Where should I get my 302?

Discussion in '1989 - 1992 Ford Ranger' started by StiffJab, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. StiffJab

    StiffJab New Member

    Hi there,

    New member here from D.C. Just bought a '92 Ranger XLT 4x2 manual with the 2.3L engine. 2-owner truck with almost no rust, spent most of its life in California and comes with Leer bed cap.

    I've always wanted a Ranger, especially the first-generation body style, so I consider this a score for $1800. Seems mechanically sound, though I'm having my mechanic check a couple things tomorrow just to make sure. Then I was hoping to use it for some work while gradually upgrading it. I was going to start by recovering the seats, replacing the headliner, and looking into possibly swapping a V8 for the four-banger.

    My question is, where should I get my Ford 302/5.0 engine? I've read on here how that's the best engine, but I can't find anyone to tell me which model and years Mustang/Explorer/Bronco/Whatever I should get it off of. Ideally I'd like to do the swap myself, so whatever would fit best in my '92 without any mods would be ideal. I'd prefer to get the tranny with the engine, so any recommendations on what year and model car/truck to pull it off would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm not opposed to buying a crate engine and tranny, but the 302s I'm seeing on line seem to start around $3K, which is way too much for my wallet. If anyone has any recommendations on where I can get a V8 with about 300HP and good torque for close to $12-1500, I'm all ears. Also looking for a shop in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area to do some work on it, if you guys know of anyone.

    Pleasure to meet ya'll. Thanks for your help.
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  3. 06FordFX4

    06FordFX4 Canadian Redneck

    That engine, wit that kids power, gonna be more than 1200 bucks man.... Especially once you do trans, rear end, etc.
  4. OP

    StiffJab New Member

    $1200 is for just the engine

    Thanks, but I meant just for the engine block. Obviously I'm going to spend more on the trans, rear end etc. but to do so I can't be spending $3K on just a crate engine from Ford Racing. That's why I'm hoping you guys can tell me which 5.0 Explorer I should steal the parts from.
  5. 06FordFX4

    06FordFX4 Canadian Redneck

    well, you can steal a 5.0 from anything really, since its a first gen. mustang, F150, etc. and to rebuild and get to 300 hp it will easily cost you 3K i bet
  6. Scrambler82

    Scrambler82 Old Guy User

    If you can find an early 90s Stang, you can get the engine/trans/engine harness and all of the accessories to get started; would be nice and wishful thinking but a low milage one would ring the right bells.

    The Stang will give you great overall performance in a 2WD setup and maybe the trans in the Stang will be the one you want to.
    The F150 or Bronco motors, although they will work, are more for low end torque and yes they will be great all around setup.

    IMHO… get a 5.0L, maybe not an EFI but definitely the 5.0, it is a better block, better designed rear main seal, and the roller lifter setup is the best way to go.

    Luck on your hunt.

    If you intend to rebuild the block, consider buying one of Ford’s high output engines, great power for less than a performance rebuild and all of the parts you will need to build the engine.
    Ford also makes a great EFI Adapter Harness, based on the early 90s era Stang Harness, all the connections you will need for EFI and three wire power hook up.
  7. OP

    StiffJab New Member

    Thanks Scrambler. Supposing I can get the engine/tranny package from an old foxbody - what recommendations do you have for the rebuild? I'd probably like to get a bit more torque out of it than the original build, so I'm open to ideas.
  8. Scrambler82

    Scrambler82 Old Guy User

    First, buy good parts, not just the local auto parts brands and double check all of the clearances, crank measurements and pistons measurements take them and retake them and then buy the correct parts that FIT your engine. If the rings have too big a gap you will get the old black death from escaping gases and if too tight thing will get interesting really quick. Crank and Rod Bearing need to be sized according to the journals, the best bet is to have the machine shop that does the machining on the block and crank supply the parts, that way you will have a better idea of them working, also still do the measuring before putting things together.
    Heads, the Stockers will do, if later on you can afford better heads do it, there is nothing that opens up a small block Ford like a good set of head; the engine will sound like nothing you have heard before when you fire her up for the first time with the new heads.
    Again the stock intake will work fine for most stuff ubt you can change the engine manners with a new aftermarket intake.

    Money talks when it comes to powering a Ford with a small block.

    Here’s a stretch… this is what I did.

    I took a new SVO Block with stock bore and stock stroke SVO crank.
    Note: Did this for reliability and 302 cubes was enough motor for the little truck.

    Added some longer connecting rod and custom pistons to allow for the repositioning of the wrist pins.
    Note: The long rods allow the piston to dwell at the bottom and the top of each stroke, allowing more fuel to flow in while at the bottom and time to get a complete combustion when at the top.

    Contacted CompCam, asked for a good low end cam to come in early and produce good HP and Torque and they suggested a short duration cam with a lot of lift, .510 and .512 @, 500” lift.
    Note: The short duration allow for the HP to come in earlier, standard procedure there but the high lift, this allows the fuel to flow faster for two reasons, to allow more fuel to flow and to keep thing atomized better. since the duration is short or the time the valves are open, the higher lift will allow a larger opening and more fuel to flow.

    Got some good heads, I got Trick Flows but I have been told that a good set of Cast Iron Heads, like World Products will give you more Torque.
    Note: I can’t prove either way on aluminum vs cast iron but in talking to the manufacturers ands some of the Stang guys, the trick flow heads allow for a better swirl pattern, again better fuel mix, and with the twisted valves allow for a cooler plug to fire. Last but not least, if you are thinking a super charger or just higher compression but the heads with the O-Ring groove cut in and get the Fel-Pro gaskets to match.

    Added a high volume oil pump
    Note: With the High Volume Pump you still get good pressure but an increase in the amount of oil being pushed around. Fords are not known for high oil pressure so more of it is a good thing.

    Main Bearing Web for support
    note: Helps keep the bottom end tight and stiff, so there is less twisting.

    Got a seven quart oil pan for extra oil.
    Note: ref. High Volume Pump, if you are moving more oil then you need more oil in the pan.

    Then I went on the path to find a good manifold for the EFI setup and ended up with the BBK Cross Ram type intake. Supposed to develop the best torque of after market manifolds and it looks good too.
    Note: Not sure where this goes, get a good intake that at least looks the way you want it to.

    To get extra spark wen to the MSD Distributor and high output coil.
    Note: Any good distributor will work.

    A few little things along the way and you have an engine.
    Note: Tis is all up to the person building the thing, ARP Bolts, Fel-Pro Gaskets, all things that make the difference when you are turning the 5 to 6 K rpms, just playing around.

    Sorry got carried away, buy what you can afford, get the best stuff you can and you should have a great engine.

    My only other thing to suggest is go EFI not Carb’s… a carb, it is said, produces more HP but you are after low end torque. What gives you low end torque but a good gas mixture, delivered as cold as possible and as much as possible at the time the intake valve is opening and open all the way, only way to do that on time every time is with a computer and the SEFI Systems of the early 90s are and were always the best there is, IMHO that is !

    Luck to ya, take your time, plan out what you want to do and then buy the best you can afford.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  9. OP

    StiffJab New Member

    This is fantastic Scrambler, thanks. Lots of great info here. Let me digest it and get back to you.
  10. OP

    StiffJab New Member

    Would the stock rear end from a '90 Mustang GT fit well on my truck, or would I need to significantly modify it? I'm thinking of picking one up for when I lower it later on.
  11. Scrambler82

    Scrambler82 Old Guy User

    Sometimes, I get carried away but it was meant for something to think about.

    Good Luck on your choices.

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