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Discussion Starter #1
Victim

2001 Ford Ranger
177,XXX miles
Standard cab with short bed
2.5L I4 Faulty engine management,faulty ABS,and bad valve(s)
4R55E auto tranny on it's way out

Vehicle usage.
Hauling trash and making long runs (250-300 miles each way) to pick up and drop off food donations on a regular basis.An occasional trailer pull,under 2000lbs all up.I have the equipment to haul up to 750 tongue/7500 trailer on my truck.It is overkill.

Current Modifications
3 inch drop all around.This will be reversed and the truck returned to factory ride height.

Modifications in process.
Larger Mustang Brakes up front and an Exploder,I mean Explorer 8.8 axle with disc brakes in rear.Considering hydro boost brakes.I did this on my 1990 Cougar.Makes for some but clinching seat eating panic stops to keep from hitting the teen driver that's texting.

I am looking to do a diesel conversion that will give better economy and pull up the mountains better.Right now the 2.5L has to turn 4000 rpm to pull a 6% grade at 60 mph.I have 4.10 gears and even went from 235-70-15 tires to 215-65-15 tires (1.5 inch difference) to keep rpms up.I currently get 15-17 mpg city and 19-20 mpg highway.I have no problems ditching the faulty auto tranny for a 4 or 5 speed manual.I prefer a 4 speed with 5th as an OD.


Cummins 4BT
After window shopping,I got sticker shocked.More like electrocuted.I could not find a junk vehicle (bread truck/panel vans) with a 4BT.Called all the scrapers I could find and the cheapest quote I got for a 4BT was $4500 and $800 for the matching GM TH400.No warranty.Pulled from a commercial truck,I was told.

VW 1.9TD
I was quite surprised that no scrapers had a mechanical injected 1.6/1.9TD.A couple called me back and said they could get me a used long block for $2200-2500.Still gotta get the parts to make it run and find and adapter for a transmission.Could not locate a used car from the late 80's to early 90's.

Mercedes 3.0L I5
These cars are quite plentiful and in running condition.Prices range from $500 to $5000.No crap!$5000 for an 85 four door sedan,or saloon if you're in Europe.This car was pristine.I don't think it ever saw rain.Back to biz.I found a few late 80's turbo cars (120+HP models) in the $1200 to $2000 range.All were automatics.Was there ever a manual transmission behind the 3.0L I5?I know that this engine can be tuned to a reliable 160 to 180 HP.

Any other engines I should look at?

Adapters.I have the knowledge and access to the equipment to make them.I do prefer to buy a kit.

Any thoughts or opinions.I am leaning toward the Benzo I5,but I would like to have a manual trans.I would keep the Benzo auto if I couldn't go manual.I wanna keep this project cheap as possible.That's my reason for leaning toward the Benzo swap.
 

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You missed one of the best, the Isuzu 4BD. Although it would be a tight fit without a lift I think, but easier without a huge NV4500 in our little tranny tunnels lol. I have about $2500 into my motor, tranny and adapter, if I used the stock tranny in a 2wd I'd be at only $1500.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have had issues with those.So I over looked them because of that.I really wanna avoid tunnel clearance issues.I have a 2WD Ranger with the A arms and coil spring front suspension.I am reinstalling the factory suspension so I will gain 3 inches of ground clearance.I really don't wanna go any higher.
 

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volkswagens are maybe the easiest engine to drop into anything as they're small... about cummins, the b3.3 could be a good option as they're reported to be easier to fit into a compact truck than the traditional 3.9... about mercedes-benz engines, some guys really HATE the 4cyl om616, but i could consider this one... i've already seen some improved versions of the 616 with 79hp, without turbo, and i believe it can do the job into a ranger... i still see a lot of service vans using this engine, even some ambulances...

 

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Welcome,

I'd suggest spending some time digging through the Project Builds section for inspiration, and also take a long look at the sticky Tech links that BobS posted in Tech section. In other words, arm yourself with some solid background info, and learn from other's numerous mistakes and successes.

Whether you want mileage, power or whatever > it's a motor vehicle and the fundamental key to success is GEARS, GEARS, GEARS!!! There is no other single factor that will so influence your resulting machine's performance.

You can toss $50,000 into a build and have a useless piece of rolling metal artwork if it has the wrong gears; or do a $2,000 budget build and end up double back-flip happy with the right gears! Let me repeat: GEARS!

I'm sure you have a very nice floor in your truck, hah, but seriously: should that be allowed to effect the overall success of the whole build by limiting transmission choices? Pretty easy to roll-form a modified tunnel for trans clearance and usually only a couple of inches change here & there.

As you know, for power or fuel economy, automatic transmissions are a fat dog loser, no redeeming social value. If I had my druthers I'd run a splitter behind a close ratio 5 speed, or 4 speed: a gear for every occassion. Of course that's extreme, but > Gears!

Something else to consider: your truck. Is it a truck you're absolutely nuts about, just wouldn't want any other truck in the whole world? If not, then a guy has great options. There's lots of nice trucks out there with a blown engine or tranny, cheap, that could end up a better [easier, more adaptable] build with all of the plus factors of your current ride, and the same or better potential mileage.

Lots of guys getting mid-20's mileage with 6BT 3/4 ton 2WD trucks. Pretty easy to hit 30's MPG by whacking off 2 cylinders, as going 4BT, with GEARS and staying close to stock settings & parts. I know, because my 6,200 lbs 43 year old Dodge truck does that all the time!

So overall I'm suggesting you pursue all options with an open mind, flip through the pages of the great project trucks already built here, look closely at real & actual needs & desires, and THEN ONLY get out the old checkbook and wrenches...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ohhhh I'm with ya on gearing.I regeared probably half or Spartanburg counties 4x4s when I was a mechanic at Brewer's 4x4.Nothing like building a Jeep with 36" tires and then it can move on 3.73 gears.Then it ends up with me.LOL I been going thru everything here over the past few years and searching a thing called the interweb(?). haha One of the issues is finding a donor vehicle or complete engine in my area.Many people here are just now starting to warm up to diesel power.About the tranny tunnel,it's a tight squeeze between it and the pedals.I already have issue with stepping on both pedals at the same time.I gots me sum wide feets.

My truck shouldn't be trade or resold.My girl friend pulled over on a narrow mountain road,the road edge collapsed,rolled her down the mountain,and upside down in a creek.We had no collision coverage to pay for another truck, so she pushed me to fix it.I did and it has a salvage title.I am told it can't be resold or transferred.I do like the body style,just not the drive train.

I'll keep your advise in mind.Thanks.
 

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You can resell a salvage title. My brother's fat-in-law did it for extra cash while drinking beer in the evenings instead of supper. Made it to 56. How about a nice 4 cylinder Deutz? Phoenix makes adaptors for Ford trannies. Good mileage, power, durable, different.
 

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How about a nice 4 cylinder Deutz? Phoenix makes adaptors for Ford trannies. Good mileage, power, durable, different.
and no concernments with radiators and hoses...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You can resell a salvage title. My brother's fat-in-law did it for extra cash while drinking beer in the evenings instead of supper. Made it to 56. How about a nice 4 cylinder Deutz? Phoenix makes adaptors for Ford trannies. Good mileage, power, durable, different.
I'll have to look into the resell thing some more.Do you know if SC laws allow a salvage title vehicle to be resold or transferred?I'll ask when I go to get the title for my two salvaged motorcycles.

Never considered the Deutz.Never seen one around here.I will do more research into those.Easy and cheap, just the way I like my women.LMAO
 

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Hola!

I am lucky.I have a radiator builder near me.He does reproduction copper rads and aluminum ones for dirt track cars.I have a stock pile of hoses.Seems like I have a leaky one every few months.
if radiators are not a problem, why not to take the engine out of a wrecked sprinter? i must confess i would prefer to use a non-electronic engine, but the sprinter engines have enought power with a good fuel economy... until 2001 or 2002, ford used to offer the same engine of the sprinter in some argentinian-made rangers, so it's almost plug and play...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
if radiators are not a problem, why not to take the engine out of a wrecked sprinter? i must confess i would prefer to use a non-electronic engine, but the sprinter engines have enought power with a good fuel economy... until 2001 or 2002, ford used to offer the same engine of the sprinter in some argentinian-made rangers, so it's almost plug and play...

That is an idea.I'm making notes on all this.Merc and Ford Sprinters are very rare in my area but if I can find one at the right price.I have yet to see a diesel Ranger.I know they're in Europe and Central and South America.Safety or emissions must be what keeps them out of the US.
 

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be prepared to lift the body at least with a 3.9, or altering the pan to let the engine sit low enough to clear the hood.(mines a 94 so my front end is different than yours) i put 2" BL in with 4" suspension, i like raised look wish it was higher actually.. but with the 3.9 and the m5r2 trans i have no complaints and ive had it in pa up n down hills no problem in OD pulling hills. i have 3.73's not 4.10's...may actually go to a 3.55 when i do a 8.8 swap
 

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Discussion Starter #14
be prepared to lift the body at least with a 3.9, or altering the pan to let the engine sit low enough to clear the hood.(mines a 94 so my front end is different than yours) i put 2" BL in with 4" suspension, i like raised look wish it was higher actually.. but with the 3.9 and the m5r2 trans i have no complaints and ive had it in pa up n down hills no problem in OD pulling hills. i have 3.73's not 4.10's...may actually go to a 3.55 when i do a 8.8 swap
My truck is a 2WD.My truck makes a lot of long distance runs, and my short 4'11" GF shares the driving duty,so I gotta keep it at stock height.It's so funny watching her jump up into a truck that's lowered 3 inches.I am raising it back up to stock height.The cross member in an A arm ranger with coil springs is real narrow compared to my old 85 4x4 and my friends 96 4x2 with I beams.Do you know what gearing was available in the Ranger/Explorer 8.8 with disc brakes?I'll go search.
 

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That is an idea.I'm making notes on all this.Merc and Ford Sprinters are very rare in my area but if I can find one at the right price.I have yet to see a diesel Ranger.I know they're in Europe and Central and South America.Safety or emissions must be what keeps them out of the US.
actually european/asian/african/australian ranger is not the same ranger we know, it's a rebadged mazda bt50... it's now being offered in chile too, alongside gasser versions of the argentinian ranger... the problem for diesels in the u.s. seems to be due to political criteria more than technical ones... btw the turkish-made transit connect is offered in europe only with diesel engines, and the ford focus and fiesta are also offered with diesels... but if volkswagen can offer a light-duty diesel range in the u.s. i can't see why ford can't do the same... but now that chrysler was purchased by fiat, well-known for its diesel engines, i believe there will be a "diesel boom" in the u.s. sooner than you can wait...
 

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My truck is a 2WD.My truck makes a lot of long distance runs, and my short 4'11" GF shares the driving duty,so I gotta keep it at stock height.It's so funny watching her jump up into a truck that's lowered 3 inches.I am raising it back up to stock height.The cross member in an A arm ranger with coil springs is real narrow compared to my old 85 4x4 and my friends 96 4x2 with I beams.Do you know what gearing was available in the Ranger/Explorer 8.8 with disc brakes?I'll go search.
3.55, 3.73. and i know they had a 3.08, 3.27, 3.31, 4.10 option but not sure if they were sold in the exploders or just as a swap
 

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The cross member in an A arm ranger with coil springs is real narrow compared to my old 85 4x4 and my friends 96 4x2 with I beams.Do you know what gearing was available in the Ranger/Explorer 8.8 with disc brakes?I'll go search.
That could make things difficult, even in my 4x4 frame there isn't a ton of room on either side of the motor. Although after spending time under it today and looking closely, I'm 95% sure a 4BD would fit in a RBV without a lift, with some creative fitting. The bottom of my frame is just about flush with the bottom of the oilpan (not counting the sump part). But the Isuzu is shorter than the Cummins too, too bad you've ruled it out.

Don't forget, thanks to the Mustang there's any ratio you want out there for an 8.8, but I'd guess the highest you'll find from the factory would be a 3.08, I know they were common in full width 8.8s. Explorer's will be primarily 3.73, with just a sprinkling of 3.55 and 4.10.


TBH, I think in the long run you will like a 3.3L Cummins the best for this vehicle, even if it costs you a bit more up front.
 

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I've read about putting a manual behind a 5cyl Benz if you get the bell housing flywheel and trans out of a 240D that has NA 4cyl. Some take it in and have it balanced others have used it as is with no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good ideas.I am still researching and seeing what's available locally or something I can pick up on one of my trips.I wanna have a decision and plan nailed down by spring 2011 so I can start stock piling parts and bench fitting everything.
 
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