2.3L Ranger Exhaust Nightmares | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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2.3L Ranger Exhaust Nightmares

Ranger John

New Member
July 13, 2008
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City, State
S.E. Va.
Year, Model & Trim Level
I consider myself a fair Back yard Mechanic UNTIL.....My 1989 4 banger 5 speed Ranger decided to sound like an outboard motor. Only 118,000 miles.
I replaced the obvious tailpipe and muffler cause they were shot. The PUTT PUTT got worse! I read all this stuff about manifolds cracking. Found the EGR pipe loose too. Replaced that and manifold and it sounded good when finished. Next day it was PUTT PUTT again? Okay gasket leak right? Got a deal on a cat converter for $120 so I changed the exhaust gasket and the Cat. STILL a putt putt noise sounding like between 2-3 cylinders. Okay lets try header gaskets. Still a putt putt. Now I'm fearing cracked head or blown head gasket Right? Read up on the project and decided to run it bye a friend this morning. Just see what he'd charge cause I'm about sick and tired of this putt putt noise. GUESS what he discovered? You won't believe this!

Seems that new exhaust manifold had cracked lengthwise underneath where the ports merge to the back. He saw sparks and fire coming thru the crack.

Guess I'll reinstall the old one now. Just thought you all might enjoy this tale of my new parts related nightmares. Might save you some future headaches too. Beware of reproduction exhaust manifolds. Ranger John

SAVE the Rangers 2.3L especially the extend-cabs

With $4.00 per gallon Gas..going + I believe saving these little trucks is a must for a secondary vehicle and maybe a Primary vehicle. 30+ mpg is nothing to snivel at.
Mine is extend cab 1989 XLT. 2WD . I run car tires on it. Sets low and drives like a sports car. Fun driving truck with the 5 speed tranny. Rides like a car and has the full Puffy bench seat too. Great for errands and light loads. Okay it's an old man's mini truck.:D
Now that I have mine about fixed again I'll be looking for others to fix and sell.
Only extend cabs however. Some FORDS ARE worth saving. This is the only Good Ford I have ever owned. Minimal insurance and taxes expense. They ain't Pretty but they are practical. SAVE the RANGERS! :usa::salute: