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Old 08-14-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
Mikefromcny
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Default Update! 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

Hi guys,

I'm looking to buy a mid 90's - early 2000's 4 cylinder 5 speed 2wd ford ranger.
It looks like there is 2 different engines, a 2.3l and a 2.5l. I think their both "bulletproof" engines. Just wondering if anyone here has any insight on these.

I'm kinda leaning torwards the 95 and older ones since if the check engine light is on in NY state, it automaticly fails yearly inspection. The 2.5L sounds like it has slightly more power though.

This will be a daily driver that I hopefully wont have to work on all the time..

Thanks.
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Last edited by Mikefromcny; 08-19-2012 at 07:48 PM. Reason: update
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:58 PM   #2
chris142
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

My neighbor got 300K out of a 96 with the 4 cyl and a 5 speed. He was very impressed with it. Power was like any 4cyl truck but it never gave him any trouble.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:00 PM   #3
rkevins
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I have a DD that is a 93 with 2.3, 5 speed, and Love it gets around 25mpg using the ac
don't know much about the 2.5

One word of caution...mine only shows 5 places on the od so it could have 100,000 or 200,000 miles you don't really know.

I have read a lot on the ford ranger forum, they have lots of info there

I hope I don't get in trouble for posting about another forum
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:04 PM   #4
JonBoehman
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I've got a 92 Ranger 2.3l, 5sp 2wd I bought in 93. It has just over 400k on it. I ve just done regular maint. on it and replaced the timing belt twice. Its been a real champ.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

Mine (92) was kinda gutless when pulling a medium sized bass boat up and down some hills.
Other than maintenance it was bulletproof!

Had a few problems with rubber fuel lines, but ALL my cars older than 2000 have shown some fuel and rubber problem.

Only rant is that I am 6 foot and like my roomy cabs.

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Old 08-14-2012, 08:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I love my '96 2.3/5 speed. It's no powerhouse, but tough as nails and just returned 26.7 mpg on a 80/20 hwy/city tank, I get about 25 most of the time, but with more city driving. The 2.3/2.5's are a tough engine that if treated nice will last longer than the truck it's wrapped in. I would try to stay with a '97 or earlier for the twin I-beam front end though, I've seen my fair share of ball joint issues with the later IFS trucks, and the twin i-beam is just a solid built front end. Disclaimer: the twin i-beam does have a tendency to wear tires more so than the later due to the nature of it's design, but if you keep the tires rotated regularly it's a non-issue.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
Charles (in GA)
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

No, there are THREE different engines. the earlier 2.3L OHC engine known as the "Lima" engine (made in Lima Ohio or in Brazil) and the 2.5L OHC also a "Lima" engine as its the same as the earlier 2.3L except its been stroked. The later 2.3L is an entirely different engine, made by Mazda.

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Old 08-14-2012, 09:00 PM   #8
Fordman7795
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I have a 2005 with the newer 2.3. I would go with that. I recently got just over 35 mpg on a all highway trip. Around town i get 27-29. Ive put 70,000 miles on it and its the best vehicle ive ever owned
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I rocked an 03 Ranger, and friggin loved it. I am still mad at myself for selling it.

I'd buy it back in a heartbeat. Had no problems from it what so ever.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
Charles (in GA)
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

Indeed the Lima engines were not noted for power or gas economy. My '91 stripped out 2.3L 5 spd with aftermarket air does 24-25 with a mix of highway and lower speed driving (not much in real traffic however) and is rather gutless, but it has a 3.08 rear end. It will pull my 5x10 trailer when I need it to with a scoop of rock, or my ZTR Great Dane mower which weighs several hundred pounds.

Just coming up on 270K mi in the next couple of days. I do like the twin I beam front end and have never seen any unusual tire wear except when the radius arm bushings went bad. They let the axle wander fore and aft, causing the toe in to drift and wear the tires. A set of Polyurethane radius arm bushings from Energy Suspension cured that.

the Mazda built 5 speed is very expensive to repair/rebuild and so you want to keep it working good. I change the fluid every oil change (10K and use Amsoil motor oil and ATF in the 5 spd) don't let anyone ever talk you into putting gear oil in them as it will destroy the sycros. Timing belts are a 60K mi item on the Lima engine and I change the belt and water pump every 60K. Its an easy 2 to 3 hr job after the first time. The first time you will cuss the crankshaft damper bolt.

Mine is a late '91 having been built in the summer of '91 and it is 21 years old now, and has the original brake and clutch master cylinders, and original real wheel cylinders and shoes. Front rotors and hubs are an integral design, you don't just change the rotors, you change the rotor/hub/wheel bearing races, as they are all one casting.

In this thread I show the shifter bushing replacement in the Mazda 5 spd.

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Old 08-14-2012, 10:50 PM   #11
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I never owned one, but we had a few at work. An 01 2.3 that was gutless and got 17 mpg city no matter what. All the black painted plastic on the interior peeled. Auto trans shifted odd and responded slow. I really only like the fullsize ford trucks.

Last edited by Need4racin; 08-14-2012 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

Bet on the 2.3. It has the most history as an engine platform. The later the model, the better your chances of a trouble free motor are. This applies to ALL manufacturers!
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:23 AM   #13
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I had a '98 Reg Cab 2wd 5spd 2.3. It was a good little truck. At around 150k it needed a new head gasket, and a new clutch at around 170k. It got around 26mpg on the highway. It wasn't great for pulling and didn't have much payload, but it was a good little truck. The only reason I sold it was because I needed a bigger truck at the time and bought an F250 4x4 Powerstroke Diesel. The only real issues I remember having with the truck was the oil pressure switch would act up at idle and would read zero oil pressure. And the control arm bushings squeaked like hell. Something got weird with the heater and it would just blow cold air, I didn't keep it long after that so I never got around to fixing that issue. I sold that thing 6 years ago for like $1500. Now I'm in the market for another little truck, but this time I'm hunting for a 90's Toyota with the 22RE.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:25 AM   #14
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I have a 01 2.3l 5 speed, gets great gas mileage, and low maintenance. Not a real power house but it gets r done
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:33 AM   #15
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

Since your location says upstate New York be mindful of frame rot on these vehicles. Also, don't discount the 3.0 six cylinder. Equally bombproof, and not much of a penalty on fuel economy.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:34 AM   #16
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I was talking to the local Napa rep (good friend) one time and he say's all the four 4 poppers are good engines for the most part, but the 2.0L (which I'm not sure was in a ranger) has a habit of dropping valve seat and trashing the engine.

The 3.0L is a very good engine as well, mpg is probably around 22-24 highway, all else equal. A 4.0L will suck gas like no other, but you have power with it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

I sold this one with 189,000 miles. Got it new in 91 and never replaced a part other than tires, brakes and the serp. belt. Still had the original clutch.
2.3L, 5sp.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:16 PM   #18
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

'94 two clutch plates only, one timing belt, plugs once, front pads about every 35000, never changed rears, 355000 and son hit a heifer and totaled it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:03 PM   #19
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colonial Cobra View Post
I sold this one with 189,000 miles. Got it new in 91 and never replaced a part other than tires, brakes and the serp. belt. Still had the original clutch.
2.3L, 5sp.
is that your roof chop job?
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:07 PM   #20
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Default Re: 4 cylinder Ford Rangers, best one to buy?

umm , buy the MAZDA
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