Warning - blasphemous swap inquiry


larrystotler

New member
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Manual
I have a 1987 Range XLT 2WD. It's a nice truck that I paid $300 for (& $250 for a trans when I got it) and it ran great for about 2 years. Drove it from VA to the Florida Keys and back with no issue other than having to replace the carrier bearing when I got back.

Unfortunately, at 183k, the original engine went. 2 swaps later with crappy results, and I'm ready to swap to something better than a 2.9.I've looked into the following:

4.0L V6 - I have one from a 95 4WD, but the rewiring is just not something I want to do, nor do I want to replace my dash as others have done(I even have a 95 dash, but I prefer the original one). And I don't have a 2wd trans.

5.0L V8 - Would prefer a 351(more torque) but not doing a body lift. Looks very doable.

3.8L V6 - Similar to the 5.0 swap, but not a big fan of these engines(have one in my 97 Mustang convertible).

I really want to move away from fuel injection(mainly for the wiring and troubleshooting PITA issues that I always run into(uneless I could find a SIMPLE, easy to install aftermarket system that didn't cost $$$). It's going to be registered as an antique vehicle, so no emissions testing or yearly inspections and won't be driven much anyway.

However, recently I stumbled on a Buick V6 setup (early 80s, even fire, carb) with a 200R4 overdrive. Now, I'm not a purist. I've helped put 350s in Fords and 351 in a 55 Chevy pickup, amongst others. I want something simple, easy to do, and CHEAP to get this guy back on the road. Plus, I'd had several of these engines in various vehicles, and they are easy to work on and cheap to mod.

I've googled, but I haven't really found anyone who has done this. It's a popular swap for Jeeps and Toyotas, but haven't seen anyone who has done this in a Ranger. I'm sure there will be issues with the motor mounts and trans mount, but I think I can do the swap fairly cheaply.

Some questions I have are:

Gauges - Can I wire a GM temp sensor or oil pressure sensor to my existing gauge cluster?

Speedometer - How hard is it to adapt a GM trans to a Ranger cluster? or is it a no-go? Can't us the speedo in the donor because it's rectangular, but I'm sure they made round ones(monte carlo or grand prix).

Drive shaft - Probably gonna be the most $$ and will probably have to be custom made unless I can find the right type to shorten.

Rear End - These V6s can pack a punch - I haven't measured the rear I have access to, but I can't see why I can't use a GM 10 bolt in the rear and the ranger pattern in the front. If I get uni-lug wheels, then pattern shouldn't really matter(and I don't really care if I have ford front/GM rear since the front will have probably 205/60's and the rear will get 255/70s so it's not like I'm worried about rotating them. I guess I'd need either a uni-lug spare or 2 spares anyway due to size difference in the tires.

Gas tank - how hard is it to eliminate the in tank pump? The Buick has a mechanical pump.

I figure I'll have to probably make some custom brackets for the Alt, Power Steering, and AC Comp.

I'm sure there's more I haven't thought of. So, has anyone heard of someone doing this?

Thanx
 
Last edited:


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 173A8B749AB83C Expires: January 1, 2020

RonD

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
14,019
Reaction score
725
Points
113
Location
canada
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
302(5.0l) or 351 would be better IMO, many more options than the Buick V6, i.e. intakes, carbs, spark systems

But no reason you can't put any carbed engine in a Ranger, and trans just needs the correct drive shaft ends and length.

1987 Ranger has analog temp and oil gauges so no problem, since you have a V6 six now and buick is a V6 the tach would also work.

1987 Ranger used speedometer cable, '80's Buick trans would as well, you can get cable adapters for that, i.e. GM to Ford
So no real problem there.

In 1987 Ranger the fuel pump in the tank is just a lift pump, not for fuel injection, the high pressure pump was in the frame rail under drivers seat, 1989 got the high pressure in tank pump
So no need to touch the gas tank, which means fuel gauge will still work.
You would need to measure pressure from in tank pump but I would think you could delete mechanical fuel pump to gain some horse power and just use the in tank pump to the carb.

You won't hurt a Ford 7.5" axle with a GM(or any) V6, you can blow an axle with 100hp, lol, but if its in good condition the 7.5" should be good up to 300hp and 300ft/lb
But if you want an upgrade then use Ranger 8.8" axle, 1983 to 1992, plug and play
 
Last edited:

larrystotler

New member
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Manual
302(5.0l) or 351 would be better IMO, many more options than the Buick V6, i.e. intakes, carbs, spark systems. But no reason you can't put any carbed engine in a Ranger, and trans just needs the correct drive shaft ends and length.
Most of the posts I see with people asking about running a carb engine have people saying to just learn how to deal with the EFI. Quite honestly, the wiring in my ranger is in really bad shape and probably should be replaced(and could be part of why it runs like crap).

As for the 302, I've looked at doing that swap, but I'd have to find an engine/trans and there seems to be all kinds of little things you need to find/buy to make it work. There's a book on doing it that I'm trying to get my son to buy because he wants to put a 351 or a turbo diesel in this 88 STX.

You won't hurt a Ford 7.5" axle with a GM(or any) V6, you can blow an axle with 100hp, lol, but if its in good condition the 7.5" should be good up to 300hp and 300ft/lb. But if you want an upgrade then use Ranger 8.8" axle, 1983 to 1992, plug and play
100hp? Hmmm, never heard of the Buick Grand National then? Or Ken Duttwiler:

http://www.hotrod.com/articles/buick-v6-turbo-block/

700hp twin turbo. and Duttwiler had a 1490+ HP twin turbo 300 cube engine running nitromethane back in the 90s. Find me another v6 that can make 5hp per cubic inch........

I've had some good strong Buick V6s over the years and my old cutlass outran Mustang 5.0s on a regular basis with the V6 with a good cam and 4 barrel swap. Of course the first step to good Buick power is to swap the computer distributor for a vacuum advance one and eliminate the computer. Idle drops to 600 from 2200(yes 2200 is the actual idle in an 84 car!) and gas mileage almost doubles.

Besides, this is just in the thinking stage right now. The truck is garaged and out of the weather finally so hopefully it doesn't rust any more. 302s are decent engines, but don't have much torque. I put a 300 I6 2wd up against a 302 4x4 F150 and drug him across the lot when he was in 4wd. 302s were good for mustangs because they spin up fast. With a truck I'd much rather have torque for pulling/hauling. And don't get me started on the 4.6s. Way too big for little power.

Anyway, we could argue engines all day long. The main thing for me is cost. I need to try to get this thing back on the road on a very limited budget. Years ago, we'd slap whatever engine we had laying around in something and go, but with computers and wiring, it's just not as easy as it used to be.
 
Last edited:

RonD

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
14,019
Reaction score
725
Points
113
Location
canada
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
the 100hp comment was about a rear axle that is in poor condition, 7.5", 8.8" or 18", if it is bad then any engine will grenade it :)

Good ol' days were not that good or we wouldn't have EFI and distributorless engines now.
When gas was 25 cents a gallon, when I got my first car, didn't matter so much that carbs were awful with MPG and constantly needed attention, or that you had to change and set points all the time.
You just HAD TO work on engines all the time so you either learned to do it yourself or had to pay someone else to do it, same as it is now.
Problem with EFI and electronic spark is that it RARELY breaks down, so you haven't HAD TO mess with it weekly or monthly, so it seems foreign.

Engine swaps are just as simple now, although you may not think so.
You needed to swap engine with carb, distributor and wires
Now you have to swap it with computer(same as carb and distributor) and wires
So same, same.

Good ol' days meant F*ing with your cars one Saturday per month at least.
Now I like F*ing with my cars when it is MY IDEA to do it that day, I don't like having to F* with them because I have to, lol.
Give me EFI and distributorless anytime, carb and points are not even a close second.
 

AllanD

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
Joined
Jun 1, 2001
Messages
7,895
Reaction score
103
Points
63
Age
58
Location
East-Central Pennsylvania
Vehicle Year
1987... sorta
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
'93 4.0
Transmission
Manual
I know a guy who ran a 7.5" rear in a mustang with a 351 fitted with twin turbos.

The car was down in the 11's before the 7.5" rear finally did what many of us expected and turned from a "functional auto part" into "modern art" forcing him to finally install an 8.8" rear in the car

Don't bother adapting the rear axle from the Buick into your Ranger.
However you do it, it will not be as easy as adapting a Ranger driveshaft to work with the Buick trans

REMEMBER the K.I.S.S. principle lest the last "S" winds up applying to you...
 

scrapper

Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Nov 27, 2008
Messages
376
Reaction score
9
Points
18
Location
central IL
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3, 3.73 with 33/12.50/15
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
9
Tire Size
33/12.50/15
I had an olds starfire with a 231 even fire, 390 holley, headman headers,strip dominator intake, I think it was clifford research cam,was in the 80's don't really remember now. I think it was an article in hotrod about a guy name Jim Ruggles(spelling?) that made me do it. That car would go faster than I would drive it.That is something I thought about doing but with a 252, the article was saying stock parts= 1hp per ci. If you do it please take a lot of pictures, notes,ect.
 

adsm08

Senior Master Grease Monkey
Supporting Member
Ford Technician
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
32,165
Reaction score
1,469
Points
113
Location
Dillsburg PA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
31X10.50X15
I had a 78 Olds Omega with a 231, 350 hydro trans, all bone stock. That car would go faster than I would drive it. One day I actually cracked her open to see what she would do, pegged the speedo against the back of the 0 pin and the tach kept climbing.

I miss that car.
 

chvlfrk

December 2010 STOTM Winner
U.S. Military - Veteran
V8 Engine Swap
MTOTM Winner
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
1,166
Reaction score
11
Points
38
Age
61
Location
Niota, TN
Vehicle Year
1994, 2000
Make / Model
Ranger XLT
Engine Size
V8
Transmission
Automatic
Boostin an old thread>>>

I have a 1987 Range XLT 2WD. It's a nice truck that I paid $300 for (& $250 for a trans when I got it) and it ran great for about 2 years. Drove it from VA to the Florida Keys and back with no issue other than having to replace the carrier bearing when I got back.
Unfortunately, at 183k, the original engine went. 2 swaps later with crappy results, and I'm ready to swap to something better than a 2.9.
However, recently I stumbled on a Buick V6 setup (early 80s, even fire, carb) with a 200R4 overdrive. Now, I'm not a purist.
I've googled, but I haven't really found anyone who has done this. It's a popular swap for Jeeps and Toyotas, but haven't seen anyone who has done this in a Ranger. I'm sure there will be issues with the motor mounts and trans mount, but I think I can do the swap fairly cheaply.

Some questions I have are:
Gauges & Speedometer- Can I wire a GM temp sensor or oil pressure sensor to my existing gauge cluster?
===================
Take the cluster apart and make your own backing to use Used Auto Meter speedo & gauges.


Drive shaft - Probably gonna be the most $$ and will probably have to be custom made unless I can find the right type to shorten.
Rear End - These V6s can pack a punch - I haven't measured the rear I have access to, but I can't see why I can't use a GM 10 bolt in the rear and the ranger pattern in the front.
=======================
Go with an 8.8 out of an 92-00 Explorer with L/S as the 95-00 come with disc brakes, lil' wider than original but not enough to worry bout IMO.


Gas tank - how hard is it to eliminate the in tank pump? The Buick has a mechanical pump.
=======================
Just take it out an remove the pump off the bottom and replace with a piece of line to lay on bottom of tank.


I figure I'll have to probably make some custom brackets for the Alt, Power Steering, and AC Comp.
=======================
Just an FYI, Buick V8 brackets swap right onto a Buick V6.


I'm sure there's more I haven't thought of. So, has anyone heard of someone doing this?

Thanx
==========================
ALSO: Whats the status on this project?

Pics PLEAZ...........
 

larrystotler

New member
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Manual
Take the cluster apart and make your own backing to use Used Auto Meter speedo & gauges.
=======================
Go with an 8.8 out of an 92-00 Explorer with L/S as the 95-00 come with disc brakes, lil' wider than original but not enough to worry bout IMO.
=======================
Just take it out an remove the pump off the bottom and replace with a piece of line to lay on bottom of tank.
=======================
Just an FYI, Buick V8 brackets swap right onto a Buick V6.
==========================
ALSO: Whats the status on this project?
Pics PLEAZ...........
Wow, I didn't realize how long ago I posted this thread. Time flies........

Current status is still in the planning stages unfortunately. Lost my garage(leased) and move the ranger into a storage unit so not much room to do anything with all the other stuff in the unit(dakota bed & 4 tailgates on the bed of the ranger right now, not counting everything else crammed in with it.....*sigh*)

Also didn't get the engine I was looking at but I have found another possible donor. Didn't know about the V8 brackets, thanx. I looked over a Buick V6 recently at a car show and I think I can use what's there, just have to modify the alternator bracket unless I try to use the GM one. Most of them were 100amp and on the top of the engine.

One of the advantages of the Buick over a 302 is that the oil filter is on the passenger side and won't interfere with the steering like the 302.

I've looked for a 252/4..1 A lot of them had an aluminum intake & 4 barrel, but they are rare...

I'm hoping to move forward with it this summer if I have the time.
 

larrystotler

New member
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Manual
Buick V6 dimensions:
Max Width - 26" Length - 23" Max Height - 28 ½" Oil Sump Location - Middle Starter Location - Right Weight - 400lbs

302: Max Width - 24" Length - 29" Max Height - 27 ½" Oil Sump Location - Front Starter Location - Right Weight - 460lbs

So, looking at this info, the only issue I am concerned with is the oil pan. May have to raise the engine some to get it to clear. Will have to do some figuring with the donor vehicle If I can get a chance to look it over. Doesn't look like I will have any issues with the radiator clearance that the 302 swap runs into.

Unfortunately, until I can get the new setup and physically mock it into the ranger's engine/trans area I won't know what clearance issues I may have. I have seen some sites that talk about this swap but not a lot of info.
 

19Walt93

Active member
Ford Technician
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
413
Reaction score
143
Points
43
Location
Canaan,NH
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
351
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
If you don't have time to do it right will you have time to do it over?
I went to the 82 new model tech training when the 3.8 was introduced and thought it looked like a close copy of the Buick v6, right down to the shape of the valve covers and the oil pump in the timing cover. Liking the Buick and not the 3.8 doesn't seem logical and mixing breeds will make the swap more difficult. That being said, if you own the engine and trans already it starts to make sense. A local independent garage got sick of changing head gaskets in his Chevy LUV shop truck a few years ago so he swapped in a Buick v6, I suppose Buick into Ford won't be harder than Buick into Isuzu. Good luck.
 

larrystotler

New member
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Manual
I went to the 82 new model tech training when the 3.8 was introduced and thought it looked like a close copy of the Buick v6, right down to the shape of the valve covers and the oil pump in the timing cover. Liking the Buick and not the 3.8 doesn't seem logical and mixing breeds will make the swap more difficult. That being said, if you own the engine and trans already it starts to make sense. A local independent garage got sick of changing head gaskets in his Chevy LUV shop truck a few years ago so he swapped in a Buick v6, I suppose Buick into Ford won't be harder than Buick into Isuzu. Good luck.
The early 80s carb'ed Buick V6's were much better motors than that era Ford 3.8. The Fords had lots of issues with blowing head gaskets as well. Since I'm avoiding fuel injection, the Buick is a better option. If I was going FI, then I could use a newer Ford 3.8, but then you run into the same problem with relocating the oil filter(which is more difficult on the newer 3.8s).

I can source the Buick V6 for much less $$ than the Ford 3.8 & there are a lot more aftermarket available for the Buick. The Buick is also a popular swap for Jeeps.

I have a 3.8 in my 97 Mustang convertible. It's ok power wise, but nothing like my old 3.8 Cutlass.

Will probably use the trans with the engine. Hoping that the floor shifter will work with the GM trans without too much modification.
 

Ramcharger90

Active member
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
521
Reaction score
141
Points
43
Location
N/A na
Just a thought id you wanted to be unique you could put a 4G63 in and use a c4 trans they do make bellhousing adaptors if you are down in Florida than you should talk to some of the tuners down there. yes its a computer engine but it will fit and you can make a custom instrument panel and a stand alone engine harness fairly easily dsm's are easy to find, fix and work on.
 

larrystotler

New member
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
ford
Transmission
Manual
Just a thought id you wanted to be unique you could put a 4G63 in and use a c4 trans they do make bellhousing adaptors if you are down in Florida than you should talk to some of the tuners down there. yes its a computer engine but it will fit and you can make a custom instrument panel and a stand alone engine harness fairly easily dsm's are easy to find, fix and work on.
Not a big fan of small 4cyls, but appreciate the thought. I would honestly rather do a mildly built 351w but since it's a 2wd, I'm not doing a body lift, and I would like to keep my A/C as well.

Now a flathead swap would scream cool, but wouldn't be cheap or easy. Or a 300 I-6, but that would definitely be a challenge.

It's a shame the engine bay of the ranger isn't as large as the S-10s. V8 swap in one of them is fairly straight forward.
 

Ramcharger90

Active member
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
521
Reaction score
141
Points
43
Location
N/A na
Not a big fan of small 4cyls, but appreciate the thought. I would honestly rather do a mildly built 351w but since it's a 2wd, I'm not doing a body lift, and I would like to keep my A/C as well.

Now a flathead swap would scream cool, but wouldn't be cheap or easy. Or a 300 I-6, but that would definitely be a challenge.

It's a shame the engine bay of the ranger isn't as large as the S-10s. V8 swap in one of them is fairly straight forward.
I get you dont like 4cyl but 1000hp is possible on a factory crank besides i dont care if it has 1 or 16 cylinders if it can make soom serious power id do it
 


Top