More pics here:
It's simple. Take one slightly beat-up Ford Ranger that currently has an EFI 5.0L and T5 tranny and replace it with an EFI Stoker 460 and C6. Sounds simple at least.
This project in part was started because there's alot of internet BS without any real data or firsthand experience to back it up. Just like the 4.6L swap had. So I'm gonna do this to: (A) to show that it can be done, and (B) to show other guys how to do it and to document my steps and screwups. Besides BB torque in a sub 3000lb truck ought to be fun and might just be scary as crap.
The victim of this adventurous little endeavor is a 1986 ex-US Government long bed standard cab Ford Ranger. Originally equipped with a spunky 140hp 2.9L V6, A4LD trans and a 3.73 geared Trac Loc 7.5" diff, this little truck was quite entertaining to drive.... for a while....
The 2.9L V6
It quickly became apparent that the little 2.9L was a tough engine and certainly had a little more power hiding inside. Simple upgrades like a 5.0L throttlebody, MAF conversion and an electric fan, dropped the ET's by 0.75 sec. Now running in the low 17's, the Ranger was still no rocketship, but managed to provide ample entertainment at the drag strip.
Time went on and I stumbled upon a brand new remanufactured Garrett T3 turbo for a 1987 Chrysler New Yorker. It sat on my workbench too long and the tape measure came out too many times and the next thing I knew, the 2.9L was down to the shortblock and I was fabricating a turbo system..... How on earth does that always seem to happen? Anyway, after finishing the install and ironing out the little bugs, it was time for a trip to the drags! The goal at the time was to run in the 15's and I was a little disappointed the first time out when it only managed a mid 16. Seems the little thing was running out of fuel when run at WOT for several seconds. After a simple fuel system modification, another trip to the track showed I was right on target. It was running mid to low 15's on 10lbs of boost. Wow, goal met, now what? More boost! That's what! The truck's best ET was a 14.71 @ 91 mph (14lbs of boost), a far cry from the low 18's it ran stock. It certainly had more in it ET-wise and power-wise, but I was happy. Well, as all things go, it came to an end one night at the drags. A boost controller problem helped my find the limits of the stock 100k mile cast pistons...... 24 lbs (or so) of boost will do that.
A 255?!? What are you, stoopid?
After limping home, the truck was parked in the garage and the plan was devised to drop in a fuel injected 255 (4.2L - the 302's idiot cousin). Why a 255? Because I already had one from a previous Ranger V8 conversion. Why did I put a freak-255 in the other truck first? Because I *thought* it was a 302.... The little 255 was treated to an HO upper & lower, an '88 F-150 computer and a T-5 manual trans. It was pretty fun to run around in and sounded awesome, but performance was no where near that of the previous V6 turbo. I drove it for quite a while like this until one day I was messing with the TPS and forgot to plug it back in.... 10 minutes later during a test drive, the 255 was puffin white, the victim of a thrashed head gasket. good grief, what next?!?!??!
Ahhhh that's better...
A "new" motor, that's what! Actually, it is a Crown Vic '87 roller block that I threw together with parts from about 8 other motors. I checked the bores, they were fine, so I hit them with a hone, had the crank turned, popped in a used set of stock HO forged pistons, new rings, bearings and a used HO roller cam. After a couple of rattle cans of engine paint, I had a pretty spiffy looking 5.0L. I put it back in and was definatly happy with the increase in power. Best ET, while still not a quick as the V6 turbo, was a respectable 15.2 @ 90 mph. (3600' MSL) Not bad for a cheapo rebuild, stock cam, Explorer headers and a speed density truck computer, but I had bigger and better plans in store...
Oh no, here we go again...
A Mopar in a Ford?!?!? Are you nuts?!?! Yep. I was this (imagine fingers really close together) close to plopping a SB Mopar (342" stroked 318) in there with a PS Diesel turbo I have (Garrett TP-38). I almost had all the parts gathered and was trying to decide on what trans to back it all up with when the news came down.... Amarillo Dragway is closing. Great, now the closest track is Idalou. 100 miles South. Time to re-think what I'm doing. It's one thing to blow up your junk 10 miles from your garage and a COMPLETELY different thing to do it 10 times that distance. Power and reliability are gonna have to go hand and hand now. No more pushing the boost envelope for me. So what to do? Build up the 5.0L? Naaaa, I want this to be a really quick truck and that just isn't gonna happen with a n/a 5.0L at our altitude. So, the only logical conclusion is MORE CUBIC INCHES. A lot more cubic inches.
Da big motra.
I did a little research and decided why not do a big block? All sorts of nay sayers crept from the woodwork about how it won't work, but none of these guys had even ever attempted such a swap. I got in contact with a couple of guys who HAD done the swap and the decision was made to DO IT. I found a low mileage 460 locally and have made some interesting discoveries about this swap. It is starting to come together even though this project has been in the works for 2 years now. Oh yeah, Amarillo Dragway has reopened so my main reason for doing the big motor is null and void. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes I suppose.