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Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 02-19-2008
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Location: Clarkston,MI
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Need advise please.

Hi everyone. I have a 98 2.5L 5spd two wheel drive. This is a truck I drive for a telcom job about 400 miles a week. She has just over 200,000 on her now and runs and drives fairly good. I only have about $2000 into the truck total so I figure I can afford to put some money into it as I use it to make a living.

I have two problems. Ill ask for advise on each keeping both questions in mind.

First the 2.5L only gets about 16mi/gal. Ive done the obvious things as Im a bit a of an accomplished home mechanic. I feel that the engine is just worn given its mileage and most likely will need to be rebuilt to restore lost MPG. Im considering buying a "core" 2.5 in need of a rebuild and doing the work as I can. I need the truck to be running and cant afford to pull the existing motor, do the rebuild and swap it back in. I can easily swap a refreshed motor in and out over a few days though. What would you guys recommend for this? I dont care about performance only reliability and economy. Is there a good source for a rebuild kit or the like? What would you do? Price target is about $1000-2000

Second, this two wheel drive is junk. I don't think its worth it to attempt to change to 4x4 do you? However, are there differential upgrades available that would at LEAST give me limited slip in the rear end? My primary experience is in front wheel drive. I know that a limited slip diff up front makes a world of difference in a front drive. Is it possible to change only the diff and not the axles? Also, what about a "locker" set up? Can I add something like that? Im not looking to go mudding or anything I just would like to not get stuck in a customer's driveway because ONE rear tire is on ice. I live in Michigan and snow and ice is the primary motivation for this modification. I want to be able to not get stuck in driveways is what it comes down to. Target price is $0-1000 for this upgrade.

I belong to a few car/model related boards out there. I know every board has "gurus" that know all this stuff. On my boards Im usually the guru :-) Can you help out a guy that knows none to much about rear drive trucks? Oh and no Im not a ricer I own three fords. :-)
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Old 02-20-2008
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Dave,

IMO that old of a truck driven in SE Mich is going to be loose and rusted. And if it's not already.. it will be before long.

Putting money into a 200k mile trucks engine is just throwing money away.

I'd suggest finding a 01-02ish model that's identical to what you have but with as low mileage as you can find. Or possibly one that's got nothing but highway miles on it.

Shoot.. if your getting reimbursed for mileage just pick up a 1-2 yr old basic ranger. I bet you could find something for $150 a month and not have to do all that work.

Now.. if your stuck on wanting to do the motor and diff.
I'd just get a junk yard motor, rebuild it yourself ($1000-ish for the motor and rebuild kit/machining) and change out the clutch while your in there.
Then take the rear end out and take it to reider racing. They won't do one in the vehicle. But they are good and cheap. Have them do a stock rebuild and put in a "detroit true trac" diff. Trust me.. that will take care of any snow or mud problems you might have. (besides tires)

Rich
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