Ford Ranger Engine Modifications

stryder3stryder3 Member Posts: 2
edited April 2014 in Ford
I own a 1997 Ford Ranger with the 4 cylinder, 2.3L engine and am dissapointed with the acceleration now that I regularly have to merge into 70mph traffic. I'm very mechanically inclined, and was wondering if there was any relatively easy and inexpensive upgrade I could put in to significantly improve acceleration. My first serious thought was a turbo kit. Are there any turbo kits that will fit on this engine, or can I easily adapt a turbo from another car or truck? Also, could I buy a performance chip or switch one out with a V8?



  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    If you want fast, buy fast.

    Don't try to increase the power on your truck. It's a 4 cylinder and always be. Chips, exhaust, mufflers, wires, plugs, coils, air intake and filter mods will not significantly change this truck and motor configuration.

    Trade it for a V6. The 4L is significantly faster.

    I don't think there is a turbo available. But since this is not my 'thing', I could be wrong.
  • stryder3stryder3 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks, but I think there is probably a way to improve the power by at least 10% or 15%. Those import tuner guys with their compacts can almost double their power rating. Granted, they probably spend a lot of money on their cars, but I'm just looking to add a little acceleration. Any suggestions are appreciated though.
  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    What do you have, 114hp?

    114 x 1.15 = 131hp

    Do you think you will be able to 'feel' the difference. I doubt it.

    You've got, maybe, a $4,000 truck.

    How much money are you going to put into it? And remember, a 'modded' vehicle will seldom pay back much, if any, of the cost. And actually may de-value a vehicle.

    Trade for an early 2000's 208hp V6 4L Ranger. You will be able to tell the difference on this truck.
  • teh_jokerteh_joker Member Posts: 7
    I'd go for the 4L with the five speed. i put a computer, wires, ingection maniflod w/ injectors, bored it out, and custom made a turbo for it. now i run amost 245 hp out of that little engine, and lay out rubber in 4th gear, out of 5. plus with the computer, i can have it adjust the back pressure on the turbo so it get better gas milage, and ajust the ingection pressure. with everything i did to it, i get it from 0-60 in less than 7 seconds. but i payed for it. my mods are at about 10k. more than the worth of a 1997 Ranger XLT, but i'm keepin that truck untill i die, it dies, or we both go together. i pull around 21 mpg in low power mode, but acceleration for 0-60 is around 11 secs, it pulls as much power as the 3L. in medium mode, i get around 18 mpg, and normal 4L acceleration. In power mode, i pull around 15 mpg, but accleration is in the top end. It runs great against most cars. love seeing my friends jaws drop when i smoke thier cars. Go for a trade in, Get a 4.0L 2x4. i have the 4x4, pulls too much wieght, i reckon it slows my speed down about .3 seconds in the 1/4 mile, but still.

    P.S. I'm putting NO2 in it.
  • clintonjohnclintonjohn Member Posts: 99
    I'm not at all knowlegeable in the specific engines, but I wonder if the base 2.3 in the Ranger isn't the same engine as in the older 2.3 turbo SVO Mustangs or Tbirds minus the turbo. If that is the case, could a turbo be pulled off an old SVO and installed on the base Ranger motor? Or simply do an engine swap? That said, wouldn't you then need to modify various components to accomodate the turbo-exhaust for example? I don't know that the comparison between the Japanese tuners and the Ranger is a fair comparison in that there are tons of aftermarket upgrades for the Civics whereas I doubt there's enough of a Ranger tuner market to cause manufacturers to start making high performance upgrades. I'm sure it's possible, but there's probably little incentive for the companies.
  • yetti8yetti8 Member Posts: 7
    i am thinking on buying a 97 ford ranger with 240,000 miles is it a smart thing?
  • rangerracer08rangerracer08 Member Posts: 2
    i agree with the guy above me, i am puttin a turbo kit on my 2.3 right now... when ur moms van smokes ur bagged, header back exhaust, filter truck it pisses me off soo yeah i suggest doing the motor swap or even just the turbo kit from another 2.3 ford motor
  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    Like all car purchases, it depends:

    -You knowledge of do-it-yourself repair, or
    willingness to pay for repairs (which actually ties back to -Price).

    Because at this milage, almost anything can break at any time.

    But if the truck has had good maintenance done in it's past, it could have quite a few miles left in it. But remember, you should expect anything could break at any time.
  • 94hopes94hopes Member Posts: 2
    I own a '94 ranger 4x2, and am thinking of dropping in a 5.0L Mustang V8. I am just wondering if anybody knows what else is involved? I know Ill have to get V8 motor mounts(i think that they make them as a conversion kit for the ranger), a new wiring harness, and probably headers, but will the stock tranny be enough? It has a 4.0L V6 now, so i think i can get away with just putting in a shift kit. What about the stock drive shaft, will it work? If anybody has been through this and has an idea of what im getting hyself into, please let me know?
  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    The hosts don't like steering people to other forums, and will delete one with a link.

    I've never seen a discussion on this forum in depth about the V8 switch.

    But, if you search the internet, there are other areas that have the answers to your questions.

    Overall, it's not something done easily, but a lot of people have done this. I'm not sure, but I don't think the stock 4L transmission can even be mated to a 5L.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJMember Posts: 3,516
    Head over to the Engine Swaps (Performance Swaps) discussion in our Speed Shop: Tuning & Modification Board - the gearheads over there should have some insight.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • guestguest Member Posts: 770
    Dear Sir:

    Did you find all the mods in one kit or just do it piecemeal?

    I have a 2003 4.0 L 4x4. It has the 5 spd transmission. I'd like to add some power but not sacrifice the fuel economy. Do you think ram air and headers will boost it quite a bit?
  • curt12curt12 Member Posts: 1
    where is the oil pressure sending unit located under the hood?
  • gifftergiffter Member Posts: 1
    92 ford ranger 2.3 with 5speed just bought 88 TC with T-5 and the swaps coming this weekend. 94 explorer 8,8 3.73 31 spline traction- loc to put rubber to pavement! Anyone done this swap? Griff
  • capthook07capthook07 Member Posts: 1
    Has anybody heard of a small turbo diesel installed into a Ranger. I love the truck but hate the mileage and want to change to biodiesel. I would like it to bolt up to the AOD transmission in the rig.
  • mmazurkemmazurke Member Posts: 1
    I am about to undertake the same project myself. I would like to go biodiesel but am looking for a compatable engine with minimal 'nudging' needed to fit in my 97 ranger. Also, anyone know what kind of drivetrain would be needed.
  • bolivarbolivar Member Posts: 2,316
    You guys must have a lot of money to spend to get to a diesel.

    Isn't diesel now much more per gallon than gasoline?

    Go to Mexico. Or is it South America. I understand they sell a diesel Ranger there. Also sell a 4 door one.
  • wesman2440wesman2440 Member Posts: 1
    it should be on the left side of the motor .. it should be just under the top lip ...Like you know where you add oil ok that whole part if unbolted lifts off so look on the side where that lip is and it will be right there ....and this is very hard for me to explain on here but im doin my best sorry for the confusion
  • rangerrocketrangerrocket Member Posts: 11
    I have done this swap and it was one of the easier V8 swaps you can do. You can check out my swap pics at .
  • danbydanby Member Posts: 1
    installed a hot camshaft in my 2.3L ranger for more horsepower. results, appears no extra power. Question: if i advanced the cam gear one tooth, would this give more power.
  • adentonadenton Member Posts: 2
    i dont know if its beacuse im a woman or if these auto part stores just want you to buy the manual 'I would if Icould afford it ' but they said they dont have the torque specifications for rocker arm can i get some help here
  • grump1grump1 Member Posts: 27
    Yes you can get more power --- You can make these 2.3 ford engines run faster then the fricken v-8's,, We do it all the time at the races....Look up "Racer Walsh" for starter...and ""Essinger"" , These guys sell everthing you could possibly want...Hell, They even sell stroker kits... Good Luck,--- V6's are JUNK....!
  • rngrbeaterrngrbeater Member Posts: 4
    i believe these are all very good questions, the last guys post was very true about getting power out of the 4 cylinder, its very hard to do, yes you can turbo, no i dont think there is a specific turbo for the rangers, but yes that is about the only true way to get power out of you 2.3L. good luck.
  • rngrbeaterrngrbeater Member Posts: 4
    yes it can. i do believe that all engine parts from stang and tbird can be swapped on to a ranger.
  • rngrbeaterrngrbeater Member Posts: 4
    has anyone heard of this site if so, is it legitimate? and what do you all think of an electric supercharger?
This discussion has been closed.