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peepaw truck

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Upstate SC
Vehicle Year
2000
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.5 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.5
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Retired tech, most of my career with Honda- a bit of Ford experience but no expert
Hi guys, I'm looking to buy a Ranger 98-05 or so to replace my old F150 as a daily driver/light duty workhorse. Retired tech so not mechanically stupid but know little about these trucks. Even high mileage ones in the range I'm looking at are bringing high prices around here. I just found a 2.5 5speed regular cab for a price I can afford, 98-01 judging by the engine. 250k. Can anyone tell me what big problems I might look out for and just general advice on a truck of this series & mileage. Thanks in advance for any help for an old retiree!
 


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RonD

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canada
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Welcome to TRS :)

Yes, with the backorders of new trucks, used truck prices are high now

The 2.5l was the last in the SOHC Lima engines, built in Ford's Lima, Ohio engine plant
It started out in a 1974 Pinto, as 2.3l SOHC so has a nick name, The Pinto Engine
Very very reliable engine
But does have a timing BELT which needs to be changed every 80-100k miles or so
Its a non-interference engine so a broken belt won't hurt pistons or valves but engine will of course stop running, lol

In 1989 the 2.3l Lima was changed to distributorless and got dual spark plugs for more power, both spark plugs fire at the same time
In 1998 the 2.3l Lima was stroked, same pistons, head and block, but different crank and longer connecting rods, and this version was only used from 1998 to 2001, as you said
A 27 year run, which never happens unless an engine is reliable, lol

Rangers got PATS(passive anti-theft system) in 1999, but only the V6 models, needs transponder key to start the engine
The 4cyl didn't have PATS until the 2.3l DOHC Duratec was used
So the 2.5l won't have PATS regardless of the year

Mid-year 2001 Rangers got the new 2.3l DOHC Duratec engine, so mid-2001 was the last of the Limas

Its not a power house but can get out of its own way, and the MPG is OK for 1990's technology
Paired with the M5OD-R1(M5R1) manual transmission, this combo is usually trouble free
M5R1 was used from 1988 thru 2011 in Rangers so also a reliable part/transmission

1998 thru 2003 Ranger were analog, and before that as well, lol
2004 thru 2011 Rangers had digital dash and CAN Bus data network
2001 thru 2003 Ranger 2.3l DOHC had heated thermostats and IMRC which had issues, these were both dropped in 2004 Rangers

The 1994 thru 2011 Mazda B-series were Ford Rangers, B2300 has 2.3l engine, B2500 has 2.5l engine, B3000 has 3.0l V6, B4000 has the 4.0l V6
These are often sold cheaper and its the same chassis and drive train with different body panels
So same reliability of a Ford Ranger but costs less, but they didn't sell as well as Rangers so fewer around

Used Ranger buyers guide seen here: https://www.therangerstation.com/ford-rangers-buyers-guide/

And you can look at Brochures here: https://www.therangerstation.com/articles/ford-ranger-brochures/
To see what Trim packages and Options were for the year you are considering
 
Last edited:

peepaw truck

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2000
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.5 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.5
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Retired tech, most of my career with Honda- a bit of Ford experience but no expert
Thank you RonD for the quick reply and the good information! Hoping to get a once over and test drive this afternoon.
 

dvdswan

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Keep your mind like an umbrella, it only works if its open... Continually learning.
Welcome to the site.
 

peepaw truck

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2WD
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Retired tech, most of my career with Honda- a bit of Ford experience but no expert

BrooksK

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Did you get the truck?
 

Eddo Rogue

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1993
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Ranger 4x4
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OHV
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Total Lift
skyjacker front leveling kit
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I always opt for the 4.0L (OHV or SOHC)mostly because its the only one(s) that can get out of its own way. The 3.0 is okay if you rev the piss out of it, but that's not how to drive a loaded work truck. I have little experience with the 4 bangers, but remember nothing spectacular. The biggest pig of em all was my 2.9l v6 ranger, that thing was scary slow.

Suspension wise, I am a fan of TTB, but the IFS is not bad either. Neither are perfect, but I wouldn't say they have issues. I can't say the same for steering, but you know that already with your F150.

There a few things Ford "forgot" to do, which aren't major projects, but greatly improve reliability and driveability, the newer '98+ rangers have less of these.

I haven't heard of major electrical issues, especially after the "Big 3" mod (one of the post production upgrades mentioned above). Sometimes there will be posts about gauge cluster or electrical fuel issues. Currently, among some other issues, my rangers tach is reading about 2k rpm higher than what the engine is at, but it runs fine, I'll fix it all later when I have time off work lol. I've had to replace a few sensors, nothing major.

Interiors are what they are. Nothing spectacular nor miserable. The dome light sucks.

Plus side is are tons of aftermarket out there, and no shortage of oem parts either. But always go OEM (Motorcraft) on engine parts. Rangers do hate aftermarket parts, except for stuff like suspension mods or improvements on crappy oem designs etc.

They are relatively cheap and easy to fix. I can do most of it with a basic metric socket and wrench set. Put an 8mm in one hand and 10mm in the other, and you can now dismantle half of what's underhood.
 

peepaw truck

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2000
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Ford Ranger
Engine Type
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Engine Size
2.5
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Retired tech, most of my career with Honda- a bit of Ford experience but no expert

peepaw truck

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Location
Upstate SC
Vehicle Year
2000
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.5 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.5
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Retired tech, most of my career with Honda- a bit of Ford experience but no expert
Did you get the truck?
I did, and pretty happy with it. Replaced the shocks and sway bar bushings, greased the lower ball joints and it drives well now. Gas mileage is good average 24 or better so far, and pretty peppy for a 4cyl. Std cab 5spd rwd, manual windows & door locks, good basic truck. Changing the trans oil tomorrow, popped the fill plug & the fluid is black. Had to order a decent fluid pump or I'd have done it today. Also want to get the upper timing cover off & at least get a visual on the belt.
 

snoranger

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I didn't ask for your life story, just answer the question!
I did, and pretty happy with it. Replaced the shocks and sway bar bushings, greased the lower ball joints and it drives well now. Gas mileage is good average 24 or better so far, and pretty peppy for a 4cyl. Std cab 5spd rwd, manual windows & door locks, good basic truck. Changing the trans oil tomorrow, popped the fill plug & the fluid is black. Had to order a decent fluid pump or I'd have done it today. Also want to get the upper timing cover off & at least get a visual on the belt.
The M5OD trans has a known issue with the 3 shift rail plugs on the back of the top cover. Over time the rubber plugs start to leak... keep an eye out for it.
 

Craig0320

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5.0
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Automatic
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4WD
My credo
Break it right the first time. Fix it better the next time.
I've had all three 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0. Hands down 4.0 for power. 2.5 for mileage. I got 24 mpg in mine it was a manual 2wd single cab 98. I got around 18.5 out of my 4.0 before I put the 5.0 in it.
 

peepaw truck

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
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Location
Upstate SC
Vehicle Year
2000
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.5 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.5
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Retired tech, most of my career with Honda- a bit of Ford experience but no expert
Welcome to TRS :)

Yes, with the backorders of new trucks, used truck prices are high now

The 2.5l was the last in the SOHC Lima engines, built in Ford's Lima, Ohio engine plant
It started out in a 1974 Pinto, as 2.3l SOHC so has a nick name, The Pinto Engine
Very very reliable engine
But does have a timing BELT which needs to be changed every 80-100k miles or so
Its a non-interference engine so a broken belt won't hurt pistons or valves but engine will of course stop running, lol

In 1989 the 2.3l Lima was changed to distributorless and got dual spark plugs for more power, both spark plugs fire at the same time
In 1998 the 2.3l Lima was stroked, same pistons, head and block, but different crank and longer connecting rods, and this version was only used from 1998 to 2001, as you said
A 27 year run, which never happens unless an engine is reliable, lol

Rangers got PATS(passive anti-theft system) in 1999, but only the V6 models, needs transponder key to start the engine
The 4cyl didn't have PATS until the 2.3l DOHC Duratec was used
So the 2.5l won't have PATS regardless of the year

Mid-year 2001 Rangers got the new 2.3l DOHC Duratec engine, so mid-2001 was the last of the Limas

Its not a power house but can get out of its own way, and the MPG is OK for 1990's technology
Paired with the M5OD-R1(M5R1) manual transmission, this combo is usually trouble free
M5R1 was used from 1988 thru 2011 in Rangers so also a reliable part/transmission

1998 thru 2003 Ranger were analog, and before that as well, lol
2004 thru 2011 Rangers had digital dash and CAN Bus data network
2001 thru 2003 Ranger 2.3l DOHC had heated thermostats and IMRC which had issues, these were both dropped in 2004 Rangers

The 1994 thru 2011 Mazda B-series were Ford Rangers, B2300 has 2.3l engine, B2500 has 2.5l engine, B3000 has 3.0l V6, B4000 has the 4.0l V6
These are often sold cheaper and its the same chassis and drive train with different body panels
So same reliability of a Ford Ranger but costs less, but they didn't sell as well as Rangers so fewer around

Used Ranger buyers guide seen here: https://www.therangerstation.com/ford-rangers-buyers-guide/

And you can look at Brochures here: https://www.therangerstation.com/articles/ford-ranger-brochures/
To see what Trim packages and Options were for the year you are considering
Thank you RonD for the quick reply and the good information! Hoping to get a once over and test drive this afternoon.
 

peepaw truck

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Location
Upstate SC
Vehicle Year
2000
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.5 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.5
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Retired tech, most of my career with Honda- a bit of Ford experience but no expert

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