Hello all. So I've done some research and I'm going for the 5.0 swap, soon as I can find a doner expo. Here's my vision for this project, for step one in the trucks future. It's a daily driver. (I need to be able to pull a trailer and can't afford a full size truck, nor do I want to leave my ranger) So: 1999 to 2001 5.0 automatic expo and it's various guts that will be needed like pats module and steering column, power windows. Going to keep it stock as much as needed because I don't care for noise so I want this thing so quiet you can't tell it's a v8, but obviously not to restrictive. Have no idea about exhaust tech. Anyway most of the expos I've seen are high miles engines so I'll overhaul it and the trans if I can, although I've never done an auto trans rebuild. The machining I'll have done at a local shop. Electric fans is a possibility. Disk rear brakes would be nice, do the expos have or no? I've already done a power steering pump update to the new style pump off an 09 ranger for my 2.5, so that will get swapped to the 5.0 too. Now I know finding a 2wd is ideal, but not easy as I've come to find out, so what are my options using a 4wd setup in my 2wd ranger? Are the front suspensions close enough to swap in the front axle and make this 4wd? Air bags or shocks for the rear since my tool chest is incredibly heavy and I like my headlights on the road. Any ideas? Anyway, I'd like do this cheap as possible, but at the same time set myself up for mods in the future. I'm hopping to get this started within 3 weeks, and then just plow through the work and get it done quick so I don't have to drive my wife’s silly little cobalt for to long! Suggestions welcome!
Don't think I'd muck around swapping the steering columns, just bury the PATS receiver and module somewhere under the Ranger dash with the Expo key zip tied in the receiver and call it good.
Power window motors should swap in, but you'll need to find new door panels -- not a big deal.
All the V8 Expo's (and Mountaineers, don't forget those) have rear disks -- fairly straight forward swap into the back of the Ranger, just need to weld on some spring perches and shock mounts. 3" tube bits are very common in the Jeep world so easy to find the mounts and perches. The parking brake cables will swap over with the axle, just need to snug them up to the frame a bit.
For all practical purposes, converting a last gen 2WD Ranger to 4WD isn't going to happen without extensive fabrication unless you've got a "Sport", those are easy.
For cost, things can be kept pretty darn affordable. Had it not been for a custom 2 piece drive shaft for my '02 extended cab, I'd have made money on the V8 conversion. Paid $650 for the Expo, got over $250 for bits and pieces out of it, scrapped the rest for $430. Sold the Ranger engine and trans for another $375 which paid for most of the conversion.
I drag around a bed full of A/C and Refrigeration tools, equipment and refrigerants and the back of the Ranger still sits pretty tall. If you've really gotta drag some serious weight around, cheap answer is to swipe a leaf from the Expo back end and add it to the Ranger. Probably a better answer would be some air bags.
If you can't find a 2WD Expo/Mountie, go for an AWD and dig up a used 2WD transmission. You might find your used AWD trans and xfer case are worth more than a used 2WD transmission and get enough cash for a rebuild kit out of it. Don't forget that quite a few Fords use the 4R70W box so don't limit your search to Expos and Mounties.
For an exhaust, I used the original Expo cats, cut up the original Expo muffler and turned its front pipes into a "Y" pipe going into a 3" tube. Added a GMC 3" in/out muffler from a diesel bread van and made up a 2 1/2" tail pipe to go out the back. Probably too quiet for most V8 Ranger guys with the tail pipe, nice rumble without it.
Thanks for the info, I've read your build thread, good work. Now that you mention it, there is an imprint of "sport" sticker on the side of my box. And ya, I've already added one spring to the back, That's why I'm considering air. Now I know that torque monster headers are recommended, but will anything else work? Like Sanderson Block Huggers or Pace Setter shorties. Because 600+ for headers is alot.
Only other headers that are bolt in are the very elusive Ford Racing Parts V8 Expo/Mounty ones -- been out of production for years but they do show up used every now and again, Recently read of a guy that found a set of NOS on flea-bay.
Generally, most header solutions conflict with the steering shaft between the firewall and rack/pinion unit. Ford put a healthy dent in the side of the oil pan to make room for the exhaust because things are so tight on that side.
Stick your head under the Ranger's front suspension. If you've got coil springs above the lower control arms, a conversion to 4WD is impractical unless you're looking to go to a solid axle. If you've got torsion bars on the lower control arms to brackets further back, then yes, the 4WD conversion is possible since most of the components for the torsion bar set up were lifted directly off the 4WD Ranger's parts list.
Ok so I ended up taking a vary eventful 16 adventure to trailer a 2000 expo awd. Trans and engines out and looking at it now I see that it already has a 90deg adapter for the oil filter that I'm hoping will fit. I am trying to decide what to do for the trans, sell it and the xcase and look for a 5speed, flywheel and computer, or rebuild the auto and install a tailshaft for 2wd. I know what I'd prefer but I don't want to get screwed up trying to convert this thing to manual (the ranger's already a manual I just don't know what's gotta happen to mate them up). Anyway, a little more prep and I'll start on the ranger.