I'm intending to buy a Ranger and would like people's opinions on which
engine gives the best fuel economy. I won't be doing any hauling with
it, it will be my daily drive. I'm looking anywhere from 1995 to 2002
give or take some years.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I have a 2002 Ranger Edge Supercab that I bought new in February 2002. It
is equipped with the 3.0 engine, 5 speed manual trans with a 3.73 axle. The
best fuel mileage it got then was 19 to 20 mpg on the highway at 70 mph.
After installing a soft tonneau, a Ravin performance muffler and K&N air
filter, I got a best of 24.6 mpg on the highway at 70 mph. The soft tonneau
alone gained me 2.5 mpg so which ever engine you choose, definitely look at
some sort of tonneau cover for your Ranger if you're going to be driving on
the highway. I had a set of tires installed that had a more aggressive tread
pattern to them and mpg's dropped to a best of 23.3.
From testimonies I've heard over the last 4 years, the I-4 gets the best
fuel mileage and the performance is not that far from the 3.0. The 4.0 gets
the worse gas mileage of all.
I hope this is of some assistance to you. I will say this, mpg's aside,
I've got 74000 miles on my Ranger and that 3.0 is a low maintenance engine.
I change the oil and filter at 5000 miles (owner's manual recommendation)
and the only thing I've replaced is the serpentine belt at 60000 miles and
it actually was still in good shape.
"I want to fly like an eagle let my spirit carry me".
Steve Miller Band Fly Like An Eagle
By far, the best fuel economy of the three available powerplants will be
found in the I-4 engines. The 3.0 V-6 has less power and hardly any better
fuel economy than the 4.0. I really don't know why anyone who wanted a V-6
would get a 3.0.
Be aware that there are basically 2 different I-4 engines. The older
engine, the cast iron (aka Lima) 2.3 and it's slightly larger twin, the 2.5,
is rock solid. There are MANY reports of those engines going 300+ thousand
miles without problems. The newer aluminum 2.3 (it might also come in a 2.5
flavor) is also a good engine from all reports, and has a smidgen more
power. For longevity, there's just not enough data to compare the two
fairly, but I know that the older Lima 2.3/2.5 is a long proven, reliable,
I have a 2.3 powered 97 Ranger SuperCab 5 speed and like it very much. It
has enough power for my suburban Washington DC driving, and is barely broken
in at 105k miles.
I had a 94 standard cab, standard bed, 2.3L. It seemed to have pretty good
a 4 cyl and was rather "peppy". On the other hand, my father has a 95 standard
short bed, unsure if it is a 2.3 or 2.5. That poor thing can't get out of it's
way. It's just plain wimpy. I suspect a differnce in the rear gearing. Both
My 97 is the same Lima, 8 plug, 2.3 you guys are talking about. Mine is 4x2
with 225/70R14 tires and a 4.10 rear gear. Also, I have A/C, P/S, SuperCab
and a fairly heavy fiberglas topper. It pulls all that around very well,
imho, even with the A/C on.
It winds up a little at highway speeds, but not what anyone would consider
high rpm. I think that some folks are used to more torquey truck engines,
and aren't used to revving up a truck engine, which you have to do a little
on this one.
I think if it had a 3.73 or higher gear I'd be much less pleased. In fact,
I nearly bought a new one just like the one i have now back in 1995. It
had, iirc, a 3.73 and seemed very underpowered. Of course, at that time, I
was used to driving a shortbed 4x2 5 speed Ranger with a 4.0, so just about
everything else seemed underpowered. ;-)
Honestly, I don't know since I have a tach. However, understand that your
300 is about the lowest revving engine you could have short of a diesel.
Any of the newer OHC engines, i.e. the entire line of engines in the F
series including the V-10, will rev higher than your 4.9.
I've never owned a 300-6 but the LMC1500 Snocat ("BearTrac" actually)
at work runs a carbed 300 and C6 combo. LMC specs a "running" redline of
3200 rpm but says you can run it up to 3600 for *very* short bursts. I
can see why after seeing the crank design.
It's a mixed blessing.
This is a "work cat" made for rugged terrain; like radio towers and
transmisssion lines. It's not a wide and hi-speed cat like the groomers
you see around ski areas.
Our 'rides' are slow/bumpy/scarey (but at least warm).
We've had the combination of little snow and/or lack of microwave/LMR
system problems for about the last 3 years. The only times that the
tracks have spun is on gravel when it's been off the trailer for
maintenance. We fire it up on the trailer about twice a month just to
keep everything moving.
The last two times I've been out were ordeals; the last half-mile of the
route is a road cut into the side of a severe (as in ~1400ft) dropoff.
The snow builds out so that what 'looks' like the road cut is actually
15 feet out from terra firma. Forest service won't let us cut a trail
above that; blading could set off a slide; so we have to snowshoe in and
pull the tools/test equipment from there.
I have the '04 ranger standard cab short bed with 5 spd 2.3 L 4 engine. I'm
not sure, but this engine may have been used in the later part of the range
you're after. It is not the same 2.3L as in older versions. I am glad to
report, I get no less than 26 mpg in normal driving and I've reached 31.5mpg
in hiway driving. The 3.73 rear end helps.
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