Gear ratio debate

Discussion in '1983 - 1988 Ford Ranger' started by Rooonie, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. Rooonie

    Rooonie New Member

    I just got a 88 ranger xlt. 2wd 2.3l. It is currently on some 31x10.50 tires. It is a straight pig. I don’t really know what gears it has but I wanted to see if anyone had any gear suggestions. If I get it up to 65 (takes forever) and put it in 5th on cruise control it loses speed lol. I don’t expect a rocket ship. But id like to be on the highway doing 65-75 comfortably. Hopefully not take a million years to get there but if it does oh well
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  3. DeanMk

    DeanMk Member

    There should be a silver tag on the differentials.
    The ratio is listed there.
    I looked it up and you have the same tranny my '98 does. The OD in 5th is 21% or .79:1.
    Most Rangers came with 3.45 gears in the axles.
    If that's what you have, then in 5th, your effective gear ratio is 2.7255:1, which puts the engine's rpm at 1920 @ 65 MPH with the 31" tires.
    The 2.3 in your Ranger was never known for having any measurable torque, so asking it to pull those "big" tires at that high of a gear ratio might be asking a bit too much.
    You might consider a gear swap to 4.1 or 3.73 (with 4.10's the rpm raises to 2282 rpm and 2076 rpm for the 3.73's).
    ...btw, if you want to set everything back to "original", 3.45's with the stock P205/75R14 tires would be the same as 4.28 gears with those 31's.
    HOWEVER, before all that, it would be prudent to ask what kind of shape is the engine in?
    If the engine's worn out, all the gear changes in the world aren't going to help.
    When's the last time you did a full tune-up on it? (plugs, wires, rotor, cap, filters).
    If it hasn't had a decent tune-up in 20 years, that might be part of your problem.
    Long story, short, there could be ALL kinds of reasons that your truck is having trouble keeping up with traffic and none of them could have to do with a too tall of a gear in your rear end.
    ...anyway, things to consider while you fathom this one out.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019

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