By on February 29, 2012


Frank writes:

Good morning,

I am planning a transmission swap in my 2006 five hundred from a 2WD CVT to the offered 6speed of the same vintage. So far as I have discerned, I will need the trans, flywheel, axleshafts, computer and harness. A few compatibility questions though, trans mounts? speedo cable? Shifter and/or linkage? How about the PCM that controls the trans. They offer a few different ones, specifically:

  • ID 5G1A-AJA
  • ID 6G1A-MB-MC

How about any sensors on the engine? Will the computer have to be flashed to my vehicle? I would like a clear understanding as to which is the correct PCM for this application and why before I start amassing parts for the switch. I would like to put together a package deal for better pricing from the local yard if possible.

Thanks for your insight and I would like to do this as soon as possible.

Sajeev answers:

Does this mean people are crazy enough to actually follow my advice? Damn son, this is a little unsettling: compounded with the chance you’re better off buying a regular Ford Five Hundred without the dreaded CVT! Time value of money, you know.

But, to answer many of your questions, see the link in the above paragraph. And since Piston Slap will never replace a proper model-specific forum, a few quick answers to what remains.

1. A few compatibility questions though, trans mounts?

No clue, cross-reference parts at the Ford dealer or on the forum.

 2. Speedo cable? Shifter and/or linkage?

See #1.

3. How about the PCM that controls the trans? 

Get the PCM that came with the donor car.  You might still need a re-flash by an SCT-savvy tuner, but nobody will know that unless they’ve already done the swap.

4. How about any sensors on the engine?

Having been around Ford engine controls since the bizarre EEC-III system, I seriously, seriously doubt this is a problem. Engine sensors are not unique; pop the hood of a V12 powered (i.e. two of your motors welded together) Aston Martin and you’ll see what I mean.

5. Will the computer have to be flashed to my vehicle?

See #3.

Best of luck with the conversion!  We want to hear the conclusion!

Send your queries to [email protected]. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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24 Comments on “Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ over CVTs, Part III...”

  • avatar

    My first question would be, is the CVT trashed or are we trying simply trying to get into a six speed trans?

  • avatar

    This sounds like a plan to drive yourself crazy and end up with a car that doesn’t run. Can this possibly end well?

  • avatar

    This is a bad idea and you would be better off buying a car already equipped with a manual. You’re going to have to find one anyway to get a clutch pedal assembly, which I don’t see on your list of parts. The car most likely has all 3 pedals as one assembly, so you can’t just add the clutch by itself, but I might be wrong on this. While you’re there, be sure to get the hydraulic clutch assembly and reservoir, since this car doesn’t have a cable/quadrant style clutch. Hopefully you won’t need a special tool to bleed it (good luck with that). If you’re lucky, the wiring for the hydraulic system will be on the transmission harness, because if it’s on the engine harness then you’re toast.

    Now the fun starts. Unfortunately for you, this is one of the first generation of cars that came with the CAN Bus system, meaning that the car will throw a check engine if any of the sensors are offline. If you use the donor car PCM, you will have the check engine anyway since the computer will report a VIN mismatch. Good luck getting SCT to reflash the VIN (if that’s even legal). If you keep your existing PCM, it won’t recognize which gear you are in, and you’ll lose cruise control and your reverse lights (among other things) since the PCM won’t have the slightest idea of which gear the car is in. This is just the stuff I am thinking of from the top of my head, so my advice would be to sell it or take on a less risky project.

  • avatar

    You might as well attempt to get a reman (i hear that is difficult) or suck up buying a new one.

  • avatar

    Funny things happen to a man’s mind in cold dark February. This is simply a man who needs a project. Can someone direct him to the location of that junkyard Fiat 124 Spider? It’ll serve the same purpose, take up less garage space, and be easier to have towed away in the end. Oh,and he could still drive the 500 to work in the meantime.

  • avatar

    This is a TERRIBLE idea. It will cause numerous unanticipated problems and probably sink your resale value too. If you are worried about your CVT, sell the car and buy a different one factory-equiped with the 6AT.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Yeah resale value on 6 speed auto equipped Five Hundreds, Freestyles, and Montego/Sables are not that high. You should be able to pick up a nice one for $10,000-$12,000. Much better idea.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii


      But if you’re resolutely dedicated to the 500 you have now, what you need to do is buy the entire front clip from a 6AT and swap *everything* over to yours, then find a friendly Ford dealer to reprogram your keys.

    • 0 avatar

      For all the trouble, headaches, and heartache involved in switching from the CVT to 6AT you would be better off swapping in new or reman CVT’s a couple of times. Some ideas are better left unexplored.

    • 0 avatar

      Many years ago my Dad made a similar swap. He had a 59 Ford with a Fordomatic transmission. The tranny began to fail at three years of age, so he wanted to swap in a manual. Looking back now, it would have made much more sense to just have the auto trans repaired. But at the time, as a child, I never questioned my Dad’s wisdom on such matters.

      So Dad went to a salvage yard and bought all the parts to do the swap. This was our only car so he had to do the job quickly. He borrowed someone’s service rack at a local garage and, with a helper, worked all night to get the swap done.

      The car never was totally right after that. The rear gear ratio was not correct for a standard transmisson, so it was a real dog from a standing start. It also had a certain amount of clutch chatter that he never could resolve.

  • avatar

    The real question is: Which do you hate more–the CVT, or yourself?

  • avatar

    The car will be sale-proof as it will be an automotive “bastard” , imagine a future carfax on this thing, these type of swaps rarely make financial sense.

    For enthusiast cars, sports cars etc maybe but not a 500.

    • 0 avatar

      This. When the dealer runs the VIN, the BOM won’t match the VIN and it will be a big WTF moment if you decide to sell the vehicle and the new owner likes their local Ford service department.

  • avatar

    I believe the Freestyle was never offered with the 6AT so this swap might possibly make sense if you need the wagon body and want to get away from the cvt. This is a sedan. Sell your car to CarMax and buy one with the 6AT. Or better yet get an 08 or 09 Taurus. It’s a nicer car and comes with a transmission that won’t be an orphan.

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    You would be much better off paying $40 for membership in your local chapter of Electric Auto Association, going to a few meetings, meet the engineers and back yard mechanics, talk with them, then throw away the obsolete 18% efficient ICE, and install an electric motor.

    In conversions electric motors usually only use second gear because electric motors have enormous torque over a very broad range of power and speed.

    • 0 avatar

      This just in: internal combustion engines became obsolete today due to some new technology that Lynn will announce shortly. Electric vehicles now do everything better. You heard it here first. Sell your cars tonight because they’ll be worthless tomorrow. This is the sort of insider information that makes TTAC invaluable!

  • avatar

    A couple of decades ago I was pretty excited to think about swapping out a Powerglide for a 200R-4. Then I looked into it.. this was before all the kits that are out now, and it was overwhelming. The 700R-4 would have been fairly straightforward, but I preferred the gear ratios on the 200 unit.

    In comparison to the 500 tranny swap out, I’d chose a lobotomy over this punishment.

  • avatar

    I have brought this up before in the many anti-CVT post’s on here. I have a 2005 Ford Escape hybrid for work, as do 2 other technicians. All 3 of them have over 200k on them without a single issue from the transmission. I was informed by Sajeev at one point that they use a planetary gearset instead of a beltdrive system like most CVT’s use. Are we just lucky that they are this durable, or is the CVT using a planetary drive system not utilized as it should be? It is a sealed system, no maintenance has ever been done to any of them, using the same fluid they came from the factory with 7 years ago. Maybe I need to send this in as piston slap at some point. I fear that the whole CVT thing has gotten a bad rap due to poor design by some manufacturers, Ford included evidently.

    • 0 avatar

      IIRC. the Escape Hybrid uses a version of Toyotas Hybrid Synergy Drive (just like a Prius), which is an entirely different kettle of fish than a “conventional” CVT. And they are very reliable, as they are very simple. But they don’t work without two motors.

      But as to the OP – I can’t even imagine doing this. Sell the car and buy one that you like. I can see the madness that is auto to manual swaps, sometimes, but one variety of automatic to a different variety of automatic??

  • avatar

    Things to expect when working on Fords:

    Your project will take a minimum of twice the amount of time it would for any other brand of car.

    There is no upper limit on the amount of time required to complete a project.

    Any part that logically should be compatible won’t be.

    For any part you know that you’ll need, there are two that you’ll find out about after you’ve run out of money.

    If you think you might need to do something, like flashing PCM’s above, you will have to do it. Usually twice before you get it right.

    If you know you won’t have to do something, you’ll have to do it at least once.

    Yes, your car is metric. No, that’s not a promise that all of the bolts are also metric.

    Yes, that electrical connector IS for the same sensor/module/component and it DOES plug right in. NO, THEY ARE NOT WIRED THE SAME.

    If you don’t put a new rear main seal in, the original will fail out of spite, simply because you didn’t replace it.

    If you don’t replace the crank position sensor and the 6 speed one is different, you may have to pull the engine out to replace it.

    Things you will need:

    Every book you can get your hands on for repairing your Ford.

    Serious Google-fu, for that thing that’s only happened to one other person on the planet, and isn’t in any of your books.

    A friend who turns wrenches on Fords for a living.

    Good quality tools. Ford uses exceedingly low quality fasteners that are usually not plated or coated with thread locker. They’re usually a poor fit in any wrench. For any fastener you’d like to actually remove, rather than destroy, you’ll need 6-points.

    A torch for any bolt that goes into aluminum, for reasons listed above.

    And son, you’d better have a lot of patience, and a metric ton of experience.

  • avatar

    Frank, please post the progress on youtube ® if you so choose to proceed.

  • avatar

    I suggest another route: Remove the existing drivetrain and install a pair of Honda Civic engines (see Car and Driver circa 1984). This makes as much sense and will have the same effect on resale value.

    See you on “Dumbest Stuff on Wheels”!

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