• Welcome Visitor! Please take a few seconds and Register for our forum. Even if you don't want to post, you can still 'Like' and react to posts.

I need a driveshaft for an '85 Ranger 2.3L, what fits?

JoshT

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
TRS Banner 2012-2015
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,662
Reaction score
123
Points
63
Location
Macon/Fort Valley, GA
Vehicle Year
1999
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0L
Transmission
Automatic
I'm thinking about getting the 85 Ranger I picked up this weekend running so I can drive it until I get around to the V8 swap. I have the engine and most of the parts, but given life, work, and school, I don't know how long it'll be before I can get to the engine swap. If I can get the thing driveable I can atleast enjoy driving it while doing the suspension and other mods and maintenance it's getting. Being able to drive it will help keep interest up in the project.

Anyway the truck is a 1985 Ranger long bed 2wd with the 2.3L Lima and auto transmission. It is missing the driveshaft, which I think is probably need before I even attempt to get it running, don't want it to be dumping transmission fluid. What can I get a driveshaft from to work in this thing?

Would definitely think that one from an 83-88 Ranger with the same specs would work if I can find one. What about later models? 4wd? The wheel base didn't grown until '98, so would a shaft from a 4 cylinder auto long bed 89-97 fit?

How about an '84 2.8L manual long bed shaft? I kind of doubt it, but I've got one.

Barring finding an available driveshaft that bolts in, could I use the yokes from a manual transmission 2.8 or 2.9 to have one built? I've got both available.


Just to throw in a curve ball. Long term goal is to put an Explorer 8.8 disc axle, which I already have, in this thing to go with the V8. I'm lowering it with dream beam and 95-97 spindles, which I also already have. While doing maintenance on the suspension I intend to install the front lowering components, no point in doing the work twice. It'd be nice to go ahead with the Explorer axle at the same time to lower the back.

In the Explorer 8.8" swap article I see this:
  • Pre-1990 Ranger Driveshafts Will Not Bolt Directly Up To The Explorer 8.8 (Have Custom Shaft Made Or Get A 1990 Or Newer Shaft)
I'm thinking this is because the flange is different pattern? I've got an Explorer driveshaft with the right axle flange, can I attach it to the 2.3L driveshaft?

Can I use a 90+ 2.3L long bed shaft as a bolt in with the Explorer 8.8 swap? If so it'll be easier to find, and I may just go ahead and install the Explorer axle now. I've also got a 2000 (?) Ranger 8.8 available I could install in the interim if this drive shaft is available and best option, but not ready to lower.

Sorry for million questions, this would be so much easier if I had a driveshaft compare and/or the truck was here instead of an hour away.
 


JoshT

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
TRS Banner 2012-2015
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,662
Reaction score
123
Points
63
Location
Macon/Fort Valley, GA
Vehicle Year
1999
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0L
Transmission
Automatic
Ok so looks like neither of the manual transmission could be rebuilt to work due to yoke differences at the transmission. I've been spending some time searching on car-part (.com). Looks like all of the 85-89 long bed 2wd automatics might have used the same A4LD transmission, and maybe the same driveshaft?

Could I get a short bed automatic shaft for the transmission slip yoke and swap that yoke onto my 2.8L long bed manual shaft? If so there is one of those in town, but car-part doesn't list the price. That is also assuming that my shaft isn't bent from the hit that the truck took. In the passenger side at the B-pillar, cab pushed against frame rail and bent frame rail.

Browsing car-part I've found a few other possibilities, but I don't know what will fit. All of these were searched for regular cab, 7 foot bed, 4x2, and automatic.

If my information above is somewhat right, I'm thinking that one of these might work with the stock 7.5 axle.
  • 1989 2.9L 2wd AT long bed - $50 - 4.5 hour round trip
  • 2x 1986 4cyl 2wd AT long bed - Call for price - about a 6 hour round trip with traffic
Maybe one of these would work with either of my 8.8" axles:
  • 1990 4.0L 2wd AT long bed -$50 - 2 hour round trip
  • 1993 ?? 2wd AT long bed - $100 - 4 hour round trip
I sent a quote request about the 1986 2.3 drive shafts with shipping because I know they'll fit and I'd rather not drive 6 hours. Sent one for the 89 2.9L shaft, but I might be able to go get it after work in a few weeks. Don't know if it'll actually fit though.

If that 90 4.0L shaft would work with the 2.3 and one of the 8.8s I think that is my solution. Easy drive and preparing for future. It wouldn;t matter to me if I did the Explorer or Ranger 8.8 right now. I think both are 3.73 ratio. Explorer is LS, Ranger is open. Both have decent brake life. Either would involve about the same work, not really all that hard, and have all the parts on hand to install both. I'd use Ranger if I'm not ready to lower, Explorer if I am. Stock 17" wheel and tire size for 03-04 Mustang. It is going to need tires, even if it doesn't they're too small. With my future plans it is going to need 17" wheels, and I have the wheels I like already. That tire size should be readily available used and will likely fit stock or lowered. If it doesn't fit lowered, I'm not out much since I bought used.
 

SenorNoob

Well-Known Member
TRS Event Participant
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
1,967
Reaction score
159
Points
63
Location
Middle Tennessee
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
1.5" Front + 4" Rear
Tire Size
245-70-R16
Ranger 4wd rear driveshaft doesn't have the slip yoke up front. It's in the middle of the shaft. So that's a no go.

I'd be surprised if any A4LD slip yoke was different. Probably 4R44E and 5R44E too.

Bed/Cab length does matter. It changes wheelbase. But I don't think a long bed was offered with SuperCab, so any long bed 2wd of the right age to use the size u-joint/flange you want to match your axle should be fine.

Though at some point (maybe 98?) The 2-piece driveshaft was dropped for 4wd. I don't know about 2wd.
 

RonD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
22,041
Reaction score
5,347
Points
113
Location
canada
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
Ranger wheelbases

1983-1997 Ranger short bed 107.9"
1983-1997 Ranger long bed 113.9"
1986-1997 Ranger super cab short bed 125.4"

1998-2011 Ranger long bed 117.6"

All Long Beds were regular cab

So 2WD 1983 to 1997 automatic trans long bed driveshaft would work for you

Yes, the 2WD A4LD and 4R/5R automatics used the same driveshaft connection

7.5" and 8.8" have the same size and bolt pattern plates, so either will work with any Ranger drive shaft

Inspect wrecking yard driveshaft carefully, vehicles are moved around the yard with a fork lift.......................driveshafts get bent
 
Last edited:

JoshT

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
TRS Banner 2012-2015
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,662
Reaction score
123
Points
63
Location
Macon/Fort Valley, GA
Vehicle Year
1999
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0L
Transmission
Automatic
Just typing out the same info, you beat me to it.

When I originally posted, I knew I'd need a long bed truck driveshaft for a long bed truck. What I didn't know was differences in transmission and axle yokes and if there were length differences based on engine/trans combo.

Y'all got me settled out on what I need, I'll be calling the yard with that 90 model shaft tomorrow to see if they are open. I doubt it, but I'm off work tomorrow and any other day I'd have to try to get up there before work.
 

JoshT

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
TRS Banner 2012-2015
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,662
Reaction score
123
Points
63
Location
Macon/Fort Valley, GA
Vehicle Year
1999
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0L
Transmission
Automatic
So 2WD 1983 to 1997 automatic trans long bed driveshaft would work for you

7.5" and 8.8" have the same size and bolt pattern plates, so either will work with any Ranger drive shaft
I can say with certainty that this is not always the case. Got my hands on a driveshaft today from a 1990 long bed 2.9L Auto 2wd. Not the one mentioned above, this was closer and cheaper. It fit's my transmission. It is the correct length. It doesn't fit the axle flange though.

Apparently somewhere between 1985 and 1990, most likely in 90 from what I've read, they changed the size of the lokes used on the rear axle. It isn't just a 7.5 vs 8.8 thing. The 1985 has the 7.5" and so did the 1990. The bolt pattern on the 1990 is bigger than the whole flange on the 1985. With the driveshaft pushed up to the flange, only about half the bolt hole is on the flange.

No big deal, I was already planning for changing the axle as well. Probably works out for the best because I discovered it's probably not the stock axle. It is an RBV axle, but doesn't match the door tag. More on that in another thread.

Also, u-joint to u-join there is only about an inch difference in length of the Explorer V8 driveshaft. I probably could have used it, but the transmission yoke for the A4LD doesn't fit the 4R70W and I would assume the opposite is also true. Might have to investigate swapping parts around when it comes time for the V8 swap.
 
Last edited:

Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Top