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  #1  
Old 08-09-2017
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Icon5 Ford Ranger Diesel Swap? What did you do?

Hello, I Just recently got a 97 Ford ranger from a friend. Its a 2wd and a 2.3 l4. I'm thinking about eventually doing a Diesel swap into it. It needed a little work to get running, but it has 218000 miles in it, so I'm suspecting I'm going to have to replace or rebuild the engine eventually.
So I wanted to hear if any of you Swapped a diesel into your ranger, if so what Engine did you swap into it, what mods/features does your truck have (Lift, 4x4, etc.), what do you mainly use it for, and finally what kind of fuel mileage do you get on average since the swap.
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Old 02-17-2018
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I actually looked a lot at this last year, just for fun. Now I haven't done it but I can share what I know. First off the Ranger line of pick ups did have a diesel option back in the 1983. You had the choice between a 2.2 liter Perkins and a 2.3 Liter Mitsubishi. These trucks made about 59-86 horsepower but holy smokes, it got great gas mileage. It put all of these newer vehicles to shame with as much as 45 mpg. I'm guessing you're looking for performance rather than economy so a diesel in that aspect is great because they are very easily modifiable. I too had a really hard time finding information on it but it seems like the most popular diesel to swap into a ranger is a 3.9 liter cummins. Great generator motor with a stock 100 hp and lots of torque but I've seen them modified to make up to 700 Horsepower online. The main issue with this project isn't really the motor. Cummins are almost a plug and play engine, but you do have to worry about other parts of the truck. Diesels are big and heavy so you would definitely have to upgrade suspension. A 4 inch super lift is a popular way to do that. Drive train is also going to need to be replaced if you plan on driving the truck aggressively. New transmission, drive shaft, differential and axle will have to be replaced. You'll also have to do a bunch of cutting to accommodate that big of an engine. Upgrading the alternator and accessories to fit it is also probably something you'll have to do. In the end you're talking about spending enough money on this project to buy a really nice 4x4 ranger from the late 2000's to make a diesel mini truck that probably will never run right (Not insulting you're craftsmanship, but its extremely difficult to do everything right especially the first time) and will continue to have to fix and spend even more money on. I haven't even talked about new fuel lines, fuel pumps etc etc. Its up to you if the efficiency and cool factor is worth it but if i were you and wanted more power, I'd look for a 5.0 or even a 4.6 v8 which can be had for as low as $700.
Let me know if you start on this project!
Good luck,
Tom
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Old 05-10-2018
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An V6 Eco Diesel from a Ram might be an option to consider.
The electronics would need a Tech or their help to sort out but the motors have 240hp and 410ft of torque and can be tuned to 280hp and 460ft.
Banks offers a stand alone one for crazy $$$ but they might be able to supply the controller and harness. Their page also gives the dimensions and weight.

Last edited by grunt98444; 05-10-2018 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 05-10-2018
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Look at the Cummins 2.8L and the 3.8L engines. Another alternative is the Isuzu family of diesels.
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Old 06-02-2018
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Late but not never !

I was looking into the Cummins 2.8L Turbo Diesel, $7K complete, with EPA Package and all accessories, good price for a brand new diesel complete.

I got as far as reading about CA acceptance, nightmare plus, but I haven't completely given up, if I go 5.0, I am in the same boat on the emissions.
At least the Cummins 2.8L will be brand new, 2018 engine, and supposedly able to meet the CA Emissions Standards.

Next on the list of parts is the tranny, it needs to adapt to an Atlas II.

Of course people would mention the 5.0L Swap, it was made for the Ranger and it is a great swap and power combo, but it isn't a Diesel... !

Cummins speculated on the 2.8L Turbo Diesel getting 35 mpg +, will have to wait and see.
With adapters and trans, it is almost a plug and play, the complete engine harness is a three wire hook up ! Sounds like a dream come true but I need CA Approval first before buying.
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Old 06-06-2018
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TD Conversions has a bolt-in VW TDI kit: Ranger / 1.9L TDI Conversion - TD conversions - Switch from Gas to Diesel
I've been thinking along the same lines, and this is the route I'm inclined to go. The 1.9 TDIs have comparable output and physical dimensions to the Lima four. They have a kit for the 3.0 and 4.0 bell housings, so you would need to get one of those transmissions to fit your 4 cylinder truck (I'm in the same boat, though my Lima four runs great. My frame will need replacement in another couple of years, so I'll probably set up the replacement frame with a TDI and then swap the body over. Emissions inspections are kind of a joke in CT, so I'm not too worried about it. The TDI will be at least a decade newer than the truck and it is only two years away from qualifying for classic car plates.
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Old 06-06-2018
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Originally Posted by Interstatement View Post
What is the cost of the VW TDI Diesel ?

Is there additional wiring required or a special harness with a three wire hook up ?

My Wife had a VW Passat, with TDI, big car for a 1.9L but it moved along easily, great pickup. I would think based on the size of the Passat that the 1.9L TDI would move a ranger well.

STILL... I do like that Cummins, and then there is California and its EMISSION LAWS !
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Old 06-06-2018
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The electrical part is more involved than three wires, biggest reason being the need to install a potentiometer throttle for the drive-by-wire TDI. The motor isn’t included with that kit, so it costs whatever you can find one for. There are several importers that sell low-mileage used ones. Some people will just buy a wrecked Jetta or Passat so they can salvage all of the ancillary bits from the same vehicle and then part out the rest to recoup their investment. In California, you may be better off if you use a CA-compliant TDI car as a donor and keep its VIN handy for the refs
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Old 06-07-2018
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Originally Posted by Interstatement View Post
The electrical part is more involved than three wires, biggest reason being the need to install a potentiometer throttle for the drive-by-wire TDI. The motor isn’t included with that kit, so it costs whatever you can find one for. There are several importers that sell low-mileage used ones. Some people will just buy a wrecked Jetta or Passat so they can salvage all of the ancillary bits from the same vehicle and then part out the rest to recoup their investment. In California, you may be better off if you use a CA-compliant TDI car as a donor and keep its VIN handy for the refs
Thx, I thought you might have a handle on the cost... !
I would think buying the vehicle would help, will all the little arts.

Something to think on !

Again Thx for the info.
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Old 06-07-2018
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The OP has not been back since the original post last August. So this is pretty much a dead thread except for those of us that are contemplating a engine swap. I would be hard pressed to spend $9k on a diesel swap when I could do a 5.0 V-8 for a third of that. The 5.0 would not get 35mpg but I do believe it would get better mileage than the 3.0 Vulcan and be a lot more fun.
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Old 06-07-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsquare View Post
The OP has not been back since the original post last August. So this is pretty much a dead thread except for those of us that are contemplating a engine swap. I would be hard pressed to spend $9k on a diesel swap when I could do a 5.0 V-8 for a third of that. The 5.0 would not get 35mpg but I do believe it would get better mileage than the 3.0 Vulcan and be a lot more fun.
Thanks for the inout.
I don't think I would get 35 mpg from a 5.0L but the 5.0 would sound a lot better than any Diesel.
I am still fighting the California Emissions so either way may not provide a solution for me.

Thanks / Ltr
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Old 06-08-2018
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Originally Posted by Scrambler82 View Post
Thanks for the inout.
I don't think I would get 35 mpg from a 5.0L but the 5.0 would sound a lot better than any Diesel.
I am still fighting the California Emissions so either way may not provide a solution for me.

Thanks / Ltr
CARB is a PIA. My only suggestion is to get out of Kalifornia.

I have a neighbor that has an 86 (or 88 I cannot remember) that swapped an carburetted 80's Mustang GT engine and 5 speed transmission into his Ranger. He did do some headwork and used a high torque cam that he said doubled the HP to just under 300HP. He ended up putting a 3.31 gear that gives him low 20's city and mid to high 20's on the road.
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Old 06-08-2018
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Originally Posted by Tsquare View Post
CARB is a PIA. My only suggestion is to get out of Kalifornia.

I have a neighbor that has an 86 (or 88 I cannot remember) that swapped an carburetted 80's Mustang GT engine and 5 speed transmission into his Ranger. He did do some headwork and used a high torque cam that he said doubled the HP to just under 300HP. He ended up putting a 3.31 gear that gives him low 20's city and mid to high 20's on the road.

At this moment in time, leaving Cali is not an option but I have thought of it... didn't look into the emission law before moving here, TOO LATE>

I think you are right on the 5.0L, might be the best swap, and seeing I still one sitting here, it would be far cheaper to do it !

I guess swapping gears to a higher ratio wouldn't be that bad, get a better automatic with maybe the 5.oL with a six speeds, that could do it, maybe hit 30 mpg, now that would be nice.

Don't know where I am going for sure, maybe I can find a 1952 F-1, that doesn't need any emission testing.

Ltr
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
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4bt Cummins but the one I saw had some major modifications done to get it to fit however, the numbers were insane with enough torque to twist the little Rangers frame.
i think as tempting as it is though a gas 5.0 is the best performance swap.
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