Feb. 22, 2013 9:10 a.m.

So...it's Friday and this is when ideas of crazy engine swaps and bench-builds enter my head. I'm doing a lot of driving lately in a certain older, 4 banger, carbureted, RWD vehicle and gas prices have been going nowhere but North. 20-25 mpg is my typical average. So, of course, I've been day-wondering about installing something a bit more efficient. I read a recent thread on here about someone doing a Geo Metro 3 banger one-liter engine in a Miata and getting 45-50mpg. But the Miata is 500 pounds lighter than my subject car, and even the Miata was a bit of a dog, apparently, with the Metro plant.

So I did some "research" on FWD 4 bangers to RWD conversions, and found some websites with trans adaptors:

http://quad4rods.com/index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=2&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=100041

http://acmeadapters.com/store_engine.php

Then I did a bit of wiki-ing on some engine families and bolt patterns:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Zetec_engine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Duratec_engine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ford_bellhousing_patterns

Which then led me to the Duratec 2.3- specifically, the Duratec 23NS, which was used in the Danger Ranger and its many related pickuppy vehicles. I've heard of folks getting 25 to 30 mpg (manny tranny, 2WD) in these trucks, which are considerably heavier and less aerodynamic than my subject car, and use higher numerical rear end ratios than I'd likely want.

Some other topics here I've found, tangentially related:

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/duratec-23-vs-22-re/56764/page2/

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/justins-garage-odyssey-fordduratec-based-full-bodi/60289/page1/

My main goals are: somewhere north of 30mpg (40 might be optimistic) and not dog-butt slow. I'm also wondering if the FWD Duratecs (smaller displacement, more power, fancy valvetrain thingies) or Zetecs will mate to the RWD Ranger manual transmission without some sort of $$$ adaptor. I want to keep the project as low buck as possible, with the ultimate goal of saving money in a time span of 2-3 years with reduced fuel usage. I've sort-of focused on Ford engines here, but I'm not averse to a GM 4 banger swap- I know the S10 trucks had 4 cylinders, but don't know about their economy or transmissions, or whether, say, any FWD GM 4 banger will bolt up to the RWD S10 trans.

I'd also like the wiring to be as simple, painless, and OEM as possible.

As much as a whole FWD setup rear mounted in the car sounds like fun, that's not really in the cards due to money, time, effort, and not wanting to thoroughly hack up the subject car.

Thoughts/ opinions/ suggestions/ b-s?

Flight Service PowerDork
Feb. 22, 2013 9:14 a.m.

The Duratecs are a good choice as they are plentaful, durable and can make a butt ton of power reasonably. The engine is now the standard issue in the Caterham line up.

The question is, what is your swap candidate? I have thought for a while that the 2.5L Ranger Duratec with a Turbo would be great in an older Miata.

Or just buy a wrecked ranger and build you a Locost.

Ranger50 UberDork
Feb. 22, 2013 9:20 a.m.

Piss on MPG's....

http://www.turborangerforums.com/showthread.php?t=4091

HP is where it is at!!!

Feb. 22, 2013 9:20 a.m.

Either this one:

or this one:

Right now I drive #1 about 50 miles per day. That may be increasing soon.

Feb. 22, 2013 9:28 a.m.

Hmmm...

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/cto/3607420014.html

Flight Service PowerDork
Feb. 22, 2013 9:53 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse:

I think a Ranger heart transplant would be in order. Copart has a few every week. Just buy it, pull the Ecu, wiring, and trans and go from there. Sell the rest of the truck off to recoup your money, It will be detailed but should work out well for you.

If you get the right truck you might even end up with Cruise

twolittlebroncos
Feb. 22, 2013 10:16 a.m.

I started the 22re vs Duratec 2.3 thread that you referenced. In the end I really wanted a 2.3 Ranger, but the extended cab was more family-friendly with the Tacoma. The Toyota 2rz/3rz is another drivetrain to consider. I had similar objectives to yours with a lot less ambition. I wanted rwd, 4cylinders and 4-5 seats, but I was willing to get fewer mpgs and get the pickup bed. I've only really driven in the winter and I've been averaging 25-27mpg with mostly city driving.

I also own a Mazda3 with the MZR - almost identical to the 2.3 Duratec.

Here are my questions that I think you should consider with this swap:

1) Why are the driving dynamics so different between a Ranger 2.3 and a Mazda3. I'm talking strictly the engine, clutch and transmission. Is it flywheel weight? Shifter? Both? Is ECU programmed differently? The Ranger felt very truck-like while the 3 is a smooth revving, smooth shifting experience. Going through the hassle of the swap would irritate me if the car ended up driving like the Ranger I drove.

2) Shifter location. Seems like this might be an issue with any swap, the Locost guys probably have a lot of good info on all these drivetrains.

Good luck, please post updates to your research findings.

RossD UberDork
Feb. 22, 2013 10:26 a.m.

You can remove or install a balance shaft assembly in the Durate/MZR engines. Cosworth had a 'kit' to remove it. It was just a small plate and a cap screw, probably for an oil passage.

Darksider203 New Reader
Feb. 22, 2013 10:46 a.m.

I know you would like to keep it ford, but if i were you i would try to source a turbocharged gm ectotec engine out of a saturn sky or pontiac solstice. An early 4g63 also can be picked up very cheap, but thats a mitsu engine..

fanfoy Reader
Feb. 22, 2013 10:48 a.m.
twolittlebroncos said: 1) Why are the driving dynamics so different between a Ranger 2.3 and a Mazda3. I'm talking strictly the engine, clutch and transmission. Is it flywheel weight? Shifter? Both? Is ECU programmed differently? The Ranger felt very truck-like while the 3 is a smooth revving, smooth shifting experience. Going through the hassle of the swap would irritate me if the car ended up driving like the Ranger I drove.

I can explain that one. The Ranger Duratec doesn't have the balance shaft that the mazda3 has.

The shifter location would probably be a problem, but you could always make a remote shifter.

To make it easy, you can't go wrong with that crashed Ranger, since all the parts to make it work are included. This is the option I would choose.

The british say that the Zetec bolts to any "pinto" transmission, because the block is based on the old pinto four. But anyone that tries on this side of the pond, seems to have problems.

Oh, and apparently, it's really easy to make +200hp NA with the Duratec because they have nice flowing heads....

Raze SuperDork
Feb. 22, 2013 11:13 a.m.

Interesting you're posting this, my buddy is in the process of putting a Zetec (silver top) with a T5 (he found a cheaper source for the bell than Q4R ~$350) into a 70s Mitsubishi Colt Delivery. I spent the better part of Monday night trying to source him the right bell but ran into lots of roadblocks, or very expensive ones. I thought somewhere there was proof you could mate a Zetec to a M5 from a Ranger?

Darksider203 New Reader
Feb. 22, 2013 11:13 a.m.
fanfoy wrote:
twolittlebroncos said: 1 Oh, and apparently, it's really easy to make +200hp NA with the Duratec because they have nice flowing heads....

Yes the engines do have great flowing heads, they are used in all types of different motorsports

Driven5 New Reader
Feb. 22, 2013 11:26 a.m.

It doesn't matter whether you get the Duratec from a Focus or a Ranger. Either will bolt up just fine to the Ranger transmission, and neither of which used any type of VCT/VVT. I know the Ranger got the Duratec before the Focus, but simply think of the Ranger engine as a 2.3L Focus block with a 2.0L Focus head, and using a 2.0L Focus style 4 counterweight crank (vs 8 on the Focus 2.3L) and sans balance shafts. Since maximum power/performance isn't on your list, unless you find a screaming deal on a complete Duratec Ranger you'll probably be best off from both a cost and fuel economy standpoint using the Focus 2.0L with the Ranger transmission.

This might also provide some applicable information: Locost Duratec Discussion

yamaha SuperDork
Feb. 22, 2013 11:28 a.m.

a 2.2L 5sp s10 was my first vehicle......milage was actually not that good. Partly because you had to work it to get anything resembling acceleration. And mine had a 3.73 rear end.....

Gasoline Dork
Feb. 22, 2013 11:30 a.m.

I like this thread, cause I don't know squat about these little motors.

I see allot of cheap ($100), running turbo Ecotec's in JYard SAAB's. They do intrigue/intice me and want me to take them all home. Will I regret it? Any thoughts?

Driven5 New Reader
Feb. 22, 2013 11:34 a.m.

Also the Ranger intake manifold wraps over the top of the engine, generally making it exceedingly tall for many non-truck applications. If wanting to keep everything on the engine as OEM as possible when making the swap, this could be a bit of an annoyance. The Focus intakes wrap down to sit kind of vertically, tucked along side the engine.

As a side note, I've always thought a Duratec would be cool in a 120 series Volvo. No idea how well it might fit and whatnot, but it could be a very cool combination.

Feb. 22, 2013 11:39 a.m.

This:

Driven5 wrote: It doesn't matter whether you get the Duratec from a Focus or a Ranger. Either will bolt up just fine to the Ranger transmission, and neither of which used any type of VCT/VVT. I know the Ranger got the Duratec before the Focus, but simply think of the Ranger engine as a 2.3L Focus block with a 2.0L Focus head, and using a 2.0L Focus style 4 counterweight crank (vs 8 on the Focus 2.3L) and sans balance shafts. Since maximum power/performance isn't on your list, unless you find a screaming deal on a complete Duratec Ranger you'll probably be best off from both a cost and fuel economy standpoint using the Focus 2.0L with the Ranger transmission. This might also provide some applicable information: Locost Duratec Discussion

is what I was hoping for. I've heard reasonably good things about the Duratec plants, and was hoping you could bolt anyone behind the RWD Ranger gearbox. I browsed Copart, and there seems to be lots of Rangers out there periodically for cheap. Finding the 2wd stick shift 4 cyl combo is the trick. Any experience with how hard it is to take out the engine as a running unit with ECM and everything? Heading to the pick and pull and grabbing a ranger gearbox and a Focus Duratec seems like the next best option.

Then engine compartment in the Amazon is pretty tall, since it's an old style upright car, so the ranger intake might not be an issue. A little "speed bump" in the Volvo's hood wouldn't look too awful, though...

Ranger50 PowerDork
Feb. 22, 2013 11:40 a.m.
yamaha wrote: a 2.2L 5sp s10 was my first vehicle......milage was actually not that good. Partly because you had to work it to get anything resembling acceleration. And mine had a 3.73 rear end.....

QFT. Even 4.10's don't help. BTDT.

RossD UberDork
Feb. 22, 2013 11:42 a.m.

I have a bellhousing that bolts to both to a rwd transmission and a Zetec; actually I have all 3! It's from a Pinto with 4 speed and 4 cylinder. It needs to be the FOG or Ford of Germany Type E transmission not the RAD. The RAD's bell has the upper bolt holes typical of the later 2.3 Lima engines (even though, at least the older blocks, had both sets of upper bellhousing bolt holes for the common Kent/CVH/Zetec/SPI and the Lima) The 2.3 Lima and T-5 from a Fox body uses the upper bolts. If you use the Type E then a Type 9 from a Merkur can get you a 5 speed. Should be able to do it with just Ford part numbers. I haven't completed the clutch flywheel yet, though. If I had a Zetec or 2.0 pinto flywheel, it would be mostly complete by now...

I've considered using a simple plate that covers both the upper Zetec bolt holes and the upper Lima bolt holes to be able to use a T-5 from a 2.3 fox mustang. Then just carve out the thickness plate from the mating flange at the top of the bellhousing. Bolt plate to Zetec and then bolt bellhousing to the plate and zetec. Note: I've never done this and I don't know if there is enough material or bolt length or whatever to actually have this survive.

Darksider203 New Reader
Feb. 22, 2013 11:46 a.m.
Gasoline wrote: I like this thread, cause I don't know squat about these little motors. I see allot of cheap ($100), running turbo Ecotec's in JYard SAAB's. They do intrigue/intice me and want me to take them all home. Will I regret it? Any thoughts?

As far as i know, the chevy ecotec is the most common 4 cylinder running 6 seconds quarter mile times. My cousin has a turbocharged cobalt ss and it moves that car very well. It is a great motor.

RossD UberDork
Feb. 22, 2013 11:47 a.m.

I also have a big pdf file of the assembly of the Durate/MZR. I found it online once but I haven't found it recently. PM if you want it.

yamaha SuperDork
Feb. 22, 2013 11:54 a.m.

In reply to Ranger50:

4.10's really don't help if you've got them out back of a 4.3L 5sp s10.....I think that truck got 14mpg highway. 3-3500rpms in OD at 75 IIRC

Feb. 22, 2013 12:06 p.m.

Wife has a 2000 GMC Jimmy 4x4 with 3.73 and a 4.3L, with an automatic, and we get 19 to 23 on the highway, depending on who's driving and if the gas has Ethanol or not.

fastEddie SuperDork
Feb. 22, 2013 12:07 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: It doesn't matter whether you get the Duratec from a Focus or a Ranger. Either will bolt up just fine to the Ranger transmission, and neither of which used any type of VCT/VVT. I know the Ranger got the Duratec before the Focus, but simply think of the Ranger engine as a 2.3L Focus block with a 2.0L Focus head, and using a 2.0L Focus style 4 counterweight crank (vs 8 on the Focus 2.3L) and sans balance shafts. Since maximum power/performance isn't on your list, unless you find a screaming deal on a complete Duratec Ranger you'll probably be best off from both a cost and fuel economy standpoint using the Focus 2.0L with the Ranger transmission. This might also provide some applicable information: Locost Duratec Discussion

So would a Ranger 2.5 be a "drop-in" replacement for a 2.3 5-spd Focus (like mine)?

Driven5 New Reader
Feb. 22, 2013 12:14 p.m.
fastEddie wrote: So would a Ranger 2.5 be a "drop-in" replacement for a 2.3 5-spd Focus (like mine)?

For the purposes of this discussion anything relating to a 2.3L Ranger engine is referring specifically to the 2001.5+ Duratec powered Ranger. The prior 2.3L and 2.5L Ranger engines are Lima engines that are totally unrelated to the Duratec.

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