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2.3L ('83-'97) Is the 2.3 really this slow?


Rooster71

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I recently got a 97 Ranger with the 2.3l and manual transmission. Good little truck but seems really slow. Today I wanted to see how fast it would go. With the pedal all the way down, I barely got above 70mph! Is this normal? It was an olddelivery truck for a parts store. Could they have put some kind of governor on it?
 


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Dirtman

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It's up there.
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It's down there.
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Round.
No thats not normal but alot depends on what gears are in it.
 

racsan

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my ‘88 2.3 would do 75 at best, 14” tires and 3.73’s , my current ranger is a 94 with 4.10’s and depending on tire size it will go 80 or 85 max. (225/70/15 or 235/75/15) the 235/75/15 takes about 3 miles to top out at 85. These little engines arent much over 100hp and not a lot of tourque either. But if you keep your foot out of it on level ground it will come close to 30 mpg (with 3.73’s) I get in the low 20’s with 4.10’s but they are worth it, couldnt tow with it when I got it as it had 3.45’s when I got it.
My ‘93 4.0 4x4 would go over 90 but the handling at that speed is awful.
 

ThatOneGuy

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I know mine is an old carbed engine so a bit of a different story, but my 83 2.3 tops at about 70 on flat surface, and thats really giving her the beans lol, and it does take awhile to get there. Slowes to about 60 on long slopes.
 

Blmpkn

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The truck only had 112 hp to start with, 23 years ago. If its the typical old delivery truck that has a million miles on it.. it probably makes much less than that figure by now.
 

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The 98 I had would cruise all day long at 85 with 225/70/15's and 4.10s. Yes it was a 2.5 but the power difference there was marginal.
 

scotts90ranger

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My '97 extended cab with 235 75 15's and 4.10's will do much more than 70... a few months ago I took it on a 1800 mile roadtrip all freeway and I cruised 75mph for hours on end, didn't go much past 80 as I don't need attention but there was more to go... But this thing is a spring chicken, just passed 160k miles a few weeks ago.

That said it really depends on tire size and gearing, my '90 came from the factory with 3.08 gears and short tires, back in the day I think I got it to 100 but that was a long time ago, and I think I had to downshift to 4th to do it...
 

tinman_72

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I have a '93 2WD 5 speed with 3.73 in rear and 255/60/15's all around. While it has crazy poor acceleration it will accelerate until the factory governor kicks in around 95MPH. (As long as it is not going uphill.)
 

tomw

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Could be the parts store manager fiddled with the throttle cable to keep his guys from going too fast. If it was only used in town, it could have been hobbled by that to prevent speeding tickets...
Check that the throttle opens all the way. Cable could also have stretched over time, or the linkage mal-adjusted.
A 2.3 should be able to do 80 mph, or more, depending upon final drive and tire diameter.
I know I can cruise all day over 70 with no problem. Of course driving a barn door(1985 version) at that speed will kill my mpg, so I stay in the right lane at about 65-67 where the aerodynamics are less of a problem.
tom
 

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I have learned that 2.3s need to be spun faster before you shift to keep them in their peak power band... try shifting later than you think you should. There is a sweet spot in every gear where you should be shifting... if you shift before you're in that spot, it'll fall on its face. I can pretty easily maintain highway speed in mine although headwinds and hills will really hurt it.

The 98 I had would cruise all day long at 85 with 225/70/15's and 4.10s. Yes it was a 2.5 but the power difference there was marginal.
I swear the 2.5 is a significant upgrade over the 2.3. I had a 98 for a short period of time that was very snappy... huge improvement over any 2.3 I've owned.
 

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The truck only had 112 hp to start with, 23 years ago. If its the typical old delivery truck that hadxsaassawwazss a million miles on it.. it probably makes much less than that figure by now.
My 2.8 had 110 new, it would run 70 without a problem if you kept oil in it. 4wd with 235's and 3.73's. Right up until the blowby would push the dipstick out and spray oil on the exhaust manifold, it might have after that but I kinda grounded it

No way that greaseball was making factory power when I got it let alone after I ran it low on oil a couple times.
 

scotts90ranger

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For the record, my '97 with 4.10 gears and 27" tires (stock size for this thing I think, not sure I didn't get the original drivers door) hit the rev limit (6000rpm, pretty sure) at 50mph in second gear... depending on gear ratio it's entirely possible for it to go slower in 5th gear than 4th gear, mine is at 3000rpm at 78mph with 28" tires which seems to be a happy spot for all around drivability and with car tires I'm getting around 23mph right now.

If someone's screwed with the tire size or the speedo isn't accurate, that is going to screw with things too...
 

DCman

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my ‘88 2.3 would do 75 at best, 14” tires and 3.73’s , my current ranger is a 94 with 4.10’s and depending on tire size it will go 80 or 85 max. (225/70/15 or 235/75/15) the 235/75/15 takes about 3 miles to top out at 85. These little engines arent much over 100hp and not a lot of tourque either. But if you keep your foot out of it on level ground it will come close to 30 mpg (with 3.73’s) I get in the low 20’s with 4.10’s but they are worth it, couldnt tow with it when I got it as it had 3.45’s when I got it.
My ‘93 4.0 4x4 would go over 90 but the handling at that speed is awful.
I'm not the speed demon I used to be, but my '98 XL with 2.5, 3.45's and 5 speed has been up to 85 in the past.
70 seems a little slow for a '97 2.3. I bet a thorough tune-up (plugs, wires, ALL filters) would at least help.
 


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