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2.3L ('83-'97) 2.3 Really bad gas mileage


John501

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Vehicle Year
1990
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Ford ranger
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2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Tire Size
235/75r15
It's a blast, but since it's been a decade since I put it together for the most part some things need attention, there's times I wish I'd done a 4.0L swap instead since the 8:1 turbo motor has almost no bottom end, but when you get it up on the pipe and get it moving along it works great... I'm pretty sure it would leak less oil if I'd taken more than a month of evenings in the winter to put the engine together using only the best my spare parts box had to offer... which is why it doesn't get driven much anymore... that and the alignment moves too much, I'll get it dialed in then go wheeling once and the steering wheel is off 1/4 turn...
Hey if there ain't no oil under it there ain't no oil in it. My explorer leak a quart a week, marking it's territory. If I thought about a swap I would go with the 4.0 SOHC, and probably swap in some performance parts, but a turbo ranger just has the cool appeal.
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: DE2235E7692E8C: July 5th, 2021

scotts90ranger

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1990, 1997
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Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3 Turbo
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
For sure, I just wish it had bottom end... 225hp (my estimate with my setup) isn't low but it would be better if there was some bottom end... :), playing around in sand you gotta choose gears correctly, under 3000rpm and it doesn't make boost so won't do some things, there's times where it would be really nice if you could twin stick a 1354.... technical areas in sand are fun and it could do it in 2 low but if you get "detained" you need 4x4 to get out...
 

John501

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Ford ranger
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Tire Size
235/75r15
Just an update, I got 17mpg this fill up which is within my acceptable range. I also filled it up with premium fuel, that only contains 5% ethanol to experiment with the change fuel quality and the effect it will ha e in winter. Hopefully it will warm up soon so I can do other things like cleaning the egr, and checking for vacuum leaks. Among a pile of cooling system parts I need to put on.
 

MikeG

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central Texas
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1997
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B4000
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4.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
2"
Tire Size
235/75r15
You should be doing WAY better than 17mpg, on the lowest octane gas. My 97 4.slow gets about that..... with a tool box and a bunch of other heavy crap in it.
 

John501

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Manual
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2WD
Tire Size
235/75r15
You should be doing WAY better than 17mpg, on the lowest octane gas. My 97 4.slow gets about that..... with a tool box and a bunch of other heavy crap in it.
It should but until I can get some other test and work done on it, I'm just happy it's not 14 again.
 

Roert42

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Ranger XLT
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My SOHC got 17 highway in the winter on 87.
 

Uncle Gump

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My credo
Lead, Follow or get out of my way
I checked fuel mileage yesterday on my 4.0L SOHC... it's been single digits for a week here. 15.7 mpg. It did see a bunch of idle time... remote started it most times before getting in to leave.

EDIT... it was mostly non highway around town and back roads.
 

tomw

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ford
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lima bean
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My credo
vertical and above ground
Check that the upper radiator hose stays cold until the thermostat opens. It should not slowly warm as the engine warms as it is supposed to prevent coolant flow until the coolant reaches temperature. If it slowly warms, the 'stat is not closing properly when cold, and should be replaced. That alone can have a significant effect on fuel consumption, especially in winter. I would make sure that the thermostat installed was the correct OEM specified temperature. I think that move Limas were sent out the door with 195F thermostats. Check to be sure.
tom
 

John501

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Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Tire Size
235/75r15
Alright, this last fill up keeping the engine between 2000-2500 cruising and 90 octane got 19.1 mpg. I've done more cooling system work so the truck will get to just below the "o" in normal faster, and I'm using cardboard to get it to just below half way. A new radiator, and I refreshed the t stat housing to seal round the t stat better since it leaked before. 2000-2500 seems to be the best area for gas mileage, so I'm going to keep it there. Of course after I did the rad, my tachometer stopped working. You fix one thing and another calls it quits.
 

scotts90ranger

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2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
If it helps, the tachometer is driven off the drivers side coil circuit, IE if you don't have a drivers side coil connected, no tachometer... That said I can't imagine how that would play in from your description of the problem unless the DIS module or coil is crapping out... that is an odd failure mode though.
 

Dirtman

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It's up there.
Total Drop
It's down there.
Tire Size
Round.
I'd call 19mpg a win until late spring... if its still 19mpg in spring/summer then dig deeper. Hell, I think I'm getting like 17 right now (city).
 

John501

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Tire Size
235/75r15
If it helps, the tachometer is driven off the drivers side coil circuit, IE if you don't have a drivers side coil connected, no tachometer... That said I can't imagine how that would play in from your description of the problem unless the DIS module or coil is crapping out... that is an odd failure mode though.
Yeah, I'm thinking it the guage since it "works" but really it just says idle is 500rpm and everything else is 1000 rpm.
 

gaz

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John,

Good job for following up on a negative performance change that showed itself in fuel economy. It is your new tire size.

When I had to drive a rig with less than optimal tire/gear combo, I drove VERY different. Normally with the automatic I wouldn't shift higher than 3rd untill 35 mph but when my tires were a couple sizes larger and the gears were not yet corrected, I made this adjustment, 3rd to 45 and OD was never on unless I was up to highway speed (55 in my area). This wasn't perfect or even ideal but I did realize a couple miles per gallon back.

Another way to compensate for loading the engine is to unload the engine. Remove the crankshaft driven fan/clutch for an electric setup. It is exactly what I did to recover some of the economy originally lost when I "overtired" the 1st time. The crank driven fan...it's the devil in a V6, let alone an I4!!!

🍻🍻🍻🚬🚬🚬. I've even recovered over 2 mpg in a build v8 losing the crank fan for an electric 🤓
 

Suzonda

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Mazda B2300
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2WD / 4WD
2WD
When I got my 1996 2.3 5spd 2wd in Oct it got about 25-27mpg. Over the past few months it regressed to 6.2mpg. After replacing the ENTIRE fuel system, Intake sensors, and finally swapping the head out to a less... broken one it got back up to about 17mpg. Still NO power but I'll take it over using a half tank for a dump run.
 

John501

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Location
Kansas
Vehicle Year
1990
Make / Model
Ford ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Tire Size
235/75r15
When I got my 1996 2.3 5spd 2wd in Oct it got about 25-27mpg. Over the past few months it regressed to 6.2mpg. After replacing the ENTIRE fuel system, Intake sensors, and finally swapping the head out to a less... broken one it got back up to about 17mpg. Still NO power but I'll take it over using a half tank for a dump run.
Maybe work on your exhaust, replace the o2 and do a muffler delete. I just took mine off and it feels a little stronger, I haven't confirmed a mpg increase yet.
 


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