• 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.

Newer motor for 96 Ford Ranger


haizrail

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
stoneville north Carolina
Vehicle Year
1996
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Automatic
Hello, and I own a 1996 Ford Ranger XLT standard cab 2.3 liter truck for about seven years now. I bought the truck with 172,000 miles on it and the odometer broke at around 215,000 has been a while ago, and if I would have to make educated guess I would guess that the truck had about 280,000 miles on it. I had a problem with it last year and I did make a Ranger station post and it turns out it was a massive wiring short in the wiring harness.

Now that we have some background information out of the way, I've been thinking about replacing the motor in the truck and I am very green when it comes to motors and motor placement and what is compatible and what's not, when it comes to vehicles. But I'm looking for a new motor that'll fit into the truck that will give it plenty more power and torque. Because I feel that the four-cylinder lacks on both of these aspects. For quite some time I've been wondering if the four-cylinder motor that is in the new Mustangs would actually fit inside my Ranger. I like this particular motor because it has Plenty of power and torque and it's a lot more fuel efficient than the motor that is sitting in my truck. Furthermore, if this motor would fit and bolt into the truck what what I need to change out to make it compatible with my vehicle.
 
Last edited:


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: F9A1A579ACFAD1: October 1st, 2021

Mark_88

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
18,550
Reaction score
228
Points
0
Age
65
Location
Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Dordge
Engine Size
3.3 Fuel Injected
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Love Thy Neighbor
I would suggest starting at the engine conversions section and read what others have done. There are a few people that still frequent this section and could give you suggestions based on their experience and knowledge too...

http://www.therangerstation.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=140

The term "plenty more power and torque" is actually pretty vague because I considered a 2.5 swap as giving my truck plenty more power and torque...because my 2.3 was so worn out that the 2.5 pretty much doubled both of those in my case.

it might be better to understand what you want to apply that power and torque to, how much you can afford to spend, and how soon you want this to happen...

That narrows it down a bit so you can better understand what is within your immediate reach and focus on reality instead of just dreaming. In my case it was based on immediate need, limited funding for the project, and mostly on what I'd already ran around buying and preparing for the swap...

Plus the most important factor...I am a total idiot when it comes to powerful engines and putting a monster under my hood was a sure way to attract all kinds of unwanted attention from local law enforcement...:)
 

haizrail

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
stoneville north Carolina
Vehicle Year
1996
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Automatic
Hello, Mark I'm glad to see that you're still on the forms. Besides the short that happened with the truck last year and the shops screwing me over I haven't had a real problem with the truck. Well I take that back had to replace the transmission about five years ago or so. I'm in my 30s now and I do have a low income so anything I want to do to the truck I would have to do it one aspect at a time. Right now my main focus is getting new shocks for the things. When I actually bought the truck it already had a installed lowering kit. And I just found out a week ago that the type of lowering kit on it is called a flip kit that has a 5 inch drop. This in itself has been a headache trying to figure out what shocks to put on the truck. Moreover, I've contacted the local tire place where I purchase my tires and get my alignments done and they are actually looking into the situation themselves. Jonathan the guy that works on the suspensions has contacted Bell tech and we are waiting for a response from them. Because it turns out that Bell tech is the only manufacturer of flip kits for the 96 Ranger.

That's what I'm currently trying to get done to my truck. As far as a future motor is concerned I would like to know what I can and cannot do. The motor that is in the truck is a great running motor however, it lacks power. There is no more hesitation or stalling out etc. anymore. But I eventually want to slowly fix the truck up, because for one it's a truck and two, the yearly tax rate for the vehicle is very little. I can tell you I love performance and I am an avid race fan, and if I could I would pursue it as a career goal. Since I can't I play racing simulator games with a actual wheel and pedal set up.

However, in addition to all that, I'm a firm believer of you get which pay for. And I'm not saying I would do a motor upgrade in the next two years but I would like to know and find out what I could put in her so that way when I start looking around for motors and I start talking to mechanics and I won't get screwed concerning the motor itself. And when I say more power and torque, I'm actually referring to is double of what's the four-cylinder motor produces thats in the truck now, which if I'm not mistaken it somewhere along the lines of 112 hp and 110 torque I believe. But I also am looking for something that's going to be just as or if not better in fuel efficiency. That's why I've been looking at the new four-cylinder motor that comes in the 2017 Mustang, because it does offer more torque more horsepower and it does offer better fuel economy because of the eco-boost. Now I know that ford changes things all the time and I'm not sure if that motor would even mount in the truck or what you have to change out to make it work or whatever. The only thing I do know is that I have to change the transmission. I hope this clears up a lot for you Mark.

Lastly, I was also wondering if I could take the motor out of the truck and have the motor rebuilt with all performance grade parts. And if so which performance upgrade parts would you consider to be the most beneficial.
 

Mark_88

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
18,550
Reaction score
228
Points
0
Age
65
Location
Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Dordge
Engine Size
3.3 Fuel Injected
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Love Thy Neighbor
Good to hear you've been enjoying a more of the driving of the truck than the stress of trying to figure out what's wrong with it...:icon_thumby: I did read and respond to your last post about finding the problem and that was quite a relief...

This post does add quite a bit to the overall picture and I think going to a V6 is probably the most logical step. The 96 Ranger came with the 4.0 that essentially gives you closer to what you are looking for and doesn't require much more than plug in the proper wire harness and computer for that engine.

There were two versions of the 4.0 but the earlier version is a better fit in terms of less things to do and worry about. The transmission would need to be changed along with it but that can be done in one shot together if you find a donor truck.

The newer version of the 4.0 has more power and I'm not familiar with it enough to know how the wiring harnesses differ other than some things were changed around after 1997 that might make it necessary to make minor modifications or even consider a cab swap with a later model.

I would leave the myriad of other choices to those who wish to offer them to you because my 2.5 swap was favoured over other options that I considered simply by my preference to stay away from more work than I could handle. I've read what others have done and problems they ran into and the 4.0 swap seems to be one of the easiest as long as you stick with stock configurations for that generation (1996-1997). Earlier models of Gen III Rangers had wire modifications that I think would complicate your swap.
 

haizrail

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
stoneville north Carolina
Vehicle Year
1996
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Automatic
Thank you, very much for your response. 4.0 v6 would be my best bet, I'll keep that for future reference and your right I'm not looking for anything complicated.

Do you have any thoughts on rebuilding the current motor with performance parts. and I know another motor would be cheaper, but if I was to have it rebuilt at least I know what I'd have.

I like to plan what I'm going to do, so that way I can have a basic guide line of when and how to accomplish it. Truth be told this motor upgrade I want to eventually want to do is on of the last aspects, first, I need to replace the front bumper, hood, tailgate, seats and headliner. I'm currently on the shocks or trying to figure out which ones to buy.

The front shocks I can't find no information on and the number from the front shocks are as follows

F57A-18045-TB

And the Rear shocks Are as follows

F57A-18080

The guy at the local tire center has contacted https://www.belltech.com/ But there has been no word yet. I did go up there today and give him the information of those shocks. so hopefully that will help.

From what he told me when I got it lined up a weeks ago was that it had a flip kit that had a 5 in drop. now if I would of known all the trouble the lowering kit would of gave me I wouldn't of bought the truck 7 years ago. Because it was on the truck when I bought it.

and the last thing I want to have done to it is have it professionally panted.

I've heard it all before about it's not worth it etc, but I don't have a 200 or 300 car payment every month. and this is stuff I can slowly have done. any help with the shocks would be a god send.
 

Mark_88

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
18,550
Reaction score
228
Points
0
Age
65
Location
Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Dordge
Engine Size
3.3 Fuel Injected
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Love Thy Neighbor
Happy to help or offer input. I'm not the best source of information on rebuilding engines but I have gotten plenty of input over the years from TRS and a few other sources on the topic.

When I first got my Ranger I considered having my 2.3 rebuilt by a guy who claimed that he could get 750 HP out of one without turbocharging for a mere $15,000. I passed on that opportunity in favour of a mild racing cam and a bit of head work for $600 and I was pleased with the results but didn't go have them tested on a dyno.

You can get the bottom end rebuilt with over bore, shave the head, and find a mild racing cam that doesn't give you too much lift to keep things relatively sane and affordable. Probably well under $3,000 depending on the parts they toss in and their experience.

You might also consider getting a set of 4:10 gears for the rear end to make it move off the line a bit faster as many people do with these engines (I was going this route too but backed off).

I've read and heard of people getting close to 200 HP out of the 2.3 but it does come at a price...not $15,000 but more than simply rebuilding one to the original specs or slightly better.

The 1996 (and later) was said to have the best designed head for this engine as it gave both good power and fuel economy...but that's probably debatable for some...

Key is to have the head tested for cracks and inspected closely so you don't toss bunches of money at it.

The performance builds are quite possible with what you've got but take longer. In some cases you may have to wait for the guy to build it. Probably best to try to find a whole truck or complete engine/transmission a spare and have them build that one and test it before it goes in your truck. Saves time and allows you to still use your truck with minimal down time.

Just after I purchased the 2.5 I found a guy that would have built my 2.3 to the 2.5 specs (longer stroke, more torque) but he wanted $2,500 and it was out of my reach from buying the rolling frame and another 92 for body parts...but maybe that was for the better because shortly after that I was in a position where I had to give up the 5 speed so it would have been more expense and down time.
 

haizrail

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
stoneville north Carolina
Vehicle Year
1996
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Automatic
Thanks Mark, I'll eventually get around to doing it, and thank you for the information.

However, as you know I'm handicapped in my left arm and I can't drive a manual. So my question now would be would there be a better automatic transmission for the vehicle, whether it is rebuilding the trans with better parts etc.


Or where should I start looking as far as that aspect is concerned. Because I do think of that the transmission that is in the Ranger is a very poor transmission to boot.

It be nice if they made a performance automatic transmission for the 2.3 L engine.
 

Mark_88

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
18,550
Reaction score
228
Points
0
Age
65
Location
Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Dordge
Engine Size
3.3 Fuel Injected
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Love Thy Neighbor
I honestly don't know if there is another automatic transmission. I spent a few weeks calling and even touring junkyards for an automatic but could not find one. They are not the best transmission from what I understand but as long as you don't abuse it like some people tend to do it will probably last 200,000 miles or more.

I've always babied automatic transmissions and don't treat them like anything other than a breakable commodity. Some vehicles like the Toyota Matrix has a special automatic that I've seen being used like a manual...and they respond really well...sort of like that guy who does those videos of him tearing up the country (Ken Block).

I really don't know how they would react to having more HP and torque in front of them but if they are anything like the other automatics it will probably stand a bit of abuse....

Maybe someone else has some input on that matter...I was ready to step away from the 2.5 project when I realized I would need an automatic (because I'd heard bad reviews of the) and started looking for a 4.0 automatic. I probably could drive a manual but I'm kinda still working through the disability myself and not ready to try something like that.
 

haizrail

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
stoneville north Carolina
Vehicle Year
1996
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Automatic
I remember the first vehicle I owned was a 1989 bronco 2 Eddie bower edition. and I was extremely ruff on that thing. but it didn't take me long to learn that transmissions will pop. I like to drive fast but I always make sure I take off at a moderate acceleration. and I make sure the truck or any car or tuck for that matter is in gear before I press the gas. no spinning the tires etc.

I tell you I've never done it and never will, and that flooring it and dropping the transmission in gear. I remember a friend back in high school that went though 4 vehicles before he learned not to do it.

I like performance, but like everything in the world there are do's and don't.

the trans that's in the ranger now shifts hard in cold weather, when you first put it in gear. when the weathers warm it shifts to the point of not being able to tell it. I have been wondering what's been causing this.
 

Mark_88

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
18,550
Reaction score
228
Points
0
Age
65
Location
Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Dordge
Engine Size
3.3 Fuel Injected
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Love Thy Neighbor
I dismantled and put together a transmission in High School shop class but that's as far as I got with the internals or even how they work. I know about torque converters and whatnot and know enough to tell when something is not quite right but I'm no expert.

Only thing i can tell you to check is the fluid and make sure to follow the procedure (warm up and do not drive) to check the level but, again, that's about it. Clunking in cold weather may be a normal action due to the fluid levels or being too thick...so it is critical to use the right fluids.

If nothing else, take it to a shop and have them change the fluids and filter (if applicable).

My Dodge van had a problem with the shift solenoid where it started to stick in low gear and I noticed that right away by the high revs on the highway. Had to research that one and found out how to fix it...I would have done the repair because it looked easy enough but it was a new to me vehicle and i didn't want to risk messing it up.

if it is normal otherwise in warm weather I'd say probably nothing serious...but changing the fluids is a regular service issue that many people overlook...
 

haizrail

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
stoneville north Carolina
Vehicle Year
1996
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Automatic
I took shop myself and all the teacher let us do is brake down a 2 stroke chainsaw. I didn't learn anything in that class.

I can tell you the internet has taught me a lot. And it's allowed me to meet people like yourself.
I'll keep this page going for a while and start posting some images of the truck when I get something new done to it. Maybe some before and afters.
 

Mark_88

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
18,550
Reaction score
228
Points
0
Age
65
Location
Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Dordge
Engine Size
3.3 Fuel Injected
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Love Thy Neighbor
Good! I look forward to seeing the progress and wish you well on the project!
 

haizrail

New Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
stoneville north Carolina
Vehicle Year
1996
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Automatic
Hello, and I wanted to let you know I've bought a Instrument cluster panel for my truck. it should be in next week, but it came off a 96 or 97 ford explorer. and it does have a tach. my truck however, doesn't but that shouldn't be a problem.

I'm going to brake down the dash and install it myself. I've broke the dash down before so this shouldn't be a problem.

However, does anyone know how to run the mileage up, Because mine broke at 215,000 and the truck as at least 250,000 or more on it.
 

Mark_88

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
18,550
Reaction score
228
Points
0
Age
65
Location
Ontario, Canada
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Dordge
Engine Size
3.3 Fuel Injected
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Love Thy Neighbor
If it is screw drive or similar with any kind of physical mechanism you can attach a power drill to it and let her run for a few days...or so...

If it's digital I have no idea if there is an override on them or if you can otherwise go in and bump up the miles.

If it was me I'd write down the known mileage somewhere safe and just run with the new one set to 0 or wherever it sits...or maybe use one of those label machines to make one so it's more permanent.
 


Top