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Old 11-06-2008, 02:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Build Thread: 1996 Ranger 2.3L 5spd 2WD

This will be the build thread for my little ranger "mini green"

I came across this site while researching ways to improve the gas mileage for my pickup. I felt that my truck should get better mileage than the 17MPG I was getting doing about 50/50 highway/city driving while commuting to work (25mi each way). Especially considering it's a 4 cylinder with a 5 speed and 2WD. My goal will be 35MPG to start with and I think this is definitely attainable now that I have read through a lot of the build threads on this site.


Ecomods Completed
10/31/08 - Increased tire air pressure from 35/30 f/r to 40/35 f/r
10/31/08 - Installed performance plugs/wires
04/15/08 - K&N drop-in intake element
10/31/08 - Removed Subwoofers, Box, and Amplifier (67 lbs)

Future Ecomods
Replace exhaust rearward from manifold (have parts, will install this weekend)
Block off grille (in progress)
Remove Mudflaps
Tonneau Cover (should help keep weight of snow out as well)
Wrap manifold tubing for better exhaust gas extraction
Replace front bumper with more aerodynamic bumper / air-dam combo
Install electric fan
Side Skirts
Fiberglass rollpan (will save weight of rear bumper)
Lower entire truck in order to decrease drag

Mileage:
20.6 - 11/06/08
17.3 - 10/31/08



Here are a couple pics:
11/5/08:


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Old 11-06-2008, 02:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello XVTer. Thats a good list of mods you got there. However, you might want to do a bit more digging. The K&N airfilters will not give better mileage. Replacing the exhaust with anything larger than stock size piping is probably going to hurt mileage.

The rest of the list looks good though. 35 mpg is definitly attainable even with just driving style changes. Good luck!
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hoping to see an aerocap on that sucka soon,

Nice progress,
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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fold back your pass side mirror.

30mpg is hard in a truck...
but i am a speeder at heart.

get in 5th asap, mine vibrates a little but i can hit 5th at 35mph, and get 40ish on my scangauge. (need to put that back in my truck and readjust the nut behind the wheel, has gotten loose over the last few weeks)
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XVTer View Post
Mileage:
20.6 - 11/06/08
17.3 - 10/31/08
Have you adjusted the nut connecting the steering wheel to the seat yet? My father's S-10 with the 2.2 I4 gets between 23-25, with NO MODS WHATSOEVER.

With the mods you intend on doing, if the truck is in good shape mechanically, improving your driving should make 30mpg an easy task.
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The two best things that I ever did to my 96' Ranger 2.3L/5 speed was to switch to synthetic fluids in the transmission/rear axle/crankcase and to use a Scangauge to learn how to drive the truck more efficiently. I never got around to a grill block or electric fan, but agree that both of these would be very good mods also.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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We get 16 mpg in our lifted '96 Ranger 4L auto 4WD, so you should get MUCH better with the 2.3L and 2WD. In fact, my '86 2.3L 2WD with a 5 speed got 22-24 mpg with me driving like a nut.

Check your tires for uneven wear; my '96 has camber and toe problems because of worn suspension bits. Also check your rear bearings; they roar when they're worn, but it happens so slowly that it sneaks up on you.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tips!

The reason I am going with a new exhaust is because the one on there was totally rusted out and has a few holes in it; the new exhaust is slightly larger, so we'll see. I got a good deal on it and I need to get inspected so I pulled the trigger. I got the K&N for free out of my brother's old pickup, so that's the reason it's there.

I'm still working on the Nut between the steering wheel and the seat; it's a stubborn one to tighten up.

This tank will be significantly better; I'm already about 50 mi ahead of where I usually am with a half a tank left. It looks as though I will be around 26MPG this tank.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, I haven't been on in a while so I figured I would update my progress. I am traveling overseas for work so I haven't driven my truck in almost 2 months, but prior to this trip, I was getting an average of 26-28MPG on winter gas. The ScangaugeII definitely helped me out as far as adapting my driving style for better gas mileage.

What I've done since last post:
Full Exhaust (inc. Cat)
Synthetic 0W30 motor oil
Synthetic Transmission Fluid
Synthetic Differential Fluid
New Driveshaft Carrier Bearing (2pc driveshaft)
Removed Mudflaps
Bosch Icon Wipers (low-pro)


I have a 4'x8' sheet of ABS waiting for me at home that will go into doing the grill block-off as well as starting a belly pan.

Most of the changes so far are along the lines of simple maintenance. Once I actually do a few aero mods, I don't think that 35MPG will be to difficult to obtain. Until next time....
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Good to hear about the improvements and the return from being overseas. Btw, do your own test on the air filter element, another person seems against K&N filters by thier comment, but I have been pleased with actual increase in mpg in my vehicle. Do your own test to see if it has merit for you.

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