Which Cylinder Head To Use


dasophoto

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I am building a 2.3l motor for my 1949 Willys CJ3-A and have two different heads for the motor. One came off of a 1985 Ranger and the other off of a 1996 Ranger. Is one capable of producing more low end power than the other? The block is an 85 Ranger 2.3l. I'm a total newbie at motor work and figure this is the best place to ask. Thanks for your help!
 


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Shran

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Supposedly the older heads are more prone to cracking. They have 4 spark plugs (88 and older.) '89 up has 8 plugs. There are also different shapes of intake ports so you have to match the head to the intake you are going to use.

Having owned both I feel that the '96 made slightly more power than my '88, even with 250k on it vs the 30k on the '88 engine that was rebuilt and bored 30 over... but it was marginal.

Really just depends on what intake and fuel supply you want to run.
 

RonD

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What you have is a 2.3l Lima engine, nicknamed the Pinto engine because it was first used in 1974 Ford Pinto

Very reliable engine, built like a tank, it has been used in many industrial applications, along with Ford cars and trucks
Mustangs used them for many years

So Good choice for Jeep build

The torque you have is set by the Cam you use, car cams have less torque but more horse power, truck cams have more torque but less horse power.
And you can use custom cam for even more torque

If you want to stick with distributor and carburetor, and NO computer, then that will decide the head you will use
So you will use the 1985 head


If you want to go distributorless and Fuel injected then you will sell the 1985 engine, w/1985 head, and buy a 1989-1994 2.3l with wiring and computer, and may be with a cracked head so you can get a deal and use your 1996 head on it



With the 1985 you can use a 2.3l Duraspark distributor with a Chevy HEI module, yes Chevy, lol, for a very reliable a strong spark system, 1 wire hook up, 12volts, 2nd wire if you want a Tachometer

Carburetors do have draw backs for 4X4s especially when you do steep angles, the float bowls are the problem
 

racsan

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I agree on the dual-plug head having cracking issues, I ended up having to get a replacement head from autozone after not being able to get a junkyard head that wasn’t cracked. The right differential ratio makes all the difference with a 2.3 it’s a easy engine to work on though and a “non-interference “ motor, so if you break a timing belt you won’t bend valves or poke holes in pistons, just line up the timing marks put a new belt on and go.
 

dasophoto

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What you have is a 2.3l Lima engine, nicknamed the Pinto engine because it was first used in 1974 Ford Pinto

Very reliable engine, built like a tank, it has been used in many industrial applications, along with Ford cars and trucks
Mustangs used them for many years

So Good choice for Jeep build

The torque you have is set by the Cam you use, car cams have less torque but more horse power, truck cams have more torque but less horse power.
And you can use custom cam for even more torque

If you want to stick with distributor and carburetor, and NO computer, then that will decide the head you will use
So you will use the 1985 head


If you want to go distributorless and Fuel injected then you will sell the 1985 engine, w/1985 head, and buy a 1989-1994 2.3l with wiring and computer, and may be with a cracked head so you can get a deal and use your 1996 head on it



With the 1985 you can use a 2.3l Duraspark distributor with a Chevy HEI module, yes Chevy, lol, for a very reliable a strong spark system, 1 wire hook up, 12volts, 2nd wire if you want a Tachometer

Carburetors do have draw backs for 4X4s especially when you do steep angles, the float bowls are the problem
I'm going to stick with the distributor and the carburetor. I'm using the Autolite 2100 carb which has some solid offroad modifications. If I built a custom intake I could still mount the 96 head on the 85 motor, correct? the 96 seems like a more efficient head with the roller design on the valves. Is that a correct assumption?
 

tomw

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The roller cam followers reduce friction, which is a good thing. You may be able to get a 'carburetor' intake from Esslinger or Racer Walsh as the Lima was used in some dirt track racing(I think) and there are performance parts available.
A cheaper solution if you can find one is the 1974 two barrel intake used on the Pinto & Mustang II. It came with a Holley-Weber progressive which definitely resembles the 2100. Problem with them all is finding the oval, round, or flat-bottom intake ports to match the ports on the cylinder head. And the fact most old ones are now crushed.
The 74 had a points ignition(hens teeth, anyone?) and was the only model year with points.
The engine was used in a LOT of industrial applications, so other carbureted and LP gas versions are out there.
Fitting an OHC under the hood, with a air cleaner mounted up top may point to a relocated air cleaner. I don't have measurements.
tom
 

Shran

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Those 2100/2150 carbs would be sweet on a 2.3. A couple of local guys make custom intakes and ran them on Toyota 20R/22R engines. They were sooo much happier with them than the Webers they ran before. IMO they are the best offroad carburetor you can get.
 

racsan

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There was a marine use of this engine too. I worked at a boat dealership in the late 80’s/early 90’s and saw a few Starcraft boats with this engine and a omc cobra stern drive. They were carberated and had a point distributor.
 


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