Which Ranger should I buy?


J_J_DePre

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1996 Ford Ranger Regular Cab
2.3 I4
5-Speed, Standard/Manual Transmission
4x4 with Manual-Locking Hubs and Manual-Transfer Case
231,836 Miles
$600
Needs Heater Core and Serpentine Belt

1990 Ford Ranger Regular Cab
2.9 V6
5-Speed, Standard/Manual Transmission
4x4 with Manual-Locking Hubs and Manual-Transfer Case
181,432 Miles
$800
Needs Cab Mounts
 


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Saddle Tramp

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2WD / 4WD
2WD
Never changed a heater core or body mounts so I'm not sure which is easier.

Which one speaks to you?
 

ericbphoto

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My credo
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Both. I like both body styles. I think I would like the 2.9 better than the 2.3. But I haven’t experienced either one. Manual trans, manual hubs and manual transfer case are all pluses in my book. Body mounts are probably the more difficult repair. At those prices, though, why choose? Get both.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Heater core in a '96 means removal of the dash, not sure how much fun it is.

Replacing just the rubber bushings in the '90 isn't too terrible. If it is the brackets on the frame or the part of the cab that supports the cab on the frame... yeah that isn't so much fun and depending on crustiness of the truck it may not be worth fixing.
 

Daniel Black

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205/60R15 & 225/60R15
'89-'92s look much better than '93-97s in my opinion but the 2.3 will basically last forever with a little maintenance. Even if it blows those motors are everywhere. In my opinion every 2.9 should be thrown in the ocean where at least maybe fish could have some use for them. I've had 2 and they were awful. Less power and torque than a 2.3 and the gas mileage of a 460. Maybe the two I had were lemons but they suck to work on. A 2.3 is almost as easy to work on as a lawn mower engine.
 

Saddle Tramp

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Any pics of the trucks?
 

Ranger850

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removing the whole dash sounds complicated, but its not really. 6 bolts on my 2001, unhook a/c stuff, a couple of wires and that's it. i replaced my heater core and cleaned out 9 years of dirt roads and dog hairs from PO in about 2 hours.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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I mean.... Seems obvious?


Normal joking aside, it would depend on what you wanted. 2.3 is less overall maintenance. 2.9 is more initial power.

If the 2.9 truck has the 89tm heads, I'd go for it. Otherwise, the 2.3 is easier to get parts for.

I'd say get both tbh. You won't regret it. These little bastards are addictive.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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'89-'92s look much better than '93-97s in my opinion but the 2.3 will basically last forever with a little maintenance. Even if it blows those motors are everywhere. In my opinion every 2.9 should be thrown in the ocean where at least maybe fish could have some use for them. I've had 2 and they were awful. Less power and torque than a 2.3 and the gas mileage of a 460. Maybe the two I had were lemons but they suck to work on. A 2.3 is almost as easy to work on as a lawn mower engine.

Another one for The List.
 

J_J_DePre

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Saddle Tramp:

*No one has, thus far, commented upon the rarity of the 2.3 I4, 4x4 Ranger whose production ceased after the 1997-model year.

**I have a 2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty (Super Cab) with a 6.8 Triton V10 mated to a ZF6-manual transmission and 4x4-drivetrain with a manual-transfer case and manual-locking hubs. My primary impetus for the Ranger is to serve as a secondary vehicle to alleviate mileage on the F-250 (120,756) and as a fuel-efficient alternative when running local/in-town errands.
 

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fastpakr

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2.3 in a heartbeat IMO. The only advantage to the '90 2.9 is that it's a pretty easy 4.0 swap if you wanted to go down that road at some point.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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If you dont pick up the 90, mind sending g me the ad? Always looking for an extra set of good heads.







....shush @Bird76Mojo....
 

fastpakr

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To be clear - I don't actually hate the 2.9. Have owned two of them, and they treated me relatively well. The first definitely had head issues, but continued to run reasonably well (I was a 17-18 year old kid at the time and didn't know enough to really deal with the issue). The second fared a bit better. I'd just take the 2.3 given the choice. Too many good options for more recent used parts, larger production run, 2.3 turbo option, etc.
 

Bird76Mojo

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Good enough
My next Ranger build will either be a 2.3 turbo, or a 3.8 supercharged 2wd street truck.
 

Saddle Tramp

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Thanks for the pictures. My choice is definitely biased on the looks, but I'd pick the tan one.

It gives me a baby Turtle Expedition vibe.
 


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