What the best (easiest) V-8 option for an 83 2WD C-5 Ranger?


Sellis737

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I’m going to swap in a 302 V-8 into my 1983 Ranger that has the 2.3L 140 cube Pinto engine in it. As I read through the forums it sounds like there are some engines such as the Explorer that may be easier to adapt to my Ranger. I’m leaning towards a 1997ish Explorer with EFI but am not sure what I would have ad to the Ranger to make it all work. Fuel system mods? EFI control computer and sensors? Additional wiring? Exhaust manifolds or headers? (No emissions requirements) I just want a first year Ranger that will be reliable and smoke the tires! Any suggestions are welcome.
 


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RangerFabWorks

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Honestly. A carbed 302 with a c4 trans will be the most direct, bolt in swap you can get.

Otherwise. You’ll need a fuel tank, sending unit, and fuel gauge from a 85-up ranger. You’ll need to run the fuel lines up to the rails. You’ll need all the wiring, sensors,computer from the donor explorer. It’s a lot to take on

Seeing as how you already have a carbureted 2.3 in your truck. Carb swap will be the easiest in your situation.
 

Bird76Mojo

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1st gen Rangers are the easiest V8 swap trucks there are... Take your pick of what you want to do with it. I agree with RangerFabWorks 100%
 
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Bird76Mojo

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For what it's worth, my 87 was a carbed truck originally, and I used the fuel tank that was already in it for my EFI setup. I just bought a fuel pump hanger for an EFI model Ranger and installed a high flow fuel pump in it.
 

Sellis737

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Thanks for the wisdom, I love the reliability of the EFI systems for all temperatures and atmospheric conditions but it does get complicated. Is the basic 302 from an Explorer able to accept an old school distributor and intake manifold or should I be looking for one that is already carbureted? I read that the water pump and other accessories on the Explorer are shorter and thus more desired since it provides more room for the radiator and fan. (I guess you could bolt Explorer accessories to an older block?)
Also I read that my C-5 auto could be bolted to a 5.0L bell housing and used behind the V-8. Is it as strong as a C-4? Seems I remember hearing it was basically the same transmission? Thanks for all the information. Being able to talk to folks who are knowledgeable and experienced saves a ton of research. Again thanks!
 

19Walt93

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The C5 is basically a C4 with a different valve body and a centrifugal lock up convertor. You can convert it to a C4 by swapping the convertor, valve body, and probably the bell housing. All C4's aren't equal internally. I used a C4 from a six cylinder 81 Cougar behind my 351 but I swapped the forward and reverse/high drums for Mustang pieces to gain 1 clutch disc in each clutch pack. When the C5 appeared we had a lot of complaints because when the driver would slide them into reverse while still on fast idle they would chirp the tires. The convertor locked at about 1800 rpm so it was like popping the clutch on a standard.
 

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A C5 can be built to C4 specs but a stock 2.8 C5 isn't supposed to be as strong a as a "normal" V8 transmission.

I have never really been in one, I ran one someone else supposedly rebuilt before I bought it for 8 years and other than oozing fluid from everywhere I never had a problem with it.

I just pulled it out to put something in with overdrive, kind of a pricey redo if you think there is a chance you would want OD down the road...

And yeah, all you need to carb an Explorer 5.0 is a dizzy, intake and electric fuel pump. You can also run one of the TBI injection kits that drop in place of a carb if you want. It would use the carb fuel supply and dizzy. If I ever have to get a different carb (and I know they don't really wear out) I would probably go this route:

 

19Walt93

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I've built more C4's than I can count and chose to use one in my Ranger 351 build for 2 reasons: I had 2 of them, and I prefer the way a C4 shifts to an AOD. If you choose to use your C5 you can convert it to a C4 with a valve body and convertor change, upgrade the reverse/high and forward drums and the intermediate servo piston. The final drive ratio is what's important not necessesarily with or without overdrive. I'm using 3.08's with the C4 so that will be the final drive ratio. An AOD has about a 70% overdrive(.67, if I remember right) so if I left the 3.73's in place the AOD would yield a 2.61 final drive ratio. The AOD would have a deeper low gear but I suspect the 351 won't need the additional revs to get rolling. A 4R70W with electronic controls would shift better than an AOD but would defeat my build-it-simple-and-cheap goal.
 


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