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2.3 turbo swap


85TurboDangler

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Location
California
Vehicle Year
1985
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
So I’ve obtained an 85 Ford ranger with a 2.3 turbo swapped in coming from a same year thunderbird. I’ve been fixing it up and I’ve encountered a small problem; the state of California. Without the generic, “Move out of California” answer, can anyone give me some solid advice on what to go for. I want to keep the engine in there and I’d like to go to some more legitimate lengths before I consider getting it hot smogged. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
 


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rang-a-stang

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1986
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2.9 V6
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Manual
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Total Lift
3"
Tire Size
31x10.50R15
Call a smog ref. If the engine was in the same year or newer, you can swap it in. You just have to get a smog ref stamp. Keep the engine. You can make it legal but it may be a pain in the butt.
 

sgtsandman

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Ford Ranger XLT
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Being that it isn’t the original engine, you may be in a bit of a sticky wicket. Also, being that it is the same year, might save you as long as everything is California compliant for that time period.

Unfortunately, they only ones who can answer that question 100% for sure is the DOT of California. I’m sure it’s gonna open a can of worms for you doing that but it’s their standards you are going to have to meet and stay legal.
 

rang-a-stang

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Location
Camarillo, CA
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
3"
Tire Size
31x10.50R15
Yeah it is a pain to get through the ref but the ref's know exactly how to get through. They usually are pretty helpful, too. If you make an appointment with them, they will check it out and tell you want you need to do. When my 5.0 swap went through the smog ref they said it needed a change to the vacuum system but that was about it. My 5.0 was a complete drop out 1990 5.0HO in an 89 Ranger. It was hooked up in my engine bay like an 1989 5.0HO but 1990 5.0HO vacuum routing was slightly different... hence the change.

Generally speaking, when they inspect it, they will tell you it needs to have all the CARB legal parts for the original vehicle it came from. So if you have a header with a CARB number for 85 T-bird you may be OK but if you have an aftermarket header (no CARB number), you will probably need to get a factory manifold to get your smog sticker. Some of their sticky points:
1) Make sure you have a CARB legal cat for an 85 turbo T-Bird installed where it would be on the T-bird. What I mean is, if it's on the down pipe on the T-Bird, it needs to be on the down pipe in your Ranger. If it was after the down pipe, before the muffler on the T-Bird, it needs to be there on your Ranger. If the T-Bird had air injection in the cat, your Ranger has to, too.
2) Make sure your computer is an original Ford 85 T-Bird computer (pull it our and verify the codes on the sticker)
3) Make sure you have, either, the stock breather on it, or a CARB legal intake for an 85 T-Bird
4) make sure if passes KOEO, KOER, and Cylinder balance tests before you go
5) Make sure EGR, EVAP, vented gas cap, smog pump, and PCV are installed and working (if 85 T-Bird hard them)

here is the link to get to a ref Ref Link here
Once you get through the ref and get your smog sticker on, smog is never really an issue again. You basically smog it like an 85 T-Bird from then on out. You get a notice in the mail that is it due, so you go to any smog station, tell them you have a ref sticker in the door jamb, and they do their thing; no extra costs, no special inspection, etc.
 


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