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1997 Tbird AED PI swap
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can you still buy a speedcal or is there another option to make the speedo work in a 97 with the 05-up 3650?
 

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The speedcal is no longer made. Ford racing briefly made something called speed dial that worked, but that is also no longer made. I found something on eBay that might work, and I am going to try it out on my F150 this weekend, and if it works, I’ll post a link to it.
 

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So here is the link to the speedometer calibrator that I used on my F150.
The truck is a 2001 F150 with a 5-speed, which uses the magnetic pickup speedo signal like the TR3650, and I swapped in a 351W using a 5.0 Explorer ECM, which needs to see the regular gear driven setup, so it is basically the same requirements as using the TR3650 in an MN12. This calibrator works, but it is clearly not as refined as the Dallas Mustang Speedcal or the FRPP Speed dial were. Here are my issues with this one;
1) The module has blade terminals for the wires, which are very close together. You have to use insulated spade terminals otherwise they could short out, and the terminals are very close together making it difficult to get it wired in. A minor issue, but it would be much nicer if it just had lengths of wire coming out like the other 2 modules did.
2) The first unit I got did not work. It uses 2 buttons for up and down to adjust the speedo, and apparently the down button was shorted on the first one I got because as soon as you powered it up, it kept counting down until it got to the lowest setting. The seller was very quick to respond, and he did send another one free of charge, so hopefully the defective one was a fluke, but its worth mentioning.
3) The speedo with this calibrator is not very steady. If you are cruising at a steady speed, say 60mph, the speedo will fluctuate by a few mph. This isn't a big deal, and it is clearly effective enough to know accurately enough how fast you are going, but it takes away from that factory feel when the speedo needle is always a little bouncy.
4) This is the biggest issue with the unit. It works just fine at say 20+mph, but at very slow speeds, this thing glitches out. When you start from a stop, it seems to not register anything at first, then it jumps up to about 30mph, then drops back down a bit, then settles in at a pretty accurate speed. However when going very slow, like under 10mph, somehow it interprets that as 120+! So when you are slowing to a stop, the speedo will be going down, then it will quickly jump up and peg the speedo, then come back down. Also if you are just going very slowly, like pulling into a parking space, the speedo will sometimes be registering 120mph while you are barely moving. I can definitely see this causing issues with the computer, and things like variable assist power steering not working properly at slow speeds or something like that.

Overall, for the $65 compared to the $200 that the speedcal was going for when it was still available, I can't really complain, and it is nice to have some kind of option for the swap, but while it is better than nothing, it definitely could use more refinement, and I'm still on the lookout for a good used speedcal or speed dial.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Is that really how much the speedcal originally sold for? Wow! I won mine on an eBay auction for $20 shipped new in packaging, that seller took a bath lol

Good to know there’s an (imperfect) option still out there at least, with the display it certainly presents better than the speedcal and I like that interface way way better than the dip switches (I suck at math 😆), I hope they continue to refine it.
 

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1997 Tbird AED PI swap
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is this the same thing basically? search on Ebay-- Dakota Digital SGI-100BT Universal Speedometer and Tach Interface
 

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Is this the same thing basically? search on Ebay-- Dakota Digital SGI-100BT Universal Speedometer and Tach Interface
Dying to know the answer to this. Secondly, could someone walk me through this, brain just isnt making sense of it. I thought the car runs off the vss, i wasnt aware of there being a physical speedo gear, as to my knowledge ford pretty much done away with them starting around 92. If its simply the vss signal that needs adapted, cant that simply be done in a tune, no different than a gear change? Am i overthinking or underthinking this? Mine is a 96 fwiw

In love with the idea of a manual in a tbird, i feel like it would be perfectly suited to the car. Id really love a 5 speed buut... long term plan is to actually coyote swap this thing. Nothing crazy, boss cams, 2018 intake, etc. but more than what a t45 will handle (also they dont like the revs) and im not shelling out $4k for an aftermarket. I know theres the t56, but its not much cheaper. That leaves me with the 3650 of either flavor. I could fab the remote shifter, but like the idea of the later ones already fitting.... buut hate the idea of possibly having a mushy shifter, i have no experience with either but if the 05-10 really sucked, i wouldve thought id have heard more about it in all my reading. I thought the 3650 was going to be the go ahead choice until i stumbled onto this issue with the vss signal thing. Bouncy speedo or a fix that works intermittently would drive my insane, so hopefully you guys can point me in the direction of a solid solution.
 

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The speedo signal does come from the VSS, however Ford used 2 different styles of VSS, and the number of pulses per mile is drastically different between the two. The first style, used from the 80s to early 00s has a drive gear on the output shaft of the trans, and a driven gear on the sensor. The sensor produces the signal, and fine tuning can be accomplished by swapping to different tooth count drive or driven gears. This is the style that our cars use. The TR 3650, and most newer Ford transmissions, use a VSS that is just a magnetic pickup, and instead of a gear on the output shaft, there is just a tone wheel. With this setup, speedo adjustments are typically made in the tune, however our cars do not have a parameter in the PCM to change the speedo. Also the pulses per mile is off by a factor of 7-8x, so your speedo will be pegged at over 120mph when you are actually driving at 20mph. This also causes other problems since the VSS is used for other things like fan control and adaptive steering, so at slow speeds the computer will turn off the cooling fan causing overheating, or reduce the power steering assist causing it to be hard to turn the wheel. It really is frustrating because I can’t imagine this is that hard of a problem to solve from an electronics standpoint, but that isn’t my area of expertise. So as it stands now, the solution is either find a used Dallas Mustang Speedcal ER or Ford Speed Dial, or use the eBay one which is kind of glitchy, or make your own.

As for the shifter, a good short throw shifter for the remote mount TR3650 makes for a very nice feel. I have the early style TR3650 in my MarkVIII with a steeda truck-ax shifter, and the linkage to move the shifter back, and I have the later TR3650 in my tbird with an MGW shifter, and the tbird shifter feels much nicer!
 
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The Dakota Digital adapter works very well. Not a speedo but I used it when I put the 06 int in my 01 SD for the tach. Different tone wheels between the 7.3 and 6.0. It was a little glitchy at idle a couple of times when first started but I haven't noticed it since.
 

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1994 Black T-Bird 4.6 DOHC TR-3650
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Currently, I use the Dakota Digital # SGI-5E to convert the signal from a 06 TR-3650, to my 94 T-Bird speedo. My setting is: LOW INPUT to LOW OUTPUT, with a 0.252 ratio. Very good product, you can interface almost anything with it. With an error margin less than 1% compared to GPS reading ( tested in my car), I would strongly recommend their stuff. There is now a newer version on their site, E-Bay... (y)
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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As for the shifter, a good short throw shifter for the remote mount TR3650 makes for a very nice feel. I have the early style TR3650 in my MarkVIII with a steeda truck-ax shifter, and the linkage to move the shifter back, and I have the later TR3650 in my tbird with an MGW shifter, and the tbird shifter feels much nicer!
I remember Black-Cat had a problem with his MGW where the top extension arm was too tall for the trans tunnel, did you run into that?

Either trans MGW is the crème de la crème, but there’s no simple way to rig up linkage for the 01-04 application. I’m happy enough with the Tri-Ax though, there’s zero slop in my overkilled custom linkage to it.

Dying to know the answer to this. Secondly, could someone walk me through this, brain just isnt making sense of it. I thought the car runs off the vss, i wasnt aware of there being a physical speedo gear, as to my knowledge ford pretty much done away with them starting around 92. If its simply the vss signal that needs adapted, cant that simply be done in a tune, no different than a gear change? Am i overthinking or underthinking this? Mine is a 96 fwiw

In love with the idea of a manual in a tbird, i feel like it would be perfectly suited to the car. Id really love a 5 speed buut... long term plan is to actually coyote swap this thing. Nothing crazy, boss cams, 2018 intake, etc. but more than what a t45 will handle (also they dont like the revs) and im not shelling out $4k for an aftermarket. I know theres the t56, but its not much cheaper. That leaves me with the 3650 of either flavor. I could fab the remote shifter, but like the idea of the later ones already fitting.... buut hate the idea of possibly having a mushy shifter, i have no experience with either but if the 05-10 really sucked, i wouldve thought id have heard more about it in all my reading. I thought the 3650 was going to be the go ahead choice until i stumbled onto this issue with the vss signal thing. Bouncy speedo or a fix that works intermittently would drive my insane, so hopefully you guys can point me in the direction of a solid solution.
The biggest weakness in T45s are the forks and the power limitation is the 10 spline input shaft but for stockish NA Coyote power It’ll probably be fine, comparable to a centrifugal blown mod motor. They’re not all created equally either, T45s built by Tremec used in 99-mid 01 used carbon fiber blockers, thicker shift forks but also switched to the magnetic speed sensor, those are substantially better, and an older Borg Warner one can be rebuilt to that spec. TR3650s aren’t that much better, early ones even have similar fork issues, but that seems to be a result of the overspec’d fluid level creating too much servo resistance. The 04 ones are the best of the SN95 ones, they use upgraded 2nd gear servos and beefier forks, and have the tallest OD ratio .62, so you could throw in 4.10s and still get good mileage on the highway!

The MT82 6 speed is an option too, though they have their problems. The install of one of those would be almost exactly the same as a 05-10 TR3650, remote shifter to the same place, hydraulic clutch, magnetic OSS, flange type driveshaft.
 

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Hope restored. Thanks for the solid replys guys. What you say about the extended shifter gives me more confidence Mikey. Looks like ill need to do some digging on the dakota digital pixie rerouter and start collecting parts. Fiance was adamant about not man pedaling the tbird as she sometimes drove it as well, but she just inherited her grandmothers 2011 fusion so the bird is back to being all mine. All im really after with it is to make it not feel like a dog when compared to my fairlane (currently 425/425 351w) and to at least try to keep up with inlaws challengers ('18 scat /'20 HC). I figured if i shop and collect parts i can do a basic 450-500fwhp coyote swap for at or under a supercharger kit for the 4.6.
 

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I remember Black-Cat had a problem with his MGW where the top extension arm was too tall for the trans tunnel, did you run into that?
Yes, but nothing a few swings with a BFH couldn't fix.

Dox, one thing to keep in mind about the Coyote swap, if you have any kind of emissions inspection where you are, a Coyote swap will never pass an OBD test. The only way to control it and retain the VVT functionality is the FRPP control pack, which does not have provisions for rear O2 sensors, catalyst monitor, or EVAP monitors, and so anything 96 and newer a Coyote swap won't pass. I don't know if that matters to you, but since you said your car is a 96, it was worth mentioning. I was thinking about doing the Coyote swap to my 97, but in NJ it would have to pass emissions inspection, and that was how I found out about this issue.
 
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Oh, this isnt something i wasnt aware of, that said, we dont have emissions testing where im at now. If we move "home" they just do tailpipe emissions, which i would certainly think a coyote is capable of passing? What fails the inspection, just the lack of physical rear o2's or is it the actual obd2 stuff? This is a realm of stuff ive never dealt with, all my stuff is old enough to be exempt except for this car and it passed tailpipe fine, would think a newer engine would be able to pass, planned to keep / go to hiflow cats. I think lmr and / or pbh offer "gone through" factory harnesses that retain vvt also but dont quote me. Im keeping vvt regardless.
 

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There's a chip that would work for that:
it outputs the input by 0.1*the bcd number on the pins.
They're cascadable, so you can make a pretty large divsion.
To make more pulses than the original, it gets complicated, and needs a processor, like a PIC.
 

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Anybody know how many pulses there are per revolution?

Matt, got any up close pix of the speedcal, or did we already talk about that? My memory is bad now...
 
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