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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 96 Taurus LX with the 3.0. It has been modified for circle track dirt racing. Our rules regulate strict stock parts ect. The problem I have run into is the power band is too narrow to operate the car in one gear. Obviously, the 96 vulcan had 3 gear selector positions... O/D, D and 1. There is no 2. Engine RPMs do not permit constant 1st gear operation, so we have been running in second gear. (holding trans in 1st untill we go green, then when the RPM's come up, shift to D, allowing trans to shift into 2nd, and when the trans shifts into second, pull the shifter back into 1 - thusforth locking trans into 2nd.) This works well, and the trans does not shift into 1st, unless speeds dorp significantly, which then you must repeat the shifting procedure to get back to 2nd gear. Unfortunately, 2nd gear operation produces 1700-1750 RPMs at corner exit, which we all know, has the power of a lawnmower....

What I want to do, (hopefully) is figure out how to electronically control when the trans shifts. Hopefully a toggle switch or a pair of pushbuttons to control 1st and 2nd gear operations. I want to toggle between 1st and 2nd. 1st on corner exit, and toggle to second mid straight away...

HELP!!!
 

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this is just a thought, but talk to somebody who deals with computer chips for cars, and maybe they can change the settings so that Drive will shift from 1st to 2nd gear only. Like americanmotorsport, diablo, etc...
 

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if not look into getting a manual tranny from older gen 2 vulcan. it would be quite a bit of work but thats an option, a dumb one but nevertheless an option.
 

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That's gonna be a little hard considering there was NEVER a Gen 2 Taurus w/ a Vulcan and a Manual Tranny. If you did get one out of a SHO or Tempo however, it won't have any place to mount up to underneath because Gen 3's NEVER EVER had a manual transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had a 92 probe, 3.0 vulcan w/ a 5speed, and i thought of this, but as stated before, it must be stock... so the man trans is out of the question. Also, I'd have one heck of a large leg shifting on both straights twice for 25 laps


but the gen 2 did come with a 5speed??
 
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Originally posted by Crazy_Brys_Auto@Jan 31 2004, 07:58 PM
I had a 92 probe, 3.0 vulcan w/ a 5speed, and i thought of this, but as stated before, it must be stock... so the man trans is out of the question. Also, I'd have one heck of a large leg shifting on both straights twice for 25 laps


but the gen 2 did come with a 5speed??
no gen 2 vulcan w/ 5 speed, unfortunately - however, there are MTX SHO's out there, if getting a different stock car is an option...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One other problem we have is a single camshaft rule, so that would eliminate a SHO..... someone did that last year... and dominated
 

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My '97 SHO tranny is set-up like you want. Came with a 1-2-D shifter on the floor (or console) configuration and a button to turn the overdrive off on the shifter.

The '99 SHOs lost the O/D off button and went to 1-D-O/D configuration.

I wonder if the AX4N tranny has the 1-2-D shifter and the AX4S had the other shifter? Maybe it's a floor shifter/column shifter thing? I'm sure someone here can tell you.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Originally posted by 1fast97@Jan 31 2004, 10:28 PM
My '97 SHO tranny is set-up like you want. Came with a 1-2-D shifter on the floor (or console) configuration and a button to turn the overdrive off on the shifter.

The '99 SHOs lost the O/D off button and went to 1-D-O/D configuration.

I wonder if the AX4N tranny has the 1-2-D shifter and the AX4S had the other shifter? Maybe it's a floor shifter/column shifter thing? I'm sure someone here can tell you.
My 96 is an LX, which is a colnm shift. I belive (not sure) but your taurs shifting valve body is set up to electronicly lock out overdrive - hence the button, and the gear selector allows selection of the 3 underdrive/drive gears. The trans I have, I'm unsure how it works... but were on the right track.

I was told that I could electronicly control the gear selection into 2nd via a solenoid in the trans.. I just gotta figure out how.
 

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Here's How:

Haynes Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Repair Manual 1996-2001; page 7-1
QUOTE
These models use one of two electronic 4-speed automatic transaxles; the AX4N and the AX4S....  To identify which transaxles is in your vehicle, look on the identification tag attacted to the top of the bellhousing....The end cover and the oil pan on some transaxles are stamped AXOD, which is an older name for the AX4S; the two are identical.  (I have a 2000 and mine even says AXOD)

Shifting on these transaxles is controlled electronically.  Utilizing data from the network of information sensors, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) determines the best shift point for the particular driving situation.  Shifts occur when the PCM grounds the electronic shift solenoids inside the transmission.  No vacuum controls, TV cables, or other mechanical devices are employed.[/b]
Now for all that in english.
What that means is that there is nothing mechanical that you need to "fool" into keeping the tranny in 2nd gear, or any other for that matter. Everything is electronic, and that makes this idea 10x easier. There are no valve bodies, throttle cables, or anything else to have to monkey with. Now if you look on pages 12-23 to 12-25 you'll see the schematic of the PCM system. If you hardwired into wires 3/7(PPL/ORG) for shift solenoid #2, wire 4/8(ORG/YEL) for shift solenoid #1, and wire 6/10 (PNK/BLK) for shift solenoid #3, you could manually operate the transaxle and override the PCM and would only have to shift into OD (because all gears would be available in OD). A couple issues though....

1) You would have no idea about if the PCM includes a delay time between shifts.
2) Logic would say that when the PCM grounds shift solenoid 1, it would shift to 2nd gear, #2 for 3rd, and #3 for OD (torque converter clutch TCC is independent meaning you could hardwire that also so you could have OD but no locked up TCC), however.......
3) What about downshifts and reverse?
4) The gear selector has NOTHING mechanically associated with the transaxle (besides the PARK locking pin). All it does is move an arm that moves a variable resistor that the PCM reads as the transaxle range/gear (R, N, OD, D, 1).
5) You have to throw out idea #2 because you have SIX gears and only 3 solenoids (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, N, and Reverse). Now logically if you have no solenoids powered, it should default to N. That one's easy. The trouble is which solenoids need to activate to give you the particular gear? And more importantly, which ones do you NOT want to activate because you'll eat the tranny?

So, here would be your plan of action....
Hardwire with relays into the 3 shift solenoids and a switch directly onto the TCC solenoid. For the TCC, the switch HAS to be ON for the TCC to lock up, otherwise it gets no power. This would be good for having 4th gear with no TCC. It leaves the computer the decision as to when to lock up the TCC, but you have a manual override over it. On the 3 relays (make sure they're low impedeance relays, you don't want to pull too much current away from the solenoid) and wire them into LEDs or lights so you'll have 1 light for each solenoid (labels her come in handy). Then as you drive the car, you can watch solenoids are active in what particular gears. You then can understand the shifting pattern of the tranny and then hardwire into the shift solenoids to manually control the shifting and take the PCM out of the equation. In looking at the schematic, there are no sensors that tell the PCM if it's fired the solenoid or not. It just goes for it and thinks the solenoid's doing it's job; however there may be programing in the PCM to check it.

Then once you have the LEDs wired in, you can modify it to have switches accompanying the LEDs to manually control everything.

NOW, how would you do all this? Instead of running tons of different wires, just run a single wire like a CAT 5 ethernet cable (8 wires, 4 pairs) or a 5 pair wire (you'll have a pair for back up). Then wire everything together into a control box of sorts that would not only give you manual control, but also give you a way to still let the computer work when you don't want to. Thus, you can control the shifting manually on the track, yet still not have to worry while you're driving to grandma's. Have fun.

-mobiuslogic
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I bow to you... I worship the ground you walk on...hell, I might even put your toilet seat down for you.
Everything you said makes sence, and is very logical. I'm slightly confused with the 3 solinoids and six gears, (but like you said the LEDs will help figure that out). The only slight problem with that is our car has been completely converted for dirt track racing (if the local seriff saw anything remotly resembling this car on the road with out a trailer under it...grandma never see me again!) I'd imagine a dry run on jackstands would do the same thingand deliver the same results.
I'm assuming that the PCM is seperated from the ECM.?.Along with a seperate harness.?.
Would I have to run a seperate (larger) set of wires for the TCC?
Where would be the best point to splice into the wiring harness between the PCM and the trans.?.

And althogh I dont have one right now, (but if this works, I'll have a bunch of 'em!) the 86-90 Taurii is the same setup....or am I opening anouther can of worms.

Again THANK YOU so much, and I can't wait to get to try this. Hell with the superbowl...I'll be in the garage!!
 

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A dry run on jack stands should be fine, however I don't think the cops would crucify you for a few runs around the block and up the street. In reality, your dirt track modified taurus is probably a safer than plenty of the other cars on the road. The only problem I could see with doing a run on jack stands is that by having no load on the engine, the engine won't get into the higher RPMs and therefore may not shift into the higher gears, but I'm not sure.

As for the ECM, I think you're thinking of the Engine Control Module. If so, there is none. The PCM (powertrain control module) controls both the engine and the transaxle. If you check this out:

How Automatic Transaxles Work

You'll see how the guts are opperating together. The point is that either the ring gear, the sun gear, or the planetary carrier can be locked together. (that'll make sense once you read the article). Well each shift solenoid *likely* controls a different component of the plantery gear system, but you'll need the LED test to figure it out. So different combinations of which parts are locked determine what gear you are in, and those are locked up by the solenoids. You likely won't need a larger set of wires for the TCC, however when you splice into the wires and bring them into the cabin and do your dry run, you'll want to check how much voltage and current is going through the wires so you can be sure to not only use wiring that will be able to handle the current, but also so you use switches that can handle it all as well. I don't think that it will be a lot of current, but better to stay WAY on the side of safety because you don't want to fry the switching transistors on the PCM. I hardwired a model rocket into a RC car for a mobil rocket launching platform and burned out the transistors on one side. So then I relayed the other side, but the car only turns one way
Oh well, good times. Keep us informed.

As for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Tauruses, I don't know, about their transmissions. You'll have to read up on them in the Haynes manual. If it's all electronic as well, then you can likely swap this system into them. If it's got valve bodies and other BS, then you'll likely be at a dead end because I only work with solid state.


-mobiuslogic

EDIT: A 0-50mph run up the block would give you all the solenoid combinations as well as the TCC locking up. I'm sure the cop would let you get away with it for the sake of science.
 

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What about the Baumman Engineering kit that lets you program a stand-alone computer specifically for AX4S/AX4N use?? Anyone thought of that?
 

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Also, if you are stuck in 2nd at WOT and are under 25, just put the selecter back into Drive and it will downshift, but if you aren't doing under 25 then it won't.
 

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I put the 3.99 final gear in my '97 SHO, they came from a '96 Windstar. Might help move your rpms up compared to speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Originally posted by mikehawk@Feb 1 2004, 03:40 PM
A little off topic here, but I'm kind of curious. Do you know how much the car weighs now that you've gutted it for the dirt track?
I actually never weighed the car before or after... If I get a chance I will and let ya know. Probly won't be till spring though.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Originally posted by SHOZ123@Feb 1 2004, 12:24 PM
I put the 3.99 final gear in my '97 SHO, they came from a '96 Windstar. Might help move your rpms up compared to speed.
How difficult is it to change the gear ratio. Never pulled apart a FWD trans. Plenty of RWDs....
Where do you get different gear sets...or is it just find one from another doner car.
 
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