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2.9L Rebuild - performance improvement advice


MarkusMcBride

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Hi All, Rebuilding my 2.9L in 87 ranger 4x4. FM145 tans, BW 1350 manual T.case. 187,000km on truck, body, frame etc rust free, truck is in wicked shape till you open the hood. Also rebuilding trans right now.

Looking for advice for improvements while I'm in there. (I posted in the tranny threads about the FM145 rebuild, so here I'd like to stay focussed on the motor unless deemed necessary) I'm aware of the M5OD swap, can talk about that in tranny thread. Anyone has info for the FM145 though, send her over.

Things I am going to do with the build -
- Bearings, rings, gaskets, etc (didnt order oil pump, Considering...)
- delete EGR (already acquired new 88 ECM rockauto)
- Remove cats, put straight pipe in place
- put elec. puller fan and remove mechanical
- K&N ram air intake (edit: with custom box, battery relocated)
- Plugs, wires distributor and TFI, new MSD Street Fire coil [plugs and dizzy w/TFI already installed]
- porting & polishing, gasket matching everything we can (edit: thank you Pruett as this is now possible)
- Unfortunately, looks like keeping orig. ex.manifolds as JBA headers are $1000CAD after shipping and taxes
> been talking about making our own headers but Idk if we will get that far with the $$ and time restraints. this
is pretty much all going on my line of credit... if we get stuck waiting on parts, might look at homemade
> Got JBA's in your shed??????:drool:

Truck has been running bad. Things I replaced this month were: TPS, IAC, MAP, Distributor w/ TFI, ECM, Plugs.. And she's still running bad although.. I need to double check the timing, might have been off a tooth with dizzy. Valve covers leak worse than ever, engine is filthy. Transmission has to come out again for rebuild, so, Doing them both as I have the opportunity right now. I have obtained Sven Pruett's book (today) and am tearing into it.

Edit: direction for this build is to have my truck run like a gem again and obtain some modest performance improvement at the same time. Also, I am using this as a learning experience. And so far that goal is being rung like a bell.

Mark
 
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Nez'sRanger

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Nice to see more 2.9 folks coming out of the woodwork! Haha!
I'm sure our official 2.9 expert @PetroleumJunkie412 will eventually chime in!
You're off to a great start! I'd make sure to look into installing a oil catch can, especially since you're porting and polishing the intake. That will keep all the crap from caking up on you, and it will make it run better.
I'd look into remote mounting the tfi module as well.
I always advocate replacing the key cooling components, knowing how much these engines hate heat. I acquired my truck with a cracked head, so the cooling system was first in the list for me!
Hope you get it running smooth and strong!
 

Nez'sRanger

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Also, I highly recommend digging through this forum. There are so many treasure hordes of info all over the place! I learned a ton just scrounging around here!
 

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I'd look into remote mounting the tfi module as well.
Especially since he is running a aftermarket coil. A hot coil will put more load on the module. Those modules were not that reliable with the stock coil.
 

rusty ol ranger

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According to @PetroleumJunkie412 a hi flow oil pump that floods the top end with oil is a sure fire way to keep it from ticking. Id definatly put that on my "must do" list.

The best upgrades you can do to a 2.9 is things to keep it cool. Heads are its only real weakness, most guys will bolt in a 4.0L radiator.

Also, im not sure an Efan is a good idea. They may gain you a pony or two, but a mechanical fan can pull waaaaay more air through the radiator.
 

MarkusMcBride

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Going to delete the pcv valve and breather from entering the intake. Vent crankcase to atmosphere.
Also, should have listed, new water pump, new OE thermostat (Read about the 180deg after ordering ), new timing gears/chain/tensioner/guide, temp sensors, fuel pump on frame (sending unit changed month ago), thats about it think.

With high volume oil pump, worry is that it'll pump the bottom end dry at higher rpm's with a stock pan. I did just find a video showing the improvement on the oil pickup of an aftermarket compared to stock. That I might try and get.

As for TFI remote mount, does this apply much for a daily driver? I don't put her much passed 3500rpm most the time
 

rusty ol ranger

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Heat is what kills TFI's, and ford in their infinite wisdom mounted it one one of the hottest places on the engine.

Long about mid 90s they moved them to the fender in a heatsink. Motorcraft TFIs can do *ok* in the stock location but if you have any hope of getting a chinese one to live much of a life id relocate it.
 

MarkusMcBride

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IMG_1027.jpg
ccc
IMG_1026.jpg



Rad support wasn't removable. Or so it thought.
 
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I'd say that is a victory...
 

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Leave the converter in place. As to the electric fan, just make sure it's truly up to the task. There are good ones out there but a lot of junk too.
 

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I'd recommend keeping the mechanical fan and clutch, along with a functional PCV system. I've never done much with 2.9's but the last 2.8 I built I had the heads planed .030" to boost compression, someone here should know if that works on a 2.9. A high volume oil pump causes more parasitic drag, especially if you run oil thicker than 5w30. Running thick oil also costs power and slows circulation when the engine is cold.I would rather fix whatever is causing the loss of oil pressure or flow. I agree with the posted opinions on the TFI module, a remote mount with a heat sink would help. K&N filters can allow a lot of dust to enter the engine if they're not cleaned and reoiled frequently, I've seen dusted diesel engines caused by dried out K&N filters. "Dusted" means destroyed by ingesting dirt and not covered by warranty. A big power increase would come from lower(higher numerical) gearing without spending mega dollars on engine mods.
 

MarkusMcBride

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Why keep pcv going into intake? I don't know how it benefits. It'll still be vented, to atmosphere

"A key advantage of electric fans is increased engine cooling and improved air conditioning cooling at idle, when it is most needed. In addition, replacing an engine-driven fan can increase horsepower and improve fuel economy as the engine drag from turning the (mechanical) fan is eliminated"
- seems to add up

Anyone have fm145 schematic or manual? took tranny apart, not convinced its put together right so need good schematic to do right
 

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The PCV will be vented to atmosphere....which means that crankcase pressure must be used to get rid of the gases. And that puts pressure on all the seals and gaskets. Using engine manifold vacuum takes the pressure off the seals and gaskets. And vacuum is highest at idle and cruise so the gases don't hurt engine performance at all.
 

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Regarding your FM145. DO NOT use a GL-5 gear oil. It will kill your syncros over time. Only use a GL-4 gear oil. In fact, I was told by a shop that you can safely use 10W/30 motor oil. I've been using 10W/40 for the last two years (my FM145 has high miles), and it works far better than any GL-5 did (it shifts much better). And it's a lot cheaper than Redline's GL-4.

I have read about using a Tuffpan to strengthen the casing of the FM145 (though they don't appear to make them for the FM145 anymore), and an updated 5th gear bearing (pdf below). Motive Gear used to sell the updated 5th gear, but after doing a quick search I couldn't find it.

I've also attached a pdf of the FM145 section of the service manual.
 

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MarkusMcBride

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I've also attached a pdf of the FM145 section of the service manual.
Thank you!!! That manual is hard to come by, utterly invaluable, thank you Paulos. And as for the bearing sleeve and needle bearing upgrade for 5th, Midwest transmission in Minneapolis makes them. They had everything I needed for this trans. I'll have them Tuesday along with new thrush washer, 5th gears, 5th/rev synchro hub&sleeve, reverse gear needle bearing (did not come in skf bearing kit oddly), and a new (used) mainshaft/output shaft. With the bearing kit I mentioned there and those new parts, I hope to put this together for the last time.
The transmission shop that just rebuilt this FM told me explicitly to run AcDelco synchromesh atf in this trans. I wont be making that mistake again. We were talking about using 75w90 gear oil or a 15w40 motor oil so I'm glad to hear some reassurance on the motor oil. 80W90 is a little thick for Canadian winters.

Now back to engine work!
I have some ideas thanks to a friend of mine:
- Considering turning the flywheel down 0.225" on Monday (roughly 5lbs)
- Pacesetter headers from an 88 2.9L are on rock auto for 240$CAD +ship. I AM DELETING EGR, will these work? I believe the manifolds/headers should bolt on interchangeably between 88-87 without EGR in the way. please advise!
- Has anyone got any pictures or info on porting the heads on these 2.9L's? That would be sweet
 
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