1995 2.3L 5 speed capacity - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 07-19-2014
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1995 2.3L 5 speed capacity

My truck is a 1995 2.3L with a 5 speed transmission and the 3.45 rear axle ratio. I have hauled a riding mower in the back and more but would like to use a utility trailer. The mower is just about too wide to fit. I'm finding needs to haul more often and I wonder if this truck can do it.

The problem is the book says that trailer towing is not recommended. Am I limited to what will fit? And just what is the capacity? 1000lbs?

The truck has over 300k on it (the odometer no longer works). It could use a tuneup and a brake job. I just replaced the a/c clutch and turn signal stalk module and I'm beginning to wonder if I should spend the bucks for the repairs or just buy a used full sized truck.
Thanks,
Mike
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Old 07-19-2014
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The 3.45 rear axle is what is holding you back.

3.45 is highway gearing, for best MPG at highway speeds, so is very poor for pulling loads

You can tow up to 1,500lbs, trailer + load, with proper hitch, it will just be very hard to get started as the weight goes up, so hard on the clutch, and you will have to stay in the lower gears at higher RPMs to stay going, there is just no low end torque with 3.45 axle gears.

It is not expensive to change axle gears, wrecking yards will be full of the more common 3.73 axles
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Old 07-19-2014
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Thanks for the info. I'll talk to my mechanic about this. What will it do to the mileage? Of course, without the odometer I can't figure out my mileage anyway. Most of my driving these days is short distance so it may not matter.
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Old 07-19-2014
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With gasoline engines weight is everything, so yes MPG will go down

Diesel engines are best for towing, which is why semi's have always used them

A diesel F150 will get about the same MPG empty or fully loaded pulling a trailer
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Old 07-20-2014
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Extended cab 2.3's have 4.10 gears, so you might want to take a look for those. That would be a good mod whether you're towing or not and you'll still get good mpg on the highway. In fact it should help your mileage and pickup around town as well.
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Old 07-20-2014
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So how would I specify that if I were looking for it at a wrecking yard or shop? I believe the specs also mention 7.5" and this truck came with the 14x6 wheels. My axle code on the door sticker is 84.
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Old 07-20-2014
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You would look for these axle codes
86 open 7.5" 3.73
87 open 7.5" 4.10
or
F6 L/S 7.5" 3.73
F7 L/S 7.5" 4.10

4.10 will give your truck lots of "pep" around town, and is definitely best for towing, but RPMs will be higher at highway speeds so MPG will be lower.
3.73 is basically splitting the difference in what you have now and the 4.10
Which is why it is the most common

open is what you have now, easiest wheel to turn gets the power.
L/S is limited slip, GM calls it Positraction, same thing, both wheels spin when you are stuck instead of one, lol, hey if you are stuck you are stuck, get a winch.
But if you are changing the differential you may want L/S, I don't know your use for the truck
L/S can take more time to shim and there is an additive needed for the oil, so it will cost more
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Old 07-21-2014
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So, is the best source a wrecking yard? If so, does the year matter? Do I take the whole back axle? What about wheel size? My truck uses 14" wheels and most newer trucks seem to have 15" or larger. I suppose if I take a whole axle from a wrecked vehicle with the right code I will just be using the parts needed for the differential.

My truck drives on paved and unpaved roads. Short trips. I would like to haul lawn mowing gear but right now a trailer is out due to the limitations of the truck.

I'll be getting the trucked tuned up this week and probably have the brakes worked on. That should be the last of the mechanical issues that I know of.
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Old 07-21-2014
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Yes, wrecking yard.

You would need a '93 - '97 axle as these are 2" wider than '92 and earlier, but that's just if you are swapping the whole 3rd member, the differential, gearing part, is the same on any 7.5" ranger axle, so any year 1983-1997, would be fine.

2WD use 14", 4WD used 15" wheels but axles and bolt patterns were the same, 5 x 4.5

If you don't normally do long highway speed trips then 4.10 would be best choice
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Old 07-21-2014
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I'm beginning to question the cost vs benefit of this type of upgrade. The truck is 19 years old, has at least 300k miles on it and could use a brake job. I'm getting a tuneup tomorrow and except for the odometer, all else works. But the truck is quickly getting to the point where it is costing more than it's value. Any idea how long the 2.3L will last?
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Old 07-21-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonD View Post
4.10 will give your truck lots of "pep" around town, and is definitely best for towing, but RPMs will be higher at highway speeds so MPG will be lower.
3.73 is basically splitting the difference in what you have now and the 4.10
Which is why it is the most common
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonD View Post
If you don't normally do long highway speed trips then 4.10 would be best choice
I really wouldn't be scared of highway mileage or wear with 4.10's, even if most of your driving was highway and you never hauled/towed. If I get 25 mpg mixed (more than 50% hwy) with mine, a lighter regular cab should have no issues. If anything it will help pull up grades better. If I was going to the trouble of doing gears it would be 4.10.

To the OP, if you like the truck then I'd say it would most likely be worth it. 300k is a lot but if it's having no issues, then I'd bet that 2.3 will keep on trucking. Especially since you don't an auto trans to worry about.
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Old 07-21-2014
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Since I'm taking in for a tuneup tomorrow, I'll see what the conversion will cost labor wise. My truck has no collision damage, good interior, and seems to be in better condition than most trucks of a similar age I see on craigslist. It's just somewhat dull looking due to color and plastic fade over the years.

Last edited by pmiker; 07-21-2014 at 09:45 PM.
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