MX2: Engine Swap

Posted on Posted in MX2: 2001 Ford Ranger

After my failed Central America trip my engine developed a knock. Expecting the worse I began to tear down the engine for a rebuild.

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All external items removed from the engine compartment.

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Tentatively planning a solid axle swap, I remove the front suspension.

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I was somewhat being sluggish on working on the truck. The trip failing was wearing on me and now the engine possibly being bad was heavy on my mind. I got a bit of motivation finally to pull the motor.

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I pulled the valve cover off just after for a quick peek. Very clean for 250k miles and hard miles at that.

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Looks like very minimal wear as well on the cam shafts. I may get lucky and be able to do a basic overhaul. Next I need to disassemble the head and bottom end. I know I’ll need piston rings and some new rods as there was a rod knock.

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Finished pulling the motor apart, but stopped because I was stumped.

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Set everything out so I know how to reassemble.

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250,000 miles and pretty much no where at all. The hone marks are barley worn off.

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Yep, even to the bottom of the cylinder. A testament of taking care of equipment and using synthetic oil since day 1.

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Here’s the part that stumps me. I pulled the motor apart because of a rod knock. I know I’m not the only one who heard it as it wasn’t quiet at all. But after examining, rod bearings are good and no slop anywhere. I had no idea what could of been knocking.

After a few weeks I decided to pull the trigger on getting a used motor. It’s clean, has 120k miles and I should have it by mid next week. This is better option overall than rebuilding my current motor. Rebuilding would cost way more as if I do rebuild I need special tools, machine shop work/cleaning, new bearings, seals, pistons, oil pump,all the other pieces and the hassle of rebuilding/timing. I wouldn’t want to do a poor job rebuilding and the cost to do it right is way too high. The used motor is only $600 and has a 90 day warranty. Yeah, it has 100k miles but after researching these motors are good for 500k. So I think overall this is my best option.

Time for the heart transplant. 2.3L DOHC 4 Cylinder with 120,000 miles. In great shape. Has 99% of everything on it. Will be doing some basic mods to fix issues I had with the last motor. Mainly the hard coolant line that runs behind the block.

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The motor has been set in place. You can tell where the truck is usually used most of its life. Everything has a layer of dirt, except the new motor.

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Engine test run and runs great!

Did my first test run since the new motor was installed. 100+ miles this afternoon. Dang its a good feeling to drive the Ranger again.

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Took longer to get back on the road then I wanted. Had to replace a bunch of things including the wheel bearings again as I didn’t do the axle swap. I replaced them recently after the failed spindle last summer. I’m a bit disappointed at Timken. I expected better from them. The seals were cracked when I pulled off the rotor. I’m guessing the cracks must of let water in, allowing the bearings to eat themselves. Used National bearings this time with a SFK seal. Hope it fairs better.