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2.3L ('83-'97) 1983 Down on Power

ExploreNW

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Location
Mead, WA
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
Tire Size
235/75/15
Do you have access to scrap sheet metal? If you have a Dremel, drill, wire brush, and a fine tooth saw you could make an adapter in an afternoon. The factory used 5200s/ 32/36 Webers on the 2.3s. The intakes for these are a weird oblong shape. The filter inside is wide enough that I think you could cut and fit something, but the factory cleaners for those took square filters. If you have a welder or access to one it would be an easy job for you. Beware using plumbing fittings though. Seen some rednecked stuff in my day. PVC & ABS melt in gasoline and snot up your manifolds real quick.
 


bilbo

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Location
North Dakota
Vehicle Year
1983
Make / Model
Ford
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2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
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0
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I do have a welder and loads of scrap around. I was thinking after I posted it what a dumb question. I've made and adapted wilder things. Has anyone who has done this run into issues with the ignition advance curve of the factory distributor?
 

ExploreNW

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1994
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
Tire Size
235/75/15
Depends... are you Durasparked? DS distributors have a hybrid mechanical and vac advance. Whether to hook vac up to the "spark port" or base vac is a hotly contested debate. If you want to stay as close to stock as possible and you're running ported vac, keep doing that, and vice versa. You shouldn't need to touch the base timing.
 

bilbo

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Location
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Vehicle Year
1983
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
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It had the Duraspark system when I got it. I haven't followed the maze of vacuum lines the advance is hooked up to recently but I believe it's supposed to be both at different times depending on coolant temp. I think warmed up is ported vacuum. Regardless, I always had vacuum on the advance diaphragm, cold or hot; not sure if all the little thermostatic vacuum switches worked. I read something a while back that said the reason for ported vacuum was elevated exhaust temps to assist the air injection in cleaning up unburnt fuel.
 

ExploreNW

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1994
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
Tire Size
235/75/15
You can test the thermostatic and vacuum-operated switches with a length of line and vac source. They can be pretty fun to play with, but I only have two hooked up - one switches the carbon can purge & bowl vent, the other moves timing to manifold vac when hot. Do you have state emissions or safety inspections to adhere to?

If not -- it may be beneficial to scrap some of those systems rather than repair them.
 

bilbo

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1983
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2.3L
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2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
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No emissions testing here in good old ND. That’s probably what I’ll be doing. The purge canister system has a bunch of broken lines that I’ve repaired. All the plastic is very brittle and breaks if you breathe heavily near it. This round the hose barbs on the solenoid broke so that may be the death sentence for that system. I plan to bypass/remove the MCU one way or another so I don’t think there would be anything controlling it anyway.
 

ExploreNW

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1994
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
Tire Size
235/75/15
That's excellent news. The purge can is the one thing I'd keep. I don't want to light up a smoke next to my truck and have it smelling like it's gonna blow. If you have a spare vac port on the carb I'd run a vac check valve in place of the solenoid. Open at cruise, closed at WOT & idle.

I'd lose the smog pump first. They're wildly inefficient and will smoke a belt when they go. EGR is something you'll want to keep and keep hooked up right if you want cruising economy.
 

bilbo

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Location
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Vehicle Year
1983
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
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Unfortunately, egr is gone. The metal tube that runs from the manifold over failed and I could not find a replacement. The pieces are all still there if I can ever get the tube. But if I put a different carb in there it will likely have to go as the adapter plate will take its place. If I put it on top of the egr plate I think it will get too tall.
 

ExploreNW

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Ford Ranger
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Tire Size
235/75/15
If you really want to keep it, flexible gas line will work. Remove the plastic coating. Standard NPT fittings will hook it up. If you don't care too much, you're good to go without it. It's only a 1-3 MPG penalty on an EFI engine, I have no idea of the impact on carbs, but I imagine it could be a little bit more. You can gain that mileage elsewhere though. Things like an e-fan can help, and as an added bonus, keep you warmer in the winter.
 

bilbo

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1983
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Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
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Never thought of the CSST, excellent idea! I will keep that in mind. For what it’s worth, I didn’t see much of a difference after I disabled it. Some say it will ping easier but I haven’t seen it. I do run premium fuel, but that’s just because it’s usually the only ethanol free option. Warmer in the winter would be good. It struggles to hit 160 even with the radiator covered during the winter here.
 

ExploreNW

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Location
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
Tire Size
235/75/15
I always joked that I could run this thing fully air cooled in the winter and every winter I get more serious about trying... My Ranger barely lifts off the peg in the winter and our winters don't get as bad as ND. Maybe 5 - 15 degrees and lately 25 in the morning when I fire it up. I converted the Super Duty to e-fan, and without running a grille cover, I get cab heat in 5 min flat in there vs. nearly by the time I'm at work in the Ranger. I run pure ethylene glycol rather than premix.

Ethanol-free vs. ethanol gas is every carb guy's dilemma. Used to be MTBE back in the day. Ethanol started being blended into gas around '78, and Denver was the first to mandate ethanol winter gas in '88. Anything '80 or newer, so long as the gas tank and fuel lines are not aluminum, should be alright with ethanol. Not here to tell you how to run your truck. That said, I'm running winter regular fuel which is E-15 out here and have not had any problems, though I have a poly tank under the '94. It saves me a few bucks every fill, but to run it, I had to move timing from stock 6 degrees to 10 BTDC.
 

bilbo

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1983
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Ford
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Engine Size
2.3L
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2WD
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It probably would be fine with E10. It does get it when I can't get anything else and so far no issues. I just have had so many issues with other equipment running it that I'm a bit gunshy.

Our lab at work has an X-Ray Fluorescence analyzer. We tested some of the boogers with that and found the following composition:

85% Iron
10% Lead
3% Zinc
2% Copper

Not sure what that tells anyone. Our system is designed for field-use and isn't as precise as some big stationary ones. It's optimized for finding unknown metal contamination in our product, so it may not be seeing other things that are in there. Our chemist says it might be getting interference due to crystal structures too. We have a central lab that has much more precise equipment but they don't do government work. At least not for me.

I still think it's either accumulated iron/rust from when the block was cleaned or corrosion deposits.
 

ExploreNW

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Location
Mead, WA
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1994
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
Tire Size
235/75/15
That's awesome! I've never thought to, or had the opportunity and equipment to check, chemistry of various sludges I pull out of things. I am not a chemist and thus cannot really tell you too much other than where the metal probably came from. Iron being the obvious one. If that particular sample was from coolant passages, zinc and copper are used in radiators as they are much more stable against corrosion than iron or aluminum. Check for a plugged radiator - the easiest way is to warm the truck up. Then feel around, cold spots are plugged.

If the sludge came from the oil passages, these metals are commonly used in bearings. You're probably still good to go, but run some motor flush then snake oil it.

You mentioned 10% lead - this is about the only thing I would not expect to find in modern sludge. Unless you have access to 100LL aviation gas and have been running it, the only place I can think that much lead would come from is gaskets. Those thick, soft Fel-Pro head gaskets are leaded so they seal just about any surface.
 

bilbo

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Joined
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Messages
480
Reaction score
333
Points
63
Location
North Dakota
Vehicle Year
1983
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
0
It's a coolant passage. I will check out the radiator once I get it running again. Zinc/Copper makes sense coming from the radiator. I bet you're right, lead in the gasket. I haven't looked, but maybe it's lead sandwiched between some other materials. I have access to it, but haven't run avgas in any of my stuff.
 

bilbo

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Joined
Oct 29, 2016
Messages
480
Reaction score
333
Points
63
Location
North Dakota
Vehicle Year
1983
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
0
Total Drop
0
Got it all together and running today. It took some fiddling with the mixture screw to get idle right but it seems to idle nice now. I’ll still have to set the high idle and stuff up. I had to modify the throttle cable bracket and plumb coolant to the choke but other than that the 5200 was plug and play using an adapter for Jeeps with Carter 1bbl carbs. The heater tube on my water outlet is buggered up and sprayed coolant everywhere on my test drive so now I have to wait for the RTV to set before I mess with it more. I have a cheap air cleaner I found on eBay for now until I can fab something nicer up. If my photos don’t work due to size I’ll try and get them up Monday when I have a pc again.
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