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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 88 Thunderbird with a 5.8L (w/Fitech efi) engine and a 2002 Mustang 3.8L 4R70W and TQ converter installed. I used the proper flex plate on my 351W which was a 164T 28oz C-4. I installed the trans with engine into the bird and even with the trans cross member to the rear most position, it still needs to go back an inch. So I have a Stiffters cross member coming and Also a Quick shift 4 trans controller. This car is a cruiser and not a drag car by any means but I want it to look stock-ish. The shifter in my car is the same a a Mark VII shifter but I have no cable for it (previous owner tossed it). Now I heard the Mark VII will not work with the 4R because of lever ratio. My question is what year of cars should I snag a shifter and cable out of?

By the way kevin$, I have seen your swap page. Lots of work going on there for that swap.

Thanks guys.
 

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Can't you just take the shifter from a Mark VIII?
It's floor mounted shifter on 4R70W.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is the information I am looking for is someone that has done the swap and used a stock shifter.
 

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A member here in Texas has put a 4R into his Mark VII. He used an SN95 Mustang shifter for his, I don't recall if it was the 94/95, or the later years. I have a used shifter myself to soon begin installing a 4R into my 92 Mark VII.

The shifter cables are much different for your car than the SN95, the later kind goes to the back of the trans and comes forward. That's all I recall from when I removed the shifter I have. I'm hoping to adapt the shift cable to my shifter, I love the Mark VII shifter, and the Mustang shifter is very cheap looking.
 

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I have a 88 Thunderbird with a 5.8L (w/Fitech efi) engine and a 2002 Mustang 3.8L 4R70W and TQ converter installed. I used the proper flex plate on my 351W which was a 164T 28oz C-4. I installed the trans with engine into the bird and even with the trans cross member to the rear most position, it still needs to go back an inch. So I have a Stiffters cross member coming and Also a Quick shift 4 trans controller. This car is a cruiser and not a drag car by any means but I want it to look stock-ish. The shifter in my car is the same a a Mark VII shifter but I have no cable for it (previous owner tossed it). Now I heard the Mark VII will not work with the 4R because of lever ratio. My question is what year of cars should I snag a shifter and cable out of?

By the way kevin$, I have seen your swap page. Lots of work going on there for that swap.

Thanks guys.

BTW, what ring/pinion ratio do you have, I see your signature says 351 and you said daily driver? With that high torque you shouldn't need more gearing like the wide ratio of the 4R. The wide ratio isn't an overall wider spread of gears, it's just that 1st/2nd are moved down, leaving a wider gap between 2nd and 3rd. So you get lower 1st gear, a normal gap to 2nd, and then a bigger gap to 3rd gear. Ford made the wide ratio for the poor early 4.6 engines, to help for taking off.


If best acceleration is the goal, the "closer ratio" AODE gear set is better than the 4R's gears, if you don't exceed the power limit of the AODE parts. I've got two groups of AODE parts coming, hoping all four needed parts are in each, to convert two 4R's I have for projects of mine.
 

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I have a 4R70W in my 1990 Mark VII.
You are correct that the ratios are different.
My 4R came out of an F150 with a 5.8, and as luck had it not only was the truck 4r70W the same length, but the lever at the transmission were the same length as well. This kept the throws between the shifter and the lever at the transmission the same ratio. The lever was modified to accept the older style attachment so I could retain the stock Lincoln shifter.
But there was more....
The Lincoln AOD shift cable and attachment have a steel rod at the transmission, and if that rod is not SPOT ON with it's receiver it binds. I spent many hours hammering and Dremelling the AOD bracket to fit the 4R70W to get it all to work. ( I do not know if your shift cable has this rod. Take a look)
But there is more....
The 4R70W is significantly wider than the AOD, and the cable and connection at the lever were entirely too close to the Driver side exhaust pipe, necessitating some custom heat shielding.

My honest advice is to get the correct shifter/cable setup for the transmission and make it work in the console.
Or look around and see if any of the aftermarket companies have 4R70W shifters that you could stand to see in your T-Bird.

I'm at work today, will not be home until tomorrow, maybe Tuesday if I snag an OT shift. I will crawl under the car and measure center to center on the lever I am speaking of, take a couple of pics for you. Take a look at your lever at the transmission, and measure center to center. It is possible it is the same length as the lever on the Mustang 4R70W.
 

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I'm glad you found this, you've done it and can help the most.

The 4R I'm going to build for mine is from a 2003 Mustang V6, had 90k miles supposedly. The other 4R's I have are from Explorer 302's, plus a spare from a 95 Crown Vic. Mine are easy to get to in my garage, and I think I know where the Mustang shifter and cable are. The trans shift lever(goes to the DTRS sensor) is somewhat easy to change, but it requires removing a tiny dowel pin which locks the lever/shaft in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
See i know the pros would be here.

My issue is I have a shifter but no shift cable. The shifter looks exactly like the Mark VII with the leather handle and the slight bend in the handle assembly. So I either need a Thunderbird cable to modify, or the proper shifter and cable to work. I was not sure if the Tbird shifter gate would match the 4R lever detents. I do not know if a V6 mustang is a wide ratio or not but it bolts to my 351w. The rear end gears are 3:27. I was looking at the 99 up Mustangs to use a shifter and cable from but the shifter base is oval where mine is square.
 

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See i know the pros would be here.

My issue is I have a shifter but no shift cable. The shifter looks exactly like the Mark VII with the leather handle and the slight bend in the handle assembly. So I either need a Thunderbird cable to modify, or the proper shifter and cable to work. I was not sure if the Tbird shifter gate would match the 4R lever detents. I do not know if a V6 mustang is a wide ratio or not but it bolts to my 351w. The rear end gears are 3:27. I was looking at the 99 up Mustangs to use a shifter and cable from but the shifter base is oval where mine is square.

As 90MarkVII suggested, get a shift cable from an SN95 Mustang, and see if you can mate that to your shifter. The number of detents on the shifter are the same as your AOD shifter, but the distance between them could be slightly different(based on the throw length and angle of the end connections). But first see if the cable will connect to the AOD shifter.


Yours is a 4R70W, they stopped making the close ratio AODE in the mid 90's. Compared to the AOD 1st/2nd gears, that 4R will make the car take off almost like having 3.73 gears.


I have 3.73's now in my stock 91 LSC, and it spins the tires more easily than I want for a Lincoln. So for my 92 that I got last year to replace(hail damage on the 91), I'm leaving the 3.27's, and installing the close ratio planetary set from an AODE. The 347 I'm installing soon will be like your 351, plenty of low end torque so good with a 3.27 rear.


BTW, I just received the used AODE parts I mentioned, the four parts(planetary, ring gear, sun gear, sun gear shell) I need are in fine shape. I just have to manage a bunch more extra parts.
 

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See i know the pros would be here.

My issue is I have a shifter but no shift cable. The shifter looks exactly like the Mark VII with the leather handle and the slight bend in the handle assembly. So I either need a Thunderbird cable to modify, or the proper shifter and cable to work. I was not sure if the Tbird shifter gate would match the 4R lever detents. I do not know if a V6 mustang is a wide ratio or not but it bolts to my 351w. The rear end gears are 3:27. I was looking at the 99 up Mustangs to use a shifter and cable from but the shifter base is oval where mine is square.
My advice is to snag a complete assembly for the car/year the transmission came out of, make that look good in your console.
The cable is not the issue, the correct ratios between the cockpit shifter and the lever at the transmission. Among other things, you will not need to fabricate/modify the connection at the lever on the transmission.
Trust me, it was a HUGE PIA getting the older AOD shift assembly to play nice with the 4R70W. I am very happy that I retained my stock shifter, but if I ever do it again I'm finding the correct assembly for the transmission and making it work in the console.
 

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That is one way to do it, all parts matching except the shifter to the interior. I don't think I'd like the Mustang shifter with the Lincoln console trim piece. The Thunderbird may look much better, I don't recall exactly the shape and contour of that around the shifter.

I'd rather mate the Mustang cable to my shifter, and see what lever is needed on the transmission. There are almost two trans levers for every trans Ford has made, some had three different ones(AOD). I know mixing parts ends up harder and taking longer. It comes down to what you want and the effort you're willing to put into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys for all the info. Great stuff here. I am going to hit the U-pull yards and find what I need to try and make the trans work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did you guys use your stock Mark VII speed sensor with a 8T gear (depending on the rear of the 4R)? I need to figure out the gear I need for 3:27 gears.

Now as I am sitting on the Rock Auto website, I am looking at what speed sensor to use. The 88 Thunderbird is a Motorcraft DY587 and the Mustang is a DY 588.

Thanks guys. I can not wait to get this car running.
 

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Post up what the length of your transmission too if you can. I can measure the 2003 4R I have quickly, and I have a 95 Crown Vic trans also. The output shaft I plan to use is from an AODE, but I'm not sure how to measure that compared to the others(in trans or bare part). The right length output shaft and housing works with the stock drive shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Post up what the length of your transmission too if you can. I can measure the 2003 4R I have quickly, and I have a 95 Crown Vic trans also. The output shaft I plan to use is from an AODE, but I'm not sure how to measure that compared to the others(in trans or bare part). The right length output shaft and housing works with the stock drive shaft.
My appologies, I have been off with carpal tunnel surgery. When I get a chance I will post up the length.
 

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Did you guys use your stock Mark VII speed sensor with a 8T gear (depending on the rear of the 4R)? I need to figure out the gear I need for 3:27 gears.

Now as I am sitting on the Rock Auto website, I am looking at what speed sensor to use. The 88 Thunderbird is a Motorcraft DY587 and the Mustang is a DY 588.

Thanks guys. I can not wait to get this car running.
I did use the original speed sensor, as well as the same tooth gears as the AOD used.

I would like to caution you to properly measure your clearance between the torque converter and the flexplate before you fire it up and drive it.
 
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