1991 SAS build


gradan07

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build log 13

I had been considering installing the 4.0 for some time before this. I was shopping for the m5od that would bolt up to the 4.0. This proved to be harder than i thought. all the local yards did not have them. Craigslist and ebay at the time wanted about $600 for a used one. The 4.0L needed a full refresh too. While looking for the 4.0 trans an add came up on craigslist for a 1988 turbo coupe motor. I have always been a fan of the mustang SVO from the 80s and i had looked into building one before for a mustang i owned. I gave the guy a call and brought it home the next day. The motor did not have a wire harness or the alternator/power steering brackets. the price was right and i had the added bonus of keeping my M50d trans with the lower gearing.



I got the motor on a stand and started the clean up process. I also went ahead and ordered all new seals, water pump, hoses, hose clamps, oil pump, head studs, ignition components, clutch kit, timing belt, complete ron francis wire harness, and used LA2 ECU. A few goodies from Stinger included manual boost control valve, and silicon inter cooler couplers with T bar clamps.




The timing belt covers were cracked so i ordered all new front plastic






During the build i found that the factory log style manifold had two cracks so i ordered a stainless steel tubular manifold. The manifold kept the stock turbo location.

starting to look like something

To monitor the new motor i also have jegs brand boost and oil pressure gauges.

The 2.3 turbos are known to have marginal crank case ventilation so after some research I copied a popular crank case vent system using parts from summit racing.

This ties into the main crank case vent and the valve cover vent. The stock system normally routes the air back to the turbo inlet but this just vents to atmosphere with this catch can. I have had no issues with oil pushing past seals with the new system
 


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mavereq

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That header is going to crack. I wouldn’t spend the time getting all your plumbing built for that location. You’ll have to change it soon.
 

gradan07

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That header is going to crack. I wouldn’t spend the time getting all your plumbing built for that location. You’ll have to change it soon.
I was not very pleased with the build quality when it arrived. The fitment didn't work and I had to modify the rear tube to even get the bolts in. Now that I know the motor is good and I like how the truck runs I'm considering doing a log style like on your truck with a center mount turbo position and front mount intercooler. Sounds like you have been around these 2.3 for awhile. Are you running one of bob's log headers? If so where do you actually buy them from i remember not being able to find them when i looked last year. I may have some more questions for you later.
 
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Grunizzle

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Thanks for documenting and writing all of this! The Ranger Station needs more builds with as much documentation as yours! I really dig the build! Those stainless bedsides are badass
 

gradan07

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Thanks for documenting and writing all of this! The Ranger Station needs more builds with as much documentation as yours! I really dig the build! Those stainless bedsides are badass
Thanks! I really wanted to post what i have done since i got so much information from this site during the process. This part of the build is still a year old so i have a few more posts to get current. I will also do a post about what i would change or do differently if i were starting today.
 

gradan07

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build log 14

The engine did not come with any accessory brackets so i ended up modifing the 1991 ranger serpentine system to work with the 1988 block. Although the two blocks are very similar this is not a bolt on job. There are some differences in the intake area and some issues with the bolts near the distributor drive counter shaft. The alternator bracket needed to be milled to fit with the turbo intake.


After some test fitting i did get it all to work


For motor mounts i ordered a set of DOM tubing with Poly bushing as a starting point. I wanted a design that even if the rubber or poly failed that the engine would still be captured. So this is what i came up with.




Since i did not have an engine harness and most of the plugs and wires were trashed on my stock 2.3 harness I needed a used harness or a new one. At the time there were no used ones on ebay so i spent the money on a new one from Ron Francis. In genreal the quality was good. I did have a few bad crimp connections on wire ends. To be fair i did not contact them to see if they would do anything about it. i simply fixed the ends. one year later the wiring is all still good but time will tell if it was money well spent.


For the fuel system i wanted something i could be confident in. So i ordered russel AN-6 adapters right to the 2.3 turbo fuel rail. I also got the adapters to the tank. So the truck is now AN-6 from pump to rail. I still plan to add one more inline filter that is better than the simple mesh filter in the image.



For exhaust i am running a dynomax 3" pass through muffler and 3" mandrel bend tubing. The exhaust dumps out the passenger side right after the cab. The photo just shows the tubing parts i started with.




After getting the motor installed and all wired up i found the warm oil pressure was too low at idle for comfort. So i pulled the motor again and measured the crank journals. Clearance was on the large size so i ordered a crank and new bearings. After checking everything with plastigage everything went back in. This helped the oil pressure numbers quite a bit.



The heater box needed some heavy cutting to keep the stock O2 sensor location on the down pipe. I cut the box and fabricated an aluminum cover for the hole. Then used heat tape to seal it all up. So far the heat in the truck still works well just a bit nosier. Also the down pipe still has clearance so nothing is melting.



The only other thing i ran into was a stripped out hole on the exhaust side of the turbo housing. This was from a previous owner. I mounted the housing on the mill drilled and tapped it out for the next size fine thread fastener.
 

1991fordranger1

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Awesome build! I love the encouragement these give to keep on my own project

Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
 

gradan07

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Build log 15

A few more comments on the motor swap. I tried to run the stock turbo steel oil pan. I found that the pan hit the engine cross member on the drivers side. At that point i switched to the stock 1991 aluminum oil pan. It uses a different gasket and i needed to run the 1991 ranger front main seal carrier. I am also running the ranger oil pickup. With these changes the motor fit fine and i think the aluminum pan ties into the m5od trans a little nicer than the turbo coupe pan did.

The new motor went into the truck in the winter/spring of 2017. Since then i have been running it around town and two work on nice/or snowy days. I have fuel pressure and boost set at the factory levels and the engine has been running great. The truck is a lot more fun to drive now and can go much faster than i need or want to. I would not say the truck is fast but it is up to modern SUV acceleration standards. I have found if i drive the truck nice i can get about 15 mpg which is actually an improvement over the na 2.3 with the bigger tires and gears. I have two kids now and a busy schedule so i did not get back to the offload park with the new motor yet but i should be headed back in the next two months. I did get a nice camping/overland trip in in Feb. of 2018

To prep for the 2 day trip i decided that the old head lights were not up to night driving so i ordered and installed a new set of housings.


The trip planned would be to drive to Michaux state forest and run as much gravel road as we could on saturday and then camp Saturday night. The roads in michaux state forest could all be run in a car on most days so I would not call this wheeling but it was a good test for the truck and motor. We loosely planned a route based around two hiking areas we wanted to run.

I loaded up the camping gear and some tools. The bed provides tons of room for gear.


The weather was calling for bad rain friday night so I found a tarp to fit the bed and attached it with bungee cords


It was still raining saturday morning but i picked up my friend and we hit the gravel.
Not long into the trip and tematures had dropped to the point things were ice and snow.


1st overlook on the north side of the park


as the day went on temps continued to fall and we picked up lots of ice from the rain puddles from the night before



after a few hours of driving we stoped for a hike at the south end of the park.


after lunch we ran other gravel roads back to the north side of the park for one more hike and then to find our campsite.





If you are wondering about the large rear mud flaps... Pa law is kinda weird on mud flaps. my inspection mechanic insisted on them although i think the law is not very clear if it applies to a truck this light. I like the look of the truck without them but they do work well.

As dark approached and temps began to fall we set up camp and tried out my new alps mountaineering camp table and my grandfathers 1960s? coleman two burner stove.


We were tent camping and it got down to about 12 degrees overnight. A bit cold to be ideal but we had enough cold weather gear to make it work. In the morning everything was super cold. The warmest spot in camp was actually in the cooler with ice inside. The milk tasted warm even though it was probably around 32 degrees. All in all we put about 200 miles on the truck in two days. about 160 of that was gravel. the truck performed flawlessly and my confidence level for a longer trip is much higher now.
 

gradan07

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Awesome build! I love the encouragement these give to keep on my own project

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Thanks! I hope you can stick with it. My build has been very slow at times and its easy to give up.
 

gradan07

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Nice job.
I noticed the shocks were mount body up and body down. Doesn't matter with those style shocks? I can see having body up so there is less unsprung weight. Probably doesn't matter in your application.
You have me thinking more about my shock orientation. I know i did the research and have the rears as designed. However you have me second guessing if i have the fronts right side up for the valving. If i am wrong the rebound and compression would be all mixed up. I will be reading up more on this and i will let you know if i was wrong with the fronts.
 

mavereq

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If you look up Randy Heinlein on the turboford Facebook page, he’s the guy to build you a header.
 

bobbywalter

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power to weight is excellent with this... but they dont seem to get more then 22 mpg... which is better then the 4.0... i been looking at the 2.0/2.3 ecoboost or the vw tdi for my b2...the 4.0 gobbles up too much gas. the vw engine is likely the mpg champ especially if you can buy a good one cheap.


how do you like the ride and drive? the leafs are cost effective to say the least...but there is a ride penalty on my setup.


that bed is bad ass for sure..camping and overlanding your setup is king.....i run 42 in or bigger tires on occasion so i had to build my bed the way it is. so for overlanding i think its too big. this setup you settled on is definitely well done.
 

gradan07

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power to weight is excellent with this... but they dont seem to get more then 22 mpg... which is better then the 4.0... i been looking at the 2.0/2.3 ecoboost or the vw tdi for my b2...the 4.0 gobbles up too much gas. the vw engine is likely the mpg champ especially if you can buy a good one cheap.


how do you like the ride and drive? the leafs are cost effective to say the least...but there is a ride penalty on my setup.


that bed is bad ass for sure..camping and overlanding your setup is king.....i run 42 in or bigger tires on occasion so i had to build my bed the way it is. so for overlanding i think its too big. this setup you settled on is definitely well done.
I think the leafs in my truck ride surprisingly well. The explorer leafs are relatively long and run pretty flat. As a result the ride is smooth on the road. The off road ride is bumpy but its off road so i have a hard time comparing it to a coil front end. I will say that the explorer leafs would not do as well with a heavier motor. I think that a 4.0 would require an extra main leaf from another explore pack. I don't run a track bar or steering stabilizer but even without the flat leaf set up handles well too. I have run 70 mph on the highway without any concern. I have to get it back to the park to see if axle wrap and wheel hop will be a problem with the extra power.

Your bed setup is the way to go with bigger tires. my setup would rub even with 35s
 

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Great build. Good stuff here!
 

gradan07

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RC off road park trip 2

Had the chance to take the truck to Rausch Creek Off-Road Park again. The truck did much better this time and i didn't have any issues all day.














 


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