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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve been daily driving my Ivy green 1965 Mustang Convertible for a few years now. It is a C code, PS, factory disc brake car with a C4, and it’s about time for overdrive. There are a few excellent “how to threads” on this forum when it comes to automatic overdrive swaps. The following is a summary of my experience and maybe it will help someone out there. I have another project car on my lift, so I was going to do this swap low down and dirty, in my backyard driveway putting the car up on ramps and jack stands.



The car is somewhat of a “Roadkill” style driver. I repair and make upgrades replacing parts typically when things are about to break or when they make weird noises. The car has been my guinea pig daily driver, learning as I go. I’ve made a number of upgrades; 620 coils, roller perches, Shelby drop, 1” sway-bar, tandem master cylinder, 3G 200 alternator, air conditioning, and an electric fan to survive Los Angeles city traffic. The car hasn’t left me stranded or required a tow yet! My C4 began leaking at the front seal, so the time was right to make the upgrade.

An early C4 has a 2.46:1 1st, 1.46:1 2nd, and 1:00 third gear. A 4R70W has a 2.84:1 1st, 1.55:1 2nd, 1.00:1 3rd, 0.70:1 4th, and a 2.23:1 reverse. So with the 4R70W I will get a lower first gear, higher final gear, and a computer to electronically control nearly all of the transmissions functions. Let’s not forget that the 4R70W has a lockable torque converter which will also lower rpms an additional 200-300 rpms.



SEARCH FOR THE IDEAL OVERDRIVE AUTOMATIC

Based on my research, a 4-speed 4R70W pulled from a 1998-2002 V6 Mustang would be the most ideal performing and economic candidate for my swap. The V6 model has the same 6 bolt bell-housing pattern as a small block Ford as well as utilizing the same 2 bolt starter. The Mustang 4R70W also has the shorter 10.5” tail-housing. The later model 4R70W can handle around 450 hp, so it’s already very robust compared to earlier model numbers. It’s a much better performing candidate over any stock AOD or AODE unit. 4R70Ws with a 3 bolt starter bolt pattern bolt to a modular V8, which will not bolt up to a small block Ford.

Ford introduced the 4R70W in 1993 and has made a number of revisions over the years through 2004. 4R70W units prior and up to 1997 came with an electronic analog range sensor. The passenger side analog solenoid and converter lockup plug (9 pin) is white. In 1998 and newer, Ford changed to a digital plug that is (7 pin) black. So if you come across a 4R70W with a white passenger side multiplex plug, its 93 through 97, if black, its 1998 and newer. I’m told that 2002 was the last year the 4R70W tail housing carried a mechanical speedometer drive. I wanted to use my stock 65 instrument cluster speedometer, so a mechanical speedometer plug was something that I needed. I’ve heard of some people swapping out the 4R70W tail housing for a nAOD tail housing, which allows for the use of the smaller and stronger t5 style slip yoke. I’m going with a new aluminum driveshaft with a 4R70W yoke.



There are two versions of a output speed sensor that Ford used in late model 4R70W transmissions. The first was used in 2001 through 2003 transmissions and has a 1 inch long barrel. The 2004 and up speed sensor has a barrel that is 5/64 of an inch shorter for a total of 15/16 inches long. The speed sensors are not interchangeable and making sure which one you have is very important when wiring and programing your transmission controller. I probably missed a few details, but those are a few key items that I looked for when selecting my donor 4R70W.





I found a 2001 4R70W with a 2 bolt starter bell housing, 7 pin black passenger side solenoid pin, 10.5” short tail housing with a mechanical speedometer. My core charge was $200 and I paid around $1300 to have it rebuilt by a local shop with OEM grade parts. I think it was a great value in comparison to ordering from a specialty shop, which probably would have been in the $3-$4k range with shipping. My 302 is pretty stock, so I’m not requiring anything too stout, but the 2001 4R70W already has many of the modern upgrades from the factory.



Before pulling the C4 and disassembling the exhaust, I measured the width of the pan on the 4R70W and cut the exhaust crossover pipe. As we all know, when you try to fit modern equipment on these cars, there tends to be an endless domino effect of purchasing new parts and I really didn’t want to dive into new exhaust just yet. I then used a power ram to bend and spread the exhaust in an attempt to clear the 4R70W. Time will tell when I put everything back together if my exhaust will clear the new transmission. The car currently has the stock 65 exhaust manifolds, so it’s nothing special. I don’t know of any long tube headers that will clear a 4R70W in a 65-66 Mustang. I plan to upgrade the exhaust with some short tube headers in a couple of years, when I install EFI.



I removed the starter, exhaust, parking brake, driveshaft, C4, shift linkage, disconnected the neutral safety switch, C4 cooling lines, flex plate, and index plate from the car. Side by side, you can see that the 4R70W is bigger than the C4. The pan is significantly wider, and it’s easy to see why new exhaust is typically required. I also would like to run the stock mechanical parking brake, so I’m sure there will be a few curveballs getting the stock components to fit. I went ahead and cut four external tabs from the 4R70W in order to clear the exhaust and tunnel. The bad news, the C4 had been leaking for years and had coated the tunnel of my car. A good cleaning was in order. The good news, because of the oil, there was no rust.





INDEX / BLOCK PLATE



I first test fit the new Performance Automatic index plate #PA26445 onto the transmission bell housing prior to installing onto the back of the engine. Once on the engine, I had to trim some material to anticipate clearing the RH exhaust. This universal index plate is stamped to work with both a 157 and 164 tooth flywheel, so you can see the additional offset required for the starter and the larger flexplate.

FLEXPLATE



The stock C4 uses a 157-tooth flexplate, whereas the 4R70W requires a 164-tooth flexplate. My mustang has a “D2” casted block, which is a 1972 302. It is my understanding that all 289 and 302 Ford small blocks up to 1980 require a 28.5 oz externally balanced flexplate. Ford changed to a 50 oz externally balanced flexplate for 1981 and newer small bocks. The size of the flexplate matches the transmission, but the balance matches the engine. I bolted up my flexplate, applied blue lock-tight, and torqued to 80 pounds. A sealant is recommended to help prevent oil leak from leaking through the threads.

TCU + ELECTRONIC WIRING



The 4R70W requires a transmission control system. I decided to go with a Quick 4 Gen 2 Transmission controller made by USShift.com

Quick 4 Stand-Alone Transmission Control

The kit comes with a small TCU box and a harness that is specified to match the year and model of my specific 4R70W. I mounted the TCU within the glove box for easy access and visibility while driving. The TCU screen will display numerous information including: gear, range selector position, transmission temperature, torque convert lockup, selected shift table, and display any operating errors. The box has a USB port to connect a laptop for live monitoring via their proprietary software and also for generating custom shift tables.



I ran the harnesses through the glove box, along the backside of the dash, over the tunnel, and through a hole that I drilled adjacent to the shifter. This is all the same location and factory hole where the reverse light harness would go, although a little wider. I decided to separate the harnesses into two pieces for easy serviceability using Deutsch connectors.





This part of the harness runs to the range selector (neutral safety switch), output shaft speed sensor, and the solenoid connector. I secured the harness in convoluted tubing and wrapped in electrical tape.









The second TCU harness runs through the firewall to the TPS (throttle position sensor). I wired the “hot” to pull from a sub fuse panel which is triggered by relay on the “I” port of the starter solenoid. If you wire from the ignition switch, the TCU will turn on and then off again as accessories are disabled during crank. This will cause problems for the TCU neutral safety switch. While this could work, it’s not recommend in the TCU manual. Also, the Quick 4 Gen 2 always defaults back to shift table 1 when power is cycled. The TCU manual also recommends running a ground directly to the battery and not the chassis. The TCU harness also has leads for optional paddle shifters, neutral safety switch, over drive on/off override toggle switch, and the Throttle Position Sensor. The TPS sensor utilizes three wires; ground, +5v reference feed, and a throttle position sensor signal wire.

THROTTLE POSITION SENSOR (Carburetor only)



Yup, that’s a C code stock 2100 carburetor. I know, I plan to upgrade to EFI in the near future. The throttle position sensor bolts onto a carburetor and takes the place of a traditional TV cable that would be used by a AOD and some C4s. The TCU uses the TPS signal to determine if and when it needs to tell the 4R70W to downshift or upshift based on the shift table parameters. There are a number of TPS kits available on the market. I purchased the AccuLink TPS kit kit from HGM Automotive and it worked out great for my basic setup with minimal modifications. There are specific kits made for popular carburetors such as a Holley or Edelbrock, but nothing off the shelf for the stock Autolite series, which I’m sure not too many people have a 4R70W with a little stock 2 barrel carburetor. If your car is already equipped with EFI and a drive by wire pedal, the TCU simply splices into the existing EFI TPS wire.

Acculink TPS Kit

AccuLink TPS Kit

Acculink TPS Pigtail wiring loom

AccuLink TPS Pigtail Wiring Loom
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
TORQUE CONVERTER, AND INSTALLATION.



It was time to install the 2001 stock torque converter and bolt up the transmission, but I first filled the torque converter with a quart of fluid. I made sure that the torque converter was properly seated before bolting up the transmission to the engine using 12-point, 7/16-14in. Bolts. I used Mr. Ghasket #6717 torque converter hex nuts. I then bolted up and reused my existing starter.







CROSSMEMBER

A number of transmission crossmembers are available for fitting a AOD/4R70W into a 65 Mustang., I decided to go with the California Pony Cars Transmission Crossmember #TRA-656-639. The dimensions between the AOD and 4R70W differ, so some mild tweaking is more than likely required. I needed to finesse the transmission mount slots a little, but everything within 1/8 of an inch. I also had to loosen the engine mounts to make a slight shift. A stock C4 transmission mount will work #C4DZ-6068-A, but I decided to upgrade to a Prothane transmission mount #6-1605-BL. I used 12mm x 1.75 thread, 30mm underhead length bolts for the 4R70W transmission mount.

TRANSMISSION COOLER LINES





Classic Tube makes a pair of AOD transmission cooling lines #MUT1022-OE. They threaded right up to my 4R70W and aligned perfectly with the built in transmission cooler on the radiator, the same used by my C4. These style cooling lines replicate a cleaner 66 design style, where’s the 65 style #MUT1024-OE used about 8 inches of rubber hose to tie into the radiator. I did have to use a pair of brass transmission cooling lines fitting adapters #HW1748. I might have to instal a remote transmission cooler, but from what I read, this should be fine running stock horsepower numbers. I might have to adjust my electric fan controller to accommodate the additional heat that will be pumped into the radiator.

SHIFT LINKAGE



It is my goal to keep the car looking as stock as possible from within the driver seat. I’ve seen people use the late model cable shifter and linkage, but I wanted to go with a stock style mechanical configuration. Since the 4R70W has a PRND21 shift pattern, I had to swap out my stock 65-66 shifter for a 67-68 style. A stock 65-66 C4 valve body has the PRNDittleDot(2)GreenDot(D)1. Otherwise the two model of shifters look nearly identical to the untrained eye, and the 67-68 shifter has two step downs for engagement whereas the earlier model has one step since the shifter can be pushed between both dots, the 2 and D positions.







I purchased the Lokar #ATA0-1005 transmission selector shaft and arm. Per the kits instructions, the Lokar trans arm bolted directly onto the OEM selector shaft, so I didn’t need to deal with removing the roll pin and gear selector plate or even drop the pan which was a really nice time saver. Lokar instructions attached.

https://www.lokar.com/assets/instructions/INS0030-FordAOD-AODE-4R70Wselectshaft.pdf



Since I am going with rod type linkage, I installed the Lokar Trans arm at a 12:00 position pointed up at Park. A cable style linkage would require a 7:30 position angled downward. I purchased a generic adjustable column shift linkage on Ebay for around $50 and adapted it for my application. I bent and cut the shift linkage rod to work with two heim joints bolted to the 4R70W selector shaft arm and the stock C4 shift lever.



The stock C4 selector shaft arm has a radius of about 2.5” which I matched on the Lokar shift arm maintaining the proper ratio to work with the stock 67-68 shift lever. The end result is simple and clean. The linkage is smooth and firm without any play! I should also mention, my completely stock speedometer cable and gear bolted right up to the 4R70W. If I ever ditch the stock instrument cluster, there is a Ford stock mechanical gear speedometer to VSS adapter that bolts right into the 4R70W tail-housing.



DIP STICK + COOLER LINES + PAN



I purchased a OEM dip stock pulled from a 2001 V6 Mustang, which bolts directly up to its matching 4R70W. However, I did have to bend the mounting bracket so the dip stick would clear the 65 stock exhaust manifold. The late model dipstick should also let any unsuspecting mechanic whom touches this car know that something is out of the ordinary and that using Type F fluid would be particularly bad. The 4R70W requires 12.5 to 14 quarts of Mercon V transmission fluid depending on the size of the trans cooler! It’s thirsty!



I opted to swap out the OEM transmission pan and install a Dorman pan #265-813 with drain plug and Moroso #93106 pan gasket. I pulled the magnet from the OEM pan and transferred to the new pan. In this custom application, I suspect having a drain plug will come in handy for future maintenance and flushes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
NEW DRIVESHAFT





Since the 4R70W is significantly longer than a C4, I decided to purchase a new aluminum driveshaft rather than cut the existing steel driveshaft, which was pretty tired. I ordered a new custom piece from Inland Empire driveshafts with a 4R70W yoke, 3” diameter, and 1310 solid u joints. They typically recommend a 3.5” diameter for aluminum, but they were confident I would be ok with a 3” since I plan to keep tall gearing. Because of the convertible sub floor pans, reinforcement plate, and parking brake, the convertible has limited tunnel space for dual exhaust. When I replace the exhaust, I’d like to size up to 2.5” so giving myself as much room as possible.



Speaking of exhaust, I was very happy to be able to reuse my existing exhaust for now. I had to use a flexible exhaust coupling to fill the extended gap in the h-pipe. I’ve been wanting to experiment with these, since most modern modern muscle cars, including the 2016-2020 GT350s have them. The flexible couple does make an obvious change in the exhaust note of the vehicle. I’ve heard they are supposedly used to reduce vibrations and noise, but I think it makes the V8 sound deeper and more throaty. I like it as a temporary fix.





TEST DRIVE + PROGRAMMING SHIFT TABLES



I double checked everything and started up the car adding transmission fluid until I had a full reading on the dip stick. After the carburetor warmed up, I programmed the TPS idle. With the engine off, I set the WOT TPS, flooring the pedal. I moved the shifter through all positions, ensuring that the gear position and range sensor showed no errors. The first test drive was a success using the default shift table. I rechecked the fluid level and added about another quart. I hooked up my laptop with “US Shift Software.” I enabled torque converter lockup in 3 and 4th gear. The software offers a number of options, all noted in their well documented manual.



I can’t rave enough about how fun it is creating custom shift tables. It’s amazing how simple it is to completely change the characteristics of the transmission from having firm/smooth and up/down shift points. The onboard TCU can store up to 4 shift tables, but you can save as many custom tables and settings on your computer. The locking torque converter lowers the rpm anywhere from 200-300 rpms based on throttle and engine rpm. My car currently has 215/60R14 tires, which have a fairly small diameter of about 23”. My third member gearing is a stock 2.80 center section. With the .7 overdrive and torque converter locked, my stock 302 revs at about 1500 rpm at 55 mph. At 65 mph, the engine is very close to 2000 rpm and seems to be very happy there without any bogging unless there is a very step incline, at which the transmission will downshift. My current default custom shift table is definitely programmed to favor fuel economy and smoothness.

If I upgrade to a 17” rim size and have around a 26” diameter tire, I would probably bump down to something around 3.20-3.55 tru track. It’s no surprise that the mpg has increased significantly and the road/engine noise has drastically reduced. No more 2600-2800 rpm highway screaming to keep up with the flow of traffic. Even in third, the car feels like it has more power taking hills because of the locking torque converter. It really is amazing to feel and know how much slip occurs in a C4 torque converter. However, I’m sure the 4R70W has a greater parasitic loss compared to the C4, but it feels quite the opposite. I didn’t take any exact measurements, but the 4R70W probably also adds an additional 75 pounds to the car compared to the stock C4. Based on my initial drives, the car did appear to run warmer. Maybe it had to do with the tight tolerances of a freshly rebuilt transmission, but its nothing that the radiator couldn’t handle by engaging my electronic fan a little earlier.



Well, I’m sure I missed a few things and maybe made a few mistakes, but this pretty much sums up my 4R70W swap into my 1965 Mustang convertible. Including the transmission, my total swap cost me roughly $3,800 in the spring of 2022. I’ll continue to drive the car, provided nothing else breaks in the meantime and hope to make the jump to EFI. Oh yeah, and permanently do the exhaust right. However, it’s tempting to maybe just jump to a new 347 with aluminum heads matched with 3.55 posi. Theres always something! Thanks for reading.
 

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Excellent write-up! BTDT, and very installation will be a bit different, but I hope it encourages others to take advantage of other vehicle improvements in their search for better performance of all kinds. I also appreciate your attitude, sort-of "if others can do it, why not me?". (y)
 

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That’s better the the Mustang catalogs . Very nice.
 

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This is fan-damn-tastic. Very well done sir. I think it would take some level of amputation to get me out of a 5-speed stick, but for those interested in a better auto experience, this thread is a great service.
 

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Great write up!!!

Chris
 

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I did this swap a few years ago, probably the best upgrade I ever did. Freeway driving is amazing with the overdrive.

I used the MSD transmission controller because:

1. MSD is right here in El Paso
2. Since I had Atomic EFI already it just made sense

Found 2 2001 Mustangs at the local U-pull-it and bought them both for 100 bucks each. Bought everything from the engine plate to the yoke, even took the starter.

I took a chance and just installed one of them without a rebuild and it's still in there today. I've put 3-4 thousand miles on it with absolutely no issues!

The other one is sitting in the shed. I plan on doing a rebuild on it and swapping it in some day if the one in the car ever begins to act up.

Go find yourself a 98-02 V-6 Mustang and pull the transmission before they're gone. It is the best driveability modification you can do for your treasured ride!

Donor car with rear end damage, it was a driver before it got taken off the road. Transmission was used as is and still works perfectly after 3-4k miles! Painted the transmission and engine during a recent engine compartment overhaul. Necessary? Absolutely not, but it came out killer!
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Go find yourself a 98-02 V-6 Mustang and pull the transmission before they're gone. It is the best driveability modification you can do for your treasured ride!
Yeah, I'm on the same page as you. Thanks everyone for the positive feedback. I'm sure I will make some running changes to my post as I already see a few details that I left out. Every car and build is different, but hopefully I can help people with their first swap. It can be a little overwhelming, but its not rocket science, just classic auto science. lol
 

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Looks great. Lots of things have definitely made this easier since I did mine back in the day.

I see you opted for a new dorman pan. One other option that's out there, if you keep your eye out for it, is a used Ford AODE pan....like would have been used for a 1994/1995 mustang, etc. This was the pan used on the original AODE, (NOT AOD), BEFORE they upgraded to the 4R70W. It's a shallower pan and uses a AODE specific filter which is shorter.

It gives you some more ground clearance. A little less capacity too. It eliminates that dimple that sticks down under the pan. I've been running this on mine for 10 years or more with no issues. My 4R70W is from a 1998 mustang V6. It's lived (happily) behind my 289 orginally and now my 347. It has never been rebuilt. Likely has 120,000 miles on it now including in the donor vehicle.

It looks like this one is the one I'm talking about. Just found it with a google search.

 

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The stock C4 uses a 157-tooth flexplate, whereas the 4R70W requires a 164-tooth flexplate. My mustang has a “D2” casted block, which is a 1972 302. It is my understanding that all 289 and 302 Ford small blocks up to 1980 require a 28.5 oz externally balanced flexplate. Ford changed to a 50 oz externally balanced flexplate for 1981 and newer small bocks. The size of the flexplate matches the transmission, but the balance matches the engine. I bolted up my flexplate, applied blue lock-tight, and torqued to 80 pounds. A sealant is recommended to help prevent oil leak from leaking through the threads.
To be clear it is not the block that dictates the external balance weight, it is the balance of the reciprocating assembly that dictates. Any block may have a 28oz, 50oz or neutral balance reciprocating assembly. One needs to understand how the current reciprocating assembly has been balanced in order to select the correct flexplate.
 

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As long as we are veering a little into the weeds, does anyone know if I could use my AOD (with drain plug) pan, flex plate, block plate, starter, current driveshaft and 3200 stall converter with a 1998-2002 4r70w or 4r75w?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
One other option that's out there, if you keep your eye out for it, is a used Ford AODE pan....like would have been used for a 1994/1995 mustang, etc. This was the pan used on the original AODE, (NOT AOD), BEFORE they upgraded to the 4R70W. It's a shallower pan and uses a AODE specific filter which is shorter.
Oh nice. Yeah, the 4R70W in my application could preferably use more ground clearance. The 620 coils, Shelby drop, and 1" lowering blocks in the rear don't help. As you stated, the AODE and 4R70W pan are identical, but the AOD is different.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
To be clear it is not the block that dictates the external balance weight, it is the balance of the reciprocating assembly that dictates. Any block may have a 28oz, 50oz or neutral balance reciprocating assembly. One needs to understand how the current reciprocating assembly has been balanced in order to select the correct flexplate.
Thanks for clarifying in further detail, but yeah, all bets are off following the rule of thumb if an engine is modified and has mixed/custom internals. Why I stated, "The size of the flexplate matches the transmission, but the balance matches the engine." Every day is a day at school for me with this stuff. Love it.
 
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