All Big Six Thinking of purchasing a 96 f150 shortbed 4.9L - I've got a few questions

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Hi fellow ford enthusiast,

I've been a mustang fan for the last 20 years, ranging from foxbodys to terminators to GT500s but my passion for mustang isn't where it used to be so I've decided to buy a truck and of course the obs is my favorite body style ford f150. My question is, what are the first mods to wake up a 96 300? Is there an aftermarket short throw shifter for the 96 f150 5spd and lastly, are the pistons forged from the factory?

Thanks guys,
Cannon🇺🇸
 

bubba22349

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Hi Cannon, and welcome to the Ford six site! The Pistons arn't forged but in the late 1995 1/2 to 1997 4.9's Ford finaly did use a much better stock piston that's a Hypertecic type.
 

MechRick

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I would modify the exhaust after the first converter. This is the best bang for the buck on these trucks.

You can try bumping the ignition timing a few degrees, probably not a good idea if you tow with it.

Leave the airbox alone, it's the same setup as the 5.8L and has plenty of flow.

The early M5OD isn't a quick shifter. The later units used behind 4.2L V6 engines are quite a bit better, but would require relocating the shifter in the tunnel (further back). Not a deal breaker, but not bolt in. The shift forks and syncros are different and will not swap to earlier transmissions.
 

BigBlue94

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Leave the airbox alone, it's the same setup as the 5.8L and has plenty of flow.
Its also the same as a 460 big block, including the better air inlet snorkel! All it needs is some insulation and a clean filter. It is a true cold air intake.

There is a short throw available for the M5R2.
https://core-shifters.com/products/core-hurst-shifter-for-1988-1998-ford-f150-truck-w-m5r2-5-speed

The biggest change the OP can make is swapping to lower gears. 4.10s with 31" or smaller tires will wake it up. If its a 4x4, you can get the entire 3rd member front differential from an F250 which had 4.10 gears quite often. Requires no gear setup, which saves money.
 

pmuller9

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A cam change is the next item to give you a big gain in power. You would also get to change out the fiber timing gear that tends to fail.
I don't know if the MAF based ECM would need to be reprogrammed for a cam change.
Did you do any programming on the Mustang ECMs?
 
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MechRick

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Cut all the cats out
It's a 1996, cutting the front cat off will cause the check engine lamp to stay on.
The front cat is not a restriction at modest power levels. I went from headers and duals to the stock Y pipe/cat and noticed no seat of the pants difference.
 

BigBlue94

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I don't know if the MAF based ECM would need to be reprogrammed for a cam change.
I know the my speed density 351 did not require an ecm tune, but I chose the cam based on specs known to work with the SD system. That being said, a tune and bigger injectors would have taken better advantage of the 10.5:1 compression and ported AFR 165 heads. MAF is not different other than being easier to tune by the end user.


OP
This thread has a lot of good info. But its based on SBF V8s. I am not sure if the cam specs for a 6 are the same for a V8. Pmuller might have insight on that. The thread starter, Fireguy, at one time had every bit of knowledge about the first gen ford EFI (EEC-IV, early EEC-V) posted online. Sold all sorts of EFI goodies of his own design and crafting, but Ford sent him a C&D, shut him down, and he vanished from the webs. It was a darned shame.

https://www.fullsizebronco.com/threads/how-to-pick-a-camshaft-for-efi.6867/

Thanks to the wayback machine, we have a decent archive page of FireGuy's info available
http://web.archive.org/web/20110430180836/http://fordfuelinjection.com/
 

Sevensecondsuv

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MAF is not different other than being easier to tune by the end user.

Yes and no. Every stock system has it's limits, but MAF has a decided advantage over speed density in terms of being able to adapt.

With speed density, the ECM uses the MAP and throttle position sensors to infer load. This is then multiplied by the factory-calibrated scalars and tables for engine displacement and volumetric efficiency along with the target AFR to determine how much fuel to inject. Now swap in an aftermarket camshaft, the whole point of which is to increase volumetric efficiency, and naturally the VE tables are wrong and so the fuel calculation is off.

MAF is actually a simpler system in that just directly measures the mass flow rate of air entering the engine and multiplies this by the target AFR to determine how much fuel to inject. No pre-programmed VE tables or need for manifold pressure in the fueling calc. So they tend to tolerate cam swaps better. The MAF sensor simply senses more air being drawn into the engine (as a result of the improved VE due to the cam swap) and increases the fuel accordingly. Now of course this only works up the limit of the MAF sensor and/or injectors, both of which typically only have 10-20% margin as delivered from Ford.

I do agree that MAF is easier to tune though. There's fewer parameters in the fuel calc so it's easier and faster to get it dialed in.
 
No there is no short shifter available for these trucks. Best thing to wake them up is to do a full tune up. Then add boost
It may not still be available but I put this Hurst short-throw shifter on my 96 about 8 years ago.
 

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King_Kong

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Fwiw, the 96 F150 is a "1-year only" in several ways.

The 96:
It's OBD2 (which is good if you are planning to tune or turbo it).
It has a MAF sensor.
The intake manifold runners are different than other EFI 4.9's. Put a pre-96 manifold side-by-side & you'll see.
It has a DPFE sensor (only buy the Motorcraft DPFE). And the EGR tube is very unique: if mpg crashes, it's usually because of 1 of these 2 parts.
...some other parts & their locations are different on these trucks, but I can't recall them at the moment.
 

bubba22349

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Fwiw, the 96 F150 is a "1-year only" in several ways.

The 96:
It's OBD2 (which is good if you are planning to tune or turbo it).
It has a MAF sensor.
The intake manifold runners are different than other EFI 4.9's. Put a pre-96 manifold side-by-side & you'll see.
It has a DPFE sensor (only buy the Motorcraft DPFE). And the EGR tube is very unique: if mpg crashes, it's usually because of 1 of these 2 parts.
...some other parts & their locations are different on these trucks, but I can't recall them at the moment.
Yes the 1996 F150 was the last year for a 4.9 OBD2 but the second half of the 1995 model year also had 4.9 six'es with OBD2 plus there were also bigger trucks they made in 1997 with the 4.9 OBD2 a few F250 / F350 Super Duty trucks (these trucks had bodies that still looked like a 1996). Plus there were some E250 & E350 series Econolines too with the 4.9 OBD2.
 

Imagemineye

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There is a company called Core Shifters that makes short throw shifters for all of the m5od variants. Also summit carries a Hurst short throw shifter. From what I have sent the core is the better option.
 

King_Kong

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Yes the 1996 F150 was the last year for a 4.9 OBD2 but the second half of the 1995 model year also had 4.9 six'es with OBD2 plus there were also bigger trucks they made in 1997 with the 4.9 OBD2 a few F250 / F350 Super Duty trucks (these trucks had bodies that still looked like a 1996). Plus there were some E250 & E350 series Econolines too with the 4.9 OBD2.

Yes, thats really good to know when trying to locate parts at the junkyard.

The vans also have a much quieter saginaw steering pump & bracket that bolts into the trucks. (But the pressure hose needs to be modified).
 

HitmanX

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I bought the Core unit for mine, but to use a stock lever and boot. I think it is a near verbatim copy of the long NLA Husrt kit.

Stock rear cat is caca and where the exhaust necks down to around 2.25" for some reason. Maybe it is less on the 4.9, not too sure. You might be able to just open the outlet on it and retain if you need to do so. Unsure how sensitive the OBD2 system is on there.

Mine had some janky muffler shoppe kit and an aftermarket main cat. I gutted the precat (well PO did it and I was going to...), ball and socket 3" into a Flowmaster catback. Now I have a nice mandrel bent tailpipe too.

Gearing can be from 2.73:1 to 3.55:1 in stock form on the half tons. My ECSB is a 3.08:1, but my pal's is a 3.55:1. Seems most of the RCSB trucks are 2.73:1 from what I have seen.
 

BigBlue94

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Gearing can be from 2.73:1 to 3.55:1 in stock form on the half tons. My ECSB is a 3.08:1, but my pal's is a 3.55:1. Seems most of the RCSB trucks are 2.73:1 from what I have seen.
Half tons range from 2.73 to 4.10.

As a generalized statement from perusing 100s for these trucks in the junkyards, only 2wd RCSB pickups got 2.73. Even with v8s. Axle code 12

3.08 was the numerically lowest 4x4 gear ive seen, usually paired with a 300. Axle code 18

3.31 was almost exclusive to 4x4 ECSB pickups with a 302 V8. Axle code 17

3.55 was most common for a 4x4, all pickup shapes and sizes and bronco. Axle code 19

4.10 was fairly rare on a half ton, but available for all engines. Most in see are rear limited slip. Axle code 15 for open.

Replacing the 1 in the axle codes with an H denotes limited slip. A 2 after the two digit code denotes front limited slip.
 

efloth

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Half tons range from 2.73 to 4.10.

As a generalized statement from perusing 100s for these trucks in the junkyards, only 2wd RCSB pickups got 2.73. Even with v8s. Axle code 12

3.08 was the numerically lowest 4x4 gear ive seen, usually paired with a 300. Axle code 18

3.31 was almost exclusive to 4x4 ECSB pickups with a 302 V8. Axle code 17

3.55 was most common for a 4x4, all pickup shapes and sizes and bronco. Axle code 19

4.10 was fairly rare on a half ton, but available for all engines. Most in see are rear limited slip. Axle code 15 for open.

Replacing the 1 in the axle codes with an H denotes limited slip. A 2 after the two digit code denotes front limited slip.
Excellent information. I've always wondered why the RCSB guys report better fuel economy. This pretty much sums it up. Tempted to sell some bitcoin and buy a gear vendors overdrive. Basically selectable 3.55 or 2.73 gearing. Paired with a ZF would be pretty amazing having all 10 speeds.
 
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