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Engine / transmission Project - 1450 Ranger

REEVESRacing

Well-Known Member
Ok guys...we need input on motor/ transmission combo to get more ponies in our 1450 ranger.

We have been running 35's w/ 6.14 rear gears in a f-150 9" and the stock 3.0L just isnt cutting it (especially in washes or when we need QUICK HP to get back in shape). Even though we spent the last year getting the bugs out of our "5 wire" harness / ECM and have a spare 5 speed transmission for the 3.0L etc., it's gotta go!

We built a 3L in '05 (porting, cam w/ 5.0L injectors (19lbs versus 15) and mass air), was AWESOME but it ran a little lean in the first race, threw a valve seal and grenaded...our only DNF, damn.

We are searching for a DEPENDABLE engine that dosn't have to be pinned / redlining or "built up" to produce like a min. of 250 hp at the wheels, up to a max of say 400.

We have been jawboning a 4.3 w/ like a turbo 400, a 302, even an LS1 from our bros @ the junk yards..don't really feel that the stock 4L makes the low end torque and we can't afford an expensive 4L build (Orbit / Hotweyerperformance).

Right now we are running 2.5" coilovers on front, but plan to add a 3x bypass. Even w/ that we are concerned that the 302 will add too much weight (100 lbs.?).

We dont think we can / want to spend money on a crate, but do want to keep the engine pretty much stock (pump gas). Will probably end up doing a junk yard engine, cking compression and bearings etc.

With the "new" engine, we will be building a new 3" driveline w/ 1350 u joints (DL is stock ranger now), redoing front cage / firewall, ofcourse new electrical (another can of worms harness stripping session). We are on a tight budget and this is a pretty big deal. We also need suggestions on carburated vs. injected...

Hoping the collective brain trust has some sensible / economical suggestions / past experience?

Thanks.
 

steveG

Well-Known Member
Why not just use a 302? There's a lot of aftermarket support & you can buy enough parts to bolt it and a matching trans into a Ranger.
 

sickrick

Well-Known Member
I agree with steveg; 302 is a great option.

They are very reliable and if you put on a set of aluminum heads they will weigh less then the 4.0L.

The 302 is also alot narrower then the 351w and in a ranger it really helps with moving it back thru the firewall. And as long as your getting the 302 get a c6 to go with it; I can't think of a more reliable combo.
 

singlehanded

Well-Known Member
I would get a crate 351w and a t400. And there really isnt a need to move it back at all.
 

movindirt

Wham Spore
You mention you are on a tight budget so I thought I would point out that once you get up to 250Hp you will start breaking R&P's and axles. A C6 is huge compared to your current 5spd. The added weight will mean you need more Hp to get the results you desire which means more broken parts or more $$$ parts.

stock 3.0L just isnt cutting it (especially in washes or when we need QUICK HP to get back in shape
Have you ever looked at your wheel spin in at the time you mention you need more Hp. I think you would be very happy with a stock 4.0L. I have a Ranger with a 4.0 and 4.30 gears running 33 BFG A/T's and I have no problem getting around and have plenty of power. Since I am either prerunning or filming I always have tons of gear which equals extra weight.

Now if you have the funding to upgrade all the parts needed to handle the Hp you are looking for then I say put the 302/C6 combo in.. Keep us posted to which route you end up going and how well it works.
 

REEVESRacing

Well-Known Member
Tony...appreciate the input, and the time you took to read the post in detail.

What we are looking for is the value of the collective prior experience here... I can't believe that we are breaking new ground ...it's just that I was hoping to get some input to cut down a little on trial / error...

1) We need to stay w/ 35's for desert racing,

2) We have made stock semi-floater 9" housing (trussed) / axles work for 9 races / pre-runs (although we went through 1 truss cut / sleeving to straigten the housing, and have moved the moser end cups to the edge of the tubes due 2nd bending)...we know hardened axles/ full floater and upgraded housing is just around the corner, along w/ new bigger driveline,

Again, big project for our little team....motor, transmission, mounts, new engine cage, add 3x bi pass on front to the king coilovers, and a new rear end....

But...we're looking for Engine / transmission combo that someone has used successfullt for the depenable 250+ ponies at the rear wheels.

WE researched the 4.3 out of the 99-01 Chevy s-10 cyclone hooked to turbo 400, and obviously the 302 w/ C-6, we have to price out the aluminium heads(???)....plus, we will need to redo the stock harnesses on each and have to decide whether to continue on the Brain (drain) / Sensor path or just say screw it and get a built carb (again, $$$).

So...our search for the holy grail of an affordable / dependable 250 HP + transmission continues....

Thanks again to all...REEVES (underpowered) Racing.
 

sickrick

Well-Known Member
If I was in your position and had those same goals I would:

Find a used core roller shortblock 302 (easy to find). $250
Get it rebuilt with stock type pistons (they are forged) $1000
Buy a set of Edelbrock RPM heads $1200
Buy a Ford motorsports X303 roller cam $185
buy a used single plane 4 barrel intake (ebay) $75
Add new race 500cfm 2 barrel carb from a stockcar shop (speedway) $269

This should easily get over 250hp (300 maybe) and be easy on the budget. It will also run on 87 octane if you get the larger chamber heads. You can still make the 250hp with ported stock heads.

For the c6 trans I would get a B&M rebuild kit with shift kit and rebuild it myself $220
Add a new stock type converter $149
You will also need a big trans cooler.

The 2barrel carb works great on mild 302s or you can always switch to a 600cfm 4barrel.
I know some people don't like Edelbrock heads (for ultimate power) but I think for a mild motor you can't beat them.

This engine setup is similar to what I run in my short course Bronco and I really like it. In the bronco I run a 351w with ported Edelbrock rpm heads, X303 roller cam, 10 to 1 comp, and Kieth Black flat-tops. I have a Edelbrock RPM manifold with a 750 double pumper(Chuck nyttungen). I'm guessing I make about 400hp.

The guy who does my engine machining builds alot of 347 (stroked 302) motors for modified stockcars and swears by the 2 barrel carb on the single plane 4 barrel manifold; if you are running a moderate rpm (limited by hydraulic cam).
 

REEVESRacing

Well-Known Member
Rick...THANK YOU....That is EXACTLY the type of info we need.

Will keep you posted, and or PM you for addt'l. detail.
 

johnnyweb

Well-Known Member
i wouldnt spend the time,money and effert to switch to anything but a v8. i would probably opt for a 302 5.0 out of a late model mustang with mass air flow sensor. there is tons of hope up stuff out there for these motors and fuel injection is the only way to go offroading. or ones its converted you could go to a large strocker 400 cu motor later on and it would bolt to the same mounts. i would set the motor back a few inches as with a ford the distributor is out front so it makes it easier. and no rules in your class anyway. as for the 2.5 coilover there is plenty heavy enough spring available for them. good luck with your swap!!!
 

1450-ranger

Well-Known Member
My vote is for a 302 c4 or c6 combo. Our 302 is carb'd and is very mild, but is very, very fast. Fast enough to get the truck on top of everything in the rough, and full kill through the washes and smooth stuff. The wiring was cake, a weekend project taking our time. Although we run an AOD trans, if i could do it over again id run a c4 or c6 w/ a manual valve body.



edit - The 302 fits nicely in the engine bay as well. A good friend of mine runs a 351 in his ranger, and the modification of headers and all the clearances are extremely tight. Add in a built truck to that, and thats mayhem.

Good luck - If you and Cam are out at the MDR next week ask for a ride to see the power.
 

Brian_Goleta

Well-Known Member
Since your running 1450 I wouldn't rule out an LS1. I recently put one in my F150 and it's awesome. Can't beat fuel injection in the rough stuff, leave the motor stock and it'll run for ever maxed out all day long. I've had the 5.3 and the 6.0 in both of my last tow vehicles and punished them, without ever a whimper or problem of any sort. You can get 5.3 and 6.0's off E-bay all the time. You can get a computer and wireing harness from turnkey or use the one that comes with the motor if you buy used. The turbo 400 or 4L80E will bolt right up and should be fine with only a few mods. Check out ls1tech.com under conversions and hybreds, tons of information. Hybred meaning a none ls1 car with ls1 motor.

Good luck on your V8!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/00-04-Chevy-5-3L-Engine-Swap-Changeover-Silverado-LS1_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ33615QQitemZ8033474647QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW
 

johnnyweb

Well-Known Member
there are a couple of companies that make motormounts to put v8 fords in rangers as well as headers for the installation www.advacedadapters.com or www.jamesduff.com.
i would stick to the ford motor. putting a chevy in a ford is just wrong if you already have the best why go backwards!!!
 

REEVESRacing

Well-Known Member
Definitely not ruling out LS1 "We have been jawboning a 4.3 w/ like a turbo 400, a 302, even an LS1 from our bros @ the junk yards"..just building on klnowledge base...est. cost for used LS1 / t400 build out?

Johnny web...LS1 ..Might as well..we already have the toyota spring set up, i.e. under axle springs! Great power, light, dependable, whats not to like (except maybe cost, even used?)...were still knoodling, and saving pennies for the whole project, thanks (although we do have a couple of 302 shor blocks in the shop....hmmm).
 

sickrick

Well-Known Member
If you have the money and you don't mind making your truck a bastard the ls1 or 6.0L is an awsome motor stock. The th 400 will bolt up but you need to modify the flex plate slightly and get an adapter for the nose part of the tc to the crank ($75).
 

johnnyweb

Well-Known Member
i don't know the width,length,hieght dimensions for a 302 v8 exactly but i know it is one of the smaller to fit in tight spots. i good friend and co dog of mine is putting a 302 in his toyota and we looked at different options and it was best for $$,size in a engine compartment with coilovers, cage work, reliability and availability of parts to repair. as we are also putty a chevy lt1 motor in a 90 ranger and there is all kinds of problems getting it to fit. custom only headers are a nightmare the starter as jammed against the cross member and the crossmember had to be cut out quit a bit for the pan and balacer to fit. the chevy ls1 or 6.0 are good motors. as for doing this budget friendly i think the motor cost,wiring harness cost,headers as well as diagnostics of dialing it in will get pretty costly. if you are on a budget in my opinion a 302 with carburator will be easy and cheapest to do. and easy to work on later!!
 

steveG

Well-Known Member
sickrick said:
If you have the money...the ls1 or 6.0L is an awsome motor
Ditto. Keep in mind that using a drivetrain like that is going to require a lot more custom and probably one-off parts.
 

movindirt

Wham Spore
I was just thinking that I did drive a new Mustang rental this last summer and it had good power. I was blown away when I popped the hood to find it only had a 4.0.. Just keep in mind that with every 100lbs you add to the truck you will need 15 more hp just to be the same as what you have now. If you do step up to 250+hp I would really think about gun drilled full floating axles as you will most likely break anything else. Also don't forget why you have done so well to this point, finishing races... Oh yeah and my vote is to stay with stock FI unless you or someone you know is a master with carbs.
 

Brian_Goleta

Well-Known Member
RichReeves said:
Definitely not ruling out LS1 "We have been jawboning a 4.3 w/ like a turbo 400, a 302, even an LS1 from our bros @ the junk yards"..just building on klnowledge base...est. cost for used LS1 / t400 build out?

From what I have been told a turbo 400 is much cheaper to build than a c6 or c4, I got that info from Steve Cullahane. The turbo 400 stock with a reverse valve body would probabally last a long time with a stock 5.3 or 6.0. I have a 4l80e and sent it to Cullahane, he went throught it replaced a few internal parts, loosened up the torque converter, made it a manual valve body and replaced the rear housing holding the yoke with a billett aluminum one with two bearings for around $1500. I bought the 6.0, 4l80e with a transfer case off E-bay for $2000. If you somewhat savy with wireing you can "rework" the harness yourself, there are instructions on ls1tech.com. You will also need to either buy a new computer from someone like turnkey aprox $500-$600, not sure of the exact price, or you will need to buy a tuner from hptuners to disable the security system in the stock computer. The tuner is about $450.

For example you could pick up that 5.3 on e-bay in my last post for $1500, a turbo 400 somewhat built for $1500 and another $500 for the computer/tuner. Everything elese is a moot point. You will need to make motormounts, transmission mounts, plumming, drive line etc. for whatever motor choice you make.

The thing I like best about these motors is that they are made to go 100k plus and all you have to do is change the oil and plugs. I'm not saying that your going to be putting that manny miles on your 1450 truck but chances are you wont be tearing it down each race or season for that matter.
 

johnnyweb

Well-Known Member
i custom wire harness will run 800 to 1000 from what i know. we just got one for a vortech b.b conversion on an old chevy p/u and it ran like 950.00 ready to go. digging into the stock one may sound not that hard. untill you have done it a couple times you will rather work some over time and buy one ready to go!! you will want to find a motor out of a stick shift model truck as well so you will have the right comput. you can also have the computer made custom to your application. a tunner alone will not give it what it needs.
 

REEVESRacing

Well-Known Member
Great posts....hopefully you guys can see why I threw this out there...we NEED to get this right, and it's not "just" a motor...as you can see in the thread.

We don't want to do things twice (yes...wiring harnesses / Brains are a B...ch)..up the ponies and race this truck hard until....the next truck! (call a doctor!).
 
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