To see the old page with my 1978 F350 Dually with a common rail 5.9 click here

*** Update 2/2/14: We are wrapping up the porting work, great results so far.  Below are pictures of us porting and flowing the heads.  Big increases!

 

We decided to build an intake spacer even though it will require building new fuel lines.  Probably I would have built new lines anyway as the rebuilder for the p-pump recommended bigger lines.  I actually machined this myself on the bridgeport.  Not completely done but pretty close.

I also got the Wicked Wheel 2 installed in the turbo.  I think a few more weeks and I will be ready to start the re-install.

You can contact me at john@hpranch.com  

*** Update 1/26/14: I was not as good as planned in keeping this blog updated.  In short I drove the F150 around 10,000 miles in 2013 including the trip outlined in my last update and another trip pulling a trailer round trip from Minnesota to Washington state and back.  The truck performed great and pulled all the passes with a loaded trailer without any problems.  Power was good and the truck was awesome to drive.

One thing I found was that I had a lot of blowby out the breather on the side of the block.  I replaced the center two valve coves with one that has a built in breather/baffle and ran it to a catch can and it would blow so much oil that it would be dripping from the filter on the top of the catch can.  When I purchased the engine I was told it only had about 90k miles on it however when we tore the engine down it looked like it had more like 500k miles on it.  The rings had completely stuck to the pistons and had sharp edges from wear, the cylinder walls were worn badly, and it had excessive wear everywhere.  Of course I can't leave anything alone so the build is pretty over the top.  Here is a list of what the new engine will have done to it (should be done in mid February).

  • Block has been bored, decked, align honed, and has a half fill of bock concrete for additional strength
  • Crankshaft has had additional oiling holes drilled and has been balanced
  • ARP main, rod, and head studs
  • Mahle pistons
  • Rods have been shotpeened and resized
  • Head has been extensively ported with custom stainless valves and had hardened guides machined into the head.  Extensive time on the flow bench determined the best valve angle
  • Heavy duty valve springs
  • The P-Pump has been sent to have the cam reground and larger plungers installed
  • 4,000 RPM DDP governor springs
  • Hamilton Cams cam with bolt on retainer
  • AFC housing modified with custom fuel plate
  • DDP 90HP injectors
  • HX35 Turbo with Wicked Wheel 2
  • Planning to order the Steed Speed center mounted exhaust manifold so I can build a higher flowing downpipe

I am hoping for much less turbo lag, lower EGT's (at the similar power level), and 400-450 HP at the wheels.  I expect the modifications to be mostly neutral for mileage however having good ring seal and fresh engine will hopefully bring mileage up.

Cosmetically I plan to try for a tougher look by running the Winch Ready front and rear bumpers and have them covered with Line-X.  I plan to have the factory fender flares, the bottom sill, and the bed all done at the same time.  I will run a Warn winch (haven't decided which one yet) and PIAA 510's in the front and PIAA 2190's in the rear..

I plan to write a few stories regarding specific details on the conversion like what it takes to convert to a 4R100 in this year of F150, what 4R100 to use, what modifications worked the best, etc. My hope is to have it ready and drive to Diesel Power Challenge again to watch. 

*** Update 5/18/13: So much has happened since my last post.  I gave up twice but my wife forced me to keep going.  I drove an un-tested truck 4,000 miles with zero break-in time across the country and made it to the Diesel Power Challenge mileage test and got 33.3 MPGI tuned the truck while driving, had a major oil a and fuel leak, had to replace the power steering pump in Seattle, and had to drive with no working speedometer or tachometer (luckily I had navigation that showed speed).  I hit a top speed of 110 MPH (still more left but the track was too short) and had a great time!  My favorite parts were having my friends from Amsoil drive the truck on the mileage test because I had to call in for conference calls for work, killing the larger trucks in the DPC mileage challenge, hanging out at DPC 2013, Jackson hole Wyoming, and making it 4,000+ miles!  Below is the trip we took – minus local miles.

My best mileage was on the challenge – 33.3 MPG.  On the way to Denver we averaged 26 MPG with a light load.  I didn’t check from Denver to Seattle but from Seattle to MSP we drove very fast and had a heavy load (suspension on bumpstops) and got 22 MPG.  Doing some average driving now that I have been back I feel like I will get about 24 MPG in city.  I have some more work to do and expect to pick up about 2 MPG.  If I were able to re-do the DPC mileage test with the planned improvement I think I could get 36-37 MPG.  Now that Diesel is less than unleaded fuel the savings are even better! (local regular price is $4.15 and Diesel is $3.89). 

There is so much to tell about getting ready and the show and the trip.  More to come.  I just had to post something now that I am back in MSP.

*** Update 5/2/13: Well, little green (the F150) starts, runs, and drives!  Lots left to do and no new pictures but I will post all the details later including what it actually takes to get a 4R100 into a truck that came with a 4R70W.  Today I was able to get the truck started for the first time and back the truck off the hoist and onto the trailer so I can get it to the AC shop tomorrow to build custom AC lines.  I am not ready yet to get the AC charged but at least I will hopefully have all the lines run and then I can get it charged when I am in Denver.  Since Denver just got over a foot of snow and the storm extended all the way past Minnesota I probably will not need AC until after Denver.  What a crazy spring…

*** Update 4/28/13: Super busy weekend, got a lot done.  I have the fuel system completely installed and working including the FASS fuel pump and the XDP tank sump.  The FASS fuel pumps are top quality, every time I install one I am impressed by the quality of all the components.  I use the FASS pumps on all of my conversions.

 

I also have the full exhaust system installed – 4” all the way back with a stainless 5” tip.  I didn’t take any pictures but here is the installed downpipe I talked about earlier.  The ceramic coating was done by New Image Coatings – they got it done for me in one day, did a great job, and the price was very reasonable.  They are my new source for powder coating and ceramic coating. 

The new Expedition torsion bars are installed and I am ready to install the new transmission (old one is removed).  It appears the cross member is different on the 4R100 – I could make mine work but I found a local cross member at a wrecking yard and will pick it up tomorrow.  One thing to note – the Expedition torsion bars make the front end of the truck sit about 1-2 inches lower than the F150 torsion bars.  Because I am building the truck as a daily driver and with mileage in mind the lower stance is great.  I am going to wait for the full conversion before I change the rear but I can remove the 2” rear block and leave it out or put in a 1” block to make it sit level.

I have the Snow Performance Water/Methanol pump mounted and the injectors installed but need to finish the rest.   I almost got the engine started today but the battery was pretty dead before I started and I didn’t get all the air out of the system.  Sure sounded good turning over! 

Here are a few more pictures.  Check out the tires on the truck – I went with the Nitto Dura Grappler tires versus the Michelin.  I have to say I am super happy.  They have the extra weight capacity and – the most important part – they look way cooler.  I have used Nitto tires on all of my builds, they are priced right and they perform.  I am really happy I went with Nitto.

 

*** Update 4/23/13: I promised a picture of the turbo downpipe so here you go….  I have a lot of hours into this piece.  I will take a picture of it in the truck and you will be surprised how tight the fit is and how close the piece hugs the firewall.  Tomorrow I am going to take the downpipe in to get ceramic coated.  The factory turbo uses a heavy cast iron elbow so I used the heaviest gauge exhaust pipe and welded everything from the outside and the inside (well, actually I had my friend Jeff help – he is a far better welder than I am).  

 

·        Tip:  Take the inner fenders out when you start the project.  For several weeks I have been working around the plastic inner fenders and for about 10 minutes of work I now have wide open access to all the things that were hard to get to before (motor mounts, turbo, fuel system, AC compressor, etc.).

·        Tip: If you run a HE341 or HE351 they use a different v-band clamp off the turbo and that clamp is hard to find.  I lucked out and found someone local who had a spare.  The local Dodge dealer and the Cummins dealer didn’t show the part as different than the lower v-band clamp. 

Take a look at the intake elbow with all of the boost sensor lines (gauge and for the Snow water-methanol kit) and the water methanol injection lines.

*** Update 4/21/13: You know how every project has a stage where you put I tons of effort but don’t see a lot of results?  I am in that stage now.  Major things are getting done but they don’t “photo” well.  More later but first check out the fender emblems I put together for the F150.  I removed the portion that said Triton V8 and cut apart a factory Dodge emblem to make it look like the truck came with this emblem.

I have all of the intercooler pipes built and the radiator hoses.  I was going to run the stock Cummins clutch fan but ran into clearance issues and decided to buy the Flex-a-lite dual fan and it fit great.  It is not cheap but they are super reliable and fit great.  All the radiator hoses are installed and all the power steering hoses.  I built the turbo downpipe and have at least 12 hours into making it.  I will post pictures of it later this week.  I got the Fass fuel pump installed and about half of the fuel system plumbing.  The Fass fuel pump is awesome, super reliable.  The issue I ran into on the F150 is the smaller frame and less room between the bottom of the truck and the bottom of the frame meant I had to build a custom bracket to make it fit.  Here it is – worked great!

I spent a bunch of time trying to figure out what alternator and AC pump to run.  I built custom brackets to retain my stock AC pump and stock alternator but they all made the packaging look wrong.  I ended up ordering a PA 1 wire Cummins 130 amp alternator and a stock AC pump and found the AC bracket on ebay with the idler pulley.  They are not mounted yet so I may still run into problems.  I guess most motor mounts interfere with the Cummins AC bracket but I measured and I think I will be fine. 

I also found some good news for those that want to keep the 4R70W transmission.  Diesel Conversion Specialists make a flexplate designed for this transmission and the appropriate adapter plate.  I knew I was going to swap to a 4R100 so I ordered that flexplate.  Why am I going to all the work to swap in a 4R100?  I pull a trailer a lot and use cruise control.  What I have been told by the transmission experts is the 4R70W uses an overdrive band that can’t handle a lot of torque.  What I am worried about is cruising in OD and hitting an incline (hill) and exceeding the maximum torque of the 4R70W OD band.  The 4R100 has a clutch pack for OD.  I have a new transmission from ATS on the way and a PCS 4R100 controller from Destroked already here.  I know I have posted this before but to get the 4R100 to fit (have not done this yet) you need longer torsion bars and front driveline from a Navigator or Expedition with the 5.4 and a new driveline to make it work.  You could swap in an Expedition computer and wiring harness but I already have the PCS controller in my Big Green truck so I decided to go with the standalone.

*** Update 4/14/13: Progress is slow but a lot has been done.  It has been cold and snowing back here, we have around 8 inches and it has been here a week.  It is supposed to snow tonight and most of this week.  Makes it hard to go get stuff and it is easier to work on the truck if I can push it part way out of the garage.  With the cold and snow I have very limited space to work.

Motor mounts – what worked for me was a piece of 3/8 x 5 ½” steel about 14” long.  I drilled the bolt pattern (4 bolts) for the middle mount into the lower left area of the steel and then cut the piece to fit the block as far as it could go toward the front of the block.  On the driver side you have the fuel pump and another bracket to work around and on the passenger side it is the oil filter housing.  I then drilled a hole in the factory motor mount pod but on the top, not the angled part.  I dropped the motor mount in and cut a piece of 3/8 x 3” x 1.5” (U) channel and drilled the two holes for the top of the motor mount.  I did this on both sides and used the motor puller to hold the engine at the height I wanted.  I then tack welded the pieces together and pulled them out to weld up.  I also welded in some gussets.  On the driver side I had to clearance a part of the U channel to clear the steering rod and on the passenger I had to channel it a bit to clear the oil return.  There you go, motor mounts!  After getting the mounts installed I did have to pull the turbo and exhaust manifold out a few times to clearance the motor mount for the vacuum line that controls the waste gate and for the housing of the supercharger.  The fact that you can lift it out as one piece is awesome – saves a lot of time. 

 

One of the hardest parts about a conversion is the hundreds of trips to the store to find a part that was never intended for what you are building.  Radiator hoses are one of those things.  What I typically do is buy a few hoses and take them back and hold them in place, then go back and buy more.  Hopefully you only cut a few because they are expensive.  The upper hose turned out great, a gates 21770 cut down a little looks like a factory piece.  It is designed to be a lower radiator hose and has the wire spring to keep the hose from collapsing.  Because this is an upper hose I pulled it out to use in the lower.

 

The lower hose is harder.  The radiator and engine have the hose connectors on the opposite sides.  I used the factory lower hose (it has the hose for the radiator fill tank) and cut it short and attached it to the factory upper hose.  I then found another gates hose that would fit the engine and an 1 ¾” – 2” exhaust pipe adapter to go between the two hoses.  Because the hose is very long I welded a stud to the bottom of the adapter so I can put a bracket to help hold the weight of the hose when all the water is in it.  I am not sure I am happy with the hose, I will have to clearance the radiator shroud if I keep it this way.  I may go to an exhaust shop and have them fabricate a metal hose but with all the snow it would suck to trailer it so for now I will keep it this way.  Don’t forget to put the spring in the lower radiator hose!

 

 

The intercooler is fully installed.  I didn’t have to drill through the core support in a way that would cause structural issues, which is good.  I took a lot of cutting and a lot of modifications to the headlight/grill header.  Doing custom work it is always surprising how many times you have to take the parts off and put them back on to get them to fit properly.  In the end it fit really well and is super easy to service but it took a lot of time.

 

 

After getting a lot of the parts installed I see why everyone said a remote oil filter is a good idea.  The intake elbow does fit but it is very tight and rubs on the oil filter.  The outlet tube of the turbo will run directly in front of the oil filter meaning it would have to be removed every time you change the oil.  This would mean the intake air tube would also have to be removed.  I am going to research the remote oil filter systems.

What I have left – rough list:

·         One of the heater hoses

·         Downpipe – and exhaust

·         Air intake tubing

·         Intercooler pipes (inside engine compartment)

·         Finish power steering reservoir install (almost done)

·         Mount AC pump

·         Alternator mount and wiring

·         Engine temp/oil pressure wiring

·         Find a way to get an RPM signal

·         Heater grid wiring

·         Dipstick tube install

·         Snow performance Water/Methanol install

·         Drop fuel tank and install XDP tank sump

·         Install FASS fuel pump

·         Install Amsoil

·         Put on my new Nitto tires (truck is on jack stands now)

·         START THE ENGINE

·         Take the truck to my friends house with a hoist

·         Pull transmission

·         Install new ATS transmission

·         Swap in Expedition torsion bars

·         Install PCS transmission controller

·         Program transmission

·         Build a custom tune for the truck so the gauges work.

I am sure I skipped some things…..  and I need to get all of this done in the next few weeks so I can make Diesel Power Challenge.  No pressure or anything…..

*** Update 4/9/13: I have the motor mounts tacked together so unless I have zero time tomorrow I should have the motor sitting in place and bolted in by end of day.  You can see the very large oil filled motor mounts that I am using to help with vibration.  These things are huge but from all the research I have done they do the trick and keep vibration at a minimum.

*** Update 4/8/13: Today was a day of discovery but not a lot of progress.  I am working on the motor mounts but have also been doing transmission research.  My current findings are that all 4R70W torque converters have the “kick out” that is causing the interference.  The picture below is not my torque converter but you can see the kick out.  I am still researching the availability of a 4R70W converter without the kickout. 

Even if one can’t be made without the bump where the bolts are I may be able to use the ARP bolts that have a shorter shoulder and a small spacer to make it work.  I am not sure how much I should invest in this as I was already planning on swapping up to a 4R100 but I really wanted to prove it would work with the 4R70W.  I have not given up yet but the chances of making it work are getting less and less likely.

The motor mounts are not done yet.  Two trips to buy steel and still having problems finding the right stuff.  I am getting closer but building parts from scratch is hard.  Later this week maybe….

 

*** Update 4/7/13: Got a lot done so far, the 5.4 gas engine is out and the 4BT is in!  Ran into some trouble along the way. 

Problem 1 – Adapter plate needed significant grinding to fit the back of the engine.  Not sure why but the seal holder on the back of the crank seriously interfered with the adapter plate and the dowel pins were larger than the receiver holes on the adapter.  I also had to clearance for the starter on the side of the block and the starter itself.

Problem 2 – The torque converter has a step out where the center pilot is located.  This hits the flexplate bolts and it appears I need about .150 clearance if I wanted to make this converter fit.  I wanted to show that this conversion could be done on a budget if you were ok with keeping the 4R70W but now I need to decide if I should spend some money on a new torque converter when I plan to just replace the transmission for the 4R100.  I plan to talk to ATS tomorrow and see where they are with building the 4R100 for my truck.  I am also going to a local shop that builds torque converters to see what it would take to make a billet converter without the “hump”.  I really want the ATS transmission as the one in my big green truck is awesome.

How did the 4BT fit?  Awesome!  Super easy getting it in and no clearance issues with the pan.  The first time I put the engine in I thought I would need to clearance the pan a bit so I hammered it to clear the area I thought it needed but after it was installed it would have fit just fine without the dent.  The fact is the engine looks small installed.  Everything is super easy to access and it looks like it will be easy to work on.  I have plenty of clearance for the radiator and can access all the valve covers and the intake elbow for when I install the Snow Performance water/methanol kit.

 

The intercooler fit but it will be tough to run the intercooler piping.  I am going to have to drill some serious holes and through a structural area of the core support.  I may weld the pipes in place to keep the structural strength but I will wait to decide until I do the cutting.

I also installed the intake air heater grid from my 2003 engine.  I will be driving this truck in the middle of Minnesota winter months where I have seen -30 degree temps without wind chill.  An intake heater grid is a must back here. 

Tomorrow will be all about the motor mounts and some custom fittings for the power steering.

*** Update 4/5/13: I am spending all day today working on the project and plan to spend most or all of the weekend.  If everything goes will the engine will be installed and will be able to start by end of day Monday.  A lot can go wrong but that is my goal.  I have the cam in and the injection pump set 3 degrees advanced and have the valves adjusted.  I ran into one problem with the harmonic dampner.  I ordered the Fluidampr that is designed for the 6.7 hoping I could use the tone ring around the outside as a source for the crank trigger to get RPM for the factory computer.  I measured everything and the depth was fine however what I didn’t expect is the pulley is far larger and the teeth on the tone ring hit the oil pan bolts.  I had to take the balancer down to my friend Jeff’s shop and use his lathe to cut off the tone ring.  Even after that I had to grind on the front cover and pan lip a bit to get it to fit.

 

 

One of the things I have read about with the 4BT is the issue with vibration due to balance.  The engine comes without a dampner on the crank, just a pulley.  The engines are a neutral balance so you can’t really call it a balancer, but it looks and feels just like a harmonic dampner.  I wanted to run the largest one I could to help absorb the harshness of the engine.  Lets see if it works.  Here is a link to a really good article regarding Cummins dampners.

I also have the Dynomite Diesel injectors installed and the fuel lines back on.  At this point I need to start pulling the engine out of the green truck!

 

It is just about 7 PM here and I am calling it quits for the night.  I don’t have the 5.4 out yet but I am getting close.  Up early tomorrow to get after it again….

 

 

*** Update 4/2/13: More parts arrived today but unfortunately I don’t have time to get anything installed until tomorrow or Thursday.  Today the new Hamilton Cam arrived with the billet retainer, new hardened pushrods, and new lifters.  I didn’t know about the difference in the lifters until I started the build but the 4BT comes with a smaller base circle lifter that tends to wear the cam more than the larger diameter lifter.  You can put the larger lifters in the 4BT so that is what I am going to do.  I took some pictures of the cam and the lifters and some of the wear on the stock cam from the smaller lifters.

 

 

*** Update 3/31/13: The first pictures of Big Green and Little Green together!  Sorry the pictures suck, I just got Big Green out of storage – no way I am going to drive it around Minnesota in the winter.  They salt the roads and most 10 year old trucks have no fenders or door bottoms left and I don’t want that to happen to the 78 Ford.  Now, for the new truck it is just a matter of time.  Little Green is rust free now (from California) but after a few years here it will not be….

I did get a bit done even though the cam didn’t get here.  I got the 60 PSI Pac Brake exhaust springs installed and got the exhaust manifold drilled for EGT sensors and put the HE341 Turbo on.  Fits great!  I won’t know how it will fit in the truck until next weekend and other manifolds are available but I think it is going to fit just fine.

 

 

I plan to install the tallest tires I can on the truck to help with gearing.  I don’t want to do a lift but I have been told a 33” tall tire will fit.  To keep the tire/wheel balance correct I plan to run a 20” wheel and a 275/60R20 tire.  I am trying to decide between the Nitto Dura Grappler or the Michelin LTX M/S.  The Nitto is a LT tire with more weight capacity and I have heard it will deliver the same or better mileage as the Michelin.  It feels so strange not buying an aggressive traction tire but this is all about daily comfort and mileage and occasional trailer pulling so I am sticking to road tires.  The Nitto looks more aggressive so I hope I get it but availability and pricing may push me to the Michelin.

 

*** Update 3/30/13: Since I didn’t have a lot of mechanical stuff to do today I set up an install for a Pioneer X850BT radio with new speakers, remote start, XM Radio, Navigation, Bluetooth, etc. install for this coming Tuesday at Best Buy.  Normally I would install this stuff myself but with my employee discount it is just easier to have it installed. 

I did clean the engine and paint it so it looks much better now.  If you see in the picture the giant harmonic dampner, it is designed for the 6.7 Cummins and has the engine speed tone ring built in.  Normally if you buy a kit from destroked for diesel conversion specialists you can buy a tone ring that bolts to the outside of the dampner but then you have trouble changing the belt if anything happens.  By using the aftermarket dampner from a 6.7 you get a built in tone ring but now I need to build a custom bracket. 

  

 

*** Update 3/29/13: Well, today didn’t go as expected.  I had expected my cam, lifters, billet cam plate, and hardened pushrods to show up today.  I can’t finish putting the engine together without these parts.  I called Hamilton cams and talked to Zach and I guess there was some confusion around which lifters to send and they were waiting for a different set to arrive.  I want to run the larger base lifters but the 4BT comes with a smaller lifter.  They had the larger lifters but were waiting for the smaller lifters to arrive.  I understand how things like this happen but still frustrating – I still think the world of the people at Hamilton so don’t think I am saying they screwed up – they did what they thought was the right thing, it just didn’t get me what I wanted when I wanted it.  They did make up for it by sending everything today via expedited shipping but I will still not have the parts until next week.

I took little green out to a friends shop with a hoist (yes, I have a hoist but my Mustang is on it and isn’t able to be removed until I finish installing the parachute).  I wanted to take a good look at the underside of the truck and look for serious damage that may have been overlooked before I put a bunch of time and money into converting it to diesel.  The good news is everything was super clean and no rust.  While it was on the hoist I looked at the transmission cross member and the cross member that holds the torsion arms.  There are bolt holes at 4.5 inches behind where everything is bolted now so it should be easy to move everything back for the 4R100.  The only thing I will need is a set of torsion bars from an Expedition (longer) and a front driveline from an Expedition.  I will also have to have the rear driveline shortened.

What I plan to do is get the truck converted with the 4R70W and get it shifting with the factory computer.  The reason to do this is I expect others will want to do the conversion and keeping the 4R70W will be within the means both financial and effort of more people.  If you look at the base parts necessary for the conversion it isn’t that expensive.  I found a low mileage 4BT with a P-pump for $2,700.  The adapter plate and billet flexplate ran about $1,000.  I expect I will be able to sell the 5.4 for around $1,000.  I will build my own motor mounts and other brackets but I know am working with Diesel Conversion Specialists on testing brackets they made for a 4BT conversion they did.  I am also going to offer the plans for my motor mounts to others so they can be manufactured or copied.  I fully expect a budget conversion could be done in a F150 for under 5k complete if someone can do their own labor.  If you compare 14 mpg to 25+ mpg and even if you factor a 10% cost difference in diesel fuel you could pay for the conversion in about 50k miles.  I hope to get even better mileage and have way more usable power than the stock 5.4.

 

*** Update 3/28/13: Hoping to get a lot done today.  Take a look at the difference between the stock 4BT turbo and the HE341 from the 03 common rail.

I think this is funny – normally to get lifters out you need to push wooden dowels into the lifter and use a rubber band to keep them from dropping and then use a tube  to get them out.  With the engine on an engine stand you can just flip the motor over and take them out with a magnet!  Super easy…

Here is the old broken front cover next to the new cover.  Bummer it was broken but since I was swapping cams anyway it really isn’t that much extra work.

 

*** Update 3/27/13: Got the pan swapped and the injector pump timing set, just waiting for the new parts to arrive, specifically the cam and injectors.  Found one major problem, the front gear case cover is cracked and has a bolt broken off in the block.  Cummins has the cover in stock so tomorrow I will be replacing the gear cover which means I need to remove the cam and injector pump gear (again) and re-set the injector pump timing.

 

 

*** Update 3/26/13: Getting more done – getting ready to set injector pump timing which is something I have never done before.  It is interesting with this front cover because the power steering pump is integrated into everything by gear.  That gear on the far right is what runs the power steering pump.

 

*** Update 3/25/13: I was able to reserve some engine dyno time this Saturday (yes, the day before Easter) and plan to get all of the parts installed before the dyno session and play with fuel plates and boost pressure to see how the engine performs.  I also went a bit over my original plans by ordering a Hamilton cam, new lifters, stronger pushrods, and stronger exhaust springs.  The cam is designed to spool the larger turbo, lower EGT’s, and get better mileage.  I also have the new injectors from Dynomite Diesel on the way and a FASS 125 fuel pump on the way.  I am still talking with ATS to see if they can get me set up with a 4R100 from a gas powered vehicle with all the performance parts they normally put in a diesel 4R100.  My wife picked up a hydroboost power brake booster from the wrecking yard and the parts to convert the oil pan from front sump to rear sump.  Not a bad day for not turning a wrench!

*** Update 3/24/12:  Got a lot done today, 3,000 RPM governor springs installed (so nice working on the engine on a stand versus in the car) and did some measuring for clearance.  I ran into what I thought was going to be a major obstacle as my engine has a front sump and the pan would have hit the front axle.  I did some research and it appears that all you need to do to make the engine a rear sump is turn the pan around and install a new pickup tube!  Why don’t other manufactures think ahead like this?

After measuring everything with a tape measure it appears the 4BT is the exact same length as the 5.4 and there is plenty of space between the frame rails.  The crank centerline to pan clearance appears better on the Cummins so I hope no clearance problems.  As of now my plan is to start the conversion next Friday.  I am reserving Friday-Tuesday for conversion efforts!

Tomorrow I will call and talk to ATS about the 4R100 and see what we can do.  I am also going to call TST to talk about fuel plate options.  The 4BT fuel plate looks a bit different than what I remember a 6BT looked like.

*** Update 3/22/13:  Hit roadblock #1 – the damned truck doesn’t have a 4R100 after all (see prior updates).  I did a ton of research before I purchased the truck and found that the California delivered trucks had the 4R100 transmission as the 4R70W was not CARB approved.  After digging a bit further I found that that was true until late 99/early 2000 but the Supercrew was not made until 2001.  I find it so strange that the Expedition and Navigator come with a 4R100 when you get a 5.4 but the F150 retains the 4R70W.  I am not a transmission expert but my research had found that not only are there fewer torque converter upgrades but the overdrive in the 4R70W is a band style (same as the AOD and AODE) and would not withstand high torque use of overdrive.  They work great on lighter duty (Mustangs) with crazy horsepower but if you have a 10,000 lb trailer and tip into the throttle hard the overdrive band will not take the torque.

 

Luckily for me ATS makes a killer 4R100 and the Expeditions came with the proper cross member.  I will end up having to have drivelines shortened (rear) and lengthened (front) but at least it will not be complete fabrication from the ground up.  Also, the factory computer will not control the 4R100 without a new harness and extensive programming so I will likely just swap to the ATS 4R100 computer (same one as in Big Green) which I already love. 

 

My current plan is to swap with the 4R70W to get everything in and running then do the 4R100 conversion immediately after.  If I can get it done in time I may drive it to ATS for the Diesel Power Drags and pick up the 4R100 when I am there to swap when I get back.

 

I have the ATS 4R100 in Big Green and it is amazing – having the same thing in Little Green (LG) will be awesome!

 

*** Update 3/22/13:  I have the engine unloaded and in the garage!  I found that the rear main seal had been leaking so I installed a new one.  The engine feels much more manageable after you get all the “junk” off of it.  It is really not that heavy, having lifted many engines with my engine puller this one feels about the same as a 5.4 fully dressed.

 

*** Update 3/22/13:  Doesn’t this look funny – where are the extra two lines for the P-Pump?

 

*** Update 3/21/13: I think I have my modification list planned.  Time will tell but so far this is what I have planned:

·         HX35 Turbo (removed from Big Green)

·         Fuel plate modifications (not sure if I can just buy a fuel plate)

·         Boost elbow (bump boost to ~30 PSI)

·         Aftermarket cam?  I think so but have not decided for sure yet

·         Cummins to Ford 5.4 adapter plate and flexplate

·         ATS 4R100 Transmission upgrades (so glad I found a truck with a 4R100)

·         Dynomite Diesel 75 HP injectors (that’s only 50 HP on a 4 cylinder)

·         Dynomite Diesel 3,000 RPM governor spring kit

·         Snow water methanol kit (probably MPG-Max kit).

·         FASS 95 lift pump

·         XDP fuel tank sump kit

·         And… of course… Amsoil oils in everything.

This may look like a lot but it is pretty reasonable.  I hope to be at about 300 RWHP after these mods and get 25-30 MPG!

.

 

*** Update 3/17/13: The email that started the thread – this is what I sent to Diesel Power when I got back from my drive:

Hey, I thought you may be interested in this.  I am getting ready to build a new "daily driver" which is going to be a 2001 F150 Supercrew with a Cummins 4BT.  I have been thinking about doing this for years and finally made the commitment and purchased both the truck and the engine. What is crazy is the amount of research it has taken so far to find the best parts to start with.

 

First, it had to be a 2001-2003 F150 supercrew 4x4 with cloth interior (leather doesn't stand up well over time on this vintage Ford) and it had to be green.  Why Green?  I already call my 78 F350 "Big Green" so the new truck will of course be "Lil' Green".  Then, the hard part - it has to had to have the 4R100 transmission, not the 4R70W.  After a ton of research I found that only the F150's delivered in California had the 4R100 transmission (emissions reasons).  So - I had to find a 2001-2003 F150 supercrew 4x4 in Green with cloth interior that was originally sold in California and was still in good shape.  Well, this weekend I flew to Denver and picked it up.

 

Now - what about the engine?  I really wanted a common rail but found all the common rail 4BT's had rear timing gears and the conversion to front gear is tough.  The P7100 4BT's are hard to find, especially with low mileage.  Well, as it turns out, I found a 2001 4BT P7100 engine with 90k miles in Missouri.

 

So, simple - fly to Denver, buy the truck, drive to Springfield Missouri, buy the engine, then drive back to Minneapolis - that is what I did this weekend.  Just got home.

 

I still have the HX35 turbo from my 03 5.9 cummins so that is the first upgrade.  I also plan to do a mild fuel plate, PDR cam (or maybe another cam depending on research), Dynomite Diesel 50HP injectors, ATS Transmission upgrades,  and maybe a few other small bits and pieces.  My plan is 250 RWHP and 25+ MPG and to drive it to work every day for the next 5+ years.

 

My question is - how interested would Diesel Power be in getting tons of pictures of the work as I do it and some narrative on the work?  Also, it is possible I can get this done before this years DPC, if I do I may drive it down to watch the event.  It would be a tight timeline but I am going to try to get it done by then.  Would I be a distraction or would it be cool if I make it?  I could be  truck number 10.5 (get it - only get 1/2 point because it is only a half ton!) - said to be funny, don't expect to be in the challenge.....

 

I am super tired after driving 1,500 miles in 2 days but I have not been this excited about a conversion in a long time.  Let me know your interest.  I have attached a picture of the truck with the cummins in the back that I took in Missouri after I picked up the engine.

*** Update 3/16/13: I am at the airport on my way to Denver to buy my ultra-rare dark emerald green 2001-2003 F150 Supercrew 4x4 with the 4R100 transmission!

***Update 3/10/13:  The question of why:

Why a 2001-2003 F150: I have owned a lot of vehicles and my friends and I combined have strong opinions on an even larger set of vehicles than I have experience with.  When the 2001 Supercrew was first introduced all of my friends dismissed it as a passing fad.  We called it the “Ford Taurus” of trucks and never expected to like it.  We even went as far as to call it the “bar of soap” look.  Then one of my friends bought one and we drove it – a lot.  What do I mean by a lot?  I mean several cross-country trips to buy boats or engines and long road trips with countless hours behind the wheel and enough to know that this truck “feels like home”.  The truck is big enough that we hauled 2 engines and a Dana 80 dually axle from Minneapolis to Seattle on one trip and hauls enough that we hauled a boat/trailer in the middle of a snow storm that had airlines grounded from Kansas City to Seattle.  This is the same story that in Denver they had to air-lift hay to cows that were stranded do to the snow – and we made it.  My friend still owns that truck and it has over 250k miles on it now (I took the picture below when it rolled over 240k and I was borrowing it from him).  We came to love this truck but hated that it got terrible mileage and had no power (huge problem).

So, what to do about power?  Over the past years (since my friend purchased his 2001 F150 Supercrew) I have owned 3 different trucks and tried to solve this problem.  The first one I installed a Vortech supercharger and it made great power – at high RPM only!  This did nothing for its ability to pull a trailer and resulted in me buying 93 octane fuel everywhere I went.  For those or you that use a truck as a truck – do not buy a centrifugal supercharger, they suck for trucks.

Attempt #2:  I built a forged engine and installed a Lightning supercharger that builds boost down low.  Power was great, I mean passing people pulling a trailer of Snoqualmie pass great – but what about mileage?  Well, if you consider 8 MPG pulling a trailer good and 14 empty then fine – it worked. 

But what about both, mileage and power?  Now you get why I started this project.

 

*** Update 3/1/13:  I finally decided to do it!  I have always said the ultimate daily driver would be a 2001-2003 F150 Supercrew with a Cummins diesel installed!  For years I have searched and researched and finally found that the F150 was made with a 4R100 transmission for the California version!  This is huge!  I have been searching every online site for a month and finally found a Green (has to be green) 2001 F150 Supercrew in Denver that has a 4R100 (verified by Ford by the VIN) and it has the cloth interior I love (I have always preferred cloth interior and for this vintage of truck the cloth holds up far better than leather).  It has been 10+ years in planning but I expect to build the Ford Truck that should have been offered from the factory!


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