1980-1997 Ford F-Series

General information for all models:

           
            You will need to cut holes on your radiator support and also trim the back of your 80-91 grille to allow the intercooler to be installed.  Some adjustment on your firewall and passenger side toe board with a large hammer to make some more room for the valve covers and exhaust is also necessary.  This is explained in greater detail in our installation manual. 

            Diesel radiators are recommended for extra cooling capacity if your truck currently has a gas engine.  Radiators that have X braces in between the radiator and the engine or any that are wider than 31” don’t work well in the conversion. You may consider swapping in a 96-97 Power Stroke® radiator with the remote fill tank.  These radiators have the hose connections on the same side as the Dodge® radiators making them easier to connect to the Cummins® engine.  Diesel and Gas truck radiator supports are different so if you plan to change radiators plan to change the core support as well.  If you have a 92-97 style Ford use the radiator and core support from a 92-97 Ford® that had 7.3 Power Stroke or non- Power Stroke diesel (with a 31” wide radiator). If you have an 80-92 style Ford, use the radiator and core support that held a 31” wide radiator from an 84-92 Ford with a 6.9 or 7.3 diesel if you don’t have it already.
If you have a 91-93 Dodge radiator and intercooler, they have been used before by fabricating mounting brackets.
    
            Usually the 12 or 24 valve Cummins is the engine chosen for the new power plant in these trucks.  A few guys have installed a 03 or newer common rail engine.  These require a bit more work because the power steering reservoir on the Cummins will hit the steering box and the ECM must be relocated for engine mounting.  The 03 Dodge radiator and intercooler work best as well.
 
            Generally, gear ratios that are lower (numerically higher) than 4:10 are too low for the Cummins engine, especially if you don’t have an overdrive transmission.  This will limit your top speed and dramatically increase your fuel consumption unless you plan to use some taller tires.
 
Wiring instructions for 12 or 24 valve engines are sent out with your parts for the specific year of your truck.  If you would rather have us do the wiring for you we do offer you modification services for your original Ford engine wire harness.
 
Check out our Cummins Engine Information article for lots of good information on the Cummins engines as they pertain to conversions!

Transmission information

 

Automatics 

 
C-6:  We make adapter plates for the 460 or 6.9 diesel C-6.  The small block “M” or 400 bolt pattern will also bolt up to a 460 pattern, but requires extra grinding and cutting (using one of these transmissions is not recommended, but it is possible.  We recommend a transmission swap for most older gas powered trucks).  If your truck has 3.55 or higher gears you may be happy with keeping this transmission, even though a lock up torque converter and an overdrive is very beneficial with a diesel engine.  One of the benefits of using this transmission is that it is completely non-electronic so an aftermarket transmission controller is not needed.  The trade off is that you will probably need to rework the governor, and/or valve body.  You will also have to either use an adjustable vacuum modulator delete plug or a throttle vacuum valve, which controls the vacuum modulator.  These parts control transmission line pressure and shift points, which will need to be different because the Cummins engine has a much lower rpm limit.  Currently you are required to grind away some material in the starter pocket to allow for the Cummins starter; you will end up with a small hole in the bellhousing of the transmission.  We have not heard of any adverse effects from this, except your transmission will probably not be a good core if you ever want to trade it in for a rebuild.
 
E40D (also 99-02 7.3 4R100) - Unless it’s a Bronco or a F-150, this is what your truck has now if it is a 4 speed automatic.  If you are planning on doing a lot of heavy pulling or adding a lot of performance upgrades to your Cummins you may want to have your transmission beefed up with aftermarket parts, and get an aftermarket torque converter. 

We have two styles of adapter plates available for the diesel version of the E4OD/4R100.  If you buy yourself a Ford 6.0 diesel starter, you can use the adapter plate that does not require any grinding of the transmission (12 or 24 valve engines only at this time).  This adapter plate uses the stock Dodge Cummins flexplate and a torque converter adapter.  The plate has to be tilted just 2 ½ degrees to accommodate the starter without any significant grinding to the transmission or starter.   

If you have a Cummins starter already, or a Common Rail Cummins, and don’t mind grinding, you can use the Cummins starter.  You will need to remove enough material just above the starter pocket in the bellhousing that you will end up with a hole in the side of the transmission.  We have done this many times and have not had any adverse effects.  Although it is not common, one E4OD 460 customer reported that he had to do the extra grinding required with the small block "M" or 400 bolt pattern transmission, so if you are using a Cummins starter with your conversion be prepared for this possibility.  

We recommend that you have performance upgrades done to this transmission if you will be doing heavy towing or making performance upgrades to the Cummins engine.
 
Transmission control- Although we do not recommend it, some early E40D’s that were behind a non-powerstroke engine do not absolutely require an aftermarket transmission controller. However, do not expect the transmission to shift in the optimum torque range of the Cummins since the Cummins makes its power at a much lower rpm than the 7.3.  It also is required for you to make a bracket to mount your original Ford throttle position sensor to the Cummins throttle lever.  We do not provide such a bracket. There have been more than a few guys try this option and had not so great results.  A few have even burned up their transmission.
 
We offer two styles of transmission controllers for these transmissions-  Please refer to the Automatic Transmission Controller article for more information.
           
The 99-02 7.3 4R100 is a bolt in alternative to any E4OD with the correct adapter, and these are a better choice if you are swapping in a 4 speed auto in place of a C-6 or manual trans as they have a speed sensor in the tail shaft housing (the E4OD does not).  This allows you to use a transmission controller without having to get a speed signal off the rear axle.  These transmissions will work with your older transfer case.
 
5R110- If you want a reliable automatic transmission in your older truck that will handle the power of the Cummins as is you may want to consider the 5R110.  These are a 5 speed that come behind the 6.0l Fords.  These transmissions are practically a bolt in replacement for the E40D/4R100 (with the 5R110’s transfer case and appropriate Fordcummins adapter plate).  While the E40D/4R100 transmissions can be beefed up to handle the power, the 5R110 can handle it as is.  If you can find a good used 5R110 and transfer case cheaper than a performance build for your existing tranny it may make more sense to use the 5R110.  If you are having a trans built a 4R100 may be the best choice for you.
           
See our Cummins to Ford 5R110 Torqshift article for more information about the 5R110.
 

Ford Manual Transmissions

 
Ford 5 speed- we make adapter plates for these transmissions as long as they were behind a 7.3 diesel or a 460 big block.  We make two styles of adapter plates for the 7.3 diesel version.  The Ford 6.0 diesel starter version which doesn’t require any grinding of your transmission or starter.  If you would prefer to use the Cummins starter you may already have, we offer adapter plates that use those starters- although they require you to grind your transmission bellhousing.  This transmission was introduced in 1987.  It is rated for 420 ft.lb of torque. 95 and newer transmissions are rated for 470 ft/lbs of torque.
 
Ford 6 speed- Although this transmission did not come as original equipment in these years it can be used in these trucks as we make adapters for the 7.3 and 6.0 diesel six speeds.  We do not currently make an adapter to the V10 6 speed.  Ford started using this transmission in ’99.  If you plan use your truck for heavy trailer pulling, you may want to consider swapping in one of these transmissions as they are rated for 520 ft/lbs of torque, and the extra gear is nice as well.  We have transplanted the ZF-6 speed into 80-97 Ford trucks, so using one of these transmissions is possible by modifying the transmission cross member and floor.  If you have a fuel tank directly behind the transmission you also have to hammer one end of the tank to make room for the six speed transfer case if your truck is a four wheel drive.  Your transfer case shifter can be replaced with a Super Duty version which works better by modifying the Super Duty bracket.  You can still use the existing hole in the floor.  We recommend using the 03-07 ZF-6 in a swap as no grinding to any part of the engine, transmission, or starter is required.
 


NP 435/T-18/T-19 4 speed-  We do not recommend using one of these transmissions behind a Cummins, but it is possible if you want.  The 435 is identified by an aluminum shift tower.  The T-18 and 19 both had cast iron shift towers.  The T-18’s have a case number of 1301.  We can adapt to these with our custom flywheel (FCPN 1406, $ 595.00) and our adapter plate. You will also need to get a bellhousing from a T19 (case number 1309) from behind a 460 or a Ford diesel (6.9/7.3) for the necessary clutch clearance (if you don’t already have one).  You will need a 12” clutch disc and pressure plate for a Ford diesel (6.9/7.3) that had a T19.  You will also need a ½” starter spacer.   Keep in mind without an overdrive your top speed can be very limited, and although these transmissions have a reputation for being tough, they are not as tough as the newer ZF transmissions because of their smaller input shaft.
 
 
 
 

Parts information-

Adapter plates:

            We sell three different styles of adapter plates for automatic and ZF-5 speed transmissions that were behind a 7.3 diesel version, depending on which starter you want to use.  If you get a Ford 6.0 diesel starter you can avoid grinding on your transmission.  If you already have a Dodge Cummins starter, and don’t mind grinding the transmission out for starter clearance (we’ve done a pile of them that way with no problems), you may use that starter. It really boils down to preference or budget.  Currently all 460 and 6 speed transmission adapters must use the Cummins starter only, and require grinding for starter clearance.  Minor grinding of the oil pan rail on the engine block is also required for starter clearance.   More detailed and specific information on our adapter plates can be found on our product pages in the parts catalog or by following the links in the kit builder.

All adapter plates for automatic transmissions original to these years use our torque converter adapter ring along with the Dodge flex plate(1994-2006).  Manual transmissions use the appropriate Dodge Cummins flywheel and pilot bushing. 
Our adapter plates are built out of aircraft quality aluminum and they replace the existing adapter on the Cummins Engine, making a factory quality connection between the engine and the Ford transmission.
 

Engine Mounts:

            Mounts are designed for mounting in two original mount plate holes on your cross member.  You will need to move the transmission back about 2 ½ inches, requiring your drive shaft lengths to be changed at a machine shop.  This allows you to use the engine driven fan on the Cummins. Some of our customers choose to leave the transmission in the stock location and use electric fans; however, we do not usually recommend this. We’ve heard back from more than a few who have cooling and A/C problems. Electric fans probably don’t save you any money or time in the long run, but they are possible to use if you would prefer.  You would need to do some work on the cross member for the different mounting placement, as there is no flat spot on the cross member for the engine mounts to sit when leaving the transmission in the stock location.
 

Water neck assembly:

            If you are using a 93 or newer Cummins (having an upper radiator hose connection that points to the driver’s side) with the Ford radiator that has the upper radiator hose connection on the passenger side, we offer a water neck that points straight up. This arrangement makes your upper radiator hose connection quite a bit easier.  This assembly also includes the required different sized thermostat and a mount that bolts to the water neck that enables you to use your existing upper Dodge alternator bracket. 
 

Bushing Kits:

Bushing kits include adapters to put your Ford gauge sending units into the Cummins engine along with a compression coupler for your power steering line.  There is also a Tee line that works by bringing together your vacuum or hydro-boost system.
 

Alternator Regulator Kit:

            When using the 12 or 24 valve Dodge alternator, an external voltage regulator is needed to replace the Dodge’s PCM regulating function.  In our experience these work better than an internal regulator that is available for these alternators.  The kit also includes a wire pigtail connector and a condenser.  99-02 Cummins swaps may use the optional Dodge PCM to regulate the alternator.  03 and newer engines use the required Cummins ECM so the regulator isn’t needed.  Some 80-97 trucks already have an external alternator regulator on the passenger side inner fender.  If your truck already has it you can use it again by re-wiring it to the Dodge Cummins alternator. 
 

Exhaust manifolds:

            We sell exhaust manifolds that work much better than the stock Dodge Cummins manifolds in the conversion for the 12 valve and 98.5-02 24 valve engines.  These manifolds place the turbo in a much better place for a/c box clearance, and they also make exhaust and turbo oil drain connections easier as well.  For the 24 valve engines, other exhaust pieces are necessary when using our exhaust manifolds.  Using these manifolds requires re-orientation, “clocking,” of the turbo housings for proper oil draining.  This also requires fixing the waste gate shut in most cases- which does not adversely affect the engine, although we recommend using a boost gauge to make sure you avoid boost pressures over 40 psi.  We also offer a flexible oil drain tube for the turbo that makes the drain tube a snap, and gaskets for the new manifold for a reasonable extra cost.  The manifolds do not come with turbo mounting studs, but you may use the studs in your original manifold.  It will take some heat to get them out so if you would rather not fight them we can sell you new ones.
 
 

Tach kit

The following parts are necessary to make your factory tachometer work:

  1. Sensor - The Dodge Sensor, unfortunately, doesn't work.
  2. Mounting base or spacer- the 91-98 Dodge Cummins engines should already have one of these, unless it’s been taken off.  The Dodge Cummins base is bolted to the front cover- about 11 O’clock to the balancer to which the Dodge sensor is attached.  If you have one, it can be used if you drill and tap a hole in it to bolt the tach mount to it.  You will need a tach base if you have any of the following engines:  89-91 Dodge application (usually did not have a tach), 98.5 and newer Cummins Dodge, and all bus or commercial/industrial applications. 
  3. Mount- this is the part that holds the sensor  
  4. Tach ring – the part that bolts to the front of your Cummins balancer.  Trucks with gas engines don’t need the tach ring if you want to grind notches in your Cummins harmonic damper.

 

Transmission Controller:

We offer two types of transmission controllers for these trucks- See our Automatic Transmission Controller article for more detailed information.

            We offer the PCS controller that works very well but a laptop computer is required. We recommend this controller as it has many good features- including two switch-able calibrations and fully adjustable shift and torque converter lock up points. 
            Both controllers are shipped pre-programmed with wiring instructions specific to the year of your truck, and we are available for technical assistance with installation and use of them.

            If you do have a laptop the Compushift controller for the E40D is user friendly and does not require a laptop computer.  It is very helpful to have the programmer/display box so it is highly recommended that you purchase one with the controller.
       
 

Air filter kit:

We sell a Brute Force air filter, pipe and hose to connect to your turbocharger.  Two versions are available; one style puts the air filter right between your passenger side battery and the radiator.  This style requires a bit more challenging to make passenger side intercooler tube than the other kit which puts the air filter right behind the passenger side headlight where the passenger side battery is now (this requires the passenger side battery to be moved over to the driver’s side).   
 

A/C manifold:

This manifold bolts to the back of a ’94 and newer Dodge a/c pump, making the a/c plumbing less of a challenge.  All you will need to do is have some new hoses crimped between our manifold and your Ford pieces at the drier and evaporator. If you would like, you may send your Ford lines and have us crimp the new hoses to the new manifold for a reasonable price.
The 94 and newer pump works fine in these trucks, but you may have to move the power steering lines on the engine cross member and cut a hole in the cross member to allow access to the manifold mounting bolt.   
 

Radiator Hose kit:

We can also provide you with radiator hoses, along with a custom bent lower hose connector tube.  Most of the hoses that are included in the kit are not hoses your local parts house will usually stock, but we have what works in stock at a reasonable price.
 
 

Some other parts you will need to get on your own are:

 
Intercooler- any Super Duty® diesel intercooler can be added to your truck, welding and cutting is required.  There are some rare versions of the Super Duty intercooler that have one neck that angles out instead of straight back- stay away from this one, unless you are running a 460 radiator.  The 93 Dodge intercooler is also an option and in some cases works better than the Super Duty intercooler.  The 93 Dodge intercooler is smaller and can be a bit easier to fit into an already cramped space.  Either option you choose will take some work to make the brackets so you can mount the intercooler onto your core support.
 
Additional battery- not completely required for previously gas powered trucks, but certainly not a bad idea.
 
Intercooler pipes- usually modified Dodge pipes work or you can sometimes get some bent out of scratch, or piece one together out of mandrel bent sections.
 
Cruise servo- If your truck was a 94-97 Diesel it used the Ford PCM for cruise control.  You will have to install a gas powered truck’s cruise servo according to our wiring instructions.  If your truck already has a cable operated cruise control, you will just need to weld the Ford throttle cable bracket onto the Cummins throttle bracket and reuse your original throttle and cruise cables.
 
Gas pedal- The gas powered truck’s gas pedal will replace your Ford diesel’s “fly by wire” pedal so that you can connect the Dodge Cummins throttle cable.  
Automatic transmission equipped trucks will require a throttle position sensor.  Depending on the year and what transmission your Cummins engine had on it originally, you may need to purchase a throttle position sensor, or look into other options.  All 24 valve engines already have a throttle position sensor that can be used for the transmission controller.  
 
Exhaust downpipe- If you have the cast iron elbow on the back or the turbo a Dodge Cummins downpipe for an engine the same year as you have is a good start to get the exhaust under your cab.  Be prepared you will most likely have to make some modifications to it, but it’s nothing an exhaust shop can’t handle or yourself if you have the ability to weld.  If you are lacking the cast iron elbow we have a downpipe starter that allow you to use a V-clamp (included) to clamp the starter piece onto the turbo flange. Please be aware this is not nearly as long as a traditional downpipe so you’ll have to add to this to get out of the engine bay.

CONSIDERING HAVING US DOING THE CONVERSION FOR YOU?

Give us a call and find out how Diesel Conversions® can do a professional conversion on your truck for a reasonable price. We have an international airport for travel from and back to our shop, and also can help with shipping options getting a disabled truck here.

NEW, REBUILT, OR USED ENGINES FOR SALE

This information is provided to you to help you make an informed decision on your conversion. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

*Diesel Conversions® is not affiliated with Cummins, Ford, or Dodge. Our use of these and other registered trademarks is for descriptive purposes only.

Diesel Conversions®
Diesel Conversion Specialists

406.755.8878

 

Knowledgebase Topic: 
Make of Truck: 
Ford
Year of Ford Truck: 
1980-1997
Adaptable Transmissions: 
Ford 460 C-6 AT
Ford 6.9/7.3 C-6 AT
Ford 460 E4OD AT
Ford 7.3 E4OD AT