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for all 3.8 and 4.2 info check out v6power.net, its a mustang site so no competition for the rangers, but tons of info on the 3.8's a kicka$$ mod for the stock 3.8 is the upper windstar intake, flows much better and looks much better, alot more torque. windstars came with 3.8s and 4.2 style intakes but theres a material thickness difference. lotta good writeups on teh internet.3.8 can be a killer motor. its pretty much a 351w with 2 cylinders wacked off and on a metirc configuration.
they do have problems with head gaskets, not enuff clamping force in area's.they are not a very good junkyard swap motor for the fact if you ask me. ford may have taken care of this with the 4.2, I dont know. did a little dealing with the 3.8 right as the 4.2 was coming out.
you also have to take a good notch out of the frame rail to clear the exuast manifolds on N/A 3.8's
the FWD drive motors do have a diffrent belhousing bolt pattern.the the blocks are marked/casted wth FWD
89-95 came roller,can be converted to carb with a aftermarket intake.
then I think in 96 they got a balance shaft
the later model windtard's had a split manifold set up, kinda like the SHO motor's, on the 3.8's
for a few years in the thunderchickens and cougars they had a blown 3.8L
and nothing from the ranger will BOLT up.
unless you going after a killer 3.8 or 4.2 not really worth it, 4.0L SOHC would be a simpler bolt in type of swap if you after more power.
Can't go wrong with a straight Ranger tradeI had a supercharged 3.8 in my '90 thunderbird super coupe. The car was very very rough, and had 146k when i picked it up for 400 bucks. After a few cans of sea foam the thing ran great! It was my work car for about two years, and i drove the hell out of it. Traded it with 190k on the clock. Averaged 29 mpg on a round trip to South Dakota (@75 mph) The S/C motor came in the super coupe and the cougar xr7 in the early ninetys and might make a neat swap into a ranger, although i felt the motor was pretty gutless.. It ALWAYS ran cold and smelled like antifreeze :/
I kinda miss that car, but i traded it for my ranger straight up!