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1984 ranger 2.8 replacing with a Mustang ll engine looking for helpful hints


redryder

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Redryder here guy
Looking for some advice, wornining,assistance, helpful hints,
I have a 1984 ranger 4x4 got it a great deal had not ran in 16 years got it running in about 45 min but it seemed to have a rist pin knock. Nevertheless I drove it for about 2 years with the rattling knocking whatever you want to call it then it overheated and got so hot it died won't start back up has water in the cylinders everything so I just wanted to switch the motor out due to lack of parts and machine work in my area and I found a 76 mustang 2 2.8 V6. Guy says motor runs great car was running and driving fine he pulled it out to put a 302 in it the motor has a four barrel manifold on it and he has the ignition out of the 76 mustang. I was just wondering if there's anything I need to know if there's any shortcuts if there's any things I should do shouldn't do just if someone's done this before and used the car engine in a ranger and benefits and non-benefits pros and cons any help would be great guys
 


franklin2

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Never did a car-to truck 2.8 swap. But you have the old truck engine there so you should have everything you need if you need to swap oil pans or something like that.

I have done a ignition swap on my 84. Are you going to use a duraspark II ignition box or a GM HEI module? I used a GM HEI module so I just used the 12v hot wire going to the original square coil going and tapped into that for power to the HEI module. If you use the duraspark II, you will need a resistor, but if you do some research, you harness might already have the resistor built in and the duraspark II module may just plug right in. The 4 cyl trucks in 84 used the duraspark, your 84 2.8 used the computer system with the TFI ignition, unless you converted it. I believe the factory used one harness for both styles of ignition.

Once you get the ignition sorted and use a older or aftermarket carb, you can get rid of all those wires, and whole complete mess over on the pass side inner fender. That is all the computer control stuff.
 

redryder

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Well first let say thank you for replying. The info you have is very helpful because I was not sure what I was going to do. I had already put a older car on and got rid of all that stuff on the right side fender well and the wires but had not done anything with the ignition. So I'm getting a 1978 mustang II motor that already has the offenhauser manifold and the distributor that was in it. That is the distributor that I need right?
 

franklin2

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Yes, the early dist should have centrifugal weights and a vacuum advance with a vacuum line. That will control your timing. Right now your timing is locked. Whatever you set it at with the light, that is where it stays. I ran mine like this for about year, and it ran ok and got me to work and back. Once I finally got the older style distributor in it, I picked up 2-3mpg and the engine ran a little smoother at cruise speeds.

Even the old model T's had a lever behind the steering wheel to manually advance the timing. When I could not find a old style durasapark II distributor, I debated about leaving the original TFI distributor a little bit loose, and hooking a lawnmower cable and arm up to it to spin it a little bit to advance the timing just like they did on the model T engine. Never did it.
 

redryder

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So the GM ignition module wich one will I need and then how to hook it up. I have a brand new 390 cfm Holly that's going on it
 

franklin2

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Get a HEI module for a 1979 monte-carlo. You will also need a thick block of aluminum to bolt the module to for a heat sink. It can mount on the inner fender on the driver's side.

Here's a picture of mine mounted to the fender.
2.8 hei conversion by D Franklin, on Flickr
 

franklin2

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Conduit 3 goes to the distributor. The orange and yellow wires are the signal wires from the distributor, and the green wire is the ground wire inside the distributor.

Butt splice "A" is the ignition on 12v power wire. It splits and feeds power to the coil + and also power to the module.

Butt splice "B" is the negative of the coil. This goes directly to the terminal on the module. That terminal is grounded and ungrounded when the engine is running to make spark from the coil.

Wire nut "C" is ground. The coil is mounted on the plastic fender, so there is a ground from the coil, a ground from the distributor, and a ground bolted to the fender.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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I used the Duraspark module on mine, it worked great. Then when I swapped to a V8 it has continued to work great.

Do use the DS coil though, I tried to keep the E coil and it caused some issues in the begining.
 

franklin2

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I used the Duraspark module on mine, it worked great. Then when I swapped to a V8 it has continued to work great.

Do use the DS coil though, I tried to keep the E coil and it caused some issues in the begining.
I agree on the coil thing IF you are using the DSII ignition box. If you use the GM HEI module, you can use the square E coil and put a solid 12v on the e coil, not the resistance reduced voltage the DSII coil/system requires.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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I agree on the coil thing IF you are using the DSII ignition box. If you use the GM HEI module, you can use the square E coil and put a solid 12v on the e coil, not the resistance reduced voltage the DSII coil/system requires.
That is what I was trying to say there lol
 

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If you don't have time to do it right will you have time to do it over?
Duraspark will produce a slightly hotter spark with low coil resistance but the module will die early and often. Before you install the 2.8 check the timing gears. They used a nylon tooth cam gear originally and it will be a lot easier to replace the gears before it's in the truck. You'll gain some power by recurving the centrifugal advance so it's all in by 2800-3000. My 77 Mustang wasn't all in until 4500 and recurving it made a huge difference. It'll need to be installed and running to check it.
Clean and mark the timing marks on the balancer, maybe at TDC, 10 and 20 BTC.
Set the base timing with the vacuum advance disconnected.
With a tach located where you caan see it, slowly increase the RPMs and watch the timing advance.
Unless it's been recurved, the advance will be slow and late.
Remove the distributor cap and look through a hole in the base plate as you slowly turn the engine by hand.
There are 2 springs on the advance 1/2 turn apart,one is stiff and fits loosely on the tab,you probably won't have to mess with it. The other one is relatively weak and will be under tension if you poke a screwdriver in there and try to wiggle it. Bend the tab holding the weak spring very slightly to reduce tension. Reassemble and recheck the advance.
If you don't have to repeat the process more than 2 or 3 times, you're either lucky or good.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Duraspark will produce a slightly hotter spark with low coil resistance but the module will die early and often. Before you install the 2.8 check the timing gears. They used a nylon tooth cam gear originally and it will be a lot easier to replace the gears before it's in the truck. You'll gain some power by recurving the centrifugal advance so it's all in by 2800-3000. My 77 Mustang wasn't all in until 4500 and recurving it made a huge difference. It'll need to be installed and running to check it.
Clean and mark the timing marks on the balancer, maybe at TDC, 10 and 20 BTC.
Set the base timing with the vacuum advance disconnected.
With a tach located where you caan see it, slowly increase the RPMs and watch the timing advance.
Unless it's been recurved, the advance will be slow and late.
Remove the distributor cap and look through a hole in the base plate as you slowly turn the engine by hand.
There are 2 springs on the advance 1/2 turn apart,one is stiff and fits loosely on the tab,you probably won't have to mess with it. The other one is relatively weak and will be under tension if you poke a screwdriver in there and try to wiggle it. Bend the tab holding the weak spring very slightly to reduce tension. Reassemble and recheck the advance.
If you don't have to repeat the process more than 2 or 3 times, you're either lucky or good.
I had unknowingly left the tach signal wire going to the pcm when I did my duraspark swap. All was fine with the V6, the V8 havin more heartbeats per rotation would smoke a module or coil every couple months. I found that wire going to the PCM and deleted it... then it was about half an hour.

The coil resistance thing isn't really as public knowledge as it really should be, I chased my tail for a long time before I discovered that on the interwebs. I put the right coil in it and it has been to Ohio, Indiana 3x and Kentucky once in the past 5 years without missing a beat.
 

franklin2

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It's not a good idea to use one of those aftermarket "hot" coils on the duraspark II system either. I would use the correct DSII coil that has those weird pins on the coil, and buy the horseshoe connector for the coil if you are using the DSII system. The GM HEI frees you from this requirement.
 

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