Ford's Ranger compact pickup truck was a best-seller throughout the 1990s thanks to its rugged simplicity and reliable performance. Produced from 1983 until 2011, the Ranger was available with a range of four- and six-cylinder engines as well as two- and four-wheel drive. Though it was smaller than a traditional half-ton pickup, it was no less a workhorse and remains a favorite today on the used-truck market.
Available with a choice of two cab sizes and two bed lengths, the 1990 Ranger was sold with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine or one of various six-cylinder power plants. Ford offered a 2.9-liter V-6 engine in the Ranger from 1986 until 1990, when the 2.9-liter V-6 was replaced by a more modern 3.0-liter V-6. In 1990, the 2.9 V-6 cane optional on regular cab models and as standard equipment on four-wheel drive "Super Cab" models. Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions were also offered.
2.9-Liter V-6 Specifications
The 2.9-liter V-6 produced 140 horsepower at 4,600 rpm and 170 foot-pounds at 2,600. The 2.9-liter V-6 used a single overhead cam and a pushrod-driven valve train. The bore and stroke measured 3.7 and 2.8 inches, with a 9.0-to-1 compression ratio. The 1990 Ford's EEC-IV engine management system controlled the multi-port electronic fuel injection providing 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
Dimensions and Capacities
In the Ranger, the 2.9-liter V-6 held 5 quarts of oil and 7.2 quarts of coolant in models equipped with air-conditioning. Rangers without air-conditioning held 7.8 quarts. Fuel capacity was 16.3 gallons in regular cab models and 19.6 gallons for the extended cab 1990 Ranger. The regular cab, short-bed Ranger was the smallest and lightest of the family at 176.5 inches long and 2,820 pounds. With a long bed and regular cab, the Ranger measured 188.5 inches long and weighed 2,857 pounds. Extended cab models were available with a single bed choice and measured 193.7 inches long and weighed 3,128 pounds. Though petite, the Ranger was rated to carry up to 1,600 pounds in the regular-cab and 1,300 in the extended-cab form.
Reliability and Updates
During its production run, the 2.9-liter V-6 was fraught with long-term quality issues, from cracked cylinder heads on pre-1989 models to persistent valve train noise due to poor oiling. Leaky valve covers were also a common problem. The 3.0-liter V-6 that replaced the 2.9-liter, offered improvements in reliability as well as performance. Horsepower went up to 145, and though the 3.0-liter V-6 was slightly less "torque-y" than the 2.9-liter, fuel economy went up to 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Later Rangers were available with a larger 4.0-liter V-6 as well. The 4.0-liter V-6 eventually replaced both of the smaller engines and sold alongside the 2.3-liter four-cylinder as the upgraded engine choice.
- Haynes Ford Ranger & Bronco II 1982 thru 1992, Ahlstrand, Eubanks and Haynes, Haynes Publishing Group 1998
- TheRangerStation.com: 2.9 Liter Engines
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