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2.8L decision time.

xltshadow09

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Gadsden,AL
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1985
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2.8 V6
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2.8L
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2WD / 4WD
2WD
I am tearing down a 2.8L out of a 1985 Ranger Automatic. Not sure if I should rebuild or replace this engine with another 2.8L. I don't really want to swap to anything else. I like the idea of doing the duraspark conversion. The problem is that I don't have the experience to judge how bad this engine is. Some background... the truck sat for several years. The guy I bought it from changed the oil and drove it around the yard some. Truck was running but stalling at idle. I attempted to drive it home (bad move) and it lost compression in all cylinders ( I checked them with a gauge). I am only doing this to learn. I hope to get the truck running someday but if not , oh well. So, I pulled the engine and removed the heads. I thought I would post some pictures on here and see if anyone is interested in offering advice or whatever. Thanks in advance.
 

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BrownRangers

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Losing compression in all cylinders sounds a bit odd. It doesnt look that bad as far as wear goes honestly. Is there any cross hatch marks visible on the cylinder walls at all? Maybe the compression check wasnt done properly. Throttle fully open when doing compression check? I could see one or 2 losing compression but all the sudden they all do? New rings, quick hone to restore cross hatching, new main and rod bearings, lap the valves, new seals and gaskets all around and I have seen some engines come back to life. That of course is just a poor mans rebuild. Some last a few thousand miles some can last tens of thousands of miles. Best route is a full rebuild at machine shop, just depends on how "stock" you want to keep it.
 

AndyB.

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I have a hard time telling much from the pictures. A leak down test before tearing it apart would have given you a lot of information. The valve seats look pretty rough, and if the 2 on the top of that piston means 2mm overbore (.080”), you might be at the service limit for the block. I agree that loss of compression in all cylinders seems very odd.
 

BrownRangers

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171cui
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Total Drop
3"
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245/40/15
Just for reference I have never seen pistons with more than .060" overbore. I worked at a machine shop when I built my 2.8 and "maxed" the deck height cut, cut the heads to a 38.6cc chamber from a 42cc and bored to .060" to get the max displacement/compression from stock available pistons. This was all according to what the Sven Pruett book said was the max. I sonic tested the cylinder walls after the over bore and hone. These blocks are pretty available cheap so I figured I'd max it out since I already have 2 spares. DO you know if the engine has had a rebuild? If the timing components have the fiber cam gear thats a good indication its probably never rebuilt. You also see a "1" stamped on the other piston which might just indicate that ford was properly honing each cylinder to each piston when being built. I have some stock standard pistons I could take a look at when I feel like digging them out.
 

BrownRangers

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Yes confirmed the numbers stamped look identical to your #2 stamped so it 99% certainty that it has not been rebuilt.
 

xltshadow09

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I couldn't believe it lost compression like that either. The thing was barely running as I tried to drive it home and kept dying at any stop. Then it sounded completely different when trying to start it up. Just free spinning. Dropped some fluid along the way. Didn't bother to smell it but didn't look like oil or transmission fluid. When I did the compression test One of the cylinders had 90 at first but wouldn't repeat. A couple had 30 and the rest 0. Then the more I turned it over to try and figure it out that is when I got 0 on all cylinders. Right now I just got all the pistons out. I didn't see any cross hatch at all. I keep going back and forth on what to do. Guess I might as well finish the tear down. Only thing left is the cam and crank. Trying to contact a guy in Tallapoosa Ga who has an '84 2.8 out of a bronco but mileage is unknown. Said it was running when pulled. Asking $400. About an hour away from me. I am thinking by the time I buy the parts and get the machine work done probably have $1000 or more in it. Sound about right? I really wasn't thinking ahead good enough to do a leak down test. I just thought it was toast but then as I started taking it apart I saw that it didn't seem that bad aside from being all gunked up. Oil didn't look that bad. No metal that I could see or feel. Just some sludge in the pan. I was expecting loose or bent parts etc. Thanks for the input.
 

4x4prepper

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> I attempted to drive it home (bad move) and it lost compression in all cylinders ( I checked them with a gauge).
> When I did the compression test One of the cylinders had 90 at first but wouldn't repeat. A couple had 30 and the rest 0. Then the more I turned it over to try and figure it out that is when I got 0 on all cylinders.

I would have suspected the valve lash had been improperly adjusted on the engine. Since it ran, it probably lost compression as the valve train warmed up, then as you did the compression test, the oil on the cyl walls went away so you went from 30 psi to 0.

If someone did .014 .016 on both banks at the same time and did not even bother to get #1 to TDC to start, compression would be iffy, especially since the Intake Exhaust pattern does not follow all the way through the cyl 1-6 . If the smallest gauge they had was 0.020 for a spark plug that was "good enough" you could have zero compression across the cyl., I guess.

I am not an expert engine builder, BUT, I have put engines back together that looked worse then that. The cyl walls look okay to me, the wear on the connecting rod would be what I would worry about. I am not sure you can accurately plastigage it without the block being assembled. Since it had some compression, ran, then it did not, I would suspect the timing gear as someone else suggested. That is all the bad news.


The good news is a 1985 Ranger with a 2.8L and probably a C-5 transmission is a valuable truck and with a duraspark or points swap can be made a reliable truck that gets 18 mpg. I really like the 1st generation looks and less expensive parts, especially the headlamps. There is a guy on CL Atlanta that has a rebuilt 2.8L. He has not posted pictures, otherwise I might have considered it myself as a spare, though I do have a spare rebuilt 2.8L I plan on using soon.

=====

1978 Ford 2.8 Cologne Engine - $400 (Winder)

For sale is a rebuilt 1978 Mercury/Ford Bobcat or Pinto 2.8 Cologne Engine. New valve job, new lifters, new rings and crankshaft kit. New oil pump, new water pump. New spark plugs. Engine was originally being built to go into a 78 Pinto, but plans changed. Engine has not been started since the rebuild.

Sold as-is No warranty. Local pickup only Will entertain reasonable offers

If interested call Steve at 404-six-zero-6-8508

I will not respond to texts unless we have first spoken on the phone
====
 

xltshadow09

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2WD / 4WD
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Thanks for the info on the Atlanta engine. Seems like a good deal. I know I missed some obvious clues on what happened with this engine due to a lack of experience. Plus I assumed that it wasn't worth trying to rebuild and I would just replace it. I wish I could start over. I would pay more attention to every step along the way. I suspect I could put it back together and it would "run" but I know nobody would do that. Needs a proper rebuild. Would it be worth much in pieces? I mean it is down to just removing timing gears and crank/cam.
 

Shran

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Po boy rebuild would be to clean it all up, new seals (especially valve seals it looks like) have the crank cleaned up, new bearings there, hone the cylinder walls, new rings, check heads for cracks, reassemble correctly. Probably have an engine that will run decent for not a lot of money.

If the truck is otherwise in good shape a full rebuild at a machine shop I am guessing will be $2-3000+, worth it IMO if you intend to keep it.
 

xltshadow09

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Well, the Po boy route would be the only rebuild I would do if I want to stay married anyway. Lol. I made a rookie mistake when I pulled the engine out. The torque converter was still bolted to the flex plate. I didn't do my research enough. The transmission may need a rebuild or replace if I messed something up. The only rust other than surface rust is small holes behind both kick panels. Interior is good. Back to the engine... When I removed the valve covers 2 or 3 push rods were out of the rockers. I turned the crank but not all the rockers etc. moved. I couldn't tell what was up so I just went ahead with disassembly. Every intake valve was stuck closed. I had to use a heat gun and dead blow to get them out. I guess that explains no compression. Everything was gunked up bad except exhaust valves and lifters. Since I am sitting in the parking deck at UAB I think I will post some pictures. Hope I am not violating any rules.
 

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xltshadow09

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Few more. Btw I can't get the valve seals out. Burn'em out?? Talking oil seals.
 

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Shran

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Well that's not good, were any pushrods bent? Any bent valves?

My buddy trashed a 302 by trying to run rotten fuel through it and that resulted in a bunch of bent/stuck valves and cylinders with no compression. I guess it is pretty common and it is kinda similar to hydrolocking an engine with water, according to the machine shop that fixed it...said they see it a lot. I am curious if that's what happened here.

Really not a bad looking truck - floor should be pretty easy to clean up. I doubt you damaged the transmission, you certainly can pull the engine with the torque converter attached, it's just easier not to. It's NOT good to install it that way, though, you will almost certainly trash the pump in the transmission if you do that.
 

xltshadow09

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2WD / 4WD
2WD
Thanks Shran. I cleaned up the heads some (pictures coming). Then I wire brushed the stem guides and ran all the valves through the holes , spinning them as I moved them up and down. No binding so I guess they are good. No obviously bent pushrods. I am puzzled by all this. As far as the torque converter I put it back in the transmission. Think I got it in right but there is a little more play than I expected. I have watched a ton of videos on everything I am doing and read a lot on here. Very valuable info here thanks to all. Curious if someone can spot another rookie mistake I made in this first picture. Also on one cylinder of this head I see what appears to be pitting. Will that be a problem? Again thanks to all.
 

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xltshadow09

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2WD / 4WD
2WD
The pitting I am seeing is above the plug hole second picture.
 

xltshadow09

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2WD / 4WD
2WD
Well. Another day. Another screw up. The last picture reveals it. On the plus side I think the timing gears are ok. Thoughts anyone?
 

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