My 1996 Ford Ranger 4x4 (TRS-2) Re-Build


deathbypsi

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Jim I will say this since I have done three different swaps using Explorer motors as donors. In my experience I don’t care what the mileage on an Explorer motor is I consider at a bare minimum the timing chain set up needs to be replaced because they are not a double roller like the early high output motors because of the shallow timing chain cover. There is no clearance and they seem to stretch badly. The other issue is the valve spring components are garbage from the factory and are junk before they are out of warranty. At a bare minimum the heads would need a good valve spring upgrade with matching components. So with considering a V-8 swap I would consider all of those as essential upgrades along with the associated parts to make that happen.
 


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deathbypsi

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I personally don’t think you will have an issue whether you go V-6 or V-8 the part I question is the transmission that will have to be used with either of those engines. I am extremely disappointed with every A4LD and 5R55 that I’ve ever owned in a 4wd truck. I have spent thousands of dollars on the automatic transmission in my previous 99 ranger and it was a complete disaster and a giant waste of money. That was my primary reason for using the drivetrain that I did in my Bronco2 and built a basically bulletproof C4. In your application I think a well-built explorer trans would fit the bill but there is no way I would put a penny in or trust a A4 or 5R.
 

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Jim I will say this since I have done three different swaps using Explorer motors as donors. In my experience I don’t care what the mileage on an Explorer motor is I consider at a bare minimum the timing chain set up needs to be replaced because they are not a double roller like the early high output motors because of the shallow timing chain cover. There is no clearance and they seem to stretch badly.
It might be totally different but I could ALMOST get the timing chain in my '87 CV engine to jump off the sprockets by hand, it was really baggy.

I have a double roller with an Explorer timing cover. :dntknow:

One thing I would be tempted to do (so tempted I did it myself) is a new water pump along with belt(s) and tensioners/idlers. It might be filed under boring misc with the engine mounts but I thought I would throw it out since you have oil pumps listed.
 

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I've replaced the 4R55E in this truck, and when we got it back, the trans was bad and it came with a questionable replacement. I think Bobby was going to test drive it and see if it needed rebuilt. Not sure if there is anything we could do to beef it up.

A benefit of the 5.0 would probably be the 4R70W, and I'd likely put a BW4406 behind it.
 
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Are you dead set on using an Auto? The M5OD is a decent transmission that is easy and cheap to rebuild.

And with the right gearing, the 4.0 is perfectly suitable for a Ranger.
 

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I'd like to stay auto. The biggest thing I dislike about Ford is their automatic transmissions.
 

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I know the early 4.0 heads were prone to cracks. This is a 96. I'm wondering if I should pull the heads, and send them out for a valve job. Get the heads inspected, and only replace what's worn and needs replaced. I've had that done on a 302, but it's been so long, I don't recall what it cost me.

I could probably do that, replace the timing set, oil pump, gaskets, and crank seals and be good. But if I wanted to upgrade to a 410 or 422 cam, I should send the new springs and retainers with the heads.
 

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For as bad as this truck has been beat having the heads check probably wouldn't be a bad idea.
 

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On 99 Ranger I rebuilt the 4.0 with the 422 cam, Smith Brothers rockers,shafts,pushrods,new heads from AlabamaCylinderHeads and had them ported at my local engine builder. Motor was a beast! Didnt even sound like a v6 anymore! But the trans gave up shortly after and after spending 2500+ on tow failed rebuilds/upgrades I gave up on it. I also got sick of breaking CV joints and breaking or just losing {fall off} locking hubs. With the locked front axle and the power it made it just kept me to busy replacing parts after everytime I took it out wheeling.


Given no other choice if I had to use a 4.0 again I would only do it with a manual trans.

Any of the v8 AOD based trans will be more than up to the task with just a couple minor upgrades.
 

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Well Brian, you are definitely the guy to know.

What about a 410 cam? Worth it? Do I still need the dual valve springs, or could I run it with stock? I think I would still need the 5.50" pushrods, which, even if I had the heads redone I'd likely need to replace some pushrods anyway.

I know that often the argument comes down to justifying the money spent, versus the horsepower gains, and the money spent versus doing a V8 swap.
 

deathbypsi

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What about a 410 cam? Worth it? Do I still need the dual valve springs, or could I run it with stock? I think I would still need the 5.50" pushrods, which, even if I had the heads redone I'd likely need to replace some pushrods anyway.

I know that often the argument comes down to justifying the money spent, versus the horsepower gains, and the money spent versus doing a V8 swap.
Well its been at least 10 yrs since I owned that truck so im a little foggy on my 4.0 knowledge now....Im not sure Id run a stock spring with any aftermarket cam. On my 422 I went with what Comp recommended and just dropped everything for the heads off at my engine builders. I will say the power gain was very noticeable and in hindsight I think a bigger set of injectors and a tuner would have been a really good idea for that truck to take full advantage. Had the transmission issues not plagued the truck that would of been my next step for sure.

I try to focus more on whats the most reliable setup over whats the most power per dollar anymore. I have spent to many days and dollars fixing stupid little things on my of road trucks in the past that could have been avoided if I just spent my money smarter.

You have seen my truck and Im not embarrassed to say I am easily well past $10K into building it. Crazy? Stupid? I say no. But I spent the money in the best places I feel.
Bare bones interior with junkyard seats? Yep so I could spend $1k on good gauges and radio.
I spent over $2k just with DUFF so I knew my suspension was the best I could get. No junkyard parts.
I rebuilt my own 5.0 back to stock for less than $800 and only have maybe 250hp. Dumb? Not when that meant I could put the money saved into a bullet proof c4 trans Id never have to worry about.
I have $1500 RCV axles in my d44 and a full spool and Superior chromoly shafts in my 9". I have gotten crap from people saying it was stupid to spend that kind of money on those axles when I could have just used 1 ton axles. Well for a truck only on 35s I dont see the need for the bigger ,heavier,more expensive axles and now mine are 100% new with life time warranty on many of those parts. Worrying about my axles is the last thing on my mind when Im wheeling now.

Spend the money wisely and you wont care what the total is in the end. The reward is a truck that wont end up frustrating you and be so much more enjoyable!
 

Jim Oaks

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Isn't the 5R55E behind the 4.0 SOHC basically the same trans as the 4R55E, but with one more gear? Is there anything different about it that allows it to handle the increased power from the SOHC engine? What about the 5R55W? It seems crazy that there's so many versions of the 5R55.
 
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BlackBII

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85_Ranger4x4

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Ah yeah didn't think of that.

With an adapter plate and maybe a custom flexplate and torque converter an AOD would be doable. The starter might be a bit of a pain though

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