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2.3L ('83-'97) 2.3L Duratec rear axle ratio change...


Frank S

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This is a bit odd, but I'm putting a 2.3L Duratec with five speed auto (5R44E) in a 1963 Rambler convertible. From what I researched both vehicles are about the same weight (~3,000 pounds), but I'll be losing about 200-300 pounds due to the weight of the original Rambler cast iron six (the old auto trans weighs about the same as the new). I bought a 2003 Ranger that was rolled over and plan on transferring everything to the old car.

The Rangers weren't known for very good gas mileage. The Fuelly site reports an average of about 18 mpg, the EPA site says 20/24 (22 average). Since I'll be slightly lighter and won't be hauling or pulling any heavy loads (like a truck is geared for) I was thinking about raising the rear axle ratio. I can have a driveshaft made to use the original Rambler rear axle which is 3.78:1. The Ranger comes with a 4.10 gear with the auto. I'm pretty sure I can fit the Ranger axle, but since I have a 3.78 Rambler axle I was thinking the 0.32 higher gear might help without affecting performance. Frontal area of the two vehicles is about the same -- the little Rambler front end is about as aerodynamic as the Ranger (not very!).

Any thoughts on this? I'll be running a 1.0-1.5" less diameter tire (195/65R16 - 26" - or 205/65R16 - 26.5"... Ranger stock is 225/70R15 - 27.4"). With the 4.10 axle overall gear reduction in first is 10.13:1, with 3.78 it's 9.34:1. The Rambler used a 3.31 (3.78 optional) with overdrive trans (0.70 OD -- manual trans. The 5R44E OD ratio is 0.75). The Duratec has about 40% more power than the old Rambler six but at a higher rpm. The Rambler six was rated at 125 hp gross @ 4200 rpm. That equates to about 90hp with today's rating method. The Duratec puts out 143 hp @ 5250 rpm. Torque is about 150#@ 1600 rpm for the Rambler, 154# @ 3750 for the Duratec. Obviously the Rambler can pull a higher gear from start-up since it's producing max torque at half the rpm of the Duratec -- that's why 3.31 was standard with OD and 3.78 optional.
 


Blmpkn

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I'd go for 4.10s personally. While the 2.3 does have a bit more torque than the factory mill.. it takes 2x the rpm to make it.
 

scotts90ranger

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With an auto you can get away with taller gears but I think you should be fine. The newer 4R44 trans with the duratec is more efficient than the older A4LD and any of the older engines... I imagine you'll be in the mid 20's for mileage
 

Frank S

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scotts90ranger -- you mean with the 3.78 gears or the 4.10?

I did some more calculations as far as RPM at speed.
At 2000 rpm (what I consider minimum for a steady cruise speed) with 3.78 gears and a 26" tire I'd be running 54.6 mph in OD (55.6 with 26.5" tire).
With the 4.10 gears and the stock Ranger 27.4" tire a Ranger would be running 53 mph.
Not that much difference.
With 4.10 gears and a 26" tire it would only run 50 mph (51.3 with a 26.5" tire).
So with the shorter tire it looks to me like the 3.78 will be the better gearing, and the 26" tire would be best.
Sort of doing the opposite of what you guys running taller tires are doing!

Just for comparison it would take a 3.89 gear to get 53 mph @ 2000 with the 26" tire (3.97 with 26.5").
 

stmitch

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Duratec/Auto Rangers typically max out in the mid-20s mpg on the highway thanks to the 4.10s.
The Duratec/manual Rangers came with 3.73 rear gear and can hit 30mpg on the right stretch of highway:


The double hump on the chart for average fuel economy is transmission related, with the Autos more likely to land in the high teens and the manuals averaging mid 20s in mixed driving.
 

Frank S

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I thin I've convinced myself that the 3.78 with shorter tire is going to be the best way to go as far as mileage without giving up performance. I'll be short a couple hundred pounds also. I'm sure the 4.10 would "jump" at take-off better, but it should be good with the short tire/3.78 combo as well. Might not burn the tires, but if you're spinning tires you're wasting energy -- not making the car go! I'm 62 and well beyond just showing off... Besides, a car jumping forward is more impressive than sitting there spinning tires, or moving slower spinning...
 

scotts90ranger

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I was talking keeping the stock 3.78 gears from the rambler... with an auto I doubt it would be too bad
 

Frank S

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Thanks! I'm actually looking for a 3.78 axle. Mine came with 2.87 gears. 3.78 was rather common on some models, especially with overdrive, so not hard to find... except Ramblers in general are hard to find! That's not uncommon for a 60+ year old car, especially one that wasn't real popular... Think I've found one though.
 

rusty ol ranger

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I think aero dynamics are going to be you biggest enemy moreso then a few hundred rpm
 

Frank S

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Yep. The little Rambler is about as aerodynamic as the Ranger! Heck, the 2003 Ranger might actually be slightly better...
 

rusty ol ranger

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Yep. The little Rambler is about as aerodynamic as the Ranger! Heck, the 2003 Ranger might actually be slightly better...
It probably is lol.
 

superj

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sounds like a cool plan on your rambler though. and since you will still have the ranger, if the rambler gearing doesn't work as planned, you can swap the ranger back axle in.


and you can add the ranger ac and stuff so you won't be sweating your butt off during the humid summer months.
 

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