best bang for the buck sbf or sbc?

Trying to figure out what engine/trans I should use in my '90 ranger long travel project. The truck will be used as a toy mainly in the sand so I need power. I'm looking for the best engine/trans combo with the best power/reliability for my money. Also fuel injection would be nice but I would like to make 400hp+, also if I go carb what set up works best for the money? what to do?
 

Jerry Zaiden

Well-Known Member
Trying to figure out what engine/trans I should use in my '90 ranger long travel project. The truck will be used as a toy mainly in the sand so I need power. I'm looking for the best engine/trans combo with the best power/reliability for my money. Also fuel injection would be nice but I would like to make 400hp+, also if I go carb what set up works best for the money? what to do?
LS with T-400
 
I would like to go with the LS-1 crate engine but I can't drop that much right now. I thought about a used LS-1 but most are rated under 400hp is there a plug and play management system that will make the power I'm looking for on a stock LS-1 ? if not what does it take to hit those numbers?
 

steveG

Well-Known Member
The most bang for your buck is going to be a small block Chevy. But, I say go with whatever you're more familiar with. Both can be done on the cheap if you scour the classifieds, Craigslist and such. Personally I would look for a used later model (roller cam) 5.0L. Even the stock cams can make good usable horsepower and run forever when maintained. All the carburetion intakes, exhaust, carbs, etc work on them, so they're easy to convert. I would also try to find one that comes with all the serpentine belt accessories for simplicity.

I just went back and read that you're putting it in a Ranger. A 302/5.0L would be super easy to install in a Ranger. There are a TON of bolt-on parts for this conversion. I had a 2wd Ranger with an injected 5.0L and it was great even in stock trim. Keep it simple and keep it Ford.
 
I like the 5.0 but whats needed to hit the 400hp mark with that engine? I'm trying to stay away from having to run exotic heads or super high dollar efi systems. Will the stock efi support that much power? if not is there an alternative?

How much power can the stock 5.0 crank and rods handle? what years and or models have the strongest bottom ends?
 

5.3Ranger

Well-Known Member
For your budget, I'd drop a 5.3 vortec from a 2000up chevy truck/suv. basically a smaller bore ls1 with an iron block. These can be had all day long in salvage yards for around $700 & run forever. HP is around 300 but with a cam swap, long tube headers, & a good tune you can easily get in the upper 300's(much more with more mods). Not bad for the price & you can also bolt a TH400 right up! All you need is to make motor mounts & buy a readily available efi harness. Im dong the exact swap right now on my 87 ranger, so hit me up if you need more details. I wanted to drop of ls1 in mine but couldn't justify the money right now.
The 5.0 HO is like 220HP & takes a ton of money to compete with a stock 5.3 chevy. That's why I decided to go chevy, as well as you can't beat a turbo 400 trans for the money either.
Good luck whatever you decide!
 
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Thanks for that info. I just found one on cl he wants $800 for it but it has 80,000 miles on it. I'll try to find one with less miles.
 

5.3Ranger

Well-Known Member
Don't be scared of the mileage too much, there's over 1 million of those things out there & many guys will say they've gotten them over 200k with no problems! My buddy put a supercharger on his 100k+ 5.3 & has raced it for the last 2 years in a fullsize. He loves it & even convinced me to go with a 5.3 over the 5.0 I already had.
 

ChromolyKid

Well-Known Member
Go to your local junkyard, and find a used 88-98 5.7L 350 Chevy, with a 4 bolt main. Then take it to a good engine shop and have them work their magic, balance, blue print, hot tank, whatever.
Then have it bored out to a 383 Stroker. Slap a Edelbrock EFI Intake Manifold or even a TBI Performer Intake Manifold, some Trick Flow or GM Performance Fast Burn heads, and you'll be pretty close.
If you want to run pump gas just keep the compression around 9 1/2.

That's what I have planned, but I'm only shooting for 350 HP with the stock computer and TBI. You can get better than that with a custom computer and EFI I'm sure.
 

ChromolyKid

Well-Known Member
Oh, and I don't know about your local junkyards, but the one's around here have 350's for around $500. COMPLETE with alternators and A/C compressors, literally ready to run. Summit racing sells some killer kits to convert from 350 to a 383 Stroker, they even give you a horse power estimate achievable with each kit.
 
I love the 383. I had nasty bottle fed 383 built by SpeedOMotive I did love that thing. It was in a full size 4x4 though, I could only imagine what 600hp would do in a little ranger hehe.

I like the 5.3L idea. I'm not ready for the engine just yet so I'll keep searching, pricing and gathering info. I still have some tear down to do with the old drive train and some fabing while the engine is out, so it will be a couple weeks.
 

yotatoy

Member
I second the chevy 5.3 motor... they actually made all aluminum version for a couple years. the cast/aluminum motors can be found as cheap as 500 complete and like previously stated they will run for a very long time without any major issues.
 
I'm leaning more and more towards the 5.3L. I'm looking for the aluminum version but it looks like it was made from '05-'07 as the LH6, LM6, LC9 and L33 and came in ex cab 4wd pickups only. They also produced the LY5 in '07 for the SUV's that made the most power out of all of them 320hp and 340fpt where the others made around 315hp.

I like the aluminum version, with a couple upgrades it should hit pretty close to what I'm after. If it's still not I'll look into forced induction.
 
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