8-Cylinder Tech If you are one of the few with a V8 engine in your Ranger, or if you dream of a Ranger with a V8 engine, this is the sub-forum for you.

Best Model Years to convert to 8-cylinder

Old 08-02-2018
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: SAN DIEGO
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Best Model Years to convert to 8-cylinder

Hi, I'm new to this forum, and I'm sure this question has been posed before, but any help would be great. I'm currently doing my research to buy a ranger with the end goal of doing a full V8 conversion. If you have experience with this, what years would you recommend based on success? Is a modern overhead cam, 5.0 Ford V8 conversion possible? My price range for the ranger itself is $6-8k. Thanks.
Old 08-03-2018
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Kentucky
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Last edited by Fordzilla80; 10-21-2018 at 11:49 AM.
Old 08-03-2018
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Roanoke, VA
Posts: 303
I don't think it's going to matter dramatically as long as you stay '98+. Good luck with the conversion - there have been very few modular motor swaps to date. It's a huge engine.
Old 08-03-2018
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Welcome to the forum

Loads of info on Ranger V8 swaps out there

1993 and 1994 had the 2nd generation larger body and frame(1993 to 2012), and a simpler system with just the one computer(OBD1), but Explorer V8/transmission system were all newer computer system, OBD2
If you were going with a carb and distributor setup on the V8 then these years would be a good choice

1995 and up Rangers had 2 computers, engine/trans computer(PCM running OBD2)) and a Body Computer(GEM), runs interior lights, wipers, door locks, and other electrics

1998 -2003 Rangers are still mostly analog and used GEM for body computer

2004 and up had digital dash and used SJB(smart junction box) for body computer, and used a "data network" between components, so 2004 and up would be harder swap

1998-2000 Rangers used rear axle speed sensor thru GEM for computer, speedo and cruise, which can make things easier, or harder depending on what year V8 engine and automatic transmission you use

1985 and up Rangers with automatics need matching computer control, same with other Ford Models, so you need correct PCM for the engine and transmission you choose
This is why the popular choice is to buy a rolled or rusted out Explorer with a V8 engine for this swap, you get "almost all" the parts needed
Old 10-21-2018
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Toledo, OH
Posts: 60
You definitely want to get a running explorer for the conversion if you want to go fuel injected.

I had a very detailed build thread on another site that is now gone.
Old 10-21-2018
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Toledo, OH
Posts: 60
If you go coil spring front, you have less room than torsion bar front. That, and the 5.0 explorer had a torsion bar front, so things fit a little better.

Also, there was one guy building motor mount plates for the coil spring front end. Not sure if he is still building them. They were awesome and made the engine just drop into the hole. (Some 3.0 trucks have a riser on the driver side motor mount on the frame. Riser has to go)

lastly, the passenger side motor mount conversion plate needs some serious trimming in order to use Torque Monster style headers.

Knowing what I know now, I would have done a torsion bar front end.

and I will re-iterate: you want a complete running donor explorer. I used everything from the explorer right down to the mechanical fan and radiator. I even used a fuel line from the explorer because my ranger had a returnless fuel system, and the 5.0 had a return style fuel system. Rather than source a different fuel rail, PCM with matching PATS keys and transponder, I ran the return line.

my Ranger is a 02.
I tried to keep the engine bay as close to an explorer as possible. My Ranger dashboard interfaces perfectly with the new engine, and my cruise control, heat and A/C function perfectly.
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