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Old 11-19-2013, 06:01 PM   #1
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V8 swap for FE?

Please dont automatically dismiss the idea after reading the thread title...

Basically, ive been contemplating the idea of beefing up the powerplant in my ranger partially for the sake of towing, partially for the sake of spirited driving, partially for the sake of driveability...

I currently have the two liter SOHC, carbureted four cylinder... The two barrel version like mine made 80 hp when it was new... The stock flat tappet cam dies and pressurized the intake and i swapped to a roller unit, but the carb is slightly whacked...it has decent power, but when i get to a hill of any sort, i have to floor it and drop gears... I cruise at 80 on freeways just so that it is in its powerband and has a chance of pulling hills here in WV...

I could take the head off the engine, shave it for 11:1 compression, carve three singh grooves, port/polish it and run a cam having around .420 of valve lift, later find a 2.3 liter short block to swap it onto after having ran it on my 2.0... Would yield about 125-130hp i think... Not sure if FE would be significantly improved...

OR

I could find a 302 cubic inch V8 from a 98-01 explorer, either swap it over with or without its correspondent EFI... Mild build if any at all... It would make about double the power of the four cylinder and would pull my ranger around with far less stress...

The current trans in the truck is a five speed manual... .79 od ratio(i think) and im running 3.73 gears with a stock 215/70-14 tire... I would certainly retain a manual trans if i swapped engines... Most likely a five speed from a 4.2v6 f150 as its constructed very similarly to the one in my truck now...
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:29 PM   #2
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It really depends on the vehicle and setup. In the 80's it was common for the larger motors to get better mileage. In the first generation Dodge Caravans, the V6's got better mileage than the 4 cylinders. In many of the 80's GM cars, the optional V8's got better mileage than the stock V6's.

I can't see a Ranger, that did come with a 4cyl getting better mileage with a 302. The 302 is a fantastic motor, and propels Crown Vics to shocking mileage on the highway, but I think the biggest you could go for the Ranger and not hit diminishing returns) is maybe a V6, but my brother in law got over 30 MPG in his old ranger. 6 cyl, 4wd, 5 speed, and jacked up on big tires. The 302 gets 28-30 on the highway in a crown vic which is lower and a lot more aerodynamic than the Ranger. I don't think you will ever exceed this number in a Ranger with a 302.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:26 AM   #3
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To put the question in perspective, the truck currently gets 20-ish on the country roads near me(partly due to the whacked carb) and about 17 on the interstate because 80% of the time, the throttle is locked open... Thats where the 302 would shine... Not looking to hit 30mpg, just hoping for an improvement on the current setup...
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:26 AM   #4
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My 2000 2WD Ranger had the 3L Vulcan with automatic and 4.10 ratio could do 20mpg on the highways here. It also had wheels an inch or two larger than the base model. So your idea could work.

Was the V8 chosen because of availability, perhaps cost? How large a load do you tow? What about a 2.3L from a later model Ranger? There is also some discussion on adding turbos to the 4cyl. at the Ranger Station.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:36 PM   #5
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It would get decent freeway mileage if i could keep my speed down to 65 or so, but it hasnt enough power at 2300 RPM in 5th gear to pull hills without immediately dropping to fourth and flooring the throttle, and still losing speed...

The v8 was considered because of torque output, simplicity of getting it to run, and a greater wealth of knowledge near me... Everyone has built a v8 something or other at some point...

A duratec 2.3 would be a sweet swap to make happen, but i am not sure about making the OBD-II wire swap happen... Would be easier to just find a 2001 or newer truck...

If i build the four cylinder, it would eventually grow to either 2.3 or 2.5 liters, but the bigger cam would likely hurt FE anyway, not entirely that it would make a significant difference...

A 2.3T build was my first build idea, and there is a donor car nearby, but the owner wants like two grand for it and the engine has really low compression on no.4... Oil dipstick is a fountain under boost, lol...

The 2.3T would require no transmission change, possibly no radiator change, and the engine bolts in place of my existing one...

I even considered finding a 3.2 liter SHO v6 and a five speed from behind a 3.0 vulcan to mate together...

The common denominator in all these potential swaps is an EFI conversion... The v8 could be done by getting a carb and correspondent intake and an HEI distributor(cheaper than duraspark)

There are stand alone EMS units that would make the conversion as simole as ground, hot, switched hot, fuel pump and its relay, sensors, and plug it all in, but they can cost upwards of $1500...
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:45 PM   #6
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Related to the above post, i would imagine that a standalone EMS could be attained for basically any of the above engines...cost is the main limiting factor...
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:58 AM   #7
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A tidbit of info perculated up in the old memory last night. It needs to be double checked, but the V8 from an Explorer might not fit in the Ranger engine bay. It's too tall for the hood. Plenty of 5.0L conversions have been done though.

The 3.2 SHO, are you talking about the one from the Taurus? The FWD Vulcan, and thus likely it, spin backwards compared to the RWD one in the Ranger. It could be done but will require more work.
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:24 PM   #8
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Im pretty sure that the SHO v6 spins same direction as the vulcan, which can be used in rwd application... There were a couple rangers built with that engine...
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:36 AM   #9
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A friend and I, about 10 years ago, swapped his tired 2.5L 4 cylinder out of his Jeep Wrangler out for an LT1 from an Impala SS. His Jeep was a 1992 model if I remember right, and the LT1 was a 96 model so it was OBD2. The jeep originally was a 5 speed manual and would get around 15 mpg on the highway because you had to be at full throttle in the mountains to maintain speed. We swapped the 5 speed out for the factory auto that was behind the LT1, and then we were able to bolt the transfer case on to the end of the auto tranny via an adaptor from Advance Adaptors.

Once we got it all up and running, it ran great and his average gas mileage went up to 18-20 mpg on the highway!! Cruising in the mountains after that was relaxing as we had plenty of power to spare compared to the old 2.5L 4 cylinder that was in it.


So yes, it is in fact possible to swap a MUCH larger motor into a vehicle and end up getting better FE. You could even lower your gears in the diff and lower the cruising rpm without sacrificing power or towing capability.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19bonestock88 View Post
Im pretty sure that the SHO v6 spins same direction as the vulcan, which can be used in rwd application... There were a couple rangers built with that engine...
I had a Ranger and a Taurus with the Vulcan. Did a little search, and I was off on the engine rotation. It is the coolant flow that is different.

"I wouldn't, and here is why: The FWD engines (or car) have a reverse flow coolant pump and different head gaskets that allow the water to leave the head from front and rear. The RWD (Truck) engines feed normally, and the water enters the heads (mainly) from the LARGE oval holes in the rear of the block. Without changing the head gaskets, there will be cooling problems. "
http://rogueperformance.com/vulcanFAQ.html#4
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