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Hi everyone, I am new to the forum (yesterday) and glad to be a part of all of you! I have twisted wrenches all my life for myself, and I do enjoy fixing things but.... I recently bought an 83 Ranger, 111,000 actual miles, 4sp. with carb, factory air, PB, and PS. The owner's husband passed away over 1 yr. ago so it had been sitting that long. When I tried it out, it ran crappy (hesitation, stalling, ect.) and I assumed it was stale gas. I have put around 600 miles on it since, and it is not much better. The motor was changed according to her, and it is missing the smog pump, plus the vaccuum lines were a mess. The best I have done on gas mileage is 20.5, which I believe there is more to be had even with a 4sp. What do I need to check to get this motor running right? It lopes at the red lights, almost dying, but runs good under acceleration. It also has a 1BBL carb on it. I have plugged all of the vaccuum lines that went to the smog devices, AC, ect. that I can find. Hasn't used one drop of oil so far, and no rust anywhere on the truck that I can find, so she is a keeper if I can get the problems fixed. I do appreciate any and all help, by the way I live in Western NC in the Blue Ridge Mts. if anyone is close to give a shout to.
I finally figured out what the problem was with my truck, just in time for the head gasket to blow! I took the carb off and found 2 vac. lines with big cracks in them. I finally got all of the lines plugged, and put a new timing belt on yesterday. The timing was off several degrees also. It had never run better, and after testing it for a couple of hours the oil is milky white! Seems like I just cannot win, no matter what I do. Guess I will spend some more money for a head gasket, oil, ect. I am frustrated to say the least. Now I have 2 broken-down trucks to deal with. I was going today to find a tranny for my 4WD Dakota, but I guess I will have to work on the Ranger AGAIN!!!
Finally got the 2.3 back together, anyone out there who battles with a chronic disease (fibromyalgia) knows how hard it is to stay bent over an engine for hours. I can work on it for about 30 minutes, then I have to take a break and rest. It could be much worse, at least I can get around and do a little. Now it has started smoking, which it was not doing before. When it idles for a red light or traffic, it blows blue smoke out the tailpipe. I haven't done a comp. test yet, I guess that's next on the list. If I can get by for a while, I have a 302 just waiting out in my building to put in her. I need some advice from you all who are familiar with motor swaps. Will my stock 4sp mate up to a V8, my Ranger is factory transmission and rear end, and not posi? Is the stock radiator up to the task of cooling a 302 with air conditioning? Who could recommend a company who makes the necessary hardware, or is it doable? I have a good friend who is an excellent welder, so if I had some idea of dimensions he could help me fab. the mounts, and whatever else it needs. I have never tried a project this large before, but I admire the little Rangers with a big engine. I am planning to make a sleeper out of it, with single exhaust and a quiet muffler, except for a cutout for taking it to the dragstrip once in a while. Sorry about the long post, but would appreciate any and all responses. I hope to start on it this spring, if the Good Lord willing. Thanks so much! J Boyter
If you're going to do a V8 swap then you should go to a site called the "Ranger Station". YOu will find more info there on such a swap.
I can tell you that NO you can not use the 4 sp trans from your 2.3L 4 behind the 302. What you want it a 5 sp trans. I think you can adapt the Rangers the slave cylinder to a Mustang bell, clutch, trans set up out of Mustang. These parts are easy to find.
id get another 2.3 block, you can get one from a 8plug efi headed mustang, just bolt ur 4 plug head on the block,, id choose the 2.3 anyday over a 302, you just had bad luck with your 2.3, they are very good engines, the 302 is ok will suck more gas but in the long run will never outlive a 2.3 lima motor
I second the idea for another 2.3L block. They are tough little motors that can net you great mileage and some serious grunt when built up. They're used in sandrails, drag cars, all kinds of swaps, open wheel racers, etc. Do a leakdown check as well as compression test. Could just be valve seals. At the end of the day, its your rig...your choice. Check out youtube and do a search for "huber performance mustang" or "turbo ranger" or even google the volvo head mod for the 2.3s. Theres tons of mods that can be done, mild to wild for the lil beasts.
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