You have a 4.0l SOHC engine in a 2003 Ranger, VIN E
Explorers got the 4.0l SOHC engine in 1997
Rangers got the 4.0l SOHC engine in 2001
From 1990 to 2000 Rangers used the 4.0l OHV engine, it is not related to SOHC engine so not compatible.
1997 to 2004 4.0l SOHC had the timing chain issues, explorer or ranger
Not sure where you heard replacing the timing chains, tensioners and cassettes cost the same as a warrantied engine???
Not even close to true.
First thing is knowing the problem.
There were poor designs and materials used in the timing chains on earlier models of this engine.
Any replacement parts have the new design and better materials, so once they are installed a 1997 4.0l SOHC's timing chains will last as long as a 2011's timing chains.
So problem is not the motor itself, it is the timing chains and guides.
Your motor is a good motor with a few bad parts
To replace the timing chains you have to pull out the motor and then reinstall it.
To replace the whole motor you have to pull out the motor and reinstall it.
So that cost and/or labor is the same for either option.
Timing chain kit is $200-$400, they are as cheap as $70 on ebay, but never used those before.
Used 4.0l SOHC engines vary by the miles on them, 2005 and newer would run $1,200 to $1,800, with 100-150k miles, + shipping, engines are not light either, lol.
Call local wrecking yards.
Warranty on a used engine is for the engine itself, not any labor costs for installation and removal if engine fails.
And while most used engine sellers are upright, there can be issues with "we won't warranty that, it was an incorrect installation problem", and once that type of finger pointing starts your truck will be off the road for a long while
If you have a shop do the work they will warranty new timing chain and parts, and a used engine IF they provide the engine.
So you would be covered.
But you won't be paying $400 for timing chain parts, closer to $1,000.
And a used engine would be $2,500 not $1,500.
Plus the labor to remove and reinstall
Fixing your engine with new timing chains is, IMO, the best, and least expensive option.
There are high schools and vocational schools that do less expensive auto repair work, they are usually overbooked but worth calling around.
Last edited by RonD; 04-02-2016 at 08:44 PM.