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2.9 wiring question for 4.0 possible swap


Kuper

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I have a nice 88 ranger 130k miles but was considering 4.0 swap, I also have an 89 ranger parts truck not as nice condition with power distribution box and goodies. Would it be pain in the butt to utilize wiring from the 89 to put in my 88 for a 4.0 swap? I did a budget rebuild on the 2.9 included some machine work but re-ring, I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t do any head work not even check the valves left it alone. I guess I am just debating on just leaving it stock and doing correct rebuild now that I can afford to do it. Just don’t have really anyone to chat with about this besides the forum. Thank you all
 


franklin2

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Al lot of the wiring should come from the 4.0 donor.
 

Kuper

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Ok well maybe I will just keep the 2.9 I am not interested in a bunch of wiring. I had the A4ld transmission rebuilt so maybe it is better to keep it all original.
I will probably order new cylinder heads off eBay although I may ask machine shop their price rates they were super fair last time three years ago I have 2 extra sets anyways thanks for reading my post it helped me figure out what I am going to do.
 

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@Kuper , what part of the country are you from? Just kinda curious if you’re anywhere near me.

Anyway, sorry I didn’t see this sooner. So I don’t really blame you from not wanting to deal with wiring, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, what you’re up against with this is the most ideal of the less than ideal situations. On one hand, the wiring on the 88 isn’t going to match up with the wiring for a 4.0. The 89 wouldn’t have the 4.0 unless someone swapped one in. The wiring for the cab and chassis on the 89 would be close to matching up with the engine harness of a 4.0, but there may still be a little splicing.

I’ve been down this road before. I ended up abandoning my efforts to fit a 4.0 in my 88 Bronco II because at the time I tried the project, I didn’t have access to the necessary wiring diagrams. I hadn’t started hacking up the harness so when my 89 needed a bigger motor, I swapped the 4.0 into the 89, which still required some splicing but I had diagrams and it was pretty straightforward anyway, think it was two plugs were similar but not the same, may have just been because of using a Ranger harness in a Bronco II.

That all said, there is a couple tweaks you can give the 2.9 if you want a little more go. Mild cam maybe, definitely free floating rockers, headers, bit of gasket matching or flow porting on the intakes and heads. I started down that road with the 2.9 for my 88 and I was also going to try doing a conversion to a Mass Air Flow system rather than the stock Speed Density that most of them had to see if maybe I could squeeze a little more fuel economy. Electric fan and electric power steering pump would require an alternator upgrade but less drag on the engine…
 

Kuper

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@Kuper , what part of the country are you from? Just kinda curious if you’re anywhere near me.

Anyway, sorry I didn’t see this sooner. So I don’t really blame you from not wanting to deal with wiring, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, what you’re up against with this is the most ideal of the less than ideal situations. On one hand, the wiring on the 88 isn’t going to match up with the wiring for a 4.0. The 89 wouldn’t have the 4.0 unless someone swapped one in. The wiring for the cab and chassis on the 89 would be close to matching up with the engine harness of a 4.0, but there may still be a little splicing.

I’ve been down this road before. I ended up abandoning my efforts to fit a 4.0 in my 88 Bronco II because at the time I tried the project, I didn’t have access to the necessary wiring diagrams. I hadn’t started hacking up the harness so when my 89 needed a bigger motor, I swapped the 4.0 into the 89, which still required some splicing but I had diagrams and it was pretty straightforward anyway, think it was two plugs were similar but not the same, may have just been because of using a Ranger harness in a Bronco II.

That all said, there is a couple tweaks you can give the 2.9 if you want a little more go. Mild cam maybe, definitely free floating rockers, headers, bit of gasket matching or flow porting on the intakes and heads. I started down that road with the 2.9 for my 88 and I was also going to try doing a conversion to a Mass Air Flow system rather than the stock Speed Density that most of them had to see if maybe I could squeeze a little more fuel economy. Electric fan and electric power steering pump would require an alternator upgrade but less drag on the engine…
I am in Oregon, appreciate the reply yeah I know could do a good job wiring I don’t know I just feel like in my past life I had a bad experience with wiring or I don’t know I am not a fan.
I have lots of 2.9 blocks I think 3 total and 2 sets of heads so I will just keep it stock for now. I used to hoard Chevy Luv pickups they still hold a place in my heart but I moved on.
I cannot figure out why my truck keeps having little stumbles occasionally it’s driving me nuts I replaced many sensors and IAC I’m leaning towards wiring but I don’t know not enough time in the day.
 

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I am in Oregon, appreciate the reply yeah I know could do a good job wiring I don’t know I just feel like in my past life I had a bad experience with wiring or I don’t know I am not a fan.
I have lots of 2.9 blocks I think 3 total and 2 sets of heads so I will just keep it stock for now. I used to hoard Chevy Luv pickups they still hold a place in my heart but I moved on.
I cannot figure out why my truck keeps having little stumbles occasionally it’s driving me nuts I replaced many sensors and IAC I’m leaning towards wiring but I don’t know not enough time in the day.
Maybe pop the computer open and check for blown capacitors. May or may not be part or all of the problem, but it’s been known to happen. The other thing to check would be the TFI module on the distributor. Parts stores (at least Autozone) used to be able to test those, I found sometimes you had to run the test a couple times in a row to warm up the module, had a couple that would pass the first test or two then fall flat on their face and fail miserably.
 

franklin2

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Had a random stumble in my 2.9 and it ended up being the pickup inside the distributor. A pain to replace, so it would be a last resort. You also might get a code for it, might not though.
 

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@Kuper ,
in regards to your 2.9 rebuild plans
- If you do not need new heads, I recommend considering a quality multiangle valve job with new valve guides and guide seals.
- while it's apart disassemble, clean and inspect your rocker arms, rockers and push rods. Replace as necessary but just cleaning out the rocker arms can improve your top end oiling.
 

Kuper

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Maybe pop the computer open and check for blown capacitors. May or may not be part or all of the problem, but it’s been known to happen. The other thing to check would be the TFI module on the distributor. Parts stores (at least Autozone) used to be able to test those, I found sometimes you had to run the test a couple times in a row to warm up the module, had a couple that would pass the first test or two then fall flat on their face and fail miserably.
I replaced the tfi module I believe beginning 2018. I will be checking into the capacitors along with a couple other areas. It’s weird it is not consistent when it acts goofy on me almost leaning towards something to do with o2 sensor it was replaced in 2018 (Bosch) maybe some wiring issue. It smells really rich when it acts goofy. There is a lot of little gremlins also that are just starting to get annoying but then I realize no car payments and that usually calms me down.
 

Kuper

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Had a random stumble in my 2.9 and it ended up being the pickup inside the distributor. A pain to replace, so it would be a last resort. You also might get a code for it, might not though.
Ok maybe I will just order a whole new distributor unless the pickup is cheap enough I didn’t replace the pickup but I did the tfi. No codes

Thank you
 

Kuper

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@Kuper ,
in regards to your 2.9 rebuild plans
- If you do not need new heads, I recommend considering a quality multiangle valve job with new valve guides and guide seals.
- while it's apart disassemble, clean and inspect your rocker arms, rockers and push rods. Replace as necessary but just cleaning out the rocker arms can improve your top end oiling.
I will have to look into pricing if I am better off going through machine shop which is usually fair they do great work too. Yes I should have cleaned up those rockers because the lifters make some noise right at startup for just a second then goes away.

this truck has held up pretty well with budget work. I blew head gasket in 2017 and didn’t have much money, but had spare heads stamped by some other company not world heads I forget? My rod bearings was toast I bought new rod bearings and cleaned up the journals very very carefully underneath the truck and re installed. This got me down the road for quite a while maybe a year.

I did my budget rebuild for 700 I believe which included machine work, new cam, cam bearings and lifters, std rings, hone, new main and rod bearings again because machine shop polished journals on crank and resized one rod as well. Brass freeze plugs, the list kind of goes on… everything was hot tanked so I painted it up slapped heads on although now while writing this I do remember flipping them over and testing if the would leak anything between the valves and they were good no leaks so I didn’t mess with them.

thanks for digesting this
 

Kuper

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Thank you all for the replies back really helpful.
 

lil_Blue_Ford

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I replaced the tfi module I believe beginning 2018. I will be checking into the capacitors along with a couple other areas. It’s weird it is not consistent when it acts goofy on me almost leaning towards something to do with o2 sensor it was replaced in 2018 (Bosch) maybe some wiring issue. It smells really rich when it acts goofy. There is a lot of little gremlins also that are just starting to get annoying but then I realize no car payments and that usually calms me down.
TFI could still have gone bad, worth a check anyway. I’ve had some last and some fail
 

franklin2

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Ok maybe I will just order a whole new distributor unless the pickup is cheap enough I didn’t replace the pickup but I did the tfi. No codes

Thank you
I don't think you can get a new distributor, only rebuilt. If it's Cardone (probably is), I would not bother. Buy a pickup and do it yourself.
 

Kuper

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I don't think you can get a new distributor, only rebuilt. If it's Cardone (probably is), I would not bother. Buy a pickup and do it yourself.
The pickup is cheap enough so yes agreed.
 

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