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Installing a chip

So, you've gotten your chip and aren't sure if you want to get it professionally installed by a speed shop or attempt to do it yourself? Or, just aren't confident of your mechanical abilities? Fear not! A chip installation requires only basic hand tools and the ability to follow directions. That's it. So here we go.

1. Disconnect the Battery! Always, disconnect your battery when working anywhere near your electronics. Disconnect the negative cable and tuck it away so it cannot fall back and touch the post.

2. Locate your PCM. On the Marauder, the PCM is on the drivers side firewall just beside the brake booster. There is a piece of control equipment blocking easy access to the 10mm bolt on the harness connected to the PCM. The job goes a LOT quicker if you quickly remove the 2 11mm nuts holding the control box, highlighted in the picture. Just move it off to the side for easy access to the PCM connector.

3. Remove the PCM from the car. Now that you have access to the PCM, simply loosen the 10mm bolt indicated above and unplug the harness from the PCM (you DID remember to disconnect the battery, right?). This will enable you to remove the PCM from the inside of the car. With the harness unplugged, go inside the car on the driver's side and look up and to the left of the brake pedal. You'll need to pull down the plastic trim piece blocking access by removing the plastic clips holding it in place. Just give it a good yank as the hole is big enough that given a little force the plastic clip will just pop through it for easier, less damaging removal. Once you pull the trim down a bit, look up and pull the black plastic "U" shaped clip holding the PCM in place. It'll just pop off. Once it's off, you can just pull the PCM out with minimal effort.

4. Disassemble the PCM and clean the connector. Once you have the PCM in your hot little hands, it'd be a sobering moment to realize they cost a LOT of money, so take EXTREME care here, do NOT rush through these next little steps, they are critical to your continued sanity.

Sufficiently terrified? Good. Now, proceed with caution. Pry back the four tabs (be gentle!) holding the case of the PCM together. Once the case is free, you'll have to disconnect/cut the metal door of the side of the case to allow for your chip to stick through, and for easier access to removing or swapping your chip later.

Now, using the Scotch-Brite pad shipped with your chip, gently clean the connector. You MUST remove ALL the bluish-colored conformal coating from the terminals. If they're not totally clean, you will encounter weird problems with your chip or a no start condition caused by faulty connections. This is the number one mistake by first time installers, so get it right the first time and save yourself a lot of grief and disappointment. Be anal about this. Accept nothing less then complete eradication of the corformal coating on the silver terminals. Note: you must remove the coating from BOTH sides of the connector. The bottom is kind of hard to access with the Scotch-Brite pad, so use of a jeweler's screwdriver to remove the coating may be necessary. Once again, be extremely careful doing this.

5. Reassembly and re-installation time! Once you've cleaned the terminals and are satisfied all the conformal coating is off, reattach the PCM's lid and gently slide your chip over the connector. With the chip firmly attached you should secure it with the supplied sticker, or if you anticipate removing your chip with any degree of frequency, use a strip of electrical tape. Once this is done, you can simply reverse the removal procedure to put your PCM back in place, reconnect the harness, put the control box back in place, and hook your battery back up. If you've done everything correctly, your car will start right up. Go for a drive, you won't be able to wipe the smile off your face for a few days! If it doesn't fire up, DON'T panic! Just remove the PCM and double check your cleaning job. You probably just missed some of the conformal coating.

Here's a picture of the re-installed PCM.

6. Enjoy Yourself! Go enjoy your new-found power, and your now properly-shifting transmission!

Changing your transmission fluid

Changing your own transmission fluid is almost as easy as changing your motor oil, just a little messier the first time, and even THAT can be fixed. Just obtain a factory replacement pan with built-in drain plug from Dennis Reinhart or Ray (The Dealer). You can also install an aftermarket pan, available at Summit or Jeg’s, or install a drain plug kit, like the excellent one from B&M, available for under $10 from most speed shops. Doing one of these 3 options will make future ATF changes much easier and MUCH less messy.

Before getting to the nitty-gritty of actually doing the job, a few notes:

**NOTE** on choosing the right ATF:

Mercon V, as opposed to regular Mercon (w/o the “V”) is the ONLY ATF that should ever be put in your Marauder’s transmission (4R70W). Brand is not important, but don’t make me issue the caveat about staying away from brands you’ve never heard of.

As regards synthetic ATF, as of this writing (Sept. 2004), AMSOIL has the only synthetic ATF that is Mercon V qualified. Do not use any other brand of synthetic ATF unless it specifically states that it is Mercon V qualified…simply being synthetic is not better in this case.

**NOTE** on changing the filter:

The factory workshop manual states that the filter does not need to be changed unless the transmission has been repaired. Conventional wisdom, however, says that changing the filter every second or third fluid change is a good idea.

**NOTE** on ATF change intervals:

Ford’s scheduled maintenance guide specifies to change the ATF at 30,000-mile intervals. This is fine for an un-modded car that sees light or normal duty. If you drive your car hard, tow a trailer, or have done any power-adding mods, then a 15,000-mile interval is more realistic. Just like changing your motor oil more often, it’s cheap insurance.

OK, now on to the job at hand…

First, the tool list:

1). 10mm socket wrench
2). Ramps
3). A transmission funnel (or any funnel with a long thin neck)
4). A large shallow drain pan
5). Latex dishwashing gloves (you’ll see why later)
6). Torque wrench (optional, see text)

Then the materials:

1). 5 quarts of Mercon V
2). Motorcraft FT-105 filter (or equivalent: FRAM FT1167, Wix 58955, etc)
3). A can of brake cleaner spray (CRC in the green can is excellent)

Now on to the job at hand:

A) Prep:
Do I NEED to tell you to “put the car on the ramps”, or “chock the wheels for safety” and all that?

B) Drain the old fluid:
Start by removing the 14 10mm bolts around the transmission pan’s perimeter. Remove the rear-most bolts first then work your way forward alternating from side-to-side. There actually IS a good reason for doing it in this manner: fluid will start to leak out as you progress toward the front bolts. When you have removed all but the front-most bolts from the pan, loosen the remaining bolts one turn at a time, allowing the pan to tilt down at the back, to let as much fluid drain out as possible. When the pan has reached about 45°, use one hand to put the pan back into normal position, while you remove the remaining bolts. Carefully lower the pan (there’s still fluid in it) until you can pour the rest into your drain pan. At this point, you may see a plastic doo-dad that resembles a miniature version of a baby-rattle…or a ball with a stem…don’t panic…this is normal. It’s a dust plug from the dipstick tube that gets dislodged when the transmission is installed at the factory. It’s harmless…just throw it away. The transmission will continue to drip fluid for a while, so now’s a good time to come out from down under…take the pan with you.

C) Cleaning the pan:
Carefully inspect the pan and gasket…the gasket should not be crimped or torn, and is designed to be re-used, so just leave it in place. The pan should not have any large unidentifiable or suspicious chunks in it. If you DO find them, have the car towed to the dealer. A thin gray film over the interior of the pan is normal. You should next see a round magnet in the bottom of the pan. This is to collect any small bits of metal that could clog tiny orifices in the valve body. It’s normal for there to be a bit of gooey black sludge on the magnet. Don’t handle the magnet with your bare fingers; wear the dishwashing gloves (the sludge is very messy and hard to clean). Remove the magnet, clean it and set it aside. Wipe down the interior of the pan with a CLEAN rag…when you’ve gotten it as clean as you can, use the brake cleaner and thoroughly spray the pan both inside and out. Don’t worry, brake cleaner evaporates quickly and leaves no residue, so it won’t contaminate things. Once the pan is clean and dry, replace the magnet onto its dimple in the pan, and set the pan aside.

D) Removing the old filter:
OK, back under the car you go. The transmission should be about done dripping by now. Grasp the old filter with both hands, and pull straight down with a slight rocking motion. There are no bolts or clips to remove, the filter should just pop out. Careful: more fluid will drain out when the filter is removed. Check to see if the ring-shaped seal (grommet) came out with the filter (it’s on the end of the plastic intake tube); if it did, then good. If not, then pry it out of the valve body using GREAT CARE not to scratch the finish of the bore it’s stuck in. Don’t just leave it there, use the new one supplied with the filter.

E) Installing the new filter:
Installation is the exact opposite of removal. Some filters come with the new seal pre-installed on the intake tube, some make you do it. In either case, be sure it’s installed right-side-up, with the ridges facing the filter body. Lubricate the seal with a few drops of CLEAN ATF. Once the new filter is loosely in position, give it a bump with the heel of your hand to be sure the intake tube and seal are fully seated in the valve body. It should “pop” into place.

F) Re-installing the pan:
It’s pretty self-explanatory…hold the pan in position with one hand while you install a couple of bolts to hold it in place. Install all the bolts finger-tight to start, then tighten them around in a circle in 2 or 3 stages. Final tightness should be 10 ft-lbs (120 inch-pounds) if you have a torque wrench. If not, then be sure to not over-tighten them…firmly snug is adequate…don’t Superman them down, or you’ll ruin the gasket.

G) Refilling the fluid:
Install 4 quarts of your Mercon V, then start the motor. Run the shifter through all the positions, pausing in each for a few seconds, ending in Park. Check under the car to be sure there are no leaks, then back the car off the ramps. Check the fluid level with the dipstick. It should be just at the bottom of the lower cross-hatched area. If not, add just enough to get it there. CAUTION: do NOT fill the transmission to the top of the upper cross-hatched area at this time! Take the car for a good ride, to warm up the fluid. When you return, again check the level. It should be somewhere within the upper cross-hatched area. If it is, then you’re done. If not, add just enough to get it WITHIN the cross-hatched area; do not fill it to the top. Transmission fluid expands as it gets hot, and allowance for this must be made, otherwise fluid could blow out the vent when the transmission gets really hot. The correct fluid level is anywhere WITHIN the lower cross-hatched area when the transmission is cold, and anywhere WITHIN the upper cross-hatched area when the transmission is at normal operating temperature. The recommended level-checking procedure is in the owner’s manual. You should read it.

Congratulations! You’ve just done your car a huge favour, and saved a bit of coin in the process (the dealer will charge you in excess of $100 to do what you just did!).

Installing a real oil pressure gauge


Swapping out the OEM fake oil pressure gauge for a real working one is fairly simple, and needs only ordinary hand tools…it helps if you can solder, but it’s not necessary.

Tools needed:
small soldering iron (optional, but recommended; see text)
rosin-core solder
wire cutters
wire stripper/crimper

Parts needed:
AutoMeter Oil Pressure Gauge kit #4327
4 small ring terminals
Teflon tape or a good thread sealer (available at any plumbing supply)

Replacing the sender:

Install the thread adapter provided in the AutoMeter kit onto the new sender using either Teflon tape or thread sealer.

Unplug the connector from the old sender and remove it. A small amount of oil will leak out when the old sender is removed, which is why you want to have the new sender ready to install immediately. Install the new sender, again using Teflon tape or thread sealer. The new sender will not screw in all the way…in other words, don’t try to crank the new unit down until all the threads are engaged; you can feel when the unit begins to really tighten up, so don’t try to be a Superman.

As far as wiring the new sender, there are a couple of avenues here…one way is to run a separate wire for the new gauge setup…go for it if you like, but there’s no reason not to use the factory wiring, unless you plan on someday restoring the factory NON-WORKING oil pressure gauge setup. In addition to being easier to install, using the factory wiring has the advantage of looking nearly stock, and is less likely to attract attention, should your car ever end up at the dealer’s service department while under warranty. To use the factory wire, simply cut off the OEM connector, and replace it with a ring terminal (I prefer ring terminals over spade terminals as they are more secure, but a spade terminal will work). It’s best to crimp AND solder the terminal, and even better to slip a piece of heat-shrink tubing over it, but soldering and the heat shrink are optional. Connect the wire to the new sender, as indicated in the supplied instruction sheet (it’s obvious).

At this point, you may be wondering about grounding the sender…doesn’t the Teflon tape insulate the sender’s threads from being grounded? The answer is NO, it doesn’t. A separate ground wire is not needed.

OK, you can now close the hood…you’re done under the car.

Replacing the gauge unit:

This is a little more involved than replacing the sender. To remove the gauge pod, first put the shifter in “D”, to allow for clearance (I don’t REALLY have to tell you about setting the parking brake, or chocking the wheels, do I?). Grasp the “wings” of the gauge pod and pull firmly downward and slightly forward…it’s secured with those “alligator” clips. Once it’s loose, rotate the wings toward the floor and pull the entire unit forward and up…you’ll see what it needs…you may have to jockey it around a little to clear the console. Once the gauge pod is free and clear, simply unplug the 3 connectors, then you can remove the whole unit to your favorite workbench area. Don’t worry about which connector is which; they’re all different, so you can’t mix them up.

You have two choices as far as replacing the actual gauge unit. One is to simply swap the old for the new…pretty straightforward. The other is to convert the old gauge into a working gauge by swapping the innards of the new one into the old one. This route is a LOT more intricate and delicate, and I won’t go into the full conversion process here (There are a couple of threads explaining the procedure in detail on the site). The only real reason for doing a conversion is to maintain the exact stock look; the replacement gauge has a slightly different face than the stock one, the primary difference being that that stock gauge has green back-lighting of the numerals, while the replacement gauge uses AutoMeter’s standard perimeter lighting. The difference is noticeable only at night; during the day, the two gauges are so alike only someone who has done this mod will be able to tell. If you MUST have the oil gauge and voltmeter absolutely identical, a number of members have simply replaced the voltmeter as well. It’s inexpensive and much easier than converting the oil gauge fascia.

If you’ve chosen to convert your old gauge into a working gauge (see above), then you’re done. Reinstall the gauge unit into the gauge pod, and re-install the pod. If, however, you are going to replace the entire old gauge with the new one, here’s how to wire it:

The first thing you’ll notice is that the factory gauge is hard-wired to its connector. No problem here, just cut the wires flush with the back of the gauge (you weren’t REALLY going to ever restore the original NON-WORKING gauge, were you?). Install (crimp and solder) ring terminals on the ends of the wires and connect them to the new gauge per the supplied instructions. The three wires are Black, Red, and White/Pink. The black wire is ground, the red is positive, and the white/pink is from the sender. The new gauge mounts the same as the old, but IIRC, the studs are a different length…it DOES all fit, though. Once you have the new gauge in place, re-install the pod (remember to plug all the connectors back in!) and you’re done.

Now for the fun part: When you first turn the key to “ON” (don’t start the motor yet) the needle should rise slightly and point to zero. When you start the motor, you should read anywhere between 75 and 100 lbs. The actual reading will depend on ambient temperature and the viscosity of the oil you’re using…if it’s cold (like 32°) and you’re using 5W-30, then your reading will be 100 lbs or even more. If it’s warm and you’re using 5W-20, you may get a somewhat lower reading. After the car has warmed up to operating temperature, your readings should be approximately as follows:

Idling in drive, 25 lbs
Cruising (40-45 MPH) 50 lbs
Highway speeds 65-70 lbs

Upgrading to the larger fuel filter

Fuel Filter Upgrade

The first question you may ask is “Why would I want/need to do this?” Well, if your car is stock, you probably don’t need to, and if you have a supercharger, then you should already have a high-output fuel pump. But, if you’re like me and don’t have a blower, but your car isn’t exactly stock either, then you may very well benefit from this simple mod.

Replacing the stock fuel filter with a larger unit helps prevent the dreaded lean condition caused by the design of the fuel tank. There is a set of baffles internal to the tank which can cause the motor to starve for fuel at WOT if the tank is less than ¼ full. This has been well documented by Dennis Reinhart. The larger filter provides a “reserve” if you will, to help offset this condition.

Parts needed:

Fuel Filter: Motorcraft FG800A or equivalent
New Filter Bracket: Ford F57Z-9A335-A (optional: see text)
Fuel Line Clips (2): Ford 2F1Z-9A317-AA (Note: you will only need the clips if you break the original ones removing the stock filter. Try to save them, as the new ones are $7.00…each!) (Another note: some replacement filters come with clips. Disregard any clips that are supplied with your new filter…they won’t fit the fuel lines in the Marauder, as this filter was meant for a different application).

Begin by removing the stock filter, which is located on the inside of the frame, below the right rear door. Undo the hose-clamp securing the filter to the bracket. Next, remove the fuel lines from each end. This is done by carefully prying the nylon clips out of the slip-on connectors with a small screwdriver…the key word is carefully (see the note above). Word of caution: WEAR EYE PROTECTION! Some fuel may squirt out when the first line is removed. Have a coffee can or similar container available to catch any spills…it will only be a small amount. Pull the lines off the ends of the filter and place the old filter in your coffee can.

Next comes the fun part: dealing with the bracket. Some people have modified the original bracket by bending it and using a larger clamp. Others, like me, have simply removed the old bracket, drilled another hole in the frame, and mounted the new bracket in place of the old (this requires cutting off a threaded stud on the back of the new bracket). Either method is acceptable. Remember to cover the open ends of the fuel lines with tape or something to keep any bits of metal from finding their way in if you choose the second method. Either way requires a small amount of creativity on your part…don’t panic or over-analyse this part, just be sure whatever method you choose keeps the fuel filter secure.

Once you have installed the new bracket, or modified the stock one, installation of the filter is simply the reverse of removal. Install the fuel lines onto the new filter, press the clips in place to secure the connectors, and secure the new filter to the bracket.

Before you finish the job and start to clean up, start the engine and run it for a few moments to be absolutely sure there are no leaks. Turn the key to the “Run” or “On” position for a few seconds before actually starting the engine. This ensures the new filter is filled and any air introduced is circulated through the system.

If there are no leaks, you’re done. HOWEVER: you may get a “Check Engine” light within a short time after starting the engine; mine occurred about a ½-mile down the road. DO NOT PANIC, this is normal. You have a couple of options: 1) Do Nothing…the light should go out after 3 driving cycles (A driving cycle consists of a cold engine startup followed by mixed city/highway driving). 2) If it really bugs you, and you don’t want to wait, go to any AutoZone and they will read and clear the code for you, for free. Any of the hand-held tuners from Superchips or SCT can also read and clear codes. Similarly, don’t panic if you DON’T get a check engine light; not everyone who has done this mod got a CEL…although most did.

Some members have reported that installing this new filter eliminates a slight “sag” in the engine response under heavy acceleration. I don’t recall having the sag to begin with, but other than that, you won’t notice any difference in operation. You WILL have peace of mind that your engine won’t go lean at or near WOT, and the satisfaction of a job well done.

This thread has some good additional info:

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