DIY: E4OD Torque Converter Manual Lockup - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-03-2007, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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DIY: E4OD Torque Converter Manual Lockup

This has come up from time to time and since my info. on it is buried in my gauge install thread I thought it might be best to post the info here in its own thread.

So the idea behind this is to install a switch that can manually override the unlocking of the torque converter. As y'all likely know, with the E4OD, if you just lift your foot off the throttle the converter unlocks. When you touch the throttle again the revs pick up while the converter locks up and the revs come back down. Don't believe me? Try it.

Of course, this is a nuisance and generates torque converter heat. I don't know about y'all, but I want to keep my E4OD alive for as long as possible! So a buddy of mine told me a trick. Bill at http://www.dfuser.com/ told me that if I tap a wire leading to the tranny and ground it through a switch that I can manually lock the converter. Intrigued, I decided to research it more and went for it.

It's painfully simple for something that might otherwise seem rather daunting.

1. Locate a large wire bundle under the truck next to the transmission. Look for a purple/yellow wire. On my '96 there was only one and I only found it after cleaning off the wires. They were dirty.

2. Tap into that wire and run the wire up to your dash area or wherever you want to install a switch to control the converter. I mounted mine on the dash like such....



3. Mount the wire to the switch and ground the other tab on the switch so that when you flip the switch it will ground that wire. The grounding of the purple/yellow wire is what locks the converter.

That's it!

Now my buddy, Bill, sells a really cool switch. It's a three position toggle switch. When I flip the toggle down, it locks the converter. So even lifting off the gas or hitting the brake, the converter stays locked. It's great on the highway when you're in traffic, but never going very slowly.

When I flip the toggle up, it also locks the converter, but you have to hold the toggle up or it will return to center/off. It's called a momentary switch. Anyway, Bill sells them and they're cheap! Comes in handy if you're going to go up a big hill or something and want the converter locked for just a brief period of time.

The only thing to watch for is if you forget to unlock the converter and you go slow enough, you may trip your check engine light. I did it once when I forgot and slowed down to 10-15 mph!! WAY too slow. Keep in mind normally my converter won't lock until 27-28 mph. I got Advance Auto to clear it for me and all's well. Sometimes the CEL will just go off after a day or two, but it doesn't harm anything as far as I know. I only had it reset once. The two other times I did it, the light eventually just went off. I've also had the O/D light flash on the stalk a couple times, but it's not too common.

Bill's been doing this trick for his customers for years. It's super handy, informative, and will help me preserve my tranny.

I got a little fancy with my gauge install. I wired a green LED next to my tranny temp gauge. The toggle switch will also provide a ground for the LED and so it illuminates whenever the converter is locked....so I don't forget too often to unlock it as I slow down.



Tommy

And here's the gauge install thread for those interested.

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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, I should also point out that this worked on my '96. I have no idea if this works for other model years or other trannies. And standard disclaimers apply. Do all this at your own risk and if your stuff blows up, don't blame me!!

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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 07:38 AM
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i thought that is what the overdrive odd button on the end of the shifter was for.



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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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i thought that is what the overdrive odd button on the end of the shifter was for.
Nope. That button merely locks out overdrive or lets the tranny use it. It has nothing to with the torque converter.

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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Ian, that's what I meant. Maybe my wording wasn't clear. :) No idea how to keep the converter from locking, though.

Oh, BTW Ian, let me know if you're still interested in that manifold I made. I can bring it to the MnG next weekend.

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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 09:30 PM
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Nice write up Tommy, guess I don't understand the function of the lockup torque converter enough to appreciate this mod. I assume when its locked up it becomes solid with no slippage so it would be more like a clutch setup. (Solid with no slippage between the engine and trans) If that’s the case than I can understand the heat reduction and would think there would be some gas mileage improvement over a regular non-locking torque converter.

Ok guess I do see how this mod would be beneficial after all.
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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 10:59 PM
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what if instead of taping into it you cut the wire, ran speaker wire up to a 3 position switch, having one position be locked, the other being unlocked, and the other have the computer controll it?

locked would be having the wire grounded, unlocked would just break the path in the wire, and computer controlling would just be to connect the switch back to its factory path. Not sure if this would throw a CEL tho
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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 11:02 PM
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Great write up Tommy, someone probably already asked, but where did you get your guage pod from. (The panel holding the guages) Im on the boat with Bossind, dont really no the benefits of the MOD, so I wouldnt no what it could do. Thanks man


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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 11:52 PM
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autometer sells them...ill eb doing this soon... btw im still trying to figure out if the 92-96 a pillars are the same...autometer only makes the 3 pod for the 92-96...i have a 91:doh

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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 07:20 AM
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Nice write up Tommy, guess I don't understand the function of the lockup torque converter enough to appreciate this mod. I assume when its locked up it becomes solid with no slippage so it would be more like a clutch setup. (Solid with no slippage between the engine and trans) If thatís the case than I can understand the heat reduction and would think there would be some gas mileage improvement over a regular non-locking torque converter.

Ok guess I do see how this mod would be beneficial after all.
Correct, when you hit the set point on your EEC, it's locked. On my truck it happens right at about 34mph. It'd be nice to lock it at about 25mph when I'm cruising through my city I'm a firefighter in, since the speed limit is only 25.

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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Only have a minute (heading to work), but Bill at DFUser.com sells the pods (painted to match, no less!), the gauges, and the nifty 3 position switch that I couldn't find locally. I got all my stuff through him. If you call, be sure to throw my name around. You might get a better deal.

Oh, and Steve, you pretty much nailed the benefits of the manual locking of the converter. Essentially it's for tranny longevity....which is something everyone here's concerned about!

Tommy

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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 07:42 PM
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I was curious if anyone knows if this will work on earlier E4OD transmissions.

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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old 04-13-2007, 03:57 AM
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It'll work on ANY E4OD transmission. All of them use a TCC line to lock the converter clutch.

[HIJACK]
I'll be using a scheme to only lock the converter under the following conditions:
1. 4th gear (OD) is engaged, so obviously highway speed > 40mph
2. A slight delay after OD is engaged
3. TCC lockup in 3rd if a certain time period has passed (or maybe temperature exceeded)
4. Manual engagement/disengagement is always possible

This will all be done with switches, sensors, relays, a 555 timer, and/or a microcontroller if I'm feeling nerdy.
[/HIJACK]

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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 01:34 AM
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Would manual TC lockup switch make it posible to push start? If so that would be ultra cool and to me a great reason for this mod.



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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Would manual TC lockup switch make it posible to push start? If so that would be ultra cool and to me a great reason for this mod.

In theory, yes. Not sure it'd work in practice, though.

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post #16 of 80 (permalink) Old 07-14-2007, 08:46 PM
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wow, that would be cool to push start a bronco. It would have to be in Neutral when parked to make it easier to push but I also think that part of the lock-up mechanism works off of adding line pressure in which case youd have to have your tranny spinning in order to have pressure.

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post #17 of 80 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 04:00 AM
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It wouldn't work. You still need hydraulic pressure from the front pump to enable engagement of the transmission's clutch packs. Otherwise it's free-wheeling internally. Good thought, though.

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post #18 of 80 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 04:27 PM
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This sounds good but I can't figure out how it helps us. You mentioned it makes the tranny run cooler and I had to wiki that to figure that out but even they couldn't explain to me how locking the converter helps. I mean to ask..

1. Under what conditions would I want to lock and then when would I unlock the converter?
2. Will this allow me to use the engine as a brake to slow down like when driving a manual?
3. Does it improve or reduce fuel economy (not really concerned there)?

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post #19 of 80 (permalink) Old 07-15-2007, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by amraam840 View Post
This sounds good but I can't figure out how it helps us. You mentioned it makes the tranny run cooler and I had to wiki that to figure that out but even they couldn't explain to me how locking the converter helps. I mean to ask..

1. Under what conditions would I want to lock and then when would I unlock the converter?
2. Will this allow me to use the engine as a brake to slow down like when driving a manual?
3. Does it improve or reduce fuel economy (not really concerned there)?
At speeds lower then ~35mph, the TC is unlocked. When it's unlocked, the transfer of power is through the fluid. When it's locked, it's not. When you're compressing the fluid to push it through the fins in the TC, it's generating a lot of heat.

So basically, if you're cruising around town at about 30mph, and the TC never locks, it's going to make some heat, or if you're in something soft like sand, it's gonna make even more.

The conditions in which you'd want to lock and unlock tend to vary depending on the situation and terrain. But as long as you understand what the TC does, and when it makes heat, you should be able to figure it out.

Yeah, it can help you. I do downshift with my trans, and as far as I've seen in third, and second, it does stay locked, but when I go to first, it's unlocked.

I guess it can improve economy like if you're driving around town slow for a long period of time, but I don't really know, it's hard to say.

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post #20 of 80 (permalink) Old 07-16-2007, 12:34 PM
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okay. so to tell when it's getting hot, I could watch my trans temp gauge? or is the fluid in the torque converter totally seperate?

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