1 2 3 ... 6
mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 9:49 a.m.

My background is in off road but this contraption I am building seems to fit in here.  I've built numerous prerunners and rock crawlers but never a car.  I guess this isn't quite a car either but close enough.

I picked this guy up in March of this year.  Had not been on the road in 16 years.  1962 Ranchero with a 170 6cyl and 4 speed manual trans.  I immediately rebuilt the carb, replaced the usual hoses/belts/plugs/fuel pump and got it on the road.  Daily drove it from March until 4th of July weekend.  

Here's how it looked on its first drive in 16 years.  It is a 20' er for sure- tons of rust by CA standards and the victim of a low budget "restoration" sometime in the '90s... perfect.  No guilt in cutting it up.



mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 10:00 a.m.

I started completely falling in love with this thing.  Perfect fit for my lifestyle.  Got mid 20s for mpg, just enough to haul a mountain bike or dirt bike, and I much perfer driving old stuff.  But there were a few things to address right off the bat.


#1 it was geared so low that at 55 mph it sounded like it was going to send the rods through the block

#2 brakes were awful


To fix both of these I decided to convert the front end to 5 lug discs using some granada and mustang parts I gathered on Craigslist.  Did the shelby drop while I was at it.  In the rear I grabbed a 3.27 ratio Explorer 8.8 from the junkyard.  I narrowed it 2.75" by using 2 short side axle shafts and sectioning the long side tube to match. 

Ran all new ni-cu lines, replaced the single pot master with a 2 pot and picked up some cheap 15x7 steel wheels and 225/60r15 tires.  Now anyone who knows these cars knows there is no tire clearance in the rear.  An angle grinder was employed to take care of that.  I felt really bad doing this until I hit bondo that was 1/4" thick.  After that it was all down hill and I ended up with this



RossD MegaDork
9/2/21 10:04 a.m.

I like where this is headed...laugh

gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/2/21 10:05 a.m.

I approve this message

obsolete GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/2/21 10:18 a.m.

Ooh, I like this! Bring on the modern turbo goodness.

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 10:20 a.m.

Needless to say it was a huge improvement in driveability.  Brakes worked awesome and I could cruise along in the slow lane on the freeway here in so cal.  I was excited to be back in the ranchero after driving my 3/4 ton truck for a couple weeks.

Naturally though I couldn't leave well enough alone.  My turbo LS drag racing buddies were in my ear about LS swapping this thing.  Anyone who has been under the hood of an early falcon knows how tight the engine bay it.  I had a different idea though...

Scouring craigslist brought me to this $200 2.5 duratec out of a ford transit connect.  I was on the fence between duratec or ecotec but in the end duratec won due to ease of RWD transmission compatibility and the fact that they can be had for pennies.  I literally trip over them in the junkyards.

Now that the engine was located I had to figure out how to run it.  My brother is a whiz at HP Tuners and runs a 780 WHP '65 pontiac tempest with a turbo 4.8.  Naturally we decided to see if we could get HP tuners to talk to a duratec PCM.  So I located a PCM off the HP tuners "compatible" list which came out of a 2010 Ford Escape.  We hooked it up and were massively disappointed on the limitations HPTuners had with the ford pcm vs the GM LS pcm.


This lead to the first part of the snowball...  after that disappointing evening I ordered up a megasquirt system.  With absolutely zero megasquirt experience I was off to uncharted territory

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 10:25 a.m.

Now that the ECU part of the story was on order I could get back to my wheelhouse which is fabrication and mechanical.

Immediately I saw a problem with the duratec.  There was no factory intake manifold that did what I wanted.  Ranger one would hit the hood and every other one pointed at the firewall.  

Well you all know what had to be done.  Go easy on my TIG work and horrible runner design, we'll fix that later.  Settled on a 5.0 ford throttle body due to the integrated IAC


Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/2/21 10:28 a.m.

I'm an absolute fanatic for the Ford inline six engines, but I'm digging this.

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 10:35 a.m.

After I finished that up my Megasquirt showed up so it was time to get busy wiring.

I wanted to simplify the megasquirt install as much as I could being that I was a first timer.  I decided on LS coils running wasted spark with batch fire injection.  VCT and cam position sensor are wired for potential use later.  


Once it was wired I put together a quick fuel system and fired it on a sketchy stand.  After figuring things like crank trigger wheel offset and what not It barked to life!

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/2/21 10:36 a.m.

Oh my! Digging this with two shovels!

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/2/21 10:51 a.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

Oh my! Digging this with two shovels!


mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 11:10 a.m.

I tried to gather everything I could think of to keep the project moving once I pulled the ranchero into dry dock.  I wanted to keep it on the road as long as I could.  I have serious jackstand anxiety.

By this time I had picked up a M5OD trans out of a '04 ranger with a duratec.  I had gathered most of the fuel system parts, header parts, and other materials for the swap.  If you want a more detailed list just let me know!


Oh yeah and this little guy.  He should solve my intake manifold design compromises.  AGP 5257 turbo https://agpturbo.com/agp-turbo-cw-5257b/


With the engine being a known runner the fateful day was upon us.  4th of july weekend I retired the 170 straight 6.  What a good little engine, I put probably 3-4000 mi on this guy in the 100+ degree heat of so cal summer and it never skipped a beat or left me stranded.  Much respect for these little inlines

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
9/2/21 11:21 a.m.

Continue sir! This is freakin cool. 

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 12:06 p.m.

With the old engine out I verified some clearance issues that I figured I would run into.

First, the strut tower braces had to go.  Glad I took them out as they were fatigue cracked beyond belief.  Second, the crossmember that ties the A-arm mounts together was going to hit the Duratec oil pan so I unbolted that.  

Bolted the Duratec to the M5OD and swung it in.  Did the usual circus with straps, jacks, up down left right to try and find a happy home for this thing.  It is shorter than the original engine/trans combo but the trans is bulkier and the engine is much wider.

Here's where it landed.  Thankfully my measurements on the intake manifold were good, about a thumb width between it and the shock tower.  Perfect


Unfortunately, the trans tunnel was not playing so I had to make this mess.  

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 12:14 p.m.

With a location nailed down I was anxious to get the cherry picker and jack out of there.  I had built the block side of the motor mounts ahead of time so all I needed to do was connect the dots.  

Pass side motor mount tacked


Driver side


The trans mount ended up in an awkward spot.  I was going to use a factory ranger trans mount, but it was way too tall.  Used another poly bushing and came up with this by recycling the stock ranchero trans crossmember.  This is pretty hack by my standards but in the name of forward progress I painted it black and moved on.  Might change it up now that I've added subframe connectors but for now here is is.  You'll notice the center link unbolted.  It hit the oil pan- I tried to line it up with the "u" shape of the back of the pan but it put the engine too far back.  I later replaced it with a heim jointed link bolted below the pitman/idler arm.

Shavarsh Reader
9/2/21 12:26 p.m.

Absolutely fantastic! Keep it coming!

84FSP UltraDork
9/2/21 12:44 p.m.

Bummer to hear of the tunability issues.  The GM PCM is really kind of a gold standard in terms of OEM tunabiity built in.  I have loved these baby trucks since watching Odd Job rollaround in James Bond.

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 12:51 p.m.
84FSP said:

Bummer to hear of the tunability issues.  The GM PCM is really kind of a gold standard in terms of OEM tunabiity built in.  I have loved these baby trucks since watching Odd Job rollaround in James Bond.

Ultimately it was a blessing in disguise.  To be fair we really didn't try too hard with HP tuners and the stock PCM.  We just saw the limitations and knew it would be a fight even to get it running well NA let alone with boost.  Plus I have always been megasquirt curious so I turned letdown into opportunity.

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 1:37 p.m.

At this point the stoke is building and It was hard not to go straight to header building and turbo mounting.  

I kept my head and fabricated a new a-arm crossmember out of 1.75" .120 wall HREW.  I purposely made it hang lower than the oil pan to act as a bash guard.  Also pictured is the coolant manifold for the upper radiator hose.  The outlet is on the back of the head so I used the ranger manifold and welded the aluminum tubing to it to get it to the front.

Radiator is a $270 amazon special complete with fan and shroud.  For that price what the heck we'll give it a shot.

Engine bay is quickly filling up...

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 1:44 p.m.

Finally to the fun stuff.

Intercooler is a 25.00 x 6.75 x 3.00 in. with 2.5" in/out.  Goal was to keep it behind the stock grill.  Hats off to the Ford engineers of the '60s, they almost made this a bolt on.  Lower part of the IC bolts directly to the filler panel behind the bumper.  Made a simple crossmember out of sq tubing that grabs the top of the IC and the hood latch since I deleted some of the factory support.  


Nailed it!  

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 1:54 p.m.

Kept the ball rolling that weekend and whipped up a header and found a home for the turbo.  1.75 primaries on this thing, the ports on this duratec are huge!  Suprisingly I found a flange for a duratec, a company called Massive Speed had one.  Worked out great and saved me a bunch of time.

This wouldn't be the header's final form but it got the turbo located.


And with the turbo bolted up


The ultra long tube header had some issues, most of which were brought about by the amount of alcohol consumed while building it.  It would have cooked the motor mount and would have made wastegate placement very difficult.  It did look awesome though.  I tweaked it a few times to try and make it work but eventually threw in the towel.  Header V2.0 was a shorty, providing more clearance and decent wastegate mounting opportunities.  Not equal length, doesn't look nearly as cool,  but for this science experiment I'm not worried.  

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/2/21 2:09 p.m.

Very cool!  I'm watching with interest.

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 2:15 p.m.

Overall pic of the cold side wrapped up.  Pretty straightforward.  Questionable ebay BOV.  LS coils mounted up on the firewall. 


Now it was time to tackle the fuel system.  My inital idea was to somehow stuff a Walbro 255 in the stock tank.  Definitely a no-go on multiple levels.  Really not wanting to put a full on fuel cell in this thing I did what I usually do when I need inspiration... go to the junkyard!  And of course, the junkyard had the answer.  Mid '90s ford F150 behind the axle tank.  Within 1" in every dimension of the stock ranchero tank.  

But it gets better.  $170 at Rock auto gets you the tank, straps, sending unit AND pump.  And according to my rough calculations, that pump will do the job.  Slam dunk, buy now.

It showed up and sure enough fit like a glove.  I relocated the filler to line up with the ranchero one and we were in business.  The straps even lined up with the crossmembers under the bed.

Plumbed that with -6 line using Earls fittings that adapt the stock outlet lines of the Ford sending unit.  Used Aluminum tubing down the framerail and then -6 braided up to the FPR and to the rail.



mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 2:23 p.m.

While we're on the topic of winning with stock Ford junkyard parts, this thing needed a driveshaft.  I really don't want to spend $500 on a custom driveshaft.  So naturally back to the junkard with a tape measure and a glimmer of hope.

Again I am rewarded in the form of a '93 2wd explorer with a manual transmission.  Not only does this seem to measure out correctly, but it has the correct slip yoke (same M5OD trans) AND the same 8.8 rearend I have.

So I pay the $35 and hold my breath all the way home.... 

Absolutely perfect!  What are the chances!

mjlogan New Reader
9/2/21 2:37 p.m.

At some point every project needs a reset.  You've got stuff tacked up, wrong length hardware, and 1/2 finished stuff here and there.  But you're on a roll and just want to fire it up and drive it.

I know myself well enough that I would just keep rolling and have these things bite me.  So past me did current me a favor and purposely did not install a clutch when he bolted the engine to the trans.

So out with everything.  This also gives the project a sanity check to make sure things are serviceable and you can actually work on it.  I did OK on this one, if it came down to it I could swap an engine in about half a day.

With everything taken apart I finished a bunch of welding in the engine bay, painted, installed the clutch and hyd line, and started putting stuff together for real.


Now comes the proverbial last 10% takes 90%.  Hours and hours of work with seemingly little to no progress.  Stupid stuff like "oh this thing needs a throttle pedal". I whittled away at tedious stuff for a few weeks.  Clutch master cyl mounting, throttle cable, wiring.  Wiring, more wiring, re-wiring.  


Finally I got there.  Key turns the starter, fuel pump cycles, relays click, gauges tossed haphazardly in the cab.  Its time

1 2 3 ... 6

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners