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To rebuild or not to rebuild

Mrich1510

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Okay so I’ve run into an issue. A week ago I purchased a 1984 Ranger with the 2.8 in it. It doesn’t run but it turns over. I pulled the spark plugs, one was filthy but the rest looked decent. Every time I pull the dipstick, dirt and sludge are on the end of it. Should I attempt to rebuild the motor or just do a swap? This is my first project car/truck and I’m not sure where to begin. Thanks!
 


RobbieD

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My credo
Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
It turns over; that's good.

Drain the oil and look at it real close. Only oil is good, even if it's black. Oil and water will be bad, and metal flakes and/or metal chunks will be very bad.

What's in the cooling system? No coolant is bad. Signs of oil in the coolant would be very bad.

If you've made it this far, now you can put some new (or good) cheap oil back in it and run a compression test. If compression is out of spec, the engine needs a rebuild. If the compression is in spec, the motor should be able to be started, and ran, so it can be evaluated further.

The original engine management on the 2.8 can be problematic, but if the motor ain't broke you should be able to get it to fire and run (even if not great).

Welcome to TRS, and good luck with your Ranger. '84 was a good year. (y)
 

Mrich1510

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Thanks Robbie,

So I drained the oil last night and it was pretty with 2 or 3 small (super super fine) metal shavings.
The radiator is about half full with coolant with no signs of oil.
I planned on running a compression test today after work but I noticed that oil is all over the place mainly around the valve cover and was wondering if I should replace valve cover gaskets first.

Lastly,
I drained the transmission and ATF came out. Are there certain manual transmissions that would use ATF over gear oil?

*here’s a picture of one of the spark plugs I pulled out. The rest were fairly clean. This one was (obviously) the worst.
 

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alwaysFlOoReD

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Dont worry about gaskets yet.
Yes, the manual trans uses atf.
Oil rings or valve seals are shot.
 

Ranger850

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Are there certain manual transmissions that would use ATF over gear oil?
yes. I was trying to Google which ones, but no luck.
 

RonD

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Welcome to TRS :)

Manual transmissions in 2WD or 4WD Rangers used Gear Oil 1983 to 1992
The M5OD-R1 manual 5-speed was first used in some 2WD Rangers 1988 and up and DID use ATF

Easy way to tell what you have, so what oil to use, is to look at the bottom of transmission, if you see a bolt on plate then it uses Gear Oil, if there is NO plate then use ATF

1984 2.8l Ranger would have come with a manual trans that used gear oil, but...................
At 38 years old a newer manual transmission may have been swapped in by previous owner
So look at the bottom of transmission, no plate means its a newer M5OD-R1 model and should use ATF
 

Ranger850

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Who needs "Google" when you have @RonD
 

4x4prepper

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> if I should replace valve cover gaskets first

No, because if the engine has bad compression the first thing you have to check is that the valve lash is adjusted properly and looking at your plug, you might need value stem rubbers/seals. Without the proper lash adjustment you will have bad compression and it will not run correctly. I would do a cold compression test and if everything is okay, 100 psi>, I would add transmission fluid to the engine oil, and let it IDLE* (< 1000 rpms) for 10-20 minutes, then change the oil and filter again. Then pull the valve covers.

If you have a lot of sludge on the heads you want to scrap and vacuum at the same time so nothing falls where it should not.

* I am sure you will get it running if it does not have a major failure aka broke camshaft gear or crank.
 

BrownRangers

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Valve covers gaskets always leak on these unless replaced. If compression is good and oil is still dirty after ATF idle and drain trick and it runs(check ignition module), wouldn't be a bad idea to pull the pan and clean it the oil pickup. This would get rid of sludge that cant be removed from just a drain. There are also some good alternatives to ATF from Liquimoly and Pentosin. Look for pre-oil change "engine flush" additives. I use them every few oil changes on my Audi diesel and they definitely help get rid of dirty oil in places even the oil pan removal and clean cant get to.
 

Mrich1510

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UPDATE:

So I replaced The spark plugs and plug wires. Tightened the valve covers to spec, and just completed a compression test, all passed. So I have spark, compression, and fuel. With it being a carbureted engine I presume I’m getting air to the engine. Still nothing…. I’m at a loss at this point…
 

RonD

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If you have spark, compression and fuel then engine will start

Compression, above 130psi, once tested can be taken off the table as the issue

Fuel needs to be ignitable by spark, not older, crank engine, pull a spark plug and try to light the tip with a match/lighter, should burn easily, if not drain the tank and put in fresh gasoline

Spark, Spray ether or fresh gasoline into the carb and try to start engine, if it doesn't fire then spark timing is off, usually 180deg rotation of distributor will get it back in time for start up
 

Mrich1510

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-Compression is between 120-130psi

-Fuel is DEFINITELY flammable:LOL:

-Starter fluid doesn’t help

I guess I’ll have to work on the timing… Is Messing with the distributor the only solution? Or should I mess with any of the belts?
 

oldgeek

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Maybe need to see if the timing belt is there?
 

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Its a 2.8l so just has timing gears not a belt or even a timing chain

You could change the wiring on the distributor cap to test

Firing order of 2.8l engine 1-4-2-5-3-6 as seen here: https://www.justanswer.com/uploads/molurch/2008-11-06_204604_fof1.gif

The distributor runs off the Cam Shaft
But timing is done using Crank Shaft mark, and CRANK TURNS TWICE AS FAST AS CAM, so easy to goof it up

If you turned the crank shaft to its Mark for 0deg TDC(top dead center) and then put in/turned distributor so rotor was pointed at #1 spark plug wire that was correct, but.................
TDC mark is for #1 OR #5, so you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right or wrong, lol

So on the cap, just to test, swap #1 and #5 wires, move the #1 wire to #5 location and #5 to #1 location on the cap
Try to start, two cylinders should be firing now...................IF distributor is 180deg off

If so then I would pull distributor up rotate the rotor 180deg then reinstall, don't forget to swap wires back


These are the Matched Pairs 1/5, 4/3 and 2/6, it balances the engines rotation
Split firing order and put one on top of the other to get Matched Pairs on any engine
1-4-2-
5-3-6

1/5 are BOTH at TDC at the same time, one on compression stroke(needs Spark) the other on exhaust stroke(doesn't need spark)
Then 4/3 and then 2/6
 

Mrich1510

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UPDATE #2
So I got the truck running and it drove around the neighborhood. Now I need to move onto the transmission… I know this isn’t the right thread but 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears sputter almost like it’s not “grabbing”? I tried to pull onto a busy road and lost all power to the transmission while accelerating. New clutch or?…

I wanted to thank everyone for their help getting my truck up and running!
 

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