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2.3L ('83-'97) 1983 Down on Power

Josh B

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Overheating may have a lot to do with it
 


ExploreNW

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Another thing, if this carb is toast, it may be time to gut the MCU system and put a non-feedback carb on. I see I-6 F150s used the YF carb as well as some cars from the late seventies. Will any of these bolt up and work ok? I'm not after performance, just something that will be relatively easy to set up and then will stay that way without requiring constant fiddling.
This right here - Before you pull your head, rebuild this puppy. Then Seafoam your engine. A carb that runs rich will deposit loads of carbon on the intake & exhaust valves. Carbon can also get really hot and then it'll act like a glow plug in a diesel - you'll get misfires or knocking. Seeing as how you heard the leakage from intake & exhaust rather than leakdown, you might just need a deep cleaning after returning to a normal AFR. Run Marvel's mystery snake oil in your next few tanks of gas. The rest of the carbon will burn out over the next few weeks of driving.

Also, for grins, are you already running the YF or something else? Some Rangers only have the 1bbl flange. Afaik most of them came with the 32/36, in which case your manifold could take a 2150. Ditch the feedback setup for a 2150, your truck will feel brand new!
 

bilbo

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The head is already pulled, the gasket definitely failed. I know overheating is usually a cause of failure, but I haven’t seen this overheat. I have an aftermarket temp gauge alongside the factory one, and they both indicate no overheating. I believe the thermostat is good for 190 degrees and it’s not been above that.

What do you mean by 32/36? My intake has a two bolt flange, don’t the 2150s need four?
 

ExploreNW

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It could've just failed with age too, not necessarily heat. Timing and lean conditions will also kill them.

The 32/36 was a Weber carb and later a Weber variant was used. 2 barrel progressive carbs. They're a nice improvement over the 1bbls. There was also a Japanese "Aisin" feedback carb used on the platform. The stock Ranger "Scheffield" manifolds those came on had the 4-bolt Holley pattern for a 350 or 2150. The 32/36s were bolted to a Weber pattern adapter plate that also handled EGR.
 

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Ah I see. I think I’m stuck with the single barrels without some type of adapter. It does look like the center cylinders may have been leaner than the others, with how the head looks. I don’t see any signs of vacuum leaks there, why else would the centers be leaner than the ends?
 

ExploreNW

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I'm really not sure why - it's usually the other way around, fuel pooling keeps the middle cyls richer... How are your vac lines set up, 100% into the carb/carb flange? I have my brake booster routed to #4 and PCV to #1. This could in theory give me a lean condition on 1 & 4.

Sounds like you have the round port intake. Good news, your head will flow some great numbers. Also good news, the adapters are readily available. Bad news, as far as I know if you don't want adapters or you want a manifold that's not 1983-84 round port, you'll need to swap heads.
 

bilbo

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A couple photos. One thing I noticed is the holes in the gasket for coolant are smaller than the holes in the block/head. Is this by design to control flow or something? I'm assuming the flow direction is up, from the block to the head. The photo of the block shows there are little boogers growing up through those holes. They seem to be soft scale of some type, and some of the passages in the head gasket are blocked quite a bit. Maybe there was overheating happening in certain areas of the head due to restricted flow? The holes toward the back of the engine were clearer, and that's where the temp sensors are, so maybe it never showed up on the temp sensors... This engine was rebuilt about 4 years ago, and I'm wondering if it's crud that was still in the block after it was dipped.

Also the different colors of valves on the head and carbon on cylinders. Could this have been caused during the short time it was running/driving with the failed head gasket? If those cylinders weren't combusting, the fuel could wash away carbon build up.

I found a couple of adapter plates for the 300 intakes; I assume these will fit mine as they used the same Carter carbs. They seem to get somewhat poor reviews for fitment and interference with linkages on the new carbs, but I have to investigate further. Which 2150 would be the right candidate for this engine? I've only seen them specified for 6 cylinders. I see 5200 carbs on earlier 2.3s.
 

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ExploreNW

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While I can't speak much to the designer of these head gaskets, I don't like to put them in with coolant passages that small. Every block I've taken apart has had mountains of rusty sludge on either side of those sad little 1/8" holes. I have had no overheating problems after expanding the coolant passages to 3/8". I recommend the Fel-Pro gaskets because they'll seal a rough deck like yours better than anything else. They're also one-piece, and I don't like the idea of drilling MLS gaskets.

As for the boogers in there... Looks to me like what ethylene glycol does in an overheated motor. I have a habit of rednecking old trucks back together, so I assume you're not going to pull the block. If you brush the holes out with a pipe cleaner & bolt it back together, flush with the garden hose (don't let that goop get in your radiator, and check that sucker! It could be the cause of your overheating) before adding coolant and you should be good to go.

I agree, it looks like the middle two were run a little lean, but the gasket being blown will skew any visual results. I wouldn't worry about it, just read the plugs after it's all built.

The 2150 is a great carb candidate for this motor. I have one feeding a D-port head on my truck: 1.08 venturi, 4.5 power valve, #56 jets, and a manual choke. It runs a bit rich at 2500 feet elevation so I could probably back mine down to a #55. If you care more about mileage than power, order a 5200 for a '74 spec Pinto 2.3 on RockAuto. Less emissions hardware & they're already set up for 108HP.

Speaking of power. Older 2.3s should always get stem seals whenever the head is off. While you're in there... Head to your local JY & get yourself a Ranger roller cam, '89-94 years, and get the roller followers. Bolt-on upgrade for $30 or so. No more wearing out flat tappet cams, plus a little more power :icon_cheers:
 

bilbo

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I'll have to see if I can find other signs of overheating. I pay pretty close attention to the temp gauge and it never shows any issues. If that's what's causing the buildup, I would think I would have seen the coolant much hotter on the temp gauges. Maybe not I guess. My work has some neat equipment that might be able to tell me its composition. If they have time I'll see if someone can run a sample. I have no plans to pull the block out, there's only about 35k on this engine after its rebuild. I'll check flatness as best as I can in the truck, and give the head a quick check too.

I'll see what I can get for adapters/carbs. I do need mileage more than power, this is primarily my work commuter and usually just carries a road bike in the back. Junkyards are hard to come by here. No U-Pulls and what is here doesn't seem to hang on to anything older like what I have.
 

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A cracked head would be my biggest worry, but the 2.3s are pretty bulletproof. It would take serious effort to crack these heads. So I think you're in the clear. It would be pretty cool to know what's in the sludge however!

The 5200 will do you well in that case, probably better than the 1bbl as it's only opening the secondary when you need the power. As for 1bbl adapter flanges, watch out as there are 4? bore sizes as far as I know. Each one has the two flange bolts spaced differently which makes them non-interchangeable. One that fits an F250 300-6 won't necessarily fit your Ranger.
 

bilbo

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Checked the head and couldn’t get a 0.0015” feeler under the straight edge anywhere. I think I’ll chance it. Also got some booger samples. It smells strongly of iron, I’m thinking it’s corrosion of some kind. I will see if I can get it tested.
 

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That head is a straighter head than mine. By far :icon_rofl: you should be good to go! Doesn't sound like long lived thermal issues to me.
 

bilbo

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Does anyone know if I’ll be able to adapt my air cleaner housing? It has a valve that pulls some air across the exhaust manifold when it’s cold. I’d really like to keep that, it works well.
 

ExploreNW

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The 1bbl intake may restrict a larger carb if adapted. Grab a housing off any Ford truck that had the carb you want. The 2150/350 patterns are easier to find. The 5200/ 32/36 patterns are rarer. Local yards here in eastern Washington & north Idaho always seem to have at least a few and they're the last things to go.

As far as I know, all hot-air riser valves Ford used are the same size. The V8s just used two valves. Some NAPAs also carry a kit that you can adapt but these might be out of production by now.
 

bilbo

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I don't have access to used intakes, so unless something pops up on CL or something soon, I'm stuck with what I have there. I can see how the adapter will restrict a larger carb. I haven't done the math, but assuming the same engine displacement the carb flow numbers should be similar, no? Is the 2bbl that was also used on 2.3L engines larger enough that it would matter?
 

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