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Old 08-22-2013
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Bought a Ranger - huge mistake?

I just bought a new-to-me 2000 Ranger with about 100k miles. It has a 3.0 with an auto trans. I bought it from one of my wife's friends as a favor, with the CIL on. Asking them to buy it back isn't really an option.

It wouldn't pass emissions (misfire), so I took it to a local shop. They tell me that the misfire is probably due to a bad/broke valve seat. They tell me worst case is a new cylinder head (to the tune of $1600), but won't know until the head is off. If a new head is needed, they suggest doing both (don't have a total for that yet).

Flush all fluids (all are dirty) brake, coolant, front diff, transmission (its an auto), power steering. PCV valve, fuel filter. The coolant has rust in it, so I assume it needs a new water pump too. I don't know how much rust is in there, but they suggested that the heater core and/or radiator may be partially blocked.

What's the likelihood that the engine is damaged from lack of maintenance? Will the truck just turn into a money pit, or can I do the things it needs and get a decade out of it? Do I do the minimum to get it running OK and trade it in? I'm at a total loss here.

Last edited by bogon; 08-22-2013 at 06:49 PM. Reason: detail
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Old 08-22-2013
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It sounds like someone ran that truck into the ground. Honestly I've found that if people cheap out on just something as cheap and simple as an oil change that engine is doomed. It will need transmission work in the future no doubt about that based on the state of the engine. I'm sure the diffs. are both leaking by now. It's gonna be a money pit, no doubt about that. There is no way I would of bought this. If it were to come to the dealer I worked at it would be an auction car.
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Old 08-22-2013
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That sucks that you bought such a turd.

Maybe this would be a great candidate for a power train swap
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Old 08-23-2013
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5.0 time!
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Old 08-23-2013
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I concur. 5.0L swap
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Old 08-23-2013
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I got a quote for a head replacement at $3600, and a new engine at $5-6k. The cost for the heads seems crazy to me - they want $600 each for just the cylinder heads, and I'm seeing them online for 180-300. A new engine, installed, costs more than the truck. I might as well just buy another one. Hell, I'm seeing some 4x4 Rangers on Craigslist for barely more than the head swap.

I did find a great video of a guy doing a head gasket on a Taurus. Looks something I might be able to do, but I don't have the space to do it.

I called and talked to a couple shops, and one of the guys expressed doubt about it being valves. He said that the valves on the 3.0 were strong, and that it might be bottom end damage. I'm now doubting that the first shop really did enough diagnosing to rule out the bottom end. Part of me wants to just walk away from the truck. Donate the %^@n thing and be done with it.

What's involved in a 5.0 swap? What would it cost me?
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Old 08-25-2013
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My 2001 Ranger had 296000 miles on it, ran fine, did not use oil and had minor maintenance issues. You have to maintain them like any other machine and they will last forever. My 1990 had 396000 on the original engine, had to do the transmission twice but that was the Mazda five speed which had issues. I bought a 2011 to replace the 2001. Only because it was the last year they were making the Ranger. I am sure the 2001 would be running fine today if I still had it. Try Marvel Mystery Oil in the crankcase and see if it frees up the valves before doing any major work on it.

Rangers last forever if you take care of them. I think that is part of the reason Ford stopped making them, they lasted to long!
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