chart or anything to reference.

Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-January-2021 at 4:08AM
The JMod stuff will be found the most on forums for the 90's Thunderbird's etc. That chassis platform had the 4R70W and those were common enthusiasts cars. The details are about the hole sizes and accumulator springs to select. Some cars need stiffer springs etc, holes bigger or smaller based on traction etc. My AWD Explorer has lots of traction, so I could go to some bigger holes.

But the holes in question are all the same ones. The upgrade is to locate them(which were documented by the engineer of the 4R(Jerry ...), and open them up, which makes those shifts firmer. So it's not a long process on the transmission itself. The tough part is finding the "instructions", and choosing springs and hole sizes.

I really like TransGo for VB kits, but theirs is not ideal for high power behind a 4R. The kit they have is great for basic uses, any mild application, for any trans they make kits for. But for the 4R in bigger power levels, the JMod is the best alternative. The 4R trans is very strong inherently, way beyond the AOD. So it's about getting things working just the way you need them, and it should be very reliable.
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bueller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-January-2021 at 5:02AM
Yea, the instructions/charts is the elusive part for sure atm. I would say there’s a lot you can do just through the controller by the looks of it as well. Will dig a little deeper on the j mod for sure.

I have read quite a bit to not do a shift kit over the j mod. I’ve got a transgo tugger shift kit in my ramcharger, and it made a huuuge difference. Although the 727 is fairly bulletproof to start with for back in the day. There’s always room for improvement in old technology, but today’s stuff is tuned to such a higher degree...just like motorcycles...it’s amazing my Kawasaki sport tourer makes over 140 horse right out of the box...

Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockatansky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-January-2021 at 5:55AM
the J in J-mod refers to Ford engineer Jerry Wrobleski,

seeing as how he designed the transmission i'd default to his recallibrating recommendations over those of Joe Anybody aftermarket guy

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-January-2021 at 5:57AM
The TransGo VB kits are far more elaborate than other brand kits. They alter more circuits to gain good improvements in many types of driving, part throttle and responsiveness to throttle etc. It's not good to mix any brands or kits, but the JMod is the most simple, aimed at the individual shifts, "kits." If I had a 4R with a TransGo kit in it, I might consider altering the "JMod" holes a hair, if I thought it needed some tweaking. But I doubt that has happened often ever, or will for me.

I expect the JMod will be enough. I had the AOD TransGo HD kit in my first Lincoln LSC, and that trans was amazing with it, far better than stock for all driveability. That's the best VB kit for an AOD, but it was a very involved shift kit, not for basic mechanics.
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-January-2021 at 4:09AM
Make sure. since the engine was gone, that you have a V6 trans. The V8 has the wrong bell and it's cast-in.
People will grab valve bodies so they can mod the spare and minimize down-time. Or, they screw up modifying their valve body and need a new one.
Also, they can get chewed up if the accumulator snap ring breaks and bits jam the valve body.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-January-2021 at 2:49PM
The 4R70W only came as two bell housing types, SBF, and the modular engines. The difference is easy to spot, the SBF uses two bolts on the starter. The modular engine starters have three bolts.

The V6 Mustangs up to 2004 had the SBF 4R70W, two bolts for the starter. Those were a 3.8 V6 I believe, I have one 2003 4R from those, with 89k miles. Those 03/04 4R's had the JMod built into them, Ford revised those to match what everyone had learned about Jerry's recommendations. Those do not have a speed sensor provision in the rear shaft though.
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fordpower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-January-2021 at 3:51AM

this post is way beyond my pay grade. I have a 84 aod out of a wagon and one out of a 87 lincoln vII. What simple up grades should I be looking at.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-January-2021 at 5:00AM
Originally posted by fordpower fordpower wrote:


this post is way beyond my pay grade. I have a 84 aod out of a wagon and one out of a 87 lincoln vII. What simple up grades should I be looking at.


The AOD had many weaknesses in the early years. Anything prior to about 1986 should be used for a stock engine mild build only, so basic VB kits and upgrade to a "B" OD servo set is about all I'd do for those. The output shaft got better in the 1987 range, so once you have that, then it's worth many easy upgrades. Many AODE or 4R70W guts will swap into any AOD. The 1998+ 4R is a good place to hunt those, or many of the same parts separately online, eBay for sure.

The OD is a weak link for all of them, using the bigger OD servo parts should be done for all of them. The "C" parts were common in early 80's AOD, throw all of those in the scrap. You can tell what an AOD has with the VB off, the letter on the OD servo cover is very large, one of these, "A", "B", or "C." The "A" servo was a Super Coupe part, and Ford used to sell those three components for about $50. Now it's more feasible to buy the aftermarket choices, they all are over $100 I recall.

Most people would want the wider ratio gears of the 4R70W's, that's the four parts in the back including the planetary. Those are easy to get from used 4R's, not that expensive, strong and reliable.

For decent power, you want the wider OD band of the AODE or 4R, both require a couple other parts from the later trans, thus the 98+ being a great donor trans.

TransGo makes the best VB kits for the AOD, either the SK or the HD kit(HD is for experienced installers).
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bueller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-January-2021 at 1:37PM
Good info on the AOD 👍🏻

There was another member that suggested doing the aod, but after researching it and figuring out all the weaknesses, I personally decided I would be money ahead going for the 4R. Pretty much for the reasons you listed...Wider OD band, lower gear ratio, and better input shaft and OD setup. 

By the time you build the AOD up, you coulda almost got the 4R instead. The biggest down side in my mind, is the price tag on the control system. Adding $950 to the parts bill is tough to swallow..BUT with that, you can really dial in what you want the tranny to do, and when to do it.

Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-January-2021 at 3:03AM
Keep an eye out for the 4R controller from what used to be Baumann, now Quick shift I think it's called. The forums are the best place to find a used one if it's up for sale.
Don
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears, to build a keeper
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 351-3V &4R70W
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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