2.3 to 5.0 engine swap

Joseph Rota

Asked by Joseph May 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM about the 1984 Ford Ranger

Question type: Car Customization

hello everyone, just wondering about a few things for my project that I am about to under take.  I have a 84 ranger 2.3L with a leaky valve cover gasket and valve seals are gone on it too, but other wise for one spot on the hood the body is perfect, frame is soild, and came with 4 new tires sitting in the box.  All for 400 bucks.  But the thing is that i want something with guts and keep it a manual trans, and so a friend of mine wants to sell me a 302 (5.0L) with a 5spd side shift trans.  But because of how far back the shifter sits, I would have to toss the bench seat and go bucket seats or go with a side shift to topshift  conversion kit making it just like a mustang trans.  So what's your thought's, because as far as I know this  has never been done before.

5 Answers

Carl Shore

been done lots. Its just easier to make it an auto though. Its not exactly a bolt in to get the engine in, takes a lot more work than say a s-10 v-8 swap. In mine i left it an auto. Still had to swap oil pan, exhaust manifolds from numerous donor vehicles, move the steering linkage, relocate rad forward, motor and trans mounts, cut and modify heater box, cut and balance driveshaft. Upgrade u-joints so they don't blow on you. etc etc. Plus then your diff will end up blowing up on you like my last 3 have. have to switch from a 7.5 to an 8.8 out of a mid to late 90's ranger. relocate shock and spring mounts. As for seats mine has bickets from a 88 mustang gt, gives it some more room, and easy to put in. Good luck with the job though, its a blast when you get it done

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Michael McGrail

Agreed, it has been done a lot, although I have yet to see a 5-speed side shift (most were 3 and 4-speed). I had an 85 Ranger that I converted to a v8 back in..... Wow... 1997... I used a totaled 93 cobra as a donor.. The only real modification I did was cutting about 4 inches out of the floor for relocation of the gear shift.. I don't know if you would have to take the bench seat out or not. I took the seats out of the cobra and moved them over (original plan). And you will want to get the rear axle out of a v6 or v8 Explorer... There are quite a few sites out that offer v8 swap parts and adapters to make your swap easier (just Google it). Best of luck on your swap.. It can be a headache. But well worth the fun.

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I have done this before and it would be best if you can find a small block c6 auto. your never gonna need the top end the 5 speed will give you and it was gonna be a tremendous amount of work to put in the 5 speed. make sure you get a big sledge hammer and enlarge the tranny tunnel at the fire wall the transmission doesnt fit in there. your exhaust is gonna be tricky too because the stock headers dump into the underside of your feet. i ran mine with open headers and it was melting my shoes. LOL after you blow out the stock rearend from burnouts try to find a shortened 9 inch. good luck.

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though you were the expert.

Joseph Rota

lol sounds like my ranger, leaky valve cover gasket, replaced the gasket, valve seals going, let'em go, head gasket, pedal to the metal until it blows for good. But i was going to do that swap, it didn't work out. but learned a lot while researching, the side shift would be interfering with a bucket seat better to make it a topshift, with a MOD5-R2 you will have to shorten the shifter (measured one up once), you will have to do some cutting if you want to keep it a stick and having 5 gears with a OD will make it cruse nice with a good gear spread. maybe even run some 3.73 gears and get 2000rpm on the hwy with the right tire. Make it easier on yourself and take the cab and box off when and if you actually do it. I will be replacing my 2.3L with a EFI 2.9

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