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Thread: 97 Ranger transmission speedometer drive

  1. #1
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    Post 97 Ranger transmission speedometer drive

    Have a 1997 Ranger 2WD extra cab with 3.0L V6 and automatic transmission. Being the fine quality that it is the transmission "froze up" at 147000 miles with a locked planetary gear. Good used trannys for this vehicle are very hard to find, but I found a guy who had one (1997, he swears) with <80,000 miles who was willing to install it in my vehicle. When it came time to hook up the speedometer drive (on the left side of the rear tranny housing on my vehicle) there was NOT a way do do it as the "new" tranny housing has no machined receptacle for the speedometer gear fitting, which appears to be an "adapter" with a mechanical gear on one end and two electrical wires on the other. The two wires appear to go to the speedometer, but that is a supposition. Furthermore the output shaft of the "new" tranny has NO speedometer drive gearing machined into it while my earlier output shaft does have speedometer drive "gear" machined into it.


    My vehicle appears to be an early in the model year vehicle with rear wheel only ABS (Chilton manual calls it an RABS II system). We think His tranny was from a later-in-the-year Ranger and that FORD switched to all 4 wheel ABS on 2WD Rangers in mid year 1997. My vehicle is 2wd and has only the partial ABS components and wiring. WHAT TO DO?

    First thought was to swap the rear output shaft from my old tranny into the newer one. Unbelievable amount of work, involving tear down of "good" tranny ! My mechanic next thought he could connect the two speedometer wires to the RABS II speed sensor located in the rear differential housing. I do not know the exact connections he made but one way resulted in engine shutdown and the other produced a constantly on ABS dash light and very high speedometer indications (which would probably destroy the speedo if driven above 40mph (speedo showing 90mph)). Neither is satisfactory. I have not been able to get a good wiring diagram.

    Help! Is there an alternative wiring arrangement, can some kind of alternater speed sensor for input to the speedo be provided ? Aftermarket speedo? Who wants to buy this POS the way it is?

  2. #2
    Senior Moderator chevychase's Avatar
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    The 1998-2000 Rangers are not equipped with a VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor). The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) receives vehicle speed information from the antilock brake system rear wheel speed sensor. The raw signal from the ABS/VSS sensor on the rear axle goes directly to the 4WABS module where the signal is corrected for tire diameter. Then the corrected signal is sent out on the gray/black to the PCM, speed control, cluster, etc. In this system, the PCM is an end user of the corrected VSS signal. How to connect yours to it ?? So you must have at least a 98 trans.

    Gitter done have fun. Running on empty...running blind...running behind.....

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    SAY WHAT?? My problem is with a 1997 Ranger; your reply talks about 1998 -2000 Rangers. Vaz ist "Power Control Module"? Is it the engine control module (ECM) or is it the Anti-lock electronic control module (also called RABS module) located behind the instrument panel (page 9-25 of the awful Chilton #26688 Manual). I apologize for the Chilton manual, but it is all I have and I don't want to keep this vehicle long enough to justify a better manual, if I even knew where to get one.

    I assume 4WABS means 4 wheel drive Automatic Braking System. I am pretty sure my 97 Ranger doesn't have that - it has only a 2wd ABS, again called RABS-II in Chilton manual, page 9-25. Page 9-27 of Chilton says the 4WABS was optional on 1995-1999 4 wheel drive Ranger models.


    Trying to interpret your reply I am guessing the (probably digital) signal from the VSS in the differential must be divided down to a lower freguency digital signal by the 4WABS module before being sent to the speedometer??? You say I must have at least a 98 transmission. Does that mean I also have to have a full-blown 4 wheel ABS system??

  4. #4
    Senior Moderator chevychase's Avatar
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    SAY WHAT?? My problem is with a 1997 Ranger; your reply talks about 1998 -2000 Rangers.(1997, he swears.)
    Right your buddy sold you a 98 ,or 99 to 00 trans will not have the vss on the trans .
    How to correct this i do not know.

    Gitter done have fun. Running on empty...running blind...running behind.....

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    Senior Moderator chevychase's Avatar
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    Done some searching only way to get the vss in the rear to work if it has a tone ring ..if not it will pulse 8k instead of 8 .
    Also can not fix by swapping the tail shafts. here is some diagrams for the h eck click on red link need a wiring harness diagram for a 1996 ford ranger 4.0 4x4 - JustAnswer here is the module behind the speedo cluster

    Gitter done have fun. Running on empty...running blind...running behind.....

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    Many thanks for reply. "Mechanic" wanted to replace "new" 98 transmission rear shaft and housing with ones from "old" 97 transmission so that the 97 odemeter drive gear and port for the speedometer sender would be in place. After waiting 3+weeks that didn't happen, so I am picking up the vehicle tomorrow. It has the 98 transmission installed and the original 97 driveshaft and rear axle (aXle code 86 - 7.5", 3.73 ratio, according to info I gleaned out of Chilton manual). From your 12/12 reply where you said tail shaft, I presume you meant rear axle,since the VSS is in the rear axle housing? Also since "mechanic" tried to wire speedometer to rear axle vss, I intend to make sure there is no electrical connection there in order to save the speedo and behind-dash module from possible damage.

    Next issue is trying to get a signal for the speedometer. Trying to understand the wiring diagram you provided(source? I tried ti find it in the red link you provided, without luck) it appears that I need to find a '96 4.0L 4x4 behind-dash module to replace the '97 3.0L 2x4 module presently in my vehicle, and then hook my 97 electrical speedometer cable to the rear axle vss? Will the wiring connectors behind the dash fit both modules?

    Sorry to be slow at this. I can read and understand most wiring schematics but I only have the Chilton manual, and have never been able to find understandable electrical schematics of Fords. Any suggestions for that? I also have a 1976 Ford E270 Van that has electrical problems (partially operating front turn signals, non operating ammeter gauge, low-reading temp gauge)

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    Senior Moderator chevychase's Avatar
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    Have no ideal on the connections but from what i read on searches in rears some has the tone ring to read signals ..some do not.
    i would think this would be cheaper to get another trans from a 97 install it .
    The diagrams in the link you scroll down to bottom of page will be nice big clear ones .
    Wish i could help more but ..i would get my money back buy a 97 trans.

    Gitter done have fun. Running on empty...running blind...running behind.....

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