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Performance 2.9


Strieg

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ok so im curious on Members feedback.
what have we done to gain performance out of the 2.9?
ive read the tech library, and done research, and there seems to be a lot of 'theoretical' mods, but out of our nearly 80,000 members, no one as tried these? I doubt it. so anything and everything! lets have it!

I have tried to make a consolidated list from everything ive read, and put it in a list.

oh and for the sticklers that say 'a 4.0 is the best mod for a 2.9' not everyone can do swaps, or want to do swaps.. id love to drop a 5.0 in, but being in cali, it would be more hassle than its worth. so many laws. id have to get permits, inspections, referee'd, smog'd.. and each of those has its own associated costs. so just not worth it to me. id rather wring my 2.9 for all shes got. sure it may cost more and I wont get as much as from a 4.0. but hey that's why its a hobby, and im an enthusiast. I love workin on my truck.


sorry for the rant, heres the list not in any order of gains or simplicity

advanced timing 12 degrees BTDC instead of stock 10
port and polish intake, as well as match
upgraded coils/ignition (msd)
headers (seems to be hard to put a nail right on brand for 2wd and 4x4)
turbo (again, no specific P/N or example)
supercharger (see turbo)
larger throttle body (86mm I think is biggest, don't quote me on it)
egr delete (seems to be on the fence, depending on person)
disassembling and cleaning (thinking that would return performance to orginal?)
2.8 pistons (seems pretty viable to me, something I would really like to look more into, eureka24 posted some good stuff in the 2.9l tech page)
stroker kit (don't know much.. anyone shed some light?)
cams (seen somestuff from camcraft, anyone have some examples?)
K&N replacement (individual opinion I suppose)
engine driven fan replacement with electric (also seems like a good one)


i think that's all i got. :icon_confused:

anyone have any real world examples?
 


adsm08

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I have, in one truck run a stock 2.9, a modded 2.9 that is wrung for about all it can have, and a 4.0. The 4.0 is by far superior. Now since the 4.0 was the last thing I did to the truck I can say that pretty confidently.


As for the modded 2.9, it has port and polish, WP heads, Pacesetter headers, 4.0 clutch, big cam (don't have the specs on hand at the moment, but it was a custom unit that the guy who built the engine spec'd out) the bigger throttle body, bigger injectors, I think I am running something in the area if 15* base timing. It's a nice engine. Compared to a stock unit it rips. When I took it out of my truck to install the 4.0 I put it in my BII. Driving it next to the 4.0 is no comparison.


Ultimately I would say that the start of the solution to your situation is to get the vehicle registered somewhere other than California.
 

Strieg

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Lol if only I could... But ca is a PIA when it comes to driving vehicles regularly with out of state plates. Particularly the cops where I'm at. Dicks just to be dicks. That's mainly why I'm looking to keep the 2.9, I put a lot of effort into the 5.0, but when I called my 'local' referee 3 hours away, one way. And he said the soonest he could schedule me would be march of 2014. I called about 6 months ago. He told me I had to have DMV permits done, CHP inspections done (and passed) then I could be refereed then I'd have to pass smog. PIA!!!
Rather keep the 2.9
 

kunar

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if an engine swap is tough because of california emissions, what kind of mods will you be able to get away with? obviously egr delete is out of the question, thats removing emissions control that would be easily visible. some of the internal mods you may get away with, but what about headers or forced induction?

i thought cali had provisions for using a newer engine out of the same model vehicle? a 4.0 swap would fit the bill...

i'd like to see/hear what could or has been done to these engines as well. i really liked my 2.9, i ended up swapping it out not realizing my cat was clogged making the thing gutless. had i known that before the engine swap, i'd probably still be rocking a 2.9 today. it was a good, strong engine for the size and the era.
 

Strieg

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I'm really interested in this idea:
2.8 pistons (block bored .025 I think the specs were)
HP heads
Cam craft cam
Some form of headers
Port/polish
Electric fans (pusher/puller)

I think that'd be good. I'm not trying to make stupid high power, I just want More power.
 

Strieg

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Yes the rule for swapping engines is:
Same type- ie light truck
Same model type- RBV
Engine has to pass emissions from Donor vehicle, at the year.

Yeah I'm not doing an egr delete... Keepin cats... Like you said F/I is pretty much out of the picture. Internals, though, are not. Also why I'm interested in things that won't rob power. Like the fan.
 

adsm08

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What kind of gearing do you have? If you have the 3.45 gears common in the 80s that is robbing you of quite a bit of power and not helping your MPG any either. Bumping down to 3.73 even is a nice improvement.

Deleting EGR by itself offers no power or performance improvements, so it should be considered off the table. Upgrading to an 88+ computer however can offer minor gains, but will delete the EGR system in the software.

EGR headers will be hard to find for a 2.9. I looked.

Don't waste time with pusher fans.
 

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I kept the 2.9L in my '88 2wd GT with 3.73 open gearing.

We have never been required to pass any vehicle inspections. We stayed with the 2.9L because it is original to the vehicle. This decision was that simple.

I have done every mod listed on this site for the 2.9L except that I retained the stock air box, 14# injectors, cam, pistons, and compression ratio. In addition to the Pacesetter headers, a full length 2.5" single exhaust with Magna Flow high flow cat and muffler were installed.

This results in the engine and stock computer being able to process all the outside air it can at wot with the cam / valve lift being the bottleneck. This truck drives, accelerates, and sounds great.

Often overlooked the rear gearing calculated with rear tire diameter can make a huge difference in performance.
 

Strieg

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I'm running 3.73 with the limited slip.
Tire size is... 28s.. I think

So pretty much the only way I can find gains is to tear down. Which I was already thinking. No problem...
So no pusher fan? Just a puller? Or in your opinion none at all, just the stock type
 

dave2575

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My credo
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The electric fan vs. the stock fan. Has there been a vote on this topic yet? If not there should be one. IMHO I like a single 16" puller electric fan. If your cooling system is working/maintained properly and you have setup the electric fan correctly you should not have any problems. As for the pusher fan... well that's where you can run into some very differing opinions. I wont go to far into it but pusher fans do have a purpose and will work well for some applications, but there not really needed for the "radiator" on a mostly stock DD even if you have all the performance upgrades you've mentioned. Pushers are great for auxiliary cooling like a trans cooler, oil cooler, power steering cooler, A/C condenser, or as a personal fan. :-}
 

adsm08

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If you can get an electric fan that will free up some power. Maybe 3 to 5 horse. Pusher fans are not great for the use on the radiator because the fan motor blocks off a large section of the center of the radiator. A puller fan covers the same area, but air can pass over the rad first and then flow around the fan motor. That is why pullers are preferred for engine cooling.

Then again, I once talked to a guy who said he ran his stock 2.9 with no fan and never had a problem.
 

dave2575

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My credo
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"Then again, I once talked to a guy who said he ran his stock 2.9 with no fan and never had a problem."
He must be one of the lucky ones who found a golden ticket and was givin a magical 2.9 motor that is maintenance free and will never have any problems.
I wish I had one :-( :icon_twisted:
 

adsm08

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Hey, I''m not saying I recommend running it without a fan. I'm just saying I talked to a guy who said he did.
 

dave2575

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I know, I was just making a joke about how that guy is lucky enough to be able to do that well the rest of us have problems just trying not to overheat with an entire cooling system.. :D
 

kunar

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i ran my first ranger without a fan for a while, it's not that big of a deal. as long as youre moving over 20 or 30 mph, there's plenty of air going through the radiator for it to do it's job. just stopping at a drive though or hitting 2 or 3 stop lights in a row was enough to make the temp gauge climb pretty quick though. id shut it off if i knew i had to idle for more than just a few seconds.
 

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