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4.0 or 5.0 swap?

RangerGoolz

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I have a 1986 ranger with 2.9 and 5-speed manual trans. I am curious about swapping in a new more powerful engine. Will a 4.0 be the easiest swap and if so what year 4.0 should I be looking for? If its not that much harder to go 5.0 v8 then I may do that but I am not experienced here and will need to pay for some labor help. Just starting to make a plan so any input and advise will be amazing.
 


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tw205

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5.0 IMHO. Marginal HP increase with the ohv 4.0. 5.0 is very popular, plentiful, and offers the ability to build to whatever HP requirements you like.
 

Blmpkn

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It's claimed to be more or less the same difficulty either way, might as well go with the v8.
 

gaz

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@RangerGoolz ,

If fuel economy is a concern, rebuilding your 1986 2.9l for increased efficiency will deliver both improved fuel economy and the power to get quite a bit more work accomplished.

I needed more from the 2.9l and am shocked both by how much their efficiency can be improved and how more more fuel efficient they can become.

In regards to swapping in an OHV 4.0l, SOHC 4.0l or 5.0l the costs are worth considering. 15-20 years ago, plopping in a junkyard ohv 4.0l probably saved some money verses a proper 2.9l rebuild but today if you want either a junkyard or working doner engine to run decent I feel that at a minimum 1) valve job 2) complete rebuild are on the table.

Comparing the higher cost to adapt an 86 RBV chasis for V8 use with the bolt in ohv 4.0l was once a landslide in favor of the 4.0l. Adding the additional cost of a rebuild, levels the swap cost playing field.

I am not the one to ask about using the SOHC 4.0l, I like using their flat top pistons in the OHV 4.0l for a modest compression boost when a rebuild is already happening.

In the end:
• a built 2.9l is the lightest, requires no structural change and WILL get the highest fuel economy
• the OHV 4.0l is the simplest swap though a rebuild should be expected
• the SOHC 4.0l is reported to be a dependable power plant (I am not a fan of the timing set up)
• the 5.0l will require the most structural adaption, has the greatest after market support, least transmission and exhaust options, best towing and can see 24-25 mpg (highway) if you are willing to do what is necessary to realize it

If you are low on mechanical expertise, then the "proper" 2.9l rebuild will be hard to beat. Considering just cost, fuel economy and end power; you can expect a 2.9l build to cost about as much as a crate replacement engine but yield nearly SOHC 4.0l power with almost 2x the fuel economy of a stock OHV 4.0l. The cost and power for the other engines will increase but the fuel numbers will decrease will ohv 4.0l, even more with either of the other 2 engines.
 

Ranger850

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Take a look into the "tech Library". According to folk lore, the 4.0 is a stroked 2.9, so a lot of interchangeable parts. That being said, the 5.0 has a lot of aftermarket support. It really comes down to time, money, and skill level.
 

rubydist

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The 4.0 will be the easiest swap, but the added power and torque from the 5.0 makes it worth doing a little more work, imho.
 

fastpakr

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The idea of a 24-25mpg 5.0 Ranger is pretty comical.

4.0 OHV for the simplest swap and still get some improvement in output.
5.0 if done right gets you a reliable swap and tons of aftermarket support.

No thanks on the OHC option. Too much of a headache with the cam chain issues. Plus it's a huge engine that introduces its own complications.
 

Shran

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I've done both. I like 4.0 swaps but they get more complicated if your donor is 93 up... (EGR, DPFE, cam sensor, etc.) Even more complicated after '95 with OBD-II and other wiring changes. 90-92 is the easiest electrical donor but the heads on those are weaker and those donors are just older and may be harder to find in good shape.

5.0 swaps do make more power but at the expense of needing a different transmission, drive shafts, radiator, exhaust... etc... do you have to pass emissions where you are at in CO? If you are a good fabricator, can understand electrical diagrams, have access to a good parts supply, and emissions are not a problem then maybe that's the way to go.

IMO the downside to a V8 swap is that you have to think 5 steps ahead or redo things several times. Little things like your front accessory selection and the exact position of your engine in relation to the body/frame will make a huge difference. Our trucks were not designed with a V8 in mind so unless you really think it through, you will be endlessly tinkering with annoying little problems. In my case it has been engine/radiator clearance, weird hose locations, trans shifter is not where I'd like it... etc... I am fairly happy with it but I would never trust it to go on a long trip. Maybe it would be fine but I just don't trust it, even after 10+ years.

The longer I own these trucks, the more attractive 2.9 builds become, I agree with what gaz says as well.
 

Saxwing1988

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They sell ford ranger 5.0 conversion kits. I’m trying to either do a 4.0 or a 5.0 also but here’s the thing.

I think a 4.0 would be easier because your getting the motor out of the same truck essentially. So I can just go to the wrecking yard grab everything motor wiring tranny etc and just put it in mine and it wouldn’t be hard at all.

the 5.0 on the other hand I looked into it and you have a couple choices for motors you can get the 5.0 from a mustang but it dosnt come with the transmission because it’s in a rwd car. you can get a 5.0 from an expedition but that 5.0 has different heads then the mustang 5.0 and has lil less horsepower. Along with the fact I think the explorer with the 5.0 is awd not 4wd so then your still needing a tranny. You can get a 5.0 out of a 96 f150 and I think those have the correct tranny but idk what else you would need for the drivetrain.

Ohh and so yeah they sell a 5.0 conversion kit that comes with an oil pan that fits the 5.0 and gives room over your cross member along with motor mounts that will fit the 5.0 in a ranger and a few other things. So really the only problem is figuring out the transmission and getting 4wd to work
 

Saxwing1988

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So I wonder if it’s better to get a 5.0 from a mustang then get the tranny from a f150
 

JerrySab

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I needed more from the 2.9l and am shocked both by how much their efficiency can be improved and how more more fuel efficient they can become.
@gaz Can you elaborate on this? I want to love my 2.9 and help it be the best little engine it can be, but also feel like I'm always playing catch up with it. Always some little gremlin to hunt down and even fomoco parts seem like garbage these days. I get a lot out of Kunz' aggregated posts but would love to know any additional insights you may have.
 

Saxwing1988

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You could always do what I’m doing. I have a 3.0 right now that idk the miles on so what I did was I bought another 3.0 block and started building that. Then once I get done building it I’m gonna swap the old motor out for the new one or maybe even by a used motor that’s the same you have right now see if there’s any stroker kits and build a stroker motor
 

rubydist

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You can get the engine and trans from an Explorer and replace the t-case with one from a 6 cylinder F-150 because those were the only ones of that style that you could get in manual shift.
 

Eddo Rogue

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If you want fuel economy, put an LS motor in it. Otherwise go 5.0. It would be kinda pointless to do all that work for a 4.0....the OHV has good torque but nothing spectacular, and the SOHC is huge and also nothing spectacular.
 

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