The popularity of the Ford AOD transmission is well known. That extra gear on the highway is a real nice thing, and if you plan on driving your truck daily or quite often, then an AOD transmission might be right for you. If you are running a computer-controlled engine, then the electronic transmission is probably your best choice. If you are still a carbureted kinda guy, then the original manual cable-controlled AOD is what you should be running.
These transmissions were in a ton of Fords from the early 1980s through the early 1990s and can be modified to take some horsepower. There is just one thing about these cable-operated AODs, they and the GM 700-Rs are the same in the sense that these are not "kick-down cables" like we are used to with the non-overdrive transmissions: C4, C6s, and the GM Turbo series.
These transmissions rely on a cable to send throttle positions to the trans to raise and lower its internal pressure accordingly. This pressure effects shifting, shift points, and basically the life of the transmission. I'm not a transmission expert so I'm not going to bore you with the technical stuff, but if you just install these transmissions, attach the cable and disregard the throttle valve (TV) pressure-setting operation, you will burn up the trans. These Ford AOD transmissions (and their GM counterparts) are just not happy without that TV pressure being correct.
Setting the pressure is not that big of a deal, you just need a pressure gauge of some sort that will easily show you 30-35 psi, the aluminum adjuster/spacer that came with the Lokar cable kit or a 5⁄16-inch bolt cut as shown in the photo. What you need is the .312 gap those two types of spacers give between the back of the cable slide and carb linkage.
The gauge hose is installed into the TV port on the passenger side of the transmission, just above the pan toward the rear. There are three 1⁄8-inch pipe plugs in a row. The first, starting at the front, is marked, aptly enough, FORWARD. The middle one is the TV, and the rear one is marked DIRECT. Unscrew the plug on the TV port with a 7⁄16-inch and screw in your gauge hose. Run this up to the intake manifold where you will be able to see it while adjusting the cable.
I like putting a small return spring on the TV arm that comes off the shifter. This arm needs to positively shut off when the throttle is at idle and this small spring guarantees that happens. It is just one from one of those spring assortment kits.
1. The Lokar cable as it would be attached to the trans. The bracket bolts to a cast boss on the side of the trans and the lever bolts to the shaft that comes out with the shifter.
2. I add the extra spring to the lever and secure the other end to the trans pan. Bend an outer edge of the pan out flat and drill an 1⁄8-inch hole at the very edge. This spring gives absolute return of the lever. These transmissions like that.
3. Next you will need a pressure gauge of some sort. I use this old mechanical Auto Meter oil gauge. Whatever style you use, you want it to read 30-35 easily, as that is where you need the pressure level to be.
4. The gauge connects to the middle port on the back of the passenger side of the trans, above the pan. The forward port is marked "Forward" (imagine that), and the rear one "Direct." This one used is marked "TV."