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Buying a ranger

Glimatic

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Hamilton, Ontario
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Hello. I’m new to the truck world, well, cars in general. A little bit of a back story about me - I’m a highschool student looking for a ranger to help me with my side gig, which is flipping dirt bikes. I got some mechanic skills when it comes to two strokes and how to get them running. Enough about that though, I’ll get to my questions.

As I stated above, looking for a ranger to do causal driving to pickup lawnmowers, dirt bikes, help parents, etc. I’m also going into college next year so it’ll be my daily if I end up getting one. My price range is about 6KCAD max, using what I’ve saved up.

There’s lots of controversy over what engine to get online, some tell me the V6, some tell me the I4. From my own research the I4 seems more reliable, but harder to find(?). I’ve been browsing marketplace a ton these past few weeks getting an idea of the prices as I am planning to buy at the end of the summer.

Regardless, let me know what you guys think as experienced ford ranger experts, haha, I am just not sure what’s good and what’s not, and how I can tell what engine the ranger has depending on its year and all of that.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the essay, appreciate if you read it.
 


Blmpkn

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Location
Southern maine
Vehicle Year
2021
Make / Model
Ford ranger
Engine Type
2.3 EcoBoost
Engine Size
2.3
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" level
Tire Size
275/65/18
My credo
Its probably better to be self deprecating than self defecating.
4 cylinders are rare if you want/need a 4x4, but the motors are damn reliable and get great gas mileage.
 

pjtoledo

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Location
Toledo Ohio
Vehicle Year
20002005199
Make / Model
Fords
Engine Size
3.0 2.3
My credo
get outta my way, I'm falling!
college on a budget, eh?
my 2005 2wd with the 2.3 duratec has 367,500 miles. ran great for the first 1/4 million miles then slowly started using oil.
it was my work truck, I just kept driving the damned thing. the only failure was an alternator 8-9 years ago.
auto trans were equipped with 4.10 rear axle ratios, manuals got the 3.73 either can pull whatever you need to pull.
the Duratec started about 2001/2002? great engine, cruises at 70-80 easily. aluminum block is very light that makes the regular cab trucks quite nimble.

winter driving, I put a set of dedicated winter tires on, had 400 lbs of tools in the back and conquered anything that southeast Michigan could throw at me.
 

dvdswan

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Location
Seattle, WA
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ranger XLT 2WD
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Keep your mind like an umbrella, it only works if its open... Continually learning.
Welcome to the site.

4 cyl. or 6 cyl. with a young adult male.... regardless you're going to find some way to; 1) not get good mileage or 2) test the abilities of the vehicle to the maximum limit. :p
 

lil_Blue_Ford

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Location
Butler, PA, USSA
Vehicle Year
95
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.9L
Transmission
Manual
My first was a 3.0l v-6 manual transmission 2wd. It’s kinda hilly here and I knew I was going to be working the truck so I felt a 6 cyl was needed. It worked well, but I was a dumb kid and crunched it. At that point I needed a bigger truck (I was doing construction work) so I replaced it with an F-150 with the straight 6 and manual transmission plus 4x4.

Then I got sucked fully into the world of vehicles and here we are.

IMHO, a 2wd and/or a 4cyl would work. A 4x4 and 6 cyl would be arguably more ideal for what you’re planning to do (especially if you want to eventually pull a trailer), but your fuel and repair costs are going to be a little higher. The newer the Ranger, the more likely you will minimize repairs needed, but the older ones repairs are often cheaper. So it can be a balancing act. Repairs to my 92 Ranger are cheaper than to my 2000 Ranger. Both trucks are capable of the same things. I also blew the engine in the 92 and the transmission in the 00, so things happen. The 2.9 gets a bad rap, but it can be a decent motor. The 3.0 tends to be pretty reliable but it doesn’t put out the power of the 4.0. The 4.0 SOHC (2001 and newer) puts out more power than all, but they are prone to timing chain problems. The older 4.0 OHV is pretty solid, it’s essentially a bored and stroked 2.9.

I think the frame is what you really need to watch. Especially on the 98+ trucks. Behind the cats on the 98+ tends to rot, all years where the frame comes up behind the cab and around the rear leaf spring hangers. Caught early enough, it’s entirely repairable and 98+ trucks the frame is actually a two piece design that joins at the front leaf spring hanger behind the cab. I actually did a half frame replacement on my one 2000.

Oh, and an extended cab is rather handy.
 

superj

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Location
corpus christi, texas
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3 liters of tire smoking power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
Grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s
having a single cab, i say look for an extended cab. and hte 3.0 v8 is a great engine with a standard transmission behind it. it gets decent gas mileage ever where i have driven it around texas.

the four cylinders get alot better though and i would have no problem with a four cylinder and five speed transmission in a ranger.

if you find one, look under see if it has torsion bars. if you want it to stay stock height and looks, torsion bars are fine but if you ever want to do anything else, look for one with coil springs.

unless you get a 4x4. i think those are all torsion bars. but the two wheel drive edge and sport are both torsion bar front ends, which sucks for mods
 

Lefty

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Saint Paul, MN
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2003
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Ranger Edge
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Automatic
Welcome!

Condition is the most important factor, at least for me. I would aim for one that has less than 150,000 miles. All the engines are reliable. Make sure they run nice and tight.

Get a Ranger that is not rusting out, especially the frame. Rusty doors and the tailgate can easily replaced. They can be found at a U-pull junkyard. The pickup bed floors are prone to rusting out just above the axle on the passenger's side.

Some Rangers may be more easily modified than others, but they are all pretty easy to work on.

And yes, we all want 4WD. Mine didn't come that way, but this summer's plans include a limited slip differential.
 

Saddle Tramp

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Location
Florida
Vehicle Year
2011
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Hello.

Since you're in Ontario, my first suggestion is to find the Ranger with the least amount of rust on it.

6 or 4 is a fun argument, but you'll adapt to whatever engine it has soon enough.

I will throw in my vote for the extended cab. It gives you places for your crate of tie down straps, bungees, as well as the tool box and other items.

Good luck and post pics of what you find.
 

scotts90ranger

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Location
Dayton Oregon
Vehicle Year
1990, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3 Turbo
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
I think an extended cab 4 cylinder manual transmission in the 2001+ to get the duratec and better riding SLA would be a good thing to look for. I kinda wish I had looked for a duratec Ranger but I wanted I beam suspension more than learning a new engine... I know the Lima's pretty good... You're in the rust belt, take the advice from the fellow rust belters, I don't have that problem so I don't know anything about rust... I ignore the '90 and it's been garaged a for at least 6 months total of the 23? years I've had it... no rust...
 

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