2004 3.0L Swap For a 2.3 - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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

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Old 05-25-2016
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grant, AL
Posts: 3
2004 3.0L Swap For a 2.3

I have a 2004 single cab edge with 118K miles. I have what I believe is a bad rod bearing. The truck sounds like it's going to tear itself apart. If I end up changing motors, will a less costly 2.3L drop in? I am not a mechanic, oil and brake pad is it. A local shop things it is a rod and will replace the engine with a Jasper for $6,000. I do not want to put that kinda money in to my sons truck.
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Old 05-25-2016
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Welcome to the forum

Too bad about the 3.0l, these are very reliable engines contrary to your current situation.

No, the 2.3l or any other engine won't "drop in"
The 3.0l Vulcan engine uses a unique transmission bolt pattern, like most engines do, so transmission would also have to be swapped out.
And the computer and engine wiring if engine changed sizes.

Your best, and really only option, is another Vulcan engine.
They were made from 1986 to 2008.
The 2004 to 2006 3.0ls in Rangers had bad heads, but not known for bad bearings.

The biggest expense is the labor to pull out old engine and then put engine back in.

Used 3.0l with 100-150k miles is not a bad gamble, they run from $900-$1,300

Rebuilt long block runs $1,800+, like Jasper engine

And warranties do not cover labor, they only replace the engine for free you still have to pay to get it out and put another one in.

Since it doesn't read like you will be doing the work yourself then there are a couple of options.

First ask if your mechanic would install a used engine, and the price, many shops won't because of warranty issues.

Call other shops in the area and ask about rebuilt and used engine options and prices.
Call Machine shops, they rebuild motors, just like Jasper does, and some pull them out and put them back in, or can recommend a shop that does that part.
Not alot of technical ability is needed in pulling out and putting in an engine, it is basically just wrench work but alot of it, and paying someone $40/hour vs $150/hour adds up fast.
Like paying a botanist $300 to mow your yard, a bit over qualified for the job, lol, when kid down the street can do same job for $10

Just FYI the $6,000 sounds a little over the top IMO for engine replacement, $4,000-$4,500 including rebuilt long block would be more inline to my thinking.
Labor time on engine in and out is 8 hours each way, so 16 hours, it is really closer to 10-12 hours if your are experienced.
At $125/hour that would be $2,000 labor, and this is also where I have an issue, $125/hour better be F'ing experienced, lol, so why the charge for 16 hour!!!, should be 12 hours max
Anyway, a remanufacturered engine(Jasper) would run $2,000-$2,500 delivered
So $4,000-$4,500

Other option is to sell the truck as "mechanic special", many mechanics and DIYers watch the papers for these kinds of vehicles, it won't cost them $6,000 to put another motor in.
Then take the money you do get from the truck and add another $3,000 to get your son another vehicle, you save $3,000

Last edited by RonD; 05-25-2016 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 05-26-2016
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grant, AL
Posts: 3
Thank You

Thank you for your time and wisdom. I've owned the truck since new and hate to get rid of it. I have found a replacement motor at Rockauto for $1500 with a warranty, now I need to research with the shops for the swap. I'm hesitant to get a junk yard motor not knowing the history of it. I don't want to repeat this process again. A friend of mine mentioned pulling the engine, going through the bottom and removing the crank fot polishing, then getting new bearings for the crank and rods. Does this pass a sanity check in your obvious expert opion?
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Old 05-26-2016
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You have a 2004 3.0l Ranger which falls in the 2004-2006 bad head(exhaust valve seats) range.

But yes, either way you need to remove and reinstall(R&R) engine so that cost is required regardless, you just need to find the best deal for that part.

And it depends on the state of the bad rod bearing as to whether or not crank needs to come out to be reground and polished, and if you need a new connecting rod.
Bearings are cheap so replacing crank and rod bearings is not expensive.
Crank bearing set $32
Rod bearing set $22
Cam bearing set $25

Connecting rod, if needed, $40

The heads will be the more expensive repair, machine shop is needed to remove valves and reinstall new valve seats then regrind the valves/seats, basically a valve job.
But you can get new 3.0l heads for $300-$320 for the pair with new valves installed.
So almost easier, and probably cheaper, to get the new heads.
You do need to do this because of the 2004 model year 3.0l engine.

Before you take the engine out I would do a compression test, you can rent a compression gauge, they cost about $40 new, you need the screw in type, screws into spark plug hole.

Remove all spark plugs first
Install gauge in #1 cylinder then crank engine, listen for 5 "hits", you will know what that is when you hear it.
Write down the result
Press button on gauge to release pressure
Move to #2
repeat for all 6 cylinders

3.0l should be above 160psi on all cylinders but this number can be lower or higher because of battery condition(starter motor speed), and the gauge itself, these are not precision instruments, lol.
So you need an average psi
Take out the highest psi and the lowest psi number from the 6 you have
Add the other 4 up and divide that by 4, that will be the average psi
Say you get 150 as average, 10% rule is that no cylinder should be more than 10% away from the average.
10% of 150 is 15
So a cylinder with 135psi or lower will have a problem, 165psi or higher will as well.

What you are doing is looking for piston/ring and valve issues
If all cylinders are high and within the average then no need to redo the rings.
Valves on 2004 need to be done regardless

Last edited by RonD; 05-26-2016 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 05-27-2016
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grant, AL
Posts: 3
Great advice

I'm getting a compression tester on the way home. Thank you.
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Old 07-29-2016
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Murfreesboro,TN
Posts: 37
I just had this problem.....
Went to the pull apart junk yard and found a wrecked low miles truck
Dropped in the $200 and all was well.
Refreshed some gaskets as preventative maintenance

Checked the oil in sunlight to look for shavings.
For future reference in case some one else sees this.

The water pump on these rusts out and overheats the engine
The cam synch not replaced at 100-120k can destroy the engine as well
Worth looking into these problems
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