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!
 


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