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Popular engine swaps for the Ranger


The_Epsicle

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I have a 4.0 OHV(200K miles) with an A4OD transmission and auto 4x4 in a 1994 extended cab Ranger, everything about this truck is stock and everything but the engine is in great shape. The engine has lots of problems and needs to be rebuilt and since its my DD the engine will be rebuilt and I'll deal with it for awhile longer. However I would like in the future to swap in a new engine with more power and better gas milage than the OHV and I know that's a tall order, fabrication is not something I'm scared of, I am also planning on switching to a manual transmission so it does not need to bolt into the existing transmission. I have looked a lot at a Cummins 4BT but I know there are tons of other things that need to be done for that to work so I estimated the cost of that swap at around $3,500(assuming I stay in budget) which includes a D44 swap up front, a suspension upgrade(maintaining stock height), a ZF5-S42 tranny swap, exhaust upgrade, new instrument panel(since the stock one wont work anyway why not get a nicer one?), basically if I did that swap the only thing that makes you think Ranger about it would be the badge. I've done a lot of thinking and research on the 4BT swap but I should consider other swaps, so what would you guys say are popular swaps for the Ranger that where not stock options?
 
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Mac

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Most have gone with the 5.0 for a lot of reasons, well covered in the V-8 swap section.
Dave
 

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Doing a 4bt swap under $3500 budget is going to be the real challenge unless you already have the 4bt. The ZF goes for about $500 by itself unless you know a guy that knows a guy that has one stashed. Adding to that a 44 swap within that budget will be even more challenging. I'm not trying to discourage you, it can be done. Make sure to do a build thread.
Custom motor mounts, custom trans mount, exhaust, possible heater box mods, removal of intank fuel pump are all things needed for the diesel swap. Just about every engine you can imagine has been swapped into the ranger. Just do a search on them here. Welcome to TRS!

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$3500 for a 4bt swap... :icon_rofl: :icon_rofl:
Now that's funny.

You could keep it around that price, not including the d44 swap, the new gauges (I don't know where you got the idea that the stock gauges wont work.), or the suspension upgrades, by taking a 105HP 4BT straight out of box truck, cleaning the dirt off, and slapping it in a Ranger. Think about everything you would really need to do it right:
Motor
Trans
Transfer case
Clutch
Slave cyl and custom hose
Drive shafts

Then there's the smaller stuff that starts to nickel and dime you:
Rad hoses
Belt
Motor mounts
Trans mount
Heater hoses
Power steering setup
Starter (the standard 4BT/Ford starter doesn't fit our frames. You want a starter from a late model 7.3, IIRC.)
Vacuum pump or hydro boost (you do want brakes, don't you?)
Dakota Digital tach adapter (you want the stock tach to work.)
2nd fuel filter (filter and housing, do you really trust that one small filter on the side of the 4bt?!?!)
Oil (15+ quarts)
Filters
Coolant
Oil pan gasket (you had to pull the pan to mod it for clearance)
Front cover gasket (don't want that killer dowel pin to get you now do we?)
Might as well replace the front crank seal... We already have the front cover off.


Then it starts to snowball from there:
I should replace the T-stat... But I don't the true history of this motor, I'll throw a water pump on it too.
2800 rpm isn't going to work well with the 2-3 gear split in the ZF... I'll put the 3200 rpm governor spring in, but while I'm in there a Denny-T fuel pin is only about $100 and a little extra power will help with that 2-3 shift.

I'll stop there. I'm sure I missed a bunch of stuff, but I think I made my point. It adds up way faster then you would believe.
 

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performance increase with mileage? Why not the 2.3 turbo swap? mild build will yield you 250hp easy, and if you can train yourself not to mash the go pedal you could easily see 25mpg.
 

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The 4.0 is a great motor. If nothing is wrong with it I would leave it alone. If it goes out, swap in another one. Easy to do with out any real expense.
 

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The 4.0 is a great motor. If nothing is wrong with it I would leave it alone. If it goes out, swap in another one. Easy to do with out any real expense.
4.0 would be the easiest/cheapest swap but there would be expense involved. For a 10-20 year old stock style gas engine they are all going to run a couple hundred bucks. I paid $200 for my 302. Since he wants to change the trans (and front axle) also the same applies for them. Aside from something massive like a ZF the price is going to be the same, M5OD's cost about the same if they are out of a '150 or a Ranger.

For a stock ride height SAS you are going to have to do surgery on the front end. The engine crossmember that holds the TTB system together will be in the way of your solid axle, usually requires about 4" of lift to clear it. So you will have to delete that and then reinforce the front frame of the truck to compensate loosing that massive structure that also holds the engine.
 
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The_Epsicle

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$3500 for a 4bt swap... :icon_rofl: :icon_rofl:
Now that's funny.
I'm going to assume from your picture that you know what your talking about, I have done some research and I haven't thought of heater hoses, rad hoses, or a power steering setup since they all slipped my mind but basically everything else you mention I've already budgeted for, though I took an incredibly conservative estimate based on what I could find cheap in a 100 mile radius, I'm sure it will be much more expensive than I think. There are lots of tractor graveyards around here I could pull one out of, though they wouldn't be in great condition the possibility exists of getting the motor for about $100 and doing a complete rebuild, to the ZF5 yes I do know someone that has one stashed away that I could get a hold of. The D44 is more of a want than a need but I thought I might need it to handle the extra power and weight so I'm not busting wheel bearings constantly, I know it can be done without it though. Don't I need a suspension upgrade to handle the extra weight of the 4BT? There are lots of questions I still have about the 4BT but the finished project(assuming I can finish it) just seems to nice to write off completely yet.

To the 2.3 turbo I won't touch that engine with 39 1/2 foot pole, it's too hard to work on on a regular basis since it was designed to be transversed mounted so no thank you.

The 4.0 I have in it is fine I just need to rebuild it, after the rebuild I'll see how I like it but I really think that this truck could make a killer sleeper if I committed to it.

Everything else (D44, stock ride height suspension upgrade, ZF5) they are specific to the 4BT swap, I'd look at building the truck differently depending on the engine swap.

Thanks for the replies everyone I appreciate it!
 

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the 2.3 LIMA turbo out of the 83-88 svo and turbo coupes was never transverse mounted to my knowledge- It's the same block the 2.3/2.5 rangers had up to 2000 or 2001 when the duratec was introduced. also, none being transverse mounted.

Easiest engine I have ever worked on. 100# lighter than the 302, and 2X the mileage while still making similar power in near stock trim. transmission options are fairly good, from the M5OD-R1 to the T5, autos like the C4, etc. that will all handle 250+HP.

Stock 2.3 turbo engines with factory intercoolers made 190hp@4600rpm with 240ft/lbs torque@3400rpm. mild tuning cranks this HP up well into the mid 200's and the engine in full trim weighs 450#

But if you like, drop a 782# slug in there that makes 105hp stock. 265 ft lbs of torque.


I have a date with the Dyno tomorrow morning, I'll post up my dyno sheet with results.
 

The_Epsicle

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But if you like, drop a 782# slug in there that makes 105hp stock. 265 ft lbs of torque.
I see your point, I've read a lot of disadvantages to the cummins swap. I thought of a late model 2.3 turbo when you suggested it and those where made more with the Focus, Fusion, and Escape in mind, but if the engine is made before 2001 I don't think I would have as much trouble servicing it. I'll give them the earlier 2.3's a look, sorry for the misunderstanding.
 
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I'm not saying write off the 4bt swap, I'm just saying if you plan on doing the engine swap, axle swap, gauges, etc for $3500... You're :icon_twisted:.
Don't worry about the low power ratings, you can turn the power up to match a mild small block for next to nothing and still get good MPG.
 

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A turbo 4 weighs about the same as a SBF.

Not a Ford but I have had a turboed 4cyl (4G63T) they are a darn fun little engine don't get me wrong. Fairly comparable to the Ford 2.3 for power. Flirted with 30mpg hwy.

People with an eye towards economy get mid 20's with a 5.0 swap. Check out Teddyzee's truck. Lowered injected 2wd 3rd gen with a 5spd.

With a V8 breathing through a 4bbl at 3k rpm turning 31" mud tires through 3.73 gears while pushing the squarest bodied Ranger 3"+ higher than normal down the highway I get 11mpg. I don't think it is too bad considering what all is working against it. I do look forward to seeing what a 5 speed will do for it.

I have changed the heads (E6's for E7's) with the engine in the truck, aside from snaking a head around the hood prop rod it was pretty straightforward to do. Easier to work on than the 2.8 ever was, everything is right there out in the open (although thanks in large part to being carbureted) It is plain fun to work on.
 

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I see your point, I've read a lot of disadvantages to the cummins swap. I thought of a late model 2.3 turbo when you suggested it and those where made more with the Focus, Fusion, and Escape in mind, but if the engine is made before 2001 I don't think I would have as much trouble servicing it. I'll give them the earlier 2.3's a look, sorry for the misunderstanding.
I think I owe YOU the apology- dip into the turbo forum here on TRS, or turboford.org, turborangerforums.com, etc. and do some reading. there's big power to be made with the little 2.3L, with some minor cost investment.

there is debate about the true engine weight of the 2.3 Lima versus the 5.0 Windsor- some sites list each engine as longblock some with accessories such as PS/AC compressor, alt, etc.

Down in the ford 2.3 section, they have the 2.3 pinto turbo engine weight listed as 450#, right below it the turbo coupe 2.3 engine at 380#. 5.0 Windsor at 450#, and the boss 302 same block and heads) as 500#.

http://www.gomog.com/allmorgan/engineweights.html
 

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2.9L V6 to 2.3L I4. I've gone above and beyond the "necessary" modifications to make this conversion, but it's a blast to drive. Very curious to see what the dyno has to say tomorrow regarding HP and torque. Currently at about 16psi.

 

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The_Epsicle

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All this talk of the 2.3 has me thinking of a possibly stupid question, is it possible to turbo the 4.0 without breaking it? Because if so, that would be worth doing after my rebuild...
 


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