Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Ford Ranger III



  • evernerfevernerf Posts: 5
    I'm looking for some info on this truck I am considering buying. Its a 98, reg cab, long bed, 4 cyl, 5 speed. I had a 96 ranger and liked it ok.

    1. Does the 2.5 use a timing belt or chain? Is it an interference engine?

    2. Is the extra cab room noticable over the 96 model? I always needed a little more leg room.

    3. Anything to watch out for before buying? it has 56k miles and is in excellent condition.

    Thanks for any help!
  • ronmcqronmcq Posts: 16
    I've been in the market for a commuter/light duty truck and had pretty much settled on a regular cab XLT Ranger 4cyl 5spd for the economy (29mpg hwy). I felt kind of cramped in the cab though and really wanted the dry storage and grand kid seating of the extra cab. On a whim I looked at the new Mazda trucks on this site and found that they listed a 4cyl X cab not offered by Ford. I've looked through most of the postings here and didn't notice any information on this vehicle. Has anyone had any experience with this unit? I'm told Mazda currently has a $3500 rebate which makes this unit pretty attractive. I'm not concerned with tow/hauling as I also have a V-10 Superduty. Are the mileage figures given fairly achievable?
    Thanks, Ron
  • the 2.5 is the 2.3l with a longer stroke. The 2.3l has a timing belt, and so should the 2.5l. The 2.3l Is a non-interferance motor, as should the 2.5l, but I cannot say for sure. That extra stroke might be just enough to cause valve-piston contact.

    I would really sit in the regular cab for a while. Me? I own and like it, it's got plenty of room for me, but I have the back of the seat all the way back (I'm 6'1" with long legs). It fits me well, but not much room to spare. My girlfriend really wanted me to get a extended cab so she could recline during longer trips. It's just very useful space. My next ranger will probably be extended cab...

    Things to watch out for? Well the best bet is to take the vehicle to a mechanic for a full point inspection. DIYers will need to check belts, vacuum hoses, condition of liquids, a few spark plugs, especially brakes, and definitely take any used vehicle for a good test drive. Hope that helps
  • evernerfevernerf Posts: 5
    I'm going this weekend to give it a closer look. I must be getting older to even consider a long bed small pickup!
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    My Ranger just turned 260,000 miles on my way to work tonight and was wondering if anyone knows of one that may have more miles on it.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Couple of questions on the Ranger. I am looking at getting a new work truck for my companies lab to use. The primary driver is about 5'9. How much room is there behind the seats in the regular cab model. I don't want the v-6, so I need to get the regular cab. Is there enough room to cram a couple of duffle bags if the seat isn't scooted back all the way?

    Also how is the 2.3 4-cyl for towing. I don't need to break any speed records while towing, just don't want to hurt anything. The vehicle would never tow more than 1,500 lbs.That shouldn't be a problem should it? I notice the 4-cyl is rated to tow 1,600 lbs.

    Hope things work out with the Ranger because the price is right with the $3,000 rebate. $11,900 for an XLT w/ a/c and block heater. List price is $15,825.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I've never been in a standard cab Ranger. I'm 5'7". I had a 1966 full size Ford, standard cab. I kept the seat all the way back and there was no room behind the seat. Nothing. Course, there was a fuel tank back there in those days.

    The 4 cylinder's power has been upgraded in last couple of years, but I did drive test drive one of the previous ones. Can you say 'weak'?

    I would not get a 4 cylinder to drive, much less to tow. I would not get a standard cab. And also, if you do any towing, get an automatic, it will be rated for more towing than a manual. And although the automatic is not a strong transmission, the manual is worse if you try to tow with it.

    P.S. I have a 1994 4L V6 Extended Cab automatic.
    P.P.S. Don't expect any decent gas milage either. It's a truck.
  • I have some pictures here that may give you a good idea of the room behind the seats...
    It's just enough to fit a subwoofer box, amplifier, and the tire jack kit. There is roughly 4-6 inches of space at the bottom, and it tapes down to 1-2 inches at shoulder level. Not much room, but my seat is all the way back (just barely not touching the rear wall or window). I think it may work for you, granted that the primary driver may not need as much legroom to drive comfortably. If that is not enough room, perhaps a cheap toolbox for the bed?

    Also I would think about the towing and engine choices again. If the truck will be hauling some weight regularly, and that weight is near the limit, I would definitely step up. You don't want to always be near your limit, you want to be comfortable while hauling/towing. I think the 3.0l may be a good compromise, and it should not cost that much as an option. Of course you will not see 20mpg in the city with a v6, but you will with a 4 cylinder. So depends on what the truck will be doing mostly. But the 2.3l is a very healthy engine. I had a 2valve version of it in a 93 ranger, and it lasted over 140,000 with nothing but maintenance.
  • ronmcqronmcq Posts: 16
    Dudleyr, I had the same questions as you and did a bit of research. I ended up getting the B2300 Mazda Extra cab last weekend. It's basically a Ranger (same engine & drivetrain) with different trim. It only comes with the 5spd manual which was fine for me as I'm looking towards fuel economy. I've only a couple of hundred miles on it but am quite satisfied so far with the way it drives and there is more than enough room behind the seats for duffels or small passengers. I got it fully loaded with the power and convenience packages for $15k with the $3500 rebate but before tax & lic here in California. Also the warranty on the Mazda is 4yr 50,000 mile. If you need the 4cyl and extra cab I'd consider this as an option. Hope this helps,
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Thanks for all of the responses.

    I am aware that the 1,500 lbs that may be towed are near the limit of 1,650 lbs, but the Toyota and Nissan both tow 3,500 lbs with their 4-cyl engines that have a smilar hp and torque rating. I am just wondering if Ford underates the 4-cyl so more people will buy the 6. Even my little Integra can tow 1,500 lbs.

    Also the 3.0 v-6 only has about 8% more power and 17% more torque than the 4 at a huge penalty in fuel mileage (22 vs. 29 highway). This vehicle will be driven at about 70 mph on the highway about 4-5,000 miles a month during the construction season. No real big hills (SD), and not much starting and stopping (the hardest part on a vehicle that is towing).

    This is not a pleasure vehicle - it is all about getting the job done efficiently.

    Has anybody had problems towing with the new 2.3 liter engine (I know the old one wasn't as good).

    Also how did people manage just a few years ago when the 3.0 V-6 only had 130 hp - 13 less than the 4 now has (I know the torque was about the same)
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    torque is what pulls, not horsepower.

    17% more will be significant.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    The v-6 with automatic also weighs about 300 lbs more than the 4-cyl w/ manual, so it has more to carry. This drops it's actual power and torque advantages even further.

    FWIW the V-6 is not an option. If the Ranger is inadequate, then the Toyota 4-cyl will work (w/ 3,500lb tow rating) - just costs a little more (still less than V-6 Ranger). The extra reliability of the Toyota is offset, by the scarcity of dealers in these parts, otherwise it might have been the first choice.
  • The 2.3 will be working @ 70 loaded or not. I drove my 90 2.3 5-spd @ 70mph up and down I-75 thru South Georgia (flat), and rarely got more than 19-20 at that speed. Around town got 24 MPG. My 01extended cab 4.0 5-sp auto gets 21-22 MPG @ 70 MPH.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    The '90 Range only has 100 hp - no comparison to the new 143 hp 2.3 (torque is 133 to the new 154). The V-6 from 1990 only had 140 hp and 170 lb ft of torque.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You said "FWIW the V-6 is not an option."

    You've got this all figgered out. Why are you asking us about it?
  • dudleyr,

    you are correct, just thought I'd memtion it. Good luck with
    your decision. Keep us posted.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    The V-6 costs more, and uses much more fuel (we are using a couple of v-6 Blazers now for the job, and they get about 12 mpg), so I won't be able to convince my boss to get a new V-6 over a much cheaper used one that has similar performance. The I4 Ranger is cheap enough that it is not much more than a used vehicle, and it gets better mileage to offset a slightly higher purchase price.

    Just trying to get a feel for the adequacy of the I4. I know the Toyota I4 is fine, as I have driven one with a ton of gravel in the bed, and it was no problem (Toyota used to make a 1 ton version with the same 2.4 engine used today, but with slightly less power, it had a payload capacity of 2,700 lbs - can't remember the tow capacity).

    I was hoping to take advantage of the huge rebates on the Ranger, and save some money over the Toyota.

    And I don't have it figgered out. I'm not comparing versions of the Ranger, I am really comparing different 4 cyl base pickups. Yes I have it figured out that it will be a new 4 cyl, or another used vehicle with a V-6, just not which 4-cyl.

    Thanks for all the input so far.
  • ronmcqronmcq Posts: 16
    For what it's worth, I did my first fill up today with mixed driving for 294 miles on the the 2.3 liter 5 speed Mazda (Ranger clone) extra cab and got 25.49mpg. I couldn't be happier and hope as the engine breaks in I do even better. By the way, I pulled some local mountain grades yesterday and only pulled it out of overdrive (5th)once (my V10 F250 auto w/4.30 gears drops out several times on the same roads).
  • seyorniseyorni Posts: 9
    Evernerf, I don't believe you can get the long bed with the 4-cyl engine. I think it's only sold with the 3.0 or larger engine. As for your comment about buying a long bed -- why would anyone buy anything else? A pickup is a box on wheels, and you can always do more with a large box than a small. I can't understand the current popularity of short beds and extend cabs -- some only 4 ft long! Hell, if you want passenger room and don't need much hauling capacity buy a sedan and remove the trunk lid! A sedan is more comfortable, handles better and gets better mileage than any pickup.
  • seyorniseyorni Posts: 9
    Bolivar. I couldn't agree more with your comment about torque vs hp. Why anyone but a racer who expects to be operating the vehicle at or near redline would be interested in a vehicle's hp baffles me. 99% of drivers never get anywhere neat their engine's hp rating. Hp is high RPM power, what you feel at ordinary RPMs when you step on the gas is TORQUE, not HP! Ignore hp numbers -- pay attention to torque peaks if you want to know what an engine will feel like when you drop the hammer or want to haul something!
  • Are just that peak. They are not mean or net HP figures. The v6 torque curve will be much more flat compared to a 4 valved 4 cylinder motor. The 3.0l also has 25% more torque than the 4 cylinder.

    Isn't the old analogy something like: Torque is how much the motor can move, and horsepower is how fast it can do it?
  • evernerfevernerf Posts: 5
    Well I finally did buy a ranger. Its a 98 reg. cab, longbed, 2.5, 5 speed, xlt. It has 55k on it and I plan on doing some hauling this weekend that I have been putting off for awhile since I only had an altima to use. I'm looking forward to being more "independent" in that way !

    As far as the longbed vs. shortbed is concerned. When I was growing up a shortbed truck was sporty and a long bed was a "work truck". If you had a late 70's chevy shortbed it was awesome. If you had a longbed it was grandpas farm truck.

    I also drove a 2001 shortbed ranger and a 99 S10 with a V6. I really loved the 2001 ranger as it was very sharp and had tilt, cruise, cd and a tach but the price was right on the 98. The ride on the 01 was noticably bouncier. I didnt like the chevy at all. The interior looked very cheap and the top rim of the steering wheel blocked the top part of the speedometer for me.

    I have a question. Can you still get add on cruise for vehicles? Any idea how much the cost might be with installation? Do they work as well as a factory unit? How about a factory one from a ford dealer?

    Thanks in advance.
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Posts: 168
    Greetings all:

    I purchased a used 1999 Ranger XLT supercab w/3.0 6 (4x2)last Sept. and it has been a great truck. I stopped by the local Ford dealer and they had several 2002 XLT supercab's (4x4) with everything so I test drove a silver one and got it. Very nice truck - smoother, quieter and more powerful (4.0 ltr 6) than the '99 but the handling is not as precise. It may be the tires - 245/75/16 vice 225/70/15. The mileage was 21,715 and I paid 17,000 - truck has all options including Mach3 audio (what is that?).

    Anyway, I hope I didn't get myself into trouble by getting a 4x4 since I've read on this forum that they have more problems than the 4x2. BTW, if the 2WD switch on the dash is engaged, will this help with getting better mileage. My '99 got 21-22 w/90% highway driving and I hope this '02 will get close to 20mpg.

    Thanks - this is a great forum and I have learned alot about Rangers in general and think I made a great choice in a truck.

    Regards - M. J. McCloskey
  • aspesisteveaspesisteve Posts: 833
    I'm looking at '96 XLT V6 with 40k miles or a '98 XLT V6 with 82k miles. Both are asking the same price ($7,200)and appear to be clean. Is there an obivious choice here?

    From Edmunds, the only significant change I can see is a different trany implemented in '97. Does that mean the trany prior to '97 was prone to problems?

    Appreciate any advice.
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    Many things can affect the preciseness of steering. You noted the larger tires: That's one thing. The brand of tire also has an affect. Plus, in general, a 4x4 can easily feel less precise than a 4x2. Lots more stuff involved in moving the front wheels.

    The reason you may have more problems with a 4x4 than a 4x2 is just that there are many additional components in the drivetrain of a 4x4 (transfer case; front differential; front driveshaft). Also, many 4x4 owners subject their trucks to more punishment than a 4x2 owner would: off-road adventures, etc.

    Yes, keep your switch in the 4x2 position at all times, UNLESS the situation requires 4x4. Better mileage and less strain on the driveline. If you forget, you will be reminded the first time you back up and turn the steering wheel at the same time. If in 4x4, the driveline will "bind up", and it will feel like the brakes are on. Plus, you may hear strange noises.

    Mach 3 is Ford's top-of-the-line stereo components.

    I have a 2002 XLT 4x4 that I've owned for over a year. It now has 18,000+ miles on it and I have not had a single problem with it so far (knock on wood).
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Posts: 168


    Thanks for your detailed comments regarding my concerns about the 4X4 vice the 4X2. I selected the Ranger 4X4 since I had such a good experience with the 4X2 and expect good service from the 2K2 model. The MACH audio system is quite nice - very good clarity and bass reponse - this system rocks! There is a slight vibration on the outside in the left rear mini door due to the strong bass but I will fix this pronto.

    I've driven about 80 miles since I acquired the truck on Tuesday and am very pleased. The ride is a bit 'jiggly' but that may be due to the 4-wheel drivetrain even though I keep it in 2WD. This baby has lots more power than the 3.0 V-6 - passing is effortless and quick. I checked my mileage and I'm getting 19.6mpg (95%) highway. If I can keep it at an average of 18mpg overall, I'll be satisfied.

    I have attached a pic of my new 'rig' - I think the silver color makes the truck look a bit 'upscale' in overall appearance.

    Happy motoring to all -

    M. J. McCloskey
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    Not exactly the most stylish or elaborate thing around, but it provides the dry AND lockable storage Ive needed for awhile now. It's a used leer with a ladder rack. Couple questions... Anybody with the cheaper unpainted aluminum caps, how do you normally clean them? Can I run the truck through a car wash with the thing on there?

    Also... anybody got a 93-97 longbed who needs a ladder rack for their cap? The fricking thing makes it look even more like a contractor's truck, and the dealer wouldn't remove it.

  • jkidd2jkidd2 Posts: 218
    Hi Everyone...this is probably a really stupid question...but...

    I have a 2002 Ranger XLT FX4....just bought it about 2 months ago right off the dealer lot. It had been sitting on the lot since last May, so I got a sweet deal on it. Love the truck! appears to have a cargo bed light on each side of the high-mounted brake light.

    I have checked the vehicle book in the glove box. It refers me to page 81 of the book for info on the cargo light. There is nothing on that page about the cargo light. I have looked all over the interior looking for a switch...nothing.

    Is there a cargo light there? Is there some trick to turning it on? HELP!


  • dmoulddmould Posts: 76
    On my 2001 Ranger, to activate the cargo light you "roll" the dashboard light dimmer switch to the top. This will keep the interior lights on as well. I wish there was a separate switch.
  • brucelincbrucelinc Posts: 815
    I had the same question with my 2001. The owners manual didn't say how to turn the thing on! Dmould is right - it is wired with the interior lights and there is no separate switch.
This discussion has been closed.