2003 2.3L Engine replacement/swap options

Discussion in '1998 - 2011 Ford Ranger' started by twinmill28, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. twinmill28

    twinmill28 New Member

    Ok, I've tried the search feature, didn't see any info on replacing my 2.3L, and not sure if it should be in this area or the engine area-----

    I've got a dead 2003 Ranger and looking for fastest cheapest way to put it back on the road.

    It's a 2.3L/auto trans with a supposedly bad head, but at 200K miles I don't want to put the work/money in the head and have limited or end of life engine.

    What are my options to replace or upgrade the engine on the cheap? I've searched E-bay, there seems to be alot of 2.3's for sale for '04 and later model trucks---can I use an '04-up engine as long as I get the harness and computer with it?

    What about the 2.5, I've read those are stroked 2.3's and are the same block, simple bolt in replacement?

    Any other simple engine swaps (6 cylinder Rangers) that I can still use my same transmission with?

    Any info, help and even PM's with a running 2.3 sitting in your garage will be appreciated.

    I'm in the Florida panhandle and willing to drive a little to get a good engine.

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  3. Fx4wannabe01

    Fx4wannabe01 New Member

    Honestly, your best bet is to just replace it with another 2.3L Duratec, with the least of miles as possible.

    Sourcing your engine is as easy as eBay or my favorite, checking www.car-part.com. My 2001 4.0L had 110k and had the common timing chain issues since 40k...replaced it with a 1,000 mile 2006 4.0L for $1000. 4 hour drive, but well worth it. There's real gems out there like my purchase, you've just gotta find 'em! Check into car-part.com. LKQ is a nationwide auto recycler and they ship items regularly. Look into them as well.

    In regards to year differences (04 in an 03), I don't recall any on the 2.3L Duratec. I suggest using your existing engine harness...that way the donor truck doesn't have to be transmission specific, but it would be preferred finding one from an auto truck to make things easier. Some electrical connectors and sensors changed from year to year, but that's as simple as cutting and soldering (this was the case with my 2001 to 2006 engine swap).

    You're confusing your 2.3L Duratec (2001.5-2012) with the 2.5L Lima engine (1998-2001), which is a stroked version of the 2.3L Lima). We're talking two totally and completely different engines. One has dual overhead camshafts while the other has a single. Blocks are totally different as well. Plus, with that power robbing automatic, you'll enjoy the 150hp compared to the 110hp of the older engines.

    Jumping to a V6 opens a new can of worms that can get expensive and frustrating. Especially on such a newer truck. You will need a new transmission as they are engine specific. You'll have to address the computer and VIN changes to that computer to pass emissions, wire harness differences, as well as the factory security system (chip in key).
  4. Fx4wannabe01

    Fx4wannabe01 New Member

    Diamond in the rough? 56k for a grand? Not bad....straight through Alabama on the Tennessee border. Never know, might be able to talk 'em down by calling them directly.


    Another one...ends up being $875 for a 71k engine after shipping.


    Something to also mention, when looking the engine up online, don't forget you can look up 2001+ Mazda B2300 too. Best of luck on your hunt!!
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  5. OP

    twinmill28 New Member

    This is a wealth of useful information, thanks for posting up---especially regarding the 2.5. I've been trying to figure out what year ranges this engine falls into so your reply is right on time.
    That's pretty cool you were able to source up a thousand mile engine for pretty cheap--good bang for the buck. I've been finding alot of 2.3's at 60 to 75K range around just over a grand.
    Looking forward to putting the Ranger back on the road, now I need to go start donating body fluids to collect that 1 grand I'm needing.
    Thanks again!
  6. Fx4wannabe01

    Fx4wannabe01 New Member

    Not a problem at all!

    Yeah, my find was QUITE the score.....engine had been sitting on a pallet on a indoor shelf since 2007. Bought it and dropped it in July 2009. Knocked 'em down $500 AND didn't have to pay state tax. Shoot the water pump pulley was still all painted black....no wear from the belt.

    My search showed me that your 2.3L Duratec is a spendy little motor. And somewhat hard to find with lower miles. Probably due to all the fleet trucks running that same engine.

    It doesn't hurt dropping by one of your local junkyard/auto recyclers. Not on of those pick-n-pull/u-pull places. Those wouldn't have something so new....I'm talking places known to have newer vehicles. Many of them have access to other yards inventories through a computer inventory system....and sometimes they can get better deals for you. Best of luck on the hunt!!
  7. OP

    twinmill28 New Member

    Yeah, I've been eyeballing an Orkin truck that got t-boned, this one's on the Bay for just over a grand.
    Replacing the head alone seems cost prohibitive with as many miles as this engine has on it.
    I' planning on hitting the wrecking yards in the next week or so. Collecting soda cans to fund this venture is a little slower going than I thought........ :)
  8. Shawn

    Shawn Cranky old man

    I can get you a deal on a 2.3 if you want to drive to western PA.....
  9. I'm fairly certain the new generation of Mazda L series engines including the 2.5 all have the same block as your ranger 2.3 duratec. The 2.5 just like the Lima is just a stroked version of the 2.3 Mazda. Also another thing to consider is if you wanted you could find a wrecked Mazda 3 with the 2.3 vvt motor and pull engine/harness for the smoother torque curve from the vvt. However I haven't found anything on whether or not the port design/bolt pattern on the head is the same to allow for the ranger intake manifold. If you could somehow swap the engine and harness from the Mazda you'd be looking at a pretty decent improvement in hp and tq across the entire rpm range due to the vvt and Mazda's tune. Also sorry for the revival of an old thread. I was searching for the above referenced possible difference in port and bolt pattern design.

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