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#4570780 - 11/11/17 11:14 AM 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 480
Loc: Vienna, VA
I have the ability to pick up a very cheap 2003 ranger edge short bed single cab 5 speed 3.0 Vulcan. 2wd.

This would be a drift car. I didn't plan on driving this season but this truck fell in my lap.

I previously have owned pro-am level drift cars and have driven on several large event stages. Not new to the game.

I sold my ls3 pro-am car and my truck+trailer in Denver when I moved to Virginia. This truck would be ideal because I can drive it to the track with spares in the bed and tools and all. No trailer needed. I would only be doing grass roots type events so the 3.0 should provide enough power to link the smaller courses.

How durable are these? Reliable? It will get beaten quite hard and driven near red line sideways most of the time.

Truck would get a large drop, camber bolts up front for as much negative camber as I can get easily, and I would cut and weld the stock knuckles for more steering angle. Also would weld the diff or go find an LSD that fits in the stock housing. Simple mods. Also, how wide of a front tire can you run on these? Would like to run a 9" front wheel and not cut fenders. How good is the 5 speed?

Bonus question. What oil should I run?

I'd like to get a season out of this motor before it pops and I put a cheap ls1 in it.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4570792 - 11/11/17 11:29 AM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
01rangerxl Offline


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 9246
Loc: Birmingham, AL
I've got 207K on mine, and no worries about using all of the tach. 3.0s tend to leak oil and the cam synchro is a common replacement item, but other than that it's a very tough engine. Mine towed a trailer nearly daily for about a year.

The M5OD is not very refined, but is fairly durable. Check fluid level regularly. There is a Hurst shifter you can get for it.

The edge suspension is not ideal for what you want to do, coils would be better, but plenty of people have lowered torsion bar trucks too.

If you manage to break the 3.0, 5.0 is the way to go in a Ranger. They nearly drop in.


Edited by 01rangerxl (11/11/17 11:32 AM)
_________________________
2002 Ford Ranger XLT | 3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD | 211K miles
1994 Ford Ranger STX | 4.0 V6 / 5-Speed Manual / 4X4 | 198K miles

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#4570797 - 11/11/17 11:35 AM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 480
Loc: Vienna, VA
Thanks!

The suspension geometry isn't super important for my purpose as long as it's stiff and doesn't travel too far which seems easy to do with lowering kits.

The trans will likely get a short shifter if they exist and the stick will get chopped for the lower seating position with my aftermarket seat.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4570798 - 11/11/17 11:35 AM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 480
Loc: Vienna, VA
Thanks!

The suspension geometry isn't super important for my purpose as long as it's stiff and doesn't travel too far which seems easy to do with lowering kits.

The trans will likely get a short shifter if they exist and the stick will get chopped for the lower seating position with my aftermarket seat.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4570805 - 11/11/17 11:47 AM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 480
Loc: Vienna, VA
Just spoke with my friends dad who is selling it. It's not an edge. I just don't know anything about anything. It has the coil springs up front. That makes the front suspension stuff easier.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4570831 - 11/11/17 12:16 PM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
justintendo Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 101
Loc: northwest pa
the 3.0 vulcan is a great motor, and makes its power in the midrange..very durable engine. very strong bottom end. any weakness would be the risk of burning a valve perhaps..

the m5od is pretty durable, but you must take your time with shifts 1-2..the synchos will be destroyed if you hammer that shift.
_________________________
2013 escape 2.0 awd
2008 fusion 2.3 mtx
1996 f150 4.9 2wd mtx
1999 kaw zrx 1100
many husqvarnas

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#4570980 - 11/11/17 03:19 PM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15687
Loc: OH
The 3.0 is probably the most durable part of this little truck.
We had a Vulcan in our old Aerostar and for the 175K that we owned it the engine showed no signs of wear, with no oil consumption and no leaks. The only thing I ever replaced other than oil changes were the plugs and the starter. The starter was super easy on the Aerostar while the plugs were a bad dream.
It also showed no signs of power, but that's the nature of this beast.
_________________________
17 Forester 12K MSS 0W-20
12 Accord LX 86K PP 5W-20
09 Forester 95K M1HM 10W-30
01 Focus ZX3 118K PP 5W-20
96 Accord LX 104K T5 10W-30
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#4571010 - 11/11/17 03:46 PM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
Crispysea Offline


Registered: 04/14/17
Posts: 401
Loc: TN USA
I have a 3.0L Ranger and love it. The engine is solid. Just about any oil will work, from 0W-20 to 10W-30. I prefer Castrol Magnatec 5W-20 or 30 myself. I once met a guy who had an Aerostar with 350K, and his 3.0L engine was still in good shape.


Edited by Crispysea (11/11/17 03:47 PM)

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#4571102 - 11/11/17 05:40 PM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
gabriel9766 Offline


Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 936
Loc: Missouri
The 3.0L vulcan in my taurus is a champ (150K). I beat the living [censored] out of it and its strong as can be. it does have a bad oil pan leak and a very very small timing cover leak. other than that its a great engine.
_________________________
2015 Chevy Malibu 1LT DI 2.5L I4- PPPP 0w20 and a napa gold 7060 39,829K

2007 Ford Escape XLT FWD 3.0 V6 motorcraft 5w30 bulk and a motorcraft FL500s 109,944K


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#4574056 - 11/14/17 06:18 PM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
delaware74b Offline


Registered: 06/05/16
Posts: 10
Loc: Delaware
I have the '04 3.0 in a Ranger. Tough motor, 290K hard-driven miles on mine. Watch the cam synchro, belt-like chirping or grinding on start-up are a dead giveaway it's dying. OEM replacements only, don't use aftermarket on this critical part. They last around 100-150K. If it binds, it will chip the drive gear teeth. No drive gear = No oil pressure. The cam synchro drives the oil pump. All in all, it's a good engine and it is happy around 3500rpm (torque peaks around 3800).

The clutch slave cylinder is a weak link in the drivetrain. Cheap part but not fun to replace, OEM or aftermarket are both equally bad. Break the front Y-pipe loose from manifolds, break the spring bolts loose behind last cat. Drain the tranny and pull the driveshaft. Pull the gear shifter, top 2 bolts through trans to engine from above 15mm hex. Tranny jack in place, drop crossmember, remove Y-pipe, disconnect quick-connect and tranny electrics. Pull starter and remaining bolts through tranny to engine and drop tranny out. I can do it in 5 hours on inclined driveway mostly alone. Bleeding the clutch is another story. It traps air in the master cylinder due to its design.
_________________________
'04 Ford Ranger S/C 3.0 M5OD 293K
'04 Ford Explorer 4.0 4x4 145K
'74 MG MG-B 1.8 132K
'94 Toyota Camry LE 3.0 250K
'96 Lexus ES-300 3.0 280K

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#4574589 - 11/15/17 07:31 AM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
Broo Offline


Registered: 04/11/15
Posts: 128
Loc: Canada
I have a '06 Ranger with the 3.0 but automatic. This transmission prevents the engine from reaching its peak torque by shifting way too early under load. If only the OD OFF button changed the shift points along with disabling the 5th gear...

In late models Ranger, you couldn't get the 7' bed with a manual transmission for some reason.

The 3.0 is not known as a great or efficient engine, but has a good reputation for durability. It drinks a lot of fuel for its size & power.
On mine, the engine has been very reliable so far, but the oil filter is quite awkward to change. I use the Motorcraft oil filter as it is a bit shorter than the Fram and therefore easier to install/remove. For oil, I use the specified 5W20 and it has seen various oil brands over the years. Currently running Mobil1 HM.

While the engine is durable, the transmission isn't. It's the same tranny Ford uses on the 2.3L version of the Ranger. The 4.0 transmission is heavier duty, but doesn't bolt on to the 3.0 according to my research on Ranger forums. I had a shudder between 4th and 5th. An ATF additive fixed (or rather, masked) that, but for how long ? The rest of the truck isn't very well built IMO. My headliner sags, I had a few HVAC problems too and some other things broke that I never experienced on other vehicles. But a good point for this truck : parts are easy to find and cheap.

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#4574612 - 11/15/17 07:50 AM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: TinyVoices]
tig1 Offline


Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 13655
Loc: Illinois
I had a 91 Ranger 3.0 and put 354K on it when sold. The engine performed great, and used no more oil when sold than when purchased in 92.
_________________________
2007 Ford Fusion 227,000 miles
M1 0-20 EP
2017 Ford Fusion 49K
M1 0-20 EP
10,000 mile OCIs on both engines
M1 ATF and MC LV
M1 10-30 in all OPE
MC filters


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#4575370 - 11/15/17 06:37 PM Re: 2003 ranger 3L Vulcan durability and questions [Re: Broo]
01rangerxl Offline


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 9246
Loc: Birmingham, AL
Originally Posted By: Broo
I have a '06 Ranger with the 3.0 but automatic. This transmission prevents the engine from reaching its peak torque by shifting way too early under load. If only the OD OFF button changed the shift points along with disabling the 5th gear...

In late models Ranger, you couldn't get the 7' bed with a manual transmission for some reason.

The 3.0 is not known as a great or efficient engine, but has a good reputation for durability. It drinks a lot of fuel for its size & power.
On mine, the engine has been very reliable so far, but the oil filter is quite awkward to change. I use the Motorcraft oil filter as it is a bit shorter than the Fram and therefore easier to install/remove. For oil, I use the specified 5W20 and it has seen various oil brands over the years. Currently running Mobil1 HM.

While the engine is durable, the transmission isn't. It's the same tranny Ford uses on the 2.3L version of the Ranger. The 4.0 transmission is heavier duty, but doesn't bolt on to the 3.0 according to my research on Ranger forums. I had a shudder between 4th and 5th. An ATF additive fixed (or rather, masked) that, but for how long ? The rest of the truck isn't very well built IMO. My headliner sags, I had a few HVAC problems too and some other things broke that I never experienced on other vehicles. But a good point for this truck : parts are easy to find and cheap.


The 4R and 5R autos are hit or miss, but many live long lives. Mine has 207K with one filter change and has never shuddered or had any other issues. It still shifts great. If I floor it, it will let the engine get up to around 5500 RPM, and the high RPM shifts are actually quick and smooth. My truck has had the fluid changed every 30k since new which I'm sure hasn't hurt.

As for the other stuff, with any mass produced vehicle, some just have issues. The headliner in my '02 is perfect even with a sliding rear window that does get opened. It's trashed in my '94. The only HVAC stuff I have replaced has been a relay in the '02 and pressure switch on the '94. The '02 still has the original freon.

The most common Ranger problem I personally run into across all years... fuel level senders.

The oil filter location is awkward on the 3.0. I usually remove from the top, drop in from the top, then thread and tighten through the wheel well. My truck has managed to keep its little plastic funnel over the starter. They go missing a lot.
_________________________
2002 Ford Ranger XLT | 3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD | 211K miles
1994 Ford Ranger STX | 4.0 V6 / 5-Speed Manual / 4X4 | 198K miles

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