I need some help on what I should do with this thing. I got the truck for a grand with 175,000 miles. The guy said the engine was rebuilt in 2004 but its probably BS. It starts up and runs pretty good, except for 1 thing...the coolant leaks the entire reservoir out, and not onto the ground...into the OIL...lol. I have to keep changing the oil every 1-200 miles to feel safe.
Before it trashes the bearings, what should i do? I dont mind doing the head gasket. I am pretty confident i can do it with the help of my friend who is a mechanic. What if it is not the head gasket though and is the heads is my question.
The coolant has a lot of metal shavings in it. Some are rather large. I drained all the coolant and refilled it and they come back...
I wonder how long I can drive with it like this...a couple thousand miles? What if i keep changing the oil and put heavier weight in like 20w-50, so that when the coolant mixes with it, it is not as thinned out. I dont mind changing the oil every 1-200 miles although it is a pain in the *** and will add up over time. I will use cheap oil like .75 a quart.
I know this relates to all engines, but maybe someone with more 2.9 knowledge can answer it in the v6 forum. FWIW, my old 87 bro.II went thru 3 engines in 150,000 miles, all being cracked heads and/or head gaskets. When it comes to using the torx head socket for the head bolts, have a couple extras as they'll likely twist or break.
My 2 cents would be to find a jy donor truck with a 4.0, or go the 302 conversion route. Atleast you can gather parts til the engine finally goes completely.
I too have an '89 Ranger originally fitted with the 2.9. When I bought it, it was advertised as having a blown head gasket. Turned out to be cracked heads, the most common affliction with these engines. Even after replacing them and replacing the rod bearings, it was never quite right. I should have pulled the motor and gone through it, paying particular attention to the bottom end as the water in the oil forms an acid that quickly attacks and destroys the bearings.
If you're still driving the truck with water in the oil, chances are you've already done a lot of damage to the bottom end. Your question about how far you can drive without damaging the bearings? About zero miles, sorry to tell you...
Here's an article pertaining to this subject, complete with pics:
After the head replacement I put something like 15K miles on the truck but I was never happy with it so I pulled the motor and swapped in a 5.0. I really wish I had gone through the 2.9 completely as it's a good little engine, but my tranny was trashed too so decided to cut my losses.
Here are some higher resolution pics of the cracks in the heads:
As you can see, they tend to crack on the upper portion of the head rather than in the combustion chamber which is why they still run good but keep pumping that water into the oil.
I don't know what the metal fragments in the radiator might be, it could be totally unrelated. No telling what you're going to find when you get into this motor. I would start by pulling the heads and checking everything out, but be prepared to yank the whole engine.
Keep us posted. There's a lot of good info on this site, and doing the research on my Ranger was how I ended up here. (And I never left!)
Damn...well thanks for posting all that. At least somebody can post something...seems like everyone elses thread gets answered except mine whenever i post.
I should have researched this POS engine more before i bought the damn truck. Looks like i will be out a grand...sigh. But one thing. What if I keep changing the oil? I used 20w-50...do you think that will help any when the water comes in? It has to be better than 10w-30. When I changed the oil last, i really didnt see any milkshake or anything coming out...it was draining out and looked like regular motor oil with only a few hundred miles on it. It was a little thin if I might say though...should it look like a milkshake? It wasnt foamy either...though I only ran the motor for about a minute before draining it out so it didnt get a chance to warm up or anything.
Was your oil a milkshake when it was blown? I might try this thermagasket stuff and then sell it. Have any opinions on that thermagasket stuff?
Sorry, there isn't really any easy solution. I'm not familiar with the product you mention, but it's not the type of thing that will repond to a chemical fix.
With mine, I did a compression test and good readings all across the board so I began to question whether it was really a blown head gasket or not. I cahnaged the oil and it looked good for a while...but not a very long while. It wasn't more than 25 miles or so before I started to get that milkshake look to it again. Between the miles the previous owner and I drove it like that, the bottom end got pretty well eaten up.
In all though, I really like the truck. It's certainly worth considering a 4.0 or other swap. If you sell it, it's only fair to advertise it as a mechanic's special. You should still be able to get back what you paid for it if it's clean otherwise.
Okay, well for ****s I am going to try this thermgasket stuff. I just ordered it. If this doesnt work or if the bearings are already torn a new one I will drive it off a cliff. I am not joking either...my buddy did it before. Someone called the police though.
I hope the bearings or anything else isn't totally destroyed yet because it needs to run for this stuff to work. For like half an hour too.