Duratec swap

Asked by Jul 12, 2008 at 05:30 PM about the 1986 Ford Ranger

Question type: Car Customization

I have been thinking about doing an engine swap in my truck for a long time. I have an 86 ranger with the old 2.3 litter I4. I was woundering how hard would it be to swap in the 3.0 litter duratec v6 from say a 1999 taurus. I was woundering as I hear of people doing the 5.0 swap all the time and I want to do somthing a little more unique. ( I was also considering a flat head conversion :-D what would be more unique ) but seriously any help would be greatly appritiated.

14 Answers


I don't know of any specifics on conversions like this, but I have seen a few 'unique' conversions... Just about anything can be done with time+money... And I wish you luck Encouragement aside I have to be honest. A quick internet search doesn't show of a similar conversion being done, so finding help is going to be hard. This will not be worth it from a money standpoint. It will take a lot of time/money. Some things to think about... 1- Transmission compatibility (will it bolt together?). If not you'll need an adapter, or a diffrent tranny. 2- Engine control... Do you want to take everything from the Taurus? Or you can find/build your own... Megajolt and megasquirt is the easiest/cheapest way if you decide to go your own route.(I'm sure someone has used these on a Taurus before so you'll have help getting it running this route). Or is a carb. conversion available for the 3.0l? 3- Is your Ranger in good enough shape for this? Do you really want to put that kind of work/money into something that won't last long? You will likely never get your money out of a conversion... keep that in mind, you'll be doing it for yourself, not for money. 4- If engine mounts aren't available something will have to be fabricated. This isn't too bad if you can do this yourself, but can be costly if you have to pay someone else to. I know this was all generic information, and I have no background information on the 86 Ranger, so I have no clue if mounts are available or if transmission compatible. This is just intended to give you an idea of what to think about. try to figure out a budget in advance. Now hopefully someone will post with more specific information

I am currently in the middle of a 5.0 conversion on ann 88 Bronco 2, which has the same setup as the rangers. I would like to STRONGLY urge you to go this route. 302s are a dime a dozen, and easy to find information and parts for. Other than that, you're looking at a minimum of the following for a V6: -Tranny -New bell housing -New drive shafts -Engine mounts -Computer -Wiring Harness -Bigger Radiator -etc... the list goes on. In the end, you'll have a Ranger with a V6. Lame. They came out of the factory that way. Plus, nobody will be impressed when you say "yeah, I dropped in a Taurus Engine." Go big or go home. A V8 gives an impressive power to weight ratio, and it will probably be cheaper because of the mass amount of parts. If you're going to do the work, then do it right. A V8 is not much more work at all. just a small body lift is recommended to fit the larger tranny and engine better. Down the road, you'll also want to upgrade the rear end and the front end. The front should be a D28. The Rear is either a D28, a D35, or a 7.5" Easy upgrades are a D35 up front, and a 8.8" or D44 in the rear. If you have any questions, let me know.

I was debating the v8, but they are a dime a dozen around where i live, and i want to do somthing a little diffrent. I was actualy thinking about swaping in a flat head, which i can get fairly cheap (got connections) and i know of a place to get a kit to hook up a c4 transmission to a flat head v8. I thought a hot roded flathead ranger would be amazingly cool. I also can get a duratec motor extreamly cheap hence my intrest.


here are some good tools, they list which engines share bellhousing bolt patterns. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ford_bellhousing_patterns / http://web.archive.org/web/20030907134826/http://www.mercurycapri.com/technical/trans/general/tbhi.html you didn't mention if your truck 2 or 4wd but a 2wd is certainly an easier truck to modify. if you notice in one of these two links, lincoln ls v6's share the same bolt pattern as the duratech 3.0 so if you are determined to install a duratech, you have the option to use a lincoln ls transmision. you'll also note DOHC 4.6 out of a fwd lincoln continental has the duratech pattern as well, might be something to think about, i bet that combo isn't a dime a dozen!

yea sorry about that its a 2 wheel drive truck. thank you i will have to look at that

heard of people doin this, then gettin a turbo....shouldnt be to hard crankin about 460rwhp? the 3.0L are good engines and sound verrry good with glass packs, NOT flowmasters

Really, My girl friend has one and it runs great.

not quite that much lol, but yea somthing moderatly powered, that isn't like a nose


Hey Robby...where do I start? Adam Morgan, I saw your car. Verrrry nice! I am currently restoring an all original 1970 silver 914/6 with the 1969 911S 2.0L motor & 901 tailshifter. Just thought I'd give you props. Not many teeners out there! Do you have the 1.7, 1.8, or 2.0 Jetronic? Secondly, background info before I start giving my input. I have a '97 4.0L V6 extended cab 2WD w/ 33x12.5x15 Goodyears & suspension/drivetrain goodies for offroading, etc. I work on my mother's '93 Taurus, 3.8L V6 auto. I know my Rangers/Bronco II/ Explorers & Fords, etc. Kaleb O'Reilly & Kevin Rowe don't know what they are talking about. Your 1st generation ranger with carbed 2.3L is not bad, and I loathe people that use the phrase "just throw a turbo on it." You can't do that to every engine, and spark, the # injectors, how low the compression (yours IS 9.0:1), airflow in, etc. should be considered to find a reasonable candidate for a boosted engine. Oh, and 460 rwhp is complete bullshit. You'll lose your own gasket before you even get close to that power in that block. They're not bad, but finding a complete, already T/C & cooled 1987-88 Thunderbird Turbocoupe from eBay w/ piping is easier. And he's wrong. The Duratecs are very reliable engines that give a decent power output back when it was made. I have the Cologne 4.0 V6 with 225 tq @ 2200 rpm (perferred when moving shit/towing @ lower rpm) with 200,xxx miles and it still works like a champ. Oh, and sidenote: glasspacks are awful, raspy, and painfully obnoxious. You want loud? Run your engine with open headers. You want a good sound, the Flowmaster Delta 40's sound very good on our trucks when it's single in/out. Any oversized muffler can sound bad without the proper airflow through it to resonate (I think him and his friend are just stupid). People forget that it is a 1/4 ton pickup meant for work, not racing down the 1/4 mile. Your 2.3 has 73 hp @ 4000 rpm & 107 tq @ 2400. However, I understand your wanting of more power. When funds allow, a 351 Windsor is going to shoehorn its way in mine. There is no doubt that you have the 7.5" rear axle and the twin I-beam setup. You prolly have a A4LD automatic tranny that does not directly bolt up to the Taurus heart. The Taurus SHO motors are even better, and I think it is all do-able. But it WILL require a lot of work and good fabbing skills to change the FWD Duratec to a RWD setup, and it will only be mediocre performance for your time & $ invested. You can find bellhousings anywhere, and send me a PM if you are really interested in getting more info and helpful sites. The wiring may be tricky, as you will be switching to fuel injected and an OBD II system in 1999. Ignition and everything will have to be regulated, and later models have DIS (distributorless ignition) as well. Your radiator will need to be switched to electric with a clutch, and oxygen sensors, custom headers & exhaust need to be switched, and you will need a new transmission crossmember. You currently have a 2-piece driveshaft with a carrier bearing & ujoints, so you'll need to (easier) to get a 1-piece shaft and a slip yoke to fit your new trans. If it's a the C4, think "new tranny cooler" and the oil lines, and any new pumps and fuel line routing to the new block. C4 auto is great for any conversion. There are quite a few that directly swap the Cologne 3.0L V6 & 4.0L V6 into theirs with relative ease, as you can use similar mounting holes and sometimes keep the same transmission & driveshaft. The 5.0L option is popular for the reasons Matt listed above. Having a 2-3" body lift makes it a lot easier to work around, and the harnesses are easier to configure, IMO. If you want to be different, build your engine (where it counts). Bore &/or stroke it, cams, and head options will set you apart from the schmuck with a stock Mustang or Lincoln Mark IV drivetrain. Oh, and if you ever swap rears, find an Explorer live axle from 1995-2001. They are 8.8" ring gears, the axle shafts are 31 spline as opposed to your current 27 spline, and they are equipped with disc brakes for better stopping power as opposed to your 9" drums. Those are dime/dozen everywhere. And if you go with the 5.0, most come with a 3.73 ratio. A lot of work you have ahead of you. Sidenote: Lengthy/verbose. Sorry. I just didn't want you taking advice from those idiots, and this was a breif thing about your options. Peter

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The 1986 ford ranger is fuel injected, the 2.3 liter 4 that i have is rated at 92 horsepower

Oh i forgot to mention that the LS V6 is a duratec, that is what gave men the idea of doing this swap


This is a good idea! The duratec 30 is all aluminum and puts out 232 hp in some variants. The lincoln ls and jaguar s-type are equipped with rear wheel drive dura 30's so that would be a good direction to look in for donors. I've got an 87 Ranger I intend on putting one in but I'm building an all out long travel desert truck so I don't have to worry about street legal. And your ranger is a good project vehicle; Why spend a lot on a donor when you can spend that money on the final machine? I would listen to Adam4753, keep buying fab tools and figure it out. P.S. British supercar company Noble uses a duratec 30 producing 425 hp

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Dura 30's were designed largely by porche, the engineering was sold to ford and cosworth; Noble puts them in supercars (400hp). The motor has a superior power to weight ration to your growingly antiquated 302

can you swap a 2.3 out of a 1990 model ranger engine with a 1995 3.0 enine what all got to be changed

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