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2.3L & 2.5L I4 Tech General discussion of 2.3L and 2.5L I4 Ford Ranger engines.

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  #1  
Old 01-29-2008
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Potential buyer questions

At over $3.25 per gallon for diesel, it is getting tough to feed my Dodge CTD 4x4, so I am reduced to commuting with a PT Cruiser. While it is a nice little car, it is still a car. I am a truck guy, so I want to find something for my 40 mile round trip commute and for fishing and hunting when I don't need the 4x4. I have been researching on the net and I think the best option is the Ranger 2.3 manual transmission.

I do have a couple of questions though. It is tough to find a 2.3 in a Supercab. Does the shorter wheelbase of the regular cab with a short box, make for a better winter vehicle? My son had an 80 something longbox supercab Ranger with a 2.9 and it could get stuck on a wet driveway. Also, would it be worth the money to put in a limited slip differential for winter traction?

The last 4x2 pickup I had was a Dodge D50 four banger with a five speed manual. I don't remember having all that much trouble getting around with it because the light weight of the 4banger made the front end easy to push.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2008
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for a gas mileage truck, find an 01+ ranger with the DOHC 2.3 because it gets better mileage and has more power than the older 2.3s. There are people who have gotten up to 32mpg on highway trips with the DOHC 2.3. They are readily available in supercabs and if you want the extra space go for it. The manual tranny is defintily the way to go also. Winter traction can be interesting at times but if you are good with winter driving and have decent tires it's not as bad, I've found shoveling some snow into the bed for added weight helps. You could use sandbags, but with snow it will melt out after the storm is over and you can go back to not having the extra weight until the next storm when you just shovel some more snow into the bed again.

If you feel comfortable controlling a vehicle with a limited slip or locker in the snow and ice (know how to handle a vehicle and drive it sideways and not end up in a ditch or a telephone pole) then go for it, I love having my locker in but I'm very comfortable with the *** end going out sideways in bad conditions. I feel it is better to be sideways and moving than straight and stuck.
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Old 01-30-2008
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Thanks TireIron!

My Dodge has a limited slip rearend, so I am used to the sidehopping the rear wants to do. I actually find that I need the 4x4 function less with this truck than others I have had that were 4x4's with open rearends.

I also agree with you on the 01 or newer aspect. From the research I have done, the newer Ranger 4 bangers get the best mileage.

I wouldn't say the Supercabs are readily available though. I can find tons of six cylinder Supercabs. I have only found one banger within 300 miles (on Autotrader) and that one was a private seller. He seems to believe it is worth a good deal more than I do. I also would rather be able to trade the PTC rather than going through the hassle of selling it myself.

How much does one sacrifice in mileage with the Supercab? I assume the added weight would make some difference.
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Old 01-30-2008
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Originally Posted by TireIron View Post
I feel it is better to be sideways and moving than straight and stuck.
i couldn't have said it better myself.

The 2.3's are a durable engine also. They are like the Energizer bunny, they keep going and going and going. Rangers have not been the best compact pickup for the last 15 years for nothing.


Try looking on eBay also. There are a lot of dealers who sell on there and will probably accept a trade if you have one.
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  #5  
Old 01-30-2008
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I have a 2.3 5 speed in a reg cab 6ft box I went from a v6 supercab to this and Im very happy with my decision. I average 28mpg in city driving in the summer and around 23-25 city driving in the winter. I have gone up to 34mpg on the highway.

If you want new you can order a 2.3 in an ext cab now not just limited to a reg cab. Also in 98 they added 3 inches to the reg cab so it wont be as compact as your sons ranger.

As for snow I have no problem in now I do have a limited slip but even without it I dont see having a problem in the snow. Though they dont offer the limited slip anymore with the 2.3 from the factory.

As for the ride its not bad but it can be a bit bumpy on a rough road due to the light truck and short wheelbase, I only notice this because again I went from daily driving an ext cab.
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Old 01-30-2008
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Originally Posted by 30coupe View Post
At over $3.25 per gallon for diesel, it is getting tough to feed my Dodge CTD 4x4, so I am reduced to commuting with a PT Cruiser. While it is a nice little car, it is still a car. I am a truck guy, so I want to find something for my 40 mile round trip commute and for fishing and hunting when I don't need the 4x4. I have been researching on the net and I think the best option is the Ranger 2.3 manual transmission.

I do have a couple of questions though. It is tough to find a 2.3 in a Supercab. Does the shorter wheelbase of the regular cab with a short box, make for a better winter vehicle? My son had an 80 something longbox supercab Ranger with a 2.9 and it could get stuck on a wet driveway. Also, would it be worth the money to put in a limited slip differential for winter traction?

The last 4x2 pickup I had was a Dodge D50 four banger with a five speed manual. I don't remember having all that much trouble getting around with it because the light weight of the 4banger made the front end easy to push.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
I've had the regular cab and the extended cab and I prefer the extended for every driving situation except really tight turns, lol. But both of mine had 3.0 liter 6 cyls in them. My daughter has a standard cab long bed (7 foot bed) with a 2.5 in it (it's '98) and it's pretty good overall.

Winter in a 4x2 you need extra weight in the back generally. My lifted truck with 35's is heavier, a full size spare is pretty heavy, and my tool box full of tools is for sure heavy so I don't need any "extra" weight in mine.

But my truck is probably as bad as your full size on mileage with what I've done to it, lol. It's been a good truck though.
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Old 01-30-2008
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N3elz,

I see by your profile you run Amsoil. I have it in all of my vehicles too. I generally see a mileage gain with Amsoil in the engine. I also like the extended service intervals. I can't afford new...to be precise, I refuse to take the major hit you get just by driving off the dealer's lot with a new vehicle. Besides that, I don't want to have to worry about every little nick and scrape in a truck. I use my trucks (not abuse, but use hard). Don't get me wrong, I maintain them well, but I'm not afraid to take them through the timber either.

Mark,

How much room is there behind the seats of a regular cab? Could I slip a briefcase, longbow, fly rod, or shotgun back there? I'm only 5'9" so my seats are closer to the wheel than the back of the cab if you know what I mean.
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Old 01-31-2008
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Originally Posted by 30coupe View Post
N3elz,

I see by your profile you run Amsoil. I have it in all of my vehicles too. I generally see a mileage gain with Amsoil in the engine. I also like the extended service intervals. I can't afford new...to be precise, I refuse to take the major hit you get just by driving off the dealer's lot with a new vehicle. Besides that, I don't want to have to worry about every little nick and scrape in a truck. I use my trucks (not abuse, but use hard). Don't get me wrong, I maintain them well, but I'm not afraid to take them through the timber either.

Mark,

How much room is there behind the seats of a regular cab? Could I slip a briefcase, longbow, fly rod, or shotgun back there? I'm only 5'9" so my seats are closer to the wheel than the back of the cab if you know what I mean.
Theres enough room back there for every one of the items you mentioned
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Old 01-31-2008
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They'll fit but you may sacrifice driving comfort, as in the seat being at 90 degrees which is very uncomfortable for me. There is hardly any reclining from the seat to begin with in a single cab. A briefcase could limit it even more. I finally had to add a tool truck box in the bed for items you described.
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Old 01-31-2008
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So how does a person end up with two dodges (truck and pt cruiser)? Did the second one catch your eye while you were at the dealer for your once a week warranty repair?

lol. Just kidding. Someone had to, it might as well be me.
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  #11  
Old 01-31-2008
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Actually, the Dodge is pretty bullet proof. The only weak point is the lift pump, which I replaced with a FASS system. Otherwise, just general maintenance.

The PT is Chrysler, not Dodge. I liked the capacity in the PT. My back seats are rarely up. I use it like a truck, but the ground clearance sucks. That's why I'm looking at trucks. The Ranger and the S10 are really the only small trucks left. From what I have been able to determine, the Ranger is generally more reliable. Mileage is about equal. The S10 suspension is too soft. Any load at all and your headlights shine over the treetops. The Ranger doesn't seem to do that.

Gotta go to work, crap!
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30coupe View Post
The PT is Chrysler, not Dodge.
huh Chrysler owns Dodge are the same company.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by 30coupe View Post
I liked the capacity in the PT.
my gf's parents have a PT. It is the sportier one with all the options, minus the turbo. We drove it to Destin, Florida last summer w/ her sister and her sisters bf. It was comfortable even with all of our luggage in the back (you can imagine how much we had with 2 females, one 21 and one 19). I drove the whole way non-stop (except for gas, food, and restrooms) and it wasn't bad. The only thing I didn't like is that sucker sounded wound up at highway speeds...
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2008
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Originally Posted by graniteguy View Post
They'll fit but you may sacrifice driving comfort, as in the seat being at 90 degrees which is very uncomfortable for me. There is hardly any reclining from the seat to begin with in a single cab. A briefcase could limit it even more. I finally had to add a tool truck box in the bed for items you described.
Its not that bad Im only 5'7 so my seat isnt all the back but I have it so its reclined back. If he had to he could put the breifcase behind the passenger seat and if he doesnt have a passenger he can put it on the passenger floor.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2008
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yea, i have the shorter 94 regular cab and the only tight thing would be the briefcase, but behind the passengerseat it wouldn't be an issue, especially with the extra few inches in the 98+ regular cab.
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2008
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Well, I decided to go a different route. I traded my Dodge pickup for a 4.0 4x4 Ranger supercab Sport with auto, and I'm going to sell the PT Cruiser. Then we'll be down to two vehicles, which is plenty. Even though I won't get the mileage of the PTC, it will be way cheaper than two vehicles. I'll really miss my diesel, but I just wasn't driving it enough to make it worthwhile to keep.
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  #16  
Old 02-22-2008
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Congrats!
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