2002 Ranger w/96 Expo5.0 V8
Joined: Sun Oct 29th, 2017
Reputation Points: 83
So, you want a V8 powered Ranger
Just a couple thoughts on the challenges and issues involved. At first glance, the 98 and newer Rangers appear to have the same engine bay as the 96 – 01 Explorer and while there are significant similarities, there are a BUNCH of differences.
I’ll try to go through a couple of the common issues. All of these issues have been met and many different solutions have been published for each. There’s NO right or wrong path, just choose what works for you and your unique combination of bits/parts/pieces!
Even with the challenges, this is a great way to perk up your Ranger. Easy? No! Doable? VERY!
If your Ranger is a 4x4 or the Edge/Sport model with torsion bar front suspension, the 96 – 01 Explorer V8 essentially drops in/bolts in.
But, if you have a coil spring front suspension, custom engine mounting plates to go between the mounts and engine block are required. Also, the spacer under the left front mount must be removed and that requires dropping the spring from that side of the suspension.
The alignment pin for the mount is different than the pin for the spacer, you’ll need to drill the cross member for the pin.
Lastly, many of the mounting plates out there lower the right side of the engine for leveling; I believe raising the left side of the engine is preferable to add clearance between the oil pan and steering unit
There is no one-stop shopping: Between 96 and 01, the Explorers had 3 different wirings for the Engine bay and between 98 and 04, the Rangers have 5. Only one combination is plug and play.
Please! Get the Ford EVTM for both your Ranger and the doner Explorer so you can ID the differences. It’s not fun, and can be intimidating, but has to be done.
Hands down, the biggest challenge is in the A/C wiring.
Generally, the Ranger uses the PCM to fully control the A/C – the Ranger A/C switch simply sends an on/off signal to the PCM and the PCM does the rest. On the Explorer, the PCM is only a safety along with the high and low pressure switches.
So, in the Rangers, the PCM turns the A/C on if all conditions are met, in the Explorers, the PCM turns the A/C off at WOT and leaves the rest of the A/C controls to the switches and safeties.
The starter harness is not a direct swap onto the Ranger but can be adapted to fit the Rangers power distro system.
Getting the water temp gauge to work can be an issue – the one wire sensor on the earlier V8s does not send the correct signal to the gauge. The good news is the later 2 wire sensor can be installed and wired with a single wire to the signal out terminal on the sensor.
Getting the Tach to work correctly is a simple matter of re-pinning the ground wire for the tach behind the instrument cluster. On a V6, the black/yellow wire on pin 8 on the middle sized plug needs to be moved to pin 16 on the largest plug. On the I4’s, simply add a ground to pin 16 on the large plug.
The later Rangers’s dash is not compatible with the earlier Expo’s PCM For the 2004 MY Rangers, getting the water temp and tach to work correctly is an issue, it’s very likely best to swap in an earlier instrument cluster despite the wiring involved on any conversion on a 2004 or newer Ranger.
PATS – Passive Anti-Theft System – can be a scary issue. The 4 cyl Rangers don’t have PATS and after that, there are two different types.
Type “B” used on the ’98 Ranger and the ’98-01 Expo’s has a module above the glove box along with the sensor ring around the ignition switch.
Type “E” on the later Rangers uses a different key and omits the module, the PCM includes that function.
To solve, you can add the module from the doner Expo or get a custom tune for the PCM that turns off PATS.
Even with all the wiring and modules installed, the Ranger key won’t match the Expo PATS system so programming in keys is required.
One solution is to get a full copy of FORSCAN – allows you to program in keys.
If you’re lucky enough to have two unique keys for the doner Expo, you can program your own keys by using the built-in programming protocol.
New type “B” blanks can be bought on-line. Have 1 all metal key and two type “B” keys cut to the Ranger’s ignition lock.
Using the all metal key to turn the lock, but holding the Expo’s key head against the all metal key, initiate the learning process and then “add” the new type “B” keys.
For the most part, the Rangers use the PCM to generate a speed signal from the transmission. The 4 cylinder Rangers use the GEM to generate the signal from the ABS system.
The 96 – 98 Explorers use an electro-mechanical sensor on the transmission (VSS), the 99 – 01 use the ABS module along with the G-Force transducer under the left seat to generation a signal.
Be careful and aware! It’s very easy to have NO speed signal at all if you drop a later Expo V8 into a Ranger. The transmission won’t shift, the engine won’t rev correctly and the speedometer won’t work!
Possible solutions include:
– If the transmission tail cone and output shaft allow, use an earlier VSS – simple 2 wire hook up.
-- Swap in and mod the wiring to use a 4 cyl GEM
-- Swap in and mod the wiring to use an Expo ABS ecu and G-Force sensor
-- There is at least one company, Dakota Digital, that makes a module that takes the ABS signal and generates the correct speed signal.
Two different systems that operate at different pressures.
The “low” pressure system uses a fuel pressure regulator on the fuel rail to route excess fuel back to the fuel tank.
The “high” pressure system uses a 3 nipple fuel filter, the 3rd nipped routes fuel back to the in-take fuel pressure regulator.
Because of the pressure differences, you can’t simply mix and match pieces. The lower pressure PCM and injectors can’t correctly meter fuel at the higher pressures.
To lower the fuel pressure for an earlier V8, pull the FPR out of the tank and extend the fuel return line from behind the fuel filter up to the fuel rail.
Or, to try and use the higher pressure system, replace the injectors with smaller ones and use a “non-return” fuel rail. Think you’ll need to go from 19 lbs/hour at 37 psi injectors to 19 lbs/hour at 55 psi.
The Ranger A/C condenser, liquid line, accumulator and evap coil all work with the Expo’s V8 A/C hose assembly.
But…Using an Explorer evap coil and liquid line will add clearance for the right exhaust manifold.
Ford used two different V8 Exhaust manifolds: The 96/97 Expos got very restrictive tubular manifolds that are notorious for cracking. The 98 – 01 got slightly better cast manifolds with an EGR port.
The EGR port can be blocked off for use on the earlier engines.
For headers, only a few hit and miss options:
Ford Performance Parts did a V8 header for the Explorers – they do sometimes show up used and very rarely, as NOS in various “for sale” markets
OBX has some stainless headers, availability is VERY spotty
Torque Monster makes a beautiful set, availability has been hit or miss, but production/sales have moved away from AL’s headers and there are hopes for a real improvement in availability.
The Explorer V8 Radiator is a bolt in. But, depending on how high the engine is mounted to clear the steering rack, the fan shroud may, or may not be suitable.
Personally, with my ’02 coil spring Ranger, I found trimming the Ranger 3.0 fan shroud to fit the Expo radiator gave the best fit. Approx 7/8 was trimmed across both the top and bottom edges of the shroud and the lower mounting tabs needed just a bit clipped off to center the shroud on the radiator with the fan centered in the shroud.
The Explorer V8 air cleaner is NOT a bolt in, the mounting pins are in different locations than the Ranger.
Both the early round air filter and later square ones can be used. Mostly cosmetic. The earlier MAF can be removed from the round air filter and used on the square with the later air tube.
Oil Pan – Possibly the hardest hurdle to overcome!!!!!
There is darn little room below the engine for the rack and pinion unit. Most oil pans are too deep at the oil pump and end up resting on the steering unit. Also, the pans are too wide to clear the Expo’s OEM left exhaust down pipe.
The Explorers had both a cast aluminum pan and a pressed steel one. Both pans are very tight to the oil pump and are clearance for the left exhaust down pipe. But… at least on the coil spring Rangers, NEITHER will let the engine drop into the engine bay with the transmission bolted to the engine.
Personally, I chose to re-work an Expo pressed steel pan by moving the front lower edge of the sump back 2” and used a generic rear sump oil pick up tube. Lets the engine/trans go in a unit.
The Ford 4R70W is one of Ford’s better RWD auto boxes and largely bolts onto the Ranger’s transmission crossmember.
Couple possible issues. By the time I got the oil pan off the rack and pinion unit, I had to shim the transmission mount by ¾” to better match the pinion angle.
The doner Expo transmission cooler lines were a near but not perfect fit at the Ranger’s front cross member.
The transmission dip stick tube’s retaining bolt is an SOB to install at the back of the right head - Try cutting a 7/16” bolt into a stud and using a nut and washer instead!
The SWB/Std cab Ranger has the same wheelbase as the 4 door Explorers and the drive shaft will swap over.
The LWB or Extended cab Rangers have a much longer wheel base and you can either get a custom shaft made up or get very lucky and find a suitable one in a yard.
Most Rangers use Ford’s 7.5” open rear diff – much less than ideal for a V8 Conversion.
The Expo rear axle is NOT a direct swap. The Expo axle sits on top of the rear springs and the Ranger axle bolts on under the rear springs. New spring perches need to be welded on.
Also, the Expo rear shock mounts are part of the spring plates and don’t cross over to the Ranger’s shock locations. Adding a pair of generic 3” tube shock mounts is not hard or expensive and offers a much better solution than trying to force the Expo mounts to work with the Ranger shock solution.
The Ranger master cylinder will happily work with the Expo rear disk brakes and the Expo parking brake cables will work with the Ranger, but care must be taken to route the cables, left cable will want to rub on the rear tire. The rear flex hose from the Ranger is in exactly the right position to attach to the Expo axle’s brake line block.
A “easier” path is to find a Ranger with an 8.8” LSD diff in a breakers yard and install that.
Either way, moving away from the open 7.5” diff and to the 8.8 LSD is a worthwhile effort.
Without an adapter, the SBF’s oil filter will hit the steering unit.
One option is an aftermarket oil filter relocation kit.
Ford opted for two different angle adapters.
The earlier adapter included a water/oil heat exchanger – problem is, the inner hose to the water pump is no longer available and can only be approximated by cutting up a radiator hose with an appropriate bend and size.
The later adapter omits the heat exchanger but uses a different size/thread filter.
Last edited on Sat Nov 25th, 2017 02:09 pm by Doc
Proud graduate from the School of Hard Knocks. Might be easier paths to take, but few more memorable.