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2.9L & 3.0L V6 Tech General discussion of 2.9L and 3.0L V6 Ford Ranger engines.

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Old 08-10-2016
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3.0 Performance

I realize this is a long-dead horse I'm flogging here, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask, given my specific case.

My 3.0 Vulcan is a runabout. It gets me where I need to go and that's it. I ask nothing more of it and receive nothing less. I don't plan on taking this to the track or doing quarter miles. With all that in mind, I feel this trusty Vulcan needs a little help. Incredibly reliable without any strings attached, but let's face it, it needs a push.

I would like to push the performance of this engine a bit higher, make it produce more power to push this truck around. I'm working on the Efan as we speak, for starters. It's got relatively new motorcraft platinum plugs in it and motorcraft wires (which I ought to replace). I run 5w30 Pennzoil conventional through it (changed every 3k or every six months, whichever comes first) with the stock tire sizes. My Ranger has 4:10 gears and a standard differential.

What are some things I can do to this engine to make it spit out some extra power? I've seen the screamin demon, and I'm lightly considering it. Suppose a set of performance wires to go with it would be a good idea? Thank you.
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Old 08-15-2016
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How much money do you have?

Tom Morana Racing Engines
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Old 08-15-2016
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Yeah, good point. Ultimately my best bet is truthfully a 4.0 or 5.0. no replacement for displacement as they say.
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Old 08-16-2016
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In my opinion, Only 5.0l should be considered, 4.0l would be a waste of time since swap labor is the same, engine/trans/wiring harness and computer.

Rangers coming with a 4.0l doesn't make it any easier, well any easier than Explorer 5.0l swap, same difference.
Since it is a 4WD then yes transfer case and drive shafts could be used with 4.0l swap and not the 5.0l, but best swap method is to get a donor vehicle so you would get 5.0l transfer case with it.

Yes, the 3.0l Vulcan wasn't designed for power, and it isn't great with MPG either, lol, so not sure what Ford was thinking.
Unless you are racing in a 3.0l limited class then no reason to spend alot of money try to get extra power out of this engine.
E-fan will help with power AND MPG.

Coil pack, wires and spark plugs won't get you more power but will get you as much power as the 3.0l can get in stock configuration, also best MPG.

Basically all piston engines are air pumps that you add fuel to so they can be self powered.
For gasoline engines you have a 14.7 to 1 air:fuel ratio, and that is a WEIGHT ratio, not volume, so if there is 14.7 pounds of air, you need to add 1 pound of fuel.
If you add less than 1 pound of fuel then you loose power, it you add more than 1 pound of fuel then you loose power.

So simply adding more fuel doesn't get more power, you get less power, a flooded engine.

But adding more fuel does add more power if it is done using the 14.7:1 ratio, so to add more fuel you need to add more air, air is the key.
A larger engine has more power because it can pump more air so more fuel can be added, simple as that.
Turbocharger forces more air into an engine so more fuel can be added.
Larger cam pulls in more air so more fuel can be added

Compression is different, similar to winding up a rubber band, the tighter you wind it the more power is released when you let it unwind.
So higher compression generates more power when cylinder fires, but it has a cost, as compression increases fuel self ignition increases, so you have to use a higher octane fuel, trade-off in what vehicle is used for, as daily driver it is nice to use Regular gas, if you are making a weekend warrior vehicle then running premium gas isn't a big cost factor.

3.0l Vulcan is close to the limit for compression and running Regular gas as is, which is why they can get "pingy" if there are any changes in compression(carbon buildup), fuel mix(lean) or spark timing(delayed)

Last edited by RonD; 08-16-2016 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-16-2016
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I would automatically go for the 5.0 (because v8) but there's a couple of concerns I have. For one thing, that engine bay looks incredibly tight with the 5.0. I mean it looks like you can barely get your arm in there to change spark plugs. Although granted, I've only seen a 5.0 'equipped' Ranger in photos.

The other thing is the aftermarket parts I need to retain 4x4, or so it seems. Something about the explorer uses a full time transfercase and the ranger's part time transfercase would shell itself being used in such a configuration. Seems to not matter if the explorer is a 4x4 or AWD either.

What makes the 4.0 appealing to me is the increased working room, in contrast to the 5.0, and the donor is (for the most part) all I need, aside from basic repair parts like plugs or wires and fluids.
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Old 08-16-2016
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Well the '99 3.0l specs at 145HP, the 4.0l 160HP

The 4.0l did have a good jump up in torque over the 3.0l, 178 - 3.0l, 220 - 4.0l, which is what most people feel as more power because torque is what gets you going, HP keeps you going.
But a 3.0l gets highest torque at 3,500RPM, 4.0l at 2,400RPM
So you need to drive a 3.0l as a high RPM engine because it is, if you drive it with RPMs below 2,500 then it will be "gutless".

I stead of 4.0l swap I would look at 3.0l rebuild for more power, the 2003/2004 Ranger 3.0l had a jump up to 154HP, I think that was from a change in intake manifold design, so might be worth a look.
4.10 axle gears would get you faster acceleration but lower MPG at highway speeds.

Or sell the 3.0l Ranger and buy a 4.0l Ranger, and spend money set aside for the swap on fixing up the 4.0l Ranger


Yes, the 5.0l swap would require 4WD changes.
The F150 transfer cases fit in a Ranger and can handle the V8 power.
The Explorers were almost all automatics, if you need manual then 1997 and up F150 with 4.2l V6 has same trans bolt pattern as 5.0l and has the shifter in same location as Rangers M5OD-R1, and they came as 4WD so you can get transfer case and trans set.
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Old 08-16-2016
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Definately a lot of info to consider. If nothing else, I've got something to keep my mind busy, lol.

Though, gotta say, never selling my '99 for a couple of reasons. I'd never get the money out of it that I've sank into it, I love it to death (even with it's current drivetrain), and I can't afford to do that anyway.

One of these days I'll pick up a cheap expo donor (low resale value in my area) in either 4.0 or 5.0 and swap 'em out. I'm hoping the 3.0 doesn't take a royal one on me before that time comes though, otherwise I'm out of a vehicle. One thing is for sure though, if I do go 4.0, it'll be the SOHC.
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Old 08-23-2016
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Underdrive crank pulley is also a good option. If your truck is flex fuel, run E-85 in it. The truck is rated 9hp and 13ft-lbs higher when running corn.
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