Any advice: Ford Ranger Pickup 2.3L Manual

jerry_njJuly 24, 2005

With the sales now running on new vehicles I am again thinking about replacing my 1988 Dodge RAM 50 (2.6L 4Cly). The Ranger looks somewhat attractive. I'll also consult Consumer Reports. As I recall CR isn't real pleased with any of the pickups save the Toyota.


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Were you planning to replace your Ram 50 or just inspire you need a new one because of these new incentive deals?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 11:46AM
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CU tests toasters and gathers data..
A Ford Ranger may be just as good as a Toyota, and probably cheaper..

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 2:12PM
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Chevy has those incentives.Consider a Colarado also.I have been looking for a used small truck and im looking at the Ranger and S-10.What turns me away from the Ranger is that silly timming belt.Also 8 spark plugs in a 4 cylinder.Atleast GM uses a timing chain.However the Ranger is a nice truck and prooven as well.They have not changed them in many years.Do not listen to what CR has to say.They will steer you wrong every time.A few years back they said those tiny Korean Fords were great cars.But when was the last time you seen one on the road?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 5:57PM
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Thanks, my 1988 Ram 50 is one I'd like to keep but it has drivability problems that I can't fix and no one wants to work on it. It has a 2.6L 4Cly, made my Mitsibushi in the late 1980s early 1990s then stopped. I think a new carburator may fix it, but not sure. It is 4WD, extended cab, mag wheels, a nice truck but, alas maybe time to go. It has only 100,000 miles on it.

I have taken a look in Consumers and they like the Colorado better than the Ranger, but are negative on all pickups. I see on the web that the Colorado comes with a very large 4Cly 2.8L or a 5Cly. I'd go for the 4Cly. They also offer an "automatic" locking rear-end which may be a low cost way to get many of the benefits of 4WD. As I read it the rear end detects a slip and locks the wheels together.. hum, seems it does it only when one is slipping, not just turning faster as in the outside of a turn. I'm sure they've figured it out, and it sounds GREAT. I don't know what it cost, I have asked for a quote. The Colorado is the S10 replacement.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 11:00PM
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Until the end of the month there having the Employee discount price promotion.You can find those prices on the Chevy web site.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 10:52AM
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Those 2.6L Mitsubishi engines are real good engines but they have a bad problem with the oil distribution system to the overhead camshaft. I had one in a 85 Dodge Mini-Ram van that failed due to lack of oil getting to the overhead camshaft. It burned a bearing which locked up and sheared the pin to the overhead camshaft pulley. Thankfully, my neighbor was a mechanic and showed me how to repair the damaged bearing and install a new shear pin without a major teardown. Even though I knew it was a temporary fix, I still put at least 50K more miles on it before I traded it off.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 12:05PM
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The belt vs the chain for the OHC engine : At 60K the belt must be changed - $40 plus 1 to 2 hours labor.. At 120K the chain must be changed , $80 plus 2 to 4 hours labor..In fact, I would say the belt is more economical to use, but there are a great many variables..
These figures do and will vary a lot !

The point is : What is the difference ??

Maybe GM has a good point with its push-rod cast iron engines ..
Those who attack GM for using an "old" engine know nothing about belts and chains !

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 1:15PM
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I recently looked at a 95 Ford Ranger with a 2.3L it had 116000 miles on it.Im still looking for a cheap used truck.I passed on this one for $1500.00 mainly because it has a antifreeze leak.I could see it dripping on the pavement while running.Naturally the owner said that strange never did that before.Yea right!!!Might have been the water pump.Hoses looked ok leak was not from them.I was not going to rish it being a cracked block or bad freeze plug.The owner would not have it checked.His comment was someone will buy it.Well not me!!

I also looked at the timing belt that showed cracks.I was told the belt alone would be around $300.00 parts and labor.I would still like to find a Ranger.I wonder if the belt breaks if it hurts the engine or just leaves you stranded until you replace it?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 2:30PM
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Unlike some engines (like Toyota) a broken timing belt on a 2.3 doesn't do any damage, it will just freewheel. I've had timing belts break on two different Rangers with no problems. Both time I had it towed home, installed a new belt from Autozone, and was back on the road in no time.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 2:37PM
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I took test drives on the Ranger and the Colorado this afternoon, neither being the model I'd buy. Both were crew cabs with auto transmissions. Still, they both ride like a turck and I think the Ranger felt a bit more "secure", just the sound/feel, nothing measured, seemed better. On the plus, the Colorado is available with the 2.8L engine and the locking differential which is an affordable option, about $400 with stability upgrades too. Ford doesn't offer anything like the locking differential on the Colorado. I like the idea. The Colorado, having a 2.8L vs 2.3L has about 50 more HP, I think, don't have the paper handly at the moment, but more HP and still a 4cly.

The Employee sale price and an $2,500 cash back from Ford, $1,500 cash back from Chev makes the prices very attractive, and no haggling. Not sure, but doubt there's much more one can bargin off the price. I did decide to stick with the standard cab, no space behind the seat, as the Extended cab, not the crew 4 door thing, cost about $2K more, way too much for a little room behind the seat.

Any views out there on the Chev locking differential?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 5:48PM
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iam a big fan of ranger/mazda trucks, i have a toyota tacoma now its a nice truck, but if i were to buy again i would buy the ford i like the b series mazda if buying new for the longer warranty, and i think the mazda looks a little nicer than the ford. i have always liked the 4cyl ford engine used in the ranger. and i like the smaller size of the ranger/mazda truck. everyone else has gone midsize. that alone would keep me from purchasing anything but a ranger/mazda now.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 7:38PM
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As I said, I liked the Ranger drive a bit better than the Colorado, but the Ranger they had for me to drive was a V6, I'm looking for a 4Cly. Interestingly there are many 2.3L 4Cly manual trans Rangers available. They all come with the "employee price" minus a $2,500 cash back (have to pay sales tax on this rebate), and they are giving the A/C ($850) away for free, and on the base XL model. Now we're taling some real savings. The Colorado has a similar, but less, program, and the A/C is standard. But the end result is a very competitive price with the Ranger. I am leaning toward the Colorado as I can get it with Stability Control and the Locking Differential, almost as good as 4WD without the weight and cost. I can't say I know how well it works, but in theory it looks good.The 2.8L Colorado is also more powerful, I've look it is 175hp@5+K while the Ranger is 143hp at a similar rev. And the torque: 185@2800RPM Colorade and 154@3750 for the Ranger. This says a lot more "pull out of the hole" for the Colorado. Another reason to go with the Colorado, especially if one pulls a trailer at times.

Funny, I have been defending Consumer Reports in a couple of threads and now I find CR telling me the engines in the Colorado are: "a bit crude and noisy" a negative and "Cabin is fairly quiet, and the ride and handling are more accomplished than in other compact pickups." a positive. My tests left me thinking the Colorade rides like a truck too (frame) and the engine (the 5cly in this case) wasn't particularly noisy, and I have not idea what CR means by "crude". So, there is a big question in my mind on CR in this case of their testing.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 9:33PM
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Surfing the web I found the "fix" for the problem with the Dodge Ram 50 driveablility problem. Alas, too late to keep it, I have already signed a pruchase agreement on a 2005 Colorado, paid a deposit and gave the Rm 50 away for a nothing trade-in.

The Ram has a two barrel carb. The engine was running too rich, and while I didn't notice any black smoke, the tail pipe is very back. Fix is to disable, plug, the right side venturi. All I did was cut a small piece of cloth to a size I could roll up and stuff into the RS venturi, a small arrangement suspended in the center of the RS barrel. On a test drive there was no sign of hesitation, the truck runs great. Oh well, I'm sure I'll enjoy the new truck, but I'd not have purchased if I had learned of this "fix" a few days earlier.

With anti-lock breaks, air bags and no rust underneath on the frame, wheels, break lines.... the new truck will be a lot safer, Looking on the brigh side, this purchase may save my life, one never knows.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 9:26PM
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Since it was a nothing trade in.Maybe you could keep the Ram 50 and then sell it out right and get some money out of it instead of the dealer making the money for nothing.Unless of course he gave you something on paper to help you out on sales tax?Either way Congrats on the new Colarado.Enjoy the ride.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 11:05PM
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Well the old Ram 50 is gone, bet the dealer gets a lot more for it than I did. I admit to feeling bad about leaving it behind, it has been taking me home for a lot of years. With the workaround I talked about earlier, it could make itself very useful to someone with few dollars. I bet I will run for another 50,000 miles before the engine/transmission give out.

The new Colorado, regular cab, and I are just getting acquainted. I like it so far, for one thing the rpms are much lower, at 60 MPH it is turning, gee I forget, maybe 2200 rpm. The Ram was more like 3000 in 5th gear, manual. The regular cab also feels okay. I was worried that the 17 years I had with the Ram's extended cab would make the regular cab a crunch. While there is very little room behind the seats, the rear window is sill enough behind that it doesn't trigger claustrophobia. The Chevy also has lots of leg room, I'm about 6'6" and I don't need to put the seat all the way back, the normal position for seats in my experience. The ride is also gentler, has street tires. I look forward to seeing how well the traction control and auto-locking differential perform.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 9:41PM
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Howdy ranger owners. Sorry for the disturbance. I have just Ford repair questions to clarify and I hope you dont mind answerin this. I haven't found the page that discusses filling a manual transmission. Could someone direct me to a page or tell me the easiest way to fill the trans (without buying a pump) I have a flexible hose and funnels. But it looks like gravity my not be on my side. Any help please. thanks alot

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 11:08PM
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is anyone or has anyone had oil lite on 2.3 come on stay on for awhile go off and stay off for awhile (full of oil and not low)please let me no if i be the only one or not

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 6:34PM
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