1992 Ranger Blown Head Gasket Questions. - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 05-22-2016
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Kirkland
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1992 Ranger Blown Head Gasket Questions.

I have a 1992 Ranger with a 2.9 V6 and ~160k miles, sadly my head gasket recently blew. I have been debating what do with it with my in college budget. I have been thinking about putting a new motor in and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions about where to get started finding one and what are the year compatibles. I dont want to have to sell it because ive put alot of work into this truck in the time that ive owned it and it is in perfect condition besides the engine. Im worried because of the miles that other parts of it will start to fail if i put a new motor in. should I cut losses and junk it? any advice I could get would be great! thanks!
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Old 05-23-2016
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Welcome to the forum

If it is just a blown head gasket then you will not need a rebuild or another engine.

Head gasket sets, including intake and exhaust gaskets, valve cover gaskets, ect....are $45 to $65
New head bolts, $25-$35

New coolant, oil and filter, $40-$50

So you are looking at $150-$160 + your labor

'89 to '92 2.9l heads are not known for cracking, '88 and earlier were

But if your engine and cooling system is still together you can do a "glove test" to ID which cylinder is blown so you can inspect that cylinder for a crack once the head is off.

You should have the heads taken to machine shop for cleaning and surfacing, they will also pressure test for cracks, $100-$150.
They can also install the new valve guide seals that come with head gasket set, you need a valve spring compressor to do that, which you can rent to do it yourself.

Basic metric hand tools is all you need for disassembly, exhaust bolts can be hard to remove and can break, but once heads are off the broken bolts can be removed, or remove header pipe and pull exhaust manifold off with the head.

Reassembly would require a torque wrench which can be rented

A "running" 1992 Ranger will always be worth more than the $300 it might take to repair a head gasket.

Used engines are a gamble, warranty does NOT cover labor, and 1992 was the last year of the 2.9l so any used 2.9l engine would probably have some miles on it.

Rebuilt 2.9ls are probably too expensive for a 1992 Ranger, $1,800+ for long block
Long block is the 2.9l block with new cam, pistons and bearings, and the heads torqued down with valve train included, you have to add timing cover, oil pan, intake and exhaust manifold, distributor and valve covers.

And either option requires more labor than fixing a head gasket problem.

1989 to 1992 are the compatible years, the ones with the good heads
Ford 2.9l was made from 1986 to 1992.

Ford 4.0l OHV used the same block as the 2.9l, so will bolt in to your 1992, but computer and engine wiring harness would need to be changed
4.0l OHV was made from 1990 to 2000

Last edited by RonD; 05-23-2016 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 05-29-2016
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Kirkland
Posts: 3
Alright looks like Ill be replacing the head gasket my self. Anything else to look for while I have the engine pulled apart? Good things to replace that might fail later? Thanks so much for all the info!
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Old 05-30-2016
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You need to get Head gasket Kit, it will have all the gaskets needed, and a new set valve guide seals, these are rubber boots the prevent oil from running down the intake valve stem and being sucked into the engine.

Also need a new set of head bolts.
New thermostat, 190degF at least
New coolant
And new oil and filter.
But don't drain the oil until you have cleaned off the block surface where heads mount, some debris will fall down the oil drain passages in the block, along with some coolant when you pull the heads off.
After block is cleaned then drain out the oil in the pan.

Heads should be taken to machine shop to be cleaned, surfaced and pressure tested.
If you put back on a cracked head you will have to repeat the whole process again.

Machine shop will also install the new valve guide seals for you, you need a valve spring compressor to do this, so you can do it yourself but the machine shop will often do it for free or very minimal charge because of the other work they are doing for you.
Call around, prices vary from shop to shop, and plan on at least 2 days in the shop.
The work itself doesn't take that long but getting into the schedule does.
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