2.9L V6 Engine enhancements


8788Ranger2wd

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I know this question has been asked, so I'll apologize for asking again. But my attempts at searching the forum for answers, the list was huge with mostly unrelated content.

Here's what I have:

1989 Ford Ranger Custom extended cab, 4x4 with power steering and an automatic transmission. No A/C.

The engine and transmission have both been rebuilt within the last 5K miles. My younger son needed wheels, wanted a Ranger 4x4 to hang with his friends, and did the research, found this truck, yadda yadda... He's since moved on to a completely different set of wheels, I fell in love with the truck, and since I have the $$ invested in the rebuild decided to keep it. I drive the truck often, and use it to pull my 17ft fishing boat.

The truck has for the most part, enough power to suit me, until I need to climb a particularly steep grades on the freeway. Then it poops out at highway speed, in which case it's down to 45mph in passing gear...as far to the right as I can get so as not to hold up those from storming up from behind. This is unloaded, just me in the driver's seat, not towing...

I've considered two possible options:

1. Turbo the 2.9L
2. Engine swap

According to the tech page here, my truck shouldn't have the head cracking issue, as Ford released the later style heads in the 1989 models.

I've been searching for compatible 4.0L engines, but so far haven't located a likely candidate (in my area). The turbo is a LOT less difficult (to locate and purchase), which is making option #1 look much more attractive.

So I'd love to hear from those here who have actually turbo'd a 2.9L V6, your issues and challenges, and any down side. Again, I'm not looking to race for pink slips, just need to be able to get up steep grades without peddling like Fred Flintstone...

Thanks,
-Vern
 


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8788Ranger2wd

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I found this only after posting. If it mentions turbo or 4.0 swap, I'm not seeing it. That said, there are a couple of things that would likely be noticeable. Like replacing the fan/clutch with electric driven...

 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Hi! We should talk!




Turn it up on good speakers ??
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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So, you're heading down a very strange and obscure road with building a Cologne V6. The 2.6/2.9l is one of the strangest animals in the family. Ill help as much as I can, as there is very little out there on them. But, they definately come into their own once you get your hands dirty with them.

With the exception of the 4.0 OHV, colognes generally need to rev in order to produce power. The 2.9.in your truck is probably the worst offender for this, and with some modification is very happy to scream its lungs out - if you spring for ARP rod bolts and shot peened and deburred factory rods, 6500 is a comfortable red line for them, forged rods and some other valvetrain work lets them redline to 7000 rpm. Not bad for an ancient v6. Keep in mind though, they're very different from a typical truck engine, as they are not, and were never intended to be a truck engine.

Fun fact, Cologne pattern engines are still around to this day, even though their production run ended in 2011. The ones produced today are now V8s and V12s, and wear Aston Martin badges across their valve covers (their 1000hp V12 is essentially two 2.9s staple gunned together in the middle). The potential for power is there.

If you want to see the ultimate Cologne engine, look up the 2.9 Cosworth. They easily put down 300HP naturally aspirated when modified, and 500-600HP when sporting twin turbos (on177 cubic inches, mind you). The cosworth version is your block with 24 valve heads. If you're a racing fan, they were designed by Brian Hart as a formula engine.



How much power you can produce is dependent on money and time, and what you would want out of it in the end. Where the thinking on these engines is a little backward is that this isnt as simple as tossing an RV cam in and sending it like most american engines. The 2.9 is a strangled Euro V6 when its in American form - restrictive heads, restrictive intakes, and exhaust manifolds that were designed by satan himself. The 4.0 OHV behaves much more like an american v8. The 2.9 is its faster, louder, revvier older brother. So, in my case, i wanted revs over low end grunt, so i stayed 2.9. 4.0 ohv will always deliver more on the low end, but is nowhere as capable on the high end as its thick walled short stroke cousin.



Some low hanging fruit for performance:


3g alternator swap
electric fan
headers
EPAS or Mazda electric power steering (you will hate Saginaw pumps after.driving an EPAS modified ranger)
Pre-86 throttle body,
gasket match porting your intakes
2.5 inch exhaust
modifying your air box
Head porting
Valve job
New lifters
High volume oil pump
Merkur/Granada twin throttle body intake swap
Electric water pump
Catch can

I could go all day. I wont.

Mine has been built to accomodate an Eaton M62 blower. Blower isn't on yet, but is ready to bolt up (work and a Honda accord have been stealing my soul). At this point, im running an aftermarket PCM (Megasquirt) along with a massive list of modifications, and I have methanol spray (washer fluid works well) kick in for when the engine is working hard and at high rpm). There are only two people I know of that have built a turbocharged 2.9, one of them @DCinDC is a member here and drops by on occasion.

If you're wanting to stay naturally aspirated, a 200HP 2.9 is easy to build using 2.8 flat top pistons and a regrind cam.



If your motor is otherwise healthy, I'd start by cleaning. Colognes HATE dirt. They hate sludge even more.

No. Seriously. Colognes have two achilles - improper cooling and dirt/sludge. Both spell an imminent death, even with the improved heads.

Have you pulled your valve covers and intakes yet? 2.9 intakes are rather convoluted, and tend.to fill with pcv junk, and rocker shafts tend to plug with sludge.

The only injector and carbon cleaners ill use nowadays are Liqui Moly Jectron and their intake valve cleaner. I'd avise running both. Also, consider switching to Liqui Moly synthetic oil (or regular synthetic with a can of their MoS2) or something with a high ZDDP count. Your cam will thank you.

Have you obtained a copy of Pruitt's 'Building Cologne V6' yet?
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Oh, and for the love of the gods, get that A4LD (or whatever its called; autos don't deserve to be named other than 'boat anchor') out from behind it and send it back to hell where it belongs. FM146 and M5ODR1 will bolt right on. The M5 is the superior of the two.
 

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You made PetroleumJunkie412 very happy. Now see what you did? We're going to be hearing "2.9 this" and "2.9 that" for weeks now... :(
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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You made PetroleumJunkie412 very happy. Now see what you did? We're going to be hearing "2.9 this" and "2.9 that" for weeks now... :(
one of us

one of us

one of us
 

snoranger

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You made PetroleumJunkie412 very happy. Now see what you did? We're going to be hearing "2.9 this" and "2.9 that" for weeks now... :(
All that hard work, months of putting him in his place, down the F’in drain because of one post!:pissedoff:
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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All that hard work, months of putting him in his place, down the F’in drain because of one post!:pissedoff:
Any time, any day, any red light ??
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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All that hard work, months of putting him in his place, down the F’in drain because of one post!:pissedoff:
You made PetroleumJunkie412 very happy. Now see what you did? We're going to be hearing "2.9 this" and "2.9 that" for weeks now... :(
Also, this is the ONLY time that im useful and relevant around here, so let me enjoy it, dammit ??
 

snoranger

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Any time, any day, any red light ??
What do you want to race?
‘02 Ranger Duratec 2.3...
That’s the only thing I own your 2.9l has got a chance of keeping up with. (I’ve got an old mountain bike I got in 6th grade? You want to try me bro? :icon_rofl:)
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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What do you want to race?
‘02 Ranger Duratec 2.3...
That’s the only thing I own your 2.9l has got a chance of keeping up with. (I’ve got an old mountain bike I got in 6th grade? You want to try me bro? :icon_rofl:)
Oh please, I daily a SOHC... that little Duratec is a pony motor for a 2.9*






















*until it runs out of coolant.

Seriously, don't ever let your 2.9 run low on coolant. It will die. ✌?
 

8788Ranger2wd

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Thanks guys. I really am interested in the turbo option, but may also do the cooling fan conversion too. The alternator may also be a prerequisite for the fan mod, so I've added that to the list as well. I do prefer manual shift, but given what I've already invested in the trans rebuild, if the automatic will handle the increase in torque at the shift points, then I'll likely leave it in place. I'll keep an eye out for a manual just in case, to keep on hand for future conversion.

My motor is already rebuilt, more of a crate motor...stock as a rock using the heads from the old one if I recall. The heads were also sent off for rebuild. I have less than 5k miles since all of it was done.

I looked for the book... About $50 + shipping.

-Vern
 
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