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Re-Radiator Strategies : '89 Automatic 2.9L 4x4 w A/C

Paulos

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Vehicle Year
1987 STX
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Ranger
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2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
And even more importantly, where are farts in all of this?
Toonces did it. Apparently he can multitask when he's driving a Ranger. Just not very well.
 


eightynine4x4

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New York
Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
Ummmmm.
I just found this quoted post below on another forum, also posted by RonD !

Yeah so, my fan, it just spins at all times. Never once has it not spun on my watch since I picked up the truck last fall. I had no idea the fan was supposed to stop, but I always thought it was quite dumb that it ran full times, wasting energy and probably some HP. Had already been considering an E fan for this reason. Didn’t know the analog fan was already supposed to do this.

I guess that could be a primary culprit on engine temp staying too low?

I’m replacing the heater core as well soon. Maybe having both the fab clutch and heater core will help. Im definitely 1000% planning to leave the thermostat replacement as last resort….


“””” Your Fan Clutch may be locked, broken, before starting cold engine, open hood and spin the fan, should be very hard to spin
Start engine and let it run for 20 seconds or so, you should HEAR the fan unLock, less noise, shut off engine
Now spin the fan, should spin easily if its unlocked, if no change, hard to spin, then change the fan clutch, its broken

Fan clutch has the bi-metal spring on the front next to radiator
When its cold, after startup, the spring will pull the valve inside open so fan is no longer spinning at water pump RPMs, and will pull in very little air
As the center of the RADIATOR warms up it warms up the spring and it expands, closing the valve a bit which makes the fan spin closer to water pump RPMs
The warmer the RADIATOR gets the faster the fan spins and the more air it pulls in””””
 

eightynine4x4

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Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
Another update:
Replaced the heater core. No leaks, seems to work in that it brings air as hot as the engine and doesn’t smell!
Also picked up a fan clutch. Was about to install it and ad I was harnessing the pulley so as to attempt to turn the clutch nut clockwise and off I pushed the fan a bit with my hands and it broke free of its seizure and rotated properly by hand… some resistance, not loose, but it rotates. I was convinced I should fire up the truck to see if somehow the clutch now works since I would prefer an OEM clutch. Sadly it never dropped it speed and just kept cranking away for 15 min or so. Gauge temp read the usual lower line of operating range.
So I’ll soon attempt to get the clutch out and see what happens with an aftermarket clutch.
 

eightynine4x4

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Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
Successfully removed the fan clutch and fan. Was an ordeal, of course.
With the fan and clutch deleted for now, I took it for a 30 min test drive, keeping an eye on thermostat in case of any sudden overheating.
Temp gauge now climbs higher faster, staying around 1/8-1/4 of normal range during casual speeds and peaking a bit below the 1/2 point as a result of uphills and then stopping at a stop sign for a minute. When I parked the truck it was at just below half way again. It was around 35 degrees outside.
Not sure how this compares to a healthy engine with thermostat working properly.
I think the thermostat is maybe stuck open, or maybe partially open. Will do another test where I feel the hoses as it warms up. I think the fan being on from the get go was throwing off that kind of test.
I also want to mention that I noticed a pretty massive difference in overall performance. The throttle requires quite a bit less in order to get up and go. The truck jumps right away, as do the rpm’s in Park. Major difference, feels and sounds more like a modern vehicle. I’m sure the MPG is going to improve. Also, the truck is of course dramatically quieter without the fan running all the time. The drivetrain is quieter and smoother too, since it’s warmer.
I’m holding off on installing a clutch/fan because right now I have easy access to the thermostat if and when i have to replace it. It’s winter so I think I can be ok for a while like this and slowly poke at the thermostat project.
But this has me immediately interested in an E Fan. I know a proper clutch will stop the fan during cold temps, but in addition to taking load off the engine at higher temps I also wouldn’t mind having a brand new fan that’s probably also quieter when it operates and also doesn’t have chipped blades. And it would be nice to not hear it every time I start the truck, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.
 

eightynine4x4

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Location
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Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
Set the timing to 10 BTDC yesterday. Gave the truck a few test drives. I don’t suppose there’s any reason to adjust since it is what it is and the truck still has refinements needed all over the place of course.
One weird thing is that it kind of swells up and down during warmup. Since deleting the fan, the truck does now reach operating mid way gauge temp in its own now, just by idling to warm up. Maybe some of this has to do with timing. Anyways, the swelling is gradual and consistent. Upwards from 800-1000 over the span of maybe 5 seconds, then down for 5 seconds. Sounds like computer competition for something and then the opposite. Maybe trying to reach operating temp? The swelling becomes less and less as temp rises and when operating temp is reached it is gone.
In any case, I do still think the thermostat is stuck open. If it weren’t, when I drove for a mile starting at 1/2 gauge it probably wouldn’t drop down to 1/4 on gauge. I believe all the fluid is cycling through engine and the engine is never isolating it from the outside world. But so far I haven’t seen any temp above a hair past 1/2. This is without a fan, and in outdoor temps in the 30’s / 40s.
The only logical next step is to attempt to do the thermostat job but I’ll hold off on that for now so as to address other things.
 

RonD

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Give it a few days for computer to re-learn idle settings

Also if you haven't, change PCV Valve, should be done every 3 oil changes on older engines
PCV Valve is a "controlled vacuum leak", when it gets older the "control part" doesn't work as well, lol, so it can open and close causing computer to have to change its idle settings in response
 

eightynine4x4

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2020
Messages
481
Reaction score
118
Points
43
Location
New York
Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
Give it a few days for computer to re-learn idle settings

Also if you haven't, change PCV Valve, should be done every 3 oil changes on older engines
PCV Valve is a "controlled vacuum leak", when it gets older the "control part" doesn't work as well, lol, so it can open and close causing computer to have to change its idle settings in response
Ok thanks I hadn’t thought of that. The computer is always mysterious to me, never really sure what its role is. I’ll just drive it for a week and observe warmups to see if things steady out.
Yes I replaced the PCV valve over the summer. At this point I really may have replaced just about every sensor and control device in the whole engine and electrical system. Woop!
 

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