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Old 09-09-2015, 12:33 PM   #1
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Transmission failure after engine swap??

Hey guys

I recently did the Frankenwagon conversion from the SPI engine to a DOHC zetec engine, and finally got mine up and running May 9th after starting the project in early January (!!!) .. All was fine until a few days ago...

Notes: I kept my SPI transmission, (automatic) if it matters or not.. one of my local Ford dealerships said it was indeed noted that the transmissions are interchangeable between sohc and dohc. One reputable shop says they think the engine overpowered the transmission (btw the tx has 129k on it) ..the other is on vacation until next week.

**On Saturday, while coming home from walmart on a quick drive, at about 45 mph, suddenly the engine lurched, the dials and gauges all went to full blast (speedo, temp, and other instrument indicators went haywire for a moment, and then reset to normal. the engine never died, just lurched, and went back into gear and I continued on my way. Sunday it did the same thing once, same speeds, and I made my way to church.. on my way out of town it suddenly started doing it constantly.
(**yesterday we also discovered that the main positive battery cable had come loose and was starting to melt on the EGR tube, so that's been repositioned, so that hopefully is the end of the gauge issues)

Monday, on driving it up over an overpass, it lost the ability to switch to 3rd gear.. took a bit of figuring out, but I found I could put it in 2nd automatically, and 1st to manually shift, ,... if it was a clutched car (had an 82 Dodge Omni when it's clutch went out) I would definitely say it is slipping. I can get it up to 40mph in 2nd, then put it in D, and let off the accelerator and it will arguably get into 4th, but I don't know if I'm doing more damage to it or if it is indeed a solenoid.

I'm getting conflicting views from transmission shops.. NONE of whom are able to pick up any codes from any possibly faulty solenoids. (only the air intake temp sensor)

I'm broke. well, I have a tiny bit of money.. but no job currently and I'm trying to find the cheapest but most reliable fix for this.. do I try finding the "A" Solenoid (anyone have a link for that? or a part number to find the correct solenoid?) .. or do you think it's a clutch pack? or do I just give up and get another sohc transmission (I really don't want to have to find another tx harness!!!!!) from the junkyard.

Thanks for your time!


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Old 09-10-2015, 03:38 PM   #2
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on a whim,.. replaced the "A" solenoid (how come it's pronounced "cill - a - noid" ?!?!?!) but it didn't make any difference :( :( :(
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:22 PM   #3
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If you were here, I'd give you a great deal on my SOHC trans. I'm ditching the busted up motor, but keeping the trans. I missed out on a deal on a car with a bad trans earlier, I won't make that mistake again.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:52 AM   #4
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Spent all weekend alternately waiting for a mechanic and finally installing a transmission into my car. Just took it on a test drive a few moments ago AND IT STILL DOES THE SAME @#@#$$@ @#$@$#$#$@^$%&%^*&(#%&%#^%#@^#@!@$#%$^%$#@%&^%$#@%^ THING!!!! BEYOND PISSED, BEYOND FURIOUS.

How do I know if it's a shifter switch vs a fried computer? Do I need to reset the computer somehow after swapping the transmission (or should the computer automatically figure that out?) ?? can I use my old SOHC computer on a DOHC engine?
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:37 AM   #5
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Check this stickie on the zetec swap for comparison to what you did:Zetec Swap Write Up

It seems that if you got it up & running (as you did) that your method works as well and that subsequent troubles would fall into the "repair" category.

Add a thread in General Tech Chat on the trans. issue for additional looks, mentioning the swap that was done plus a link to this thread for swap detail reference.

Wiring to the trans. can be a trouble spot, I remember one thread in General Tech where tracing the issue to bad connector or wiring was a long process.

G/L, all I can think of myself at the moment.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:31 PM   #6
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Rebuilders who rebuild this trans say the very slight difference in final drive ratio from zetec to SPI ATX is a non starter, it causes the PCM issues. The transmission is otherwise the same but they say do NOT sell them as interchageable. And a DOHC engine is no way matched as far as a fuel map to a SPI PCM.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:33 PM   #7
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Ok.. could you restate that in english please?
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:40 PM   #8
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How about this..................NO

SPI 3.69 ratio
zetec 3.90 ratio

The PCM is programmed to closely match it.

Simply put as well, in no way does the zetec use or need fuel in any way like the SPI, the software doesn't work there either. The two engines run totally different, one is a higher rpm breather, the other is a low rpm dog.

PCM needs to match BOTH engine and trans.

Hope you looked at your other post about TPS, you have screwed up royally there too.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:45 PM   #9
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ok, so I have a sohc trans, a dohc engine and a dohc pcm.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:04 AM   #10
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Earlier question about whether you could use a SOHC PCM confused things, didn't know what you'd originally used. Stick with the DOHC PCM.

Changing TPS and trying to adjust throttle body mentioned in your other thread seems to have a lot to do with the problems. If that caused trouble, just trying to replace it made it worse since replacing ONLY that hasn't been possible for quite a while (without some special non-factory adjustments) as the part isn't made.
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