• Welcome Visitor! Please take a few seconds and Register for our forum. Even if you don't want to post, you can still 'Like' and react to posts.

What's the best ranger by reliability from the range of 1993-2011?


WizardMower

New Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Location
Granby MA
Hey gang, I Want a small truck to get through trade highschool and simple landscaping. and my mother and I agreed a ranger would be a good truck for me, As the chevy colorados were junk, S10's were OKAY but had the horrible heater core replacement procedure, And the horrible push-4x4 as it's small, Dakotas are junk, My brother had one, Cheap, gas guzzler. plain ugly. and the tacomas I liked, But the ones I can afford has the frame recall. I find rangers easy to park, somewhat efficient, and perfect for budget. I Was hoping I could get a ranger with a timing chain but if the belt powered engines are more bulletproof Lmk so I can get my money's worth on my future truck.
 
Last edited:


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 7FA902352B4C01: April 5th, 2021

RobbieD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
1,905
Reaction score
421
Points
83
Location
Georgia
Vehicle Year
1984,1990,1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
I like the 1994 models. I prefer OBD1 over OBD2, and I also would rather not have an airbag.

There is nothing wrong with the newer models; most people like newer technologies. I just lean toward "old school", and like keeping things simple, since I do all of the repair and maintenance work myself on my "fleet".

Best advise is to take your time on the purchase, and focus on getting one in the best possible condition. Besides, the more you look, you'll likely get a better idea on which year model, powertrain and trim level that you really like. Good luck!
 

RonD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
18,517
Reaction score
2,993
Points
113
Location
canada
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
A 2004-2011 Ranger with 2.3l Duratec 4cyl engine with manual transmission would best suit your needs
It is a DOHC with timing chain, and very reliable

Also 2004-2009 Mazda B2300 with manual trans would be EXACTLY the same truck mechanically, just costs less used
MPG can be in the mid-20's, high 20's on longer trips

The 2001-2003 2.3l Duratec's had IMRC and heated thermostats in Rangers and Mazdas, and these 2 things did have issues, still a good vehicle just 2 less things to go wrong with 2004 and up

1993 to 2001 mid year Rangers and Mazdas, did use the 4cyl Lima engines which did have timing BELTS instead of chains

In those years the 4.0l OHV Ranger and Mazda B4000 would be the better pick, but........MPG is about 17mpg

Automatics are "automatics", they are fine until they are not fine
Nothing specifically wrong with Ranger automatics, Ford used the same automatic for 26 years so its was a good automatic
But when there is a problem plan on paying $2,000+ to fix it

Manuals can break, just rarely, and you do need to put clutches in them, $700-$1,000 if you pay, $300-400 if you do it yourself
 

WizardMower

New Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Location
Granby MA
I like the 1994 models. I prefer OBD1 over OBD2, and I also would rather not have an airbag.

There is nothing wrong with the newer models; most people like newer technologies. I just lean toward "old school", and like keeping things simple, since I do all of the repair and maintenance work myself on my "fleet".

Best advise is to take your time on the purchase, and focus on getting one in the best possible condition. Besides, the more you look, you'll likely get a better idea on which year model, powertrain and trim level that you really like. Good luck!
Thankyou, And I just wanted to reply and compliment your Toonces profile photo! Love it!
 

WizardMower

New Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Location
Granby MA
A 2004-2011 Ranger with 2.3l Duratec 4cyl engine with manual transmission would best suit your needs
It is a DOHC with timing chain, and very reliable

Also 2004-2009 Mazda B2300 with manual trans would be EXACTLY the same truck mechanically, just costs less used
MPG can be in the mid-20's, high 20's on longer trips

The 2001-2003 2.3l Duratec's had IMRC and heated thermostats in Rangers and Mazdas, and these 2 things did have issues, still a good vehicle just 2 less things to go wrong with 2004 and up

1993 to 2001 mid year Rangers and Mazdas, did use the 4cyl Lima engines which did have timing BELTS instead of chains

In those years the 4.0l OHV Ranger and Mazda B4000 would be the better pick, but........MPG is about 17mpg

Automatics are "automatics", they are fine until they are not fine
Nothing specifically wrong with Ranger automatics, Ford used the same automatic for 26 years so its was a good automatic
But when there is a problem plan on paying $2,000+ to fix it

Manuals can break, just rarely, and you do need to put clutches in them, $700-$1,000 if you pay, $300-400 if you do it yourself
Thankyou VERY much, I saved this and will be using this info this summer when I start shopping, Thankyou very much.
 

RobbieD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
1,905
Reaction score
421
Points
83
Location
Georgia
Vehicle Year
1984,1990,1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
Thankyou, And I just wanted to reply and compliment your Toonces profile photo! Love it!
If you know Toonces, then you're all right! And seriously, any advice from RonD is like gold; you can bank on it.
 

pjtoledo

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
3,034
Reaction score
763
Points
113
Location
Toledo Ohio
Vehicle Year
20002005199
Make / Model
Fords
Engine Size
3.0 2.3
My credo
get outta my way, I'm falling!
looking for 2wd or 4wd? the 2.3 Duratec was only offered in 2wd Rangers.
 

WizardMower

New Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Location
Granby MA
looking for 2wd or 4wd? the 2.3 Duratec was only offered in 2wd Rangers.
Well, I did want the 4x4. But at this point I want a 8ft bed more than the 4x4 as I can get studded tires.. Not a longer bed on a shortbed. So It don't matter to me, But let's say 2wd as they're far easier to find for a good price.
 

scotts90ranger

Well-Known Member
RBV's on Boost
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
5,034
Reaction score
567
Points
113
Location
Dayton Oregon
Vehicle Year
1990, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3 Turbo
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
There are only two bed lengths on the older Rangers, 6' and 7'...

Anything newer than 1994 is a ridiculous amount of hours to change a heater core, the dash has to come out or close to... '94 and older is 5 screws and two hose clamps... I need to do the core on my '97 and is the one thing I was hoping to avoid on this truck...

'97 and older you can get any engine with 4x4, but no extended cab 4 cylinder 4x4... but no extended cab long bed either (has never been an option) so there's that...

On pure reliability and simplicity in your year range the '93-94 wins out but most are getting long in the tooth at this point. Like I said above the dash is simpler for heater cores, there's no extra BS electronics. Sure the fuel mileage is lower unless 4 cylinder 2 wheel drive (still lower than the Duratek engine, but mid 20's should be normal for regular cab truck)
 

gaz

Active Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2007
Messages
612
Reaction score
143
Points
43
Location
Wa, Bremerton 98310
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
2.9l
Transmission
Automatic
WizardMower,

94 Ranger/B4000; I am partial to this gen as many of the systems and interior components are interchangable with other 83-94. I too prefer OBD1 as it is forgiving when the engine is built up for improved torque/fuel economy.
 

racsan

Well-Known Member
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
3,123
Reaction score
1,084
Points
113
Location
central ohio
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3/140-4
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Tire Size
225/70/15-winter. 235/75/15-summer
My credo
built, not bought
If you really want a 8’ bed length and a flatbed would work better for you, it wouldnt take much to extend the frame and build a simple flatbed, youd just have more “tail” past the rear axle. Id add some helper springs to the back though if I were to do that. I prefer the 93-97 rangers, My current truck is a 94 2wd longbed that has the 2.3 lima, a 4.10 rear axle, 20 gallon fuel tank and 15” tires. It was breifly a flatbed while I went from the original bed to one from a ‘97. I prefer the older twin-I beam front end and lack of extra electrical crap . At some point I will need to replace it with something newer but for now its still going and doing what I need it to do.
 

lil_Blue_Ford

Well-Known Member
Forum Moderator
V8 Engine Swap
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
4,689
Reaction score
437
Points
83
Location
Butler, PA, USSA
Vehicle Year
95
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.9L
Transmission
Manual
One thing going for the 90-97 trucks is they are durable, relatively simple, and cheap to work on. The 83-89 trucks are the same but there was no 4.0 option. I’d go with a 4.0, extended cab with a manual. It will do Everything you could want. It’s a little harder on gas than a 4 cylinder, but if you want to pull a small trailer it’s got plenty of power. Nothing wrong with the newer trucks but you will get into a little more money on some repairs and the newer frames seem a little more prone to rust issues plus there’s more electronics. Newer ones do have a third door a lot of the time for getting into the extended cab which is nice.

I was given a red 92 extended cab with a 4.0 because my buddy decided he didn’t want to put work into it. Needed a leaf spring, fuel line and brake line. I fixed that mostly out of my parts piles and did a tune-up. Including title and plates I was just over $100 into it to put it on the road and a few hours of work. If I didn’t have the parts it probably would have only cost me another $50-100. Granted it’s needed some more work since, but I’m still under $500 out of pocket and I have put a good few thousand miles on it.
 

MikeG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Messages
1,358
Reaction score
738
Points
113
Location
central Texas
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
B4000
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
2"
Tire Size
235/75r15
Gonna tow? Get a 4.0 v6, will be a lot easier to live with. If it's a work truck for landscaping, don't need 4x4, not much landscaping to do when it is snowing, generally ;)

A small trailer will be a LOT easier to get gear in and out of, especially with ramps, will get old lifting stuff out of the bed.

If it's a business.... then get what you need to do it right, cheaper than doing it over ;)

Find one with a tow package, if it has a rear anti-sway bar that's a pretty good sign, at least for the generation that mine is.

If you are gonna heavily load the bed, then a set of Explorer springs may be in your future. Good luck......

Burning a little more gas for work, factor that into your price. But if you set up your business right you'll be driving very little, and at the customer location a lot more.

Throw a tool box across the bed behind the cab for stuff you want to lock up.
 

19Walt93

Well-Known Member
Ford Technician
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
2,331
Reaction score
1,450
Points
113
Location
Canaan,NH
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
351
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Drop
3"
Tire Size
235/55R16
My credo
If you don't have time to do it right will you have time to do it over?
I noticed you're in Mass so rust is a concern just like NH. We sold 4x4's almost exclusively and didn't even stock 2wd trucks. I'd recommend away from a 98-99 with pulse vacuum hubs and avoid anything before 04 with the 4.0 sohc engine. To get a 7' box you'll have to buy a regular cab because all Super cabs were 6' boxes. I'd buy the best maintained used truck you can find. If you see a lube sticker from Jiffy Lube or the like, run.
 

WizardMower

New Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
8
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Location
Granby MA
One thing going for the 90-97 trucks is they are durable, relatively simple, and cheap to work on. The 83-89 trucks are the same but there was no 4.0 option. I’d go with a 4.0, extended cab with a manual. It will do Everything you could want. It’s a little harder on gas than a 4 cylinder, but if you want to pull a small trailer it’s got plenty of power. Nothing wrong with the newer trucks but you will get into a little more money on some repairs and the newer frames seem a little more prone to rust issues plus there’s more electronics. Newer ones do have a third door a lot of the time for getting into the extended cab which is nice.

I was given a red 92 extended cab with a 4.0 because my buddy decided he didn’t want to put work into it. Needed a leaf spring, fuel line and brake line. I fixed that mostly out of my parts piles and did a tune-up. Including title and plates I was just over $100 into it to put it on the road and a few hours of work. If I didn’t have the parts it probably would have only cost me another $50-100. Granted it’s needed some more work since, but I’m still under $500 out of pocket and I have put a good few thousand miles on it.
How stiff is the clutch and gears? I Heard the late rangers (before getting out of market for 8 years) Had easy soft manual, I only ask because my mom has a older OBD1 F150 (OBS) And sometimes the gears are really hard to get into.
 


Top