Hello, I bought a 1996 Ford Ranger. I have some questions about engine compatibility.


Garyd

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Hi there, I bought a 1996 ford ranger xlt 2wd. I am very happy with it. It only has 59k miles on it. The frame and body look good except the leaf spring hangers are pretty decrepit. So I am going to replace those and put some rust converter or chassis saver underneath the vehicle.

It runs very well and I hope I get many more miles out of it. But I was wondering about the engine. I have not really worked on cars a lot in terms of "newer" cars, meaning computerized stuff. To give you some background, my first car was a mustang ii 1976 with a 2.3liter engine. I replaced the transmission in that. I replaced engines in some old vw beetles in the past and have managed to keep a 1969 vw bus running which I still have. But this 1996 ranger seems so much more complicated than the older cars I worked on.

My question is, if the engine ever fails in this ranger, can I replace it with a simpler engine? Could I get a a 1970's style engine from a pinto or similar and put it in. No need for AC, 4 spark plug wires instead of 8 and so forth. Would the engine mount up to the transmission bell housing? Would the motor mounts be appropriate?

What is the most common approach catastrophic engine failure in one of these vehicles? I would guess a lot of people just buy a rebuilt engine and mount all the accessory stuff to it from the old engine (computer, alternator, etc).?

Is it possible or practical to put an older style but simpler engine into a newer Ranger?
 

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rusty ol ranger

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What engine is in it now?

If its a 4 cylinder the only direct bolt ins are 4 cylinders. The 3.0 can only be directly replaced with a 3.0, and the 4.0 shares commonality with the 2.8/2.9L engines, but that would be a step backwards in some folks opinions.

A 302 is a option. But it requires a different trans and motormounts, and wireing if you go EFI.
 

ericbphoto

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Even though that truck has a computer controlled engine, it's still a pretty simple system compared to vehicles even just a couple years newer. Once you get used to it and start learning about it, you will probably find that it's not as complicated as you currently believe. Replacing the engine with one just like what it has now isn't really a lot more complicated than what you have done with other engines. Being careful, methodical and paying attention to detail is the key.

Swapping a different engine into that truck would be more complicated because then you have more wiring and system modifications to make in order to get it running.
 

Garyd

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Thank you for the replies. My ranger has a 2.3l 4 cylinder engine which is the stock engine but it has the dual spark plugs. It looks like ford used a 2.3l engine for years, but I didn’t know if the bell housing bolts and motor mounts were any different for different years.

I was sort of thinking if I ever needed to replace it just wanted to know what options would be available. It only has 59k mileage so at this point I am going to concentrate on taking care of it. But I am going to put a lot of effort into keeping the underneath rust free and taking care of it overall. So I could foresee replacing the engine someday if the engine does fail at some point.
 

ericbphoto

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Sounds like a good plan.
 

adsm08

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You could go to a carb distributor 2.3, if you really wanted to, but frankly that is far more complex than just leaving it be.

The head was really the only significant change to the 2.3 over it's entire run, its just that putting a carb into something built exclusively for EFI systems can be a pain.
 


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