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A little Q for our engine guru of the odd and seldom seen.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by C9, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. Calling Mr. FatHack....

    Or should I just call you FatHack?
    Or . . . never mind....

    Anyhoo, you've done some more than interesting articles on seldom seen engines.
    I really enjoyed the Mopar small block article.
    And am still waiting for a 430-455 Buick article, but since I seem to be the only guy who runs one (soon to be two) I understand why the lack of coverage.
    Although, when I look at the Camaro sized Buicks of the early 70's and they run 10's with very little effort it leaves me thinking that the late Buicks are a well known secret - if that makes sense.

    What I'm thinking about now - and have been for some time - is building a 4 cylinder A roadster pickup with three pedals - maybe. Maybe on the three pedals anyway.
    Medium length bed, maybe bobbed fenders - cuz I got three sets - and maybe even cycle fenders. Doing a set of these well presents an interesting challenge.
    Besides, I just scored a 36 axle with intact wishbone, 42-48 brakes and even wheels. Perhaps the first part of a future project. Nothing quite like hunting parts for two cars, at least that way, if you can't use it on one, maybe you can on the other.

    First thoughts on the four cylinder engine was to use an Olds Quad four with T-350 all of which would be mounted longitudinally in the normal fashion.
    Not sure what stick trans would be easily adaptable, plus the Quad fours don't seem to be real available.

    Next thoughts are the later Ford Ranger, 89-mid 90's or so four cylinder with attached factory 5-speed.
    Toss the electronic fuel injection and set it up with carburetion and a distributor if necessary or simply buy one old enough that it has a distributor and go from there.
    Find the right Ranger and it comes with 3.74 locking diff.
    These usually on the 4 x 4's with 5 speed and V6.

    I'm not above using a Toyota or similar four cylinder and stick trans. Some of the Japanese engines look very nice - sorta Offy like - when the upper sheet metal is exposed and the DOHC cast covers are visible.
    Regardless, my question is about the Ranger four bangers.
    Seems there is speed equipment readily available for them for the circle track wars, so knocking out a reasonably built one for a say, 1600# car oughta give some of the V8 powered hot rods a bad time.

    Any thoughts?
    About the engine, not so much about the car.
  2. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,691


    Isn't the Ranger 'banger the old Pinto 2300 that got used in the Supercoupe T-birds and such too? I think it sounds like a good idea, personally, but I'm just a crazy kid who likes to make new stuff look old when he can.
  3. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    from Detroit

    C9, one of my high school buddies drove a slew of wicked-fast Buick Skylarks built by his Dad, who was a devout worshiper of the 455 Buick motor! They owned four 1970-72 Skylark variants, including an 11 second GS convertible, a GSX stocker and a couple of warmed over street terrors!

    In addition, one of my former bosses at an auto parts joint built a nasty dual quad 455 Buick powered 72 Skylark that turned low 12s in full street trim through the exhaust system!

    Those old Skylarks (same platform as a Chevelle) weren't lightweights, but the beauty of the 455 Buick was that it was such a smooth, torquey Midrange Monster, that buiding a brutally quick car that's still mild mannered enough to be driven daily is a fairly easy task!

    Personally, all my experience with the Buick V8 centers around the "forgotten" 350s...which is an amazingly lightweight underdog in my opinion! I'd love to dive into a 430/455 Buick project of my own someday to learn more about them and enjoy the benefits of their legendary pulling power...I could see myself building a 59-63 Buick cruiser with a Monster 455 in it down the road sometime!

    As for four bangers, there are LOTS to chose from! A few months ago, American Rodder (I think) featured a cool little Deuce roadster powered by a 153 cubic inch Chevy II four banger...I LOVED that car...those engines weren't powerhouses, but their basic design is adapted from the rock solid 230-250 "modern" Chevy inline sixes...hard to beat for reliability!

    The EFI Ranger based 2.3 fours of the 90s featured a new cylinder head design that incorporated eight spark plugs, two per cylinder. Making one of those work without the EFI and electronics might be tricky...either involving a head swap to the older design, or leaving one plug in as a compression plug!

    The same engine was used throughout the 70s and 80s in Pintos, Mustang IIs, Fox chassis cars and the first Rangers. Companies like Racer Walsh have catalogs filled with go-fast goodies for the "Pinto Engine", as those motors enjoyed a HUGE following in mini-stock racing and various other motorsports!

    Back in high school, a friend of mine built a hopped-up 79 Mustang powered by a four barrel 2.3, and I got to drive the thing all the time! My Chevelle would outrun his car, but his was so much FUN to drive! He swapped in a T5 tranny out of an early T-bird Turbo Coupe and ran a set of 4.10 gears out back.

    Being used to a V8, I asked him when I should shift his car...noting that the factory tach only went to 6000rpm. He replied casually "Just burry the tach and shift when it feels right!" Screaming that engine through the gears was a giddy pleasure I always enjoyed! It was a 15 second car at BEST, but it was just such a blast to drive! He had a Hurst short-throw shifter and Recarro made you feel like a race car driver just going to school and back...taking Rotunda Curve at insane speeds with the fat TRX tires screaming in protest as the mill sung high in the 8000rpm range!

    I'd LOVE to take a spin in a lightweight little roadster pwered by a screaming 2.3 Ford coupled to a T5 tranny with steep'd be awesome!

    There's a Quad Four powered roadster in the new issue of STREET RODDER for ya to drool over...and I'm using a (gasp!) Vega four in my 49 Chevy for now...just to be like one of those 70s Nerds you read about in Popular Mechanics throughout the Disco Decade putting little motors in older cars to eek out fuel economy! It won't be fast, nor fun to scream through the gears like my buddy's old Mustang, but it suits me...Way Weird!

    I say go for the Ford's a dynamite little engine that is dirt cheap to buy, abundant, and readily responsive to performance upgrades! The 455 Buick makes a nice contrast to it, too...big, brutal and ultra fast...have one hot rod for pavement ripping performance, and one that's just a ball to slam through the gears!

  4. Just wanted to add to the Ford 2.3 choices.

    Ever hear of Esslinger Racing? These guys have been jamming Ford fours into just about anything and have an impressive catalog of performance goodies for such an oddball engine. Granted none of this is super cheap but compared to building up a similar V8 engine it is a bargain.


  5. I think the Ranger motors are punched out to 2500cc now.

    Later Alfa Romeros(sp) and some Japanese cars used 2 plugs per cylinder to improve emissions,
    so finding a dual plug distributor cap shouldn't be a problem.

    Brewsir had a sharp looking Toyota motor for his Modified.
  6. Dreamweaver
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,017


    Be careful with the Ford 4 cylinders, some of them weigh almost as much as a v8.
  7. marq
    Joined: Aug 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,423


    get ahold of an old british engine maybe a 6 cylinder like a ford Zephyr 6 from the late 50's plenty about and speed equiptement was available as our police used them,how about a zephyr engine with a triple carb set-up.Or an old 60's-70's vauxhall engine 4 cylinder out of a magnum or ferenza 2.3 litres and very fast...........Marq
  8. gettingreasy
    Joined: Sep 21, 2002
    Posts: 817


    Way cool C9. I still want to build a Jag powered RPU, hell if I keep all my Wanna Be "A" parts I may try to find one when I move back to NorCal. I still like the Quad 4's but they don't seem abundent back home, I've seen quite afew down here in Ariz tho.
  9. Thanks troops . . . and thanks to Mr. FatHack as well.

    I'm not sure who follows what or who, but some of you may have seen my mention of an F1 pickup a while back.
    It's still on the front burner as far as picking it up goes - but - the guy who's taking me to see it seems to be tied up all the time and the F1's not going anywhere far as I know so I'll get to it when I get to it.

    Been doing some thinking about an RPU after falling onto the 36 front axle and wishbones last week.
    Always had one of those in the back of my mind, especially so after helping a friend build an 6 carb Olds powered - with 39 box yet - 29 RPU with fenders and running boards as well as the full length bed.
    Long story, but we got it cherried out and running, then he swapped it off for a Bentley that didn't run. [​IMG]

    Anyway, the dual plugs per cylinder on the Ranger doesn't scare me . . . at least not too much.
    Couple of Pinto distributors on an aluminum plate and driven by a small Gilmer belt off the crank pulley ought to pop the sparks just fine.
    It wouldn't be in the almost perfect state of tune that most computer controlled engines are, but it wouldn't be too far off either.

    Points and carbs are a good thing - specially when you got several of each.... [​IMG]
  10. I'd say find a turbo 4 cyl out of the t-bird or mustang. Fuel economy, looks, and over 200hp, plus I've seen them carburated. A couple of years ago in Hot Rod a guy was turning 10's in a pinto with the turbo 4 that he pulled from a junkyard. They even put the car on the cover! In the alternative, go with the pinto motor. They come carburated and there's tons of hop up parts available because they circle track race them.
  11. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    from Detroit

    Only about 1991 or 1992 and newer Rangers had the dual plugs, earlier EFI 2.3s had the single plug head. (Not sure EXACTLY what year the twin plug head was introduced, but my 92 Ranger had it, and it was used on same year Mustangs as well).

    The 2.5 in the later Rangers was just an evoloution of the old Pinto 2.3 engines. One thing to take note of, though, was that Pintos came with OTHER four bangers, too. Namely, the 1.6 "Kent" engine and the 2.0 engine. The 1.6 Kent found it's way into the front wheel drive Fiesta, and there is some aftermarket parts support for it if you look hard enough!

    The carbureted 2.0 was also used in Rangers up until 1986 or so, and alot of tubular 'sand rails' wound up sportin' the 2.0 engine throughout the 70s and 80s! The 2.0 and 2.3 are different engines, but were often offered in the same vehicles for the same years. The 2.3 was the longest running and most popular, though.

    Ford turbocharged the 2.3 with moderate success in the early 80s using carburetors, then refined the design with EFI for the SVO Mustang and Thunderbird Turbo Coupes of the mid 80s. These cars are dirt cheap, and the engines can be had for little or nothing, as many guys dropped small block Fords into these Fox chassis T-birds!

    Essentially, the basic 2.3 engine was used in various stages of development from the very early 70s up until the late model 2.5 Rangers! Plenty of them out there and the design has proven itself over a few decades!

  12. old recycled photo(of mine), but might inspire.....maybe. Toyo 4 & 5speed.

    Finish your roadster first. [​IMG]



    Attached Files:

  13. Neat engine Drewfus - and the 31 is scheduled for completion. Just kind of in limbo here with the house for sale and moving and all that.

    What are the specs on the Toyo engine?
    CID, HP etc.?
  14. BigChief
    Joined: Jan 14, 2003
    Posts: 2,084


    We've done 2300 Ford motors for the APBA older 2.5liter hydroplane classes for a few local guys. These motors are very close to stock (no head mods, stock cam, minimal over bore, strict deck height restrictions, etc) carburated motors that make well over 1hp/inch. If you want a prepped head, a big cam and more compression then 200 normally asprirated (some what) streetable HP is possible. At the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals in 2000 there was a NA 2.3 powered Pinto that was pulling over 300hp off the bottle and over 500hp on the bottle. If you go forced induction and aftermarket EFI and timing control then they can make well over 700hp with the right stuff.

    The bottom ends in these motors have five main bearings in a very compact package making for an extremely strong bottom end. Good rods and forged pistons (with proper prep and assembly of course) allow these motors to live in the well over 9500 RPM range.

    I've got some doodads and enough engine parts to put together a decent street motor if your interested. Parts or complete read to install motor, your choice.

    PM me if your interested or have any other questions.

  15. powhatan42
    Joined: Apr 26, 2011
    Posts: 148


    Fat Hack,

    I've got a1970 Buick GSX 455 motor in my '40 Plymouth Coupe. It will weigh less than 3G when complete. What do you think it will do in the quater mile? It will have a Ford 9" 4.30 gears, Detriot Locker, and a Turbo 400.

    Maybe I should by an old Buick and stuff it in there. Buy a Hemi and keep my Coupe Mopar, what do you think?
  16. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,437

    el Scotto
    from Tracy, CA

    Holy Ancient Post Batman!!

    I also just realized that Fat Hack hasn't visited the HAMB since September of 2009... Anyone know how he's doing?
  17. C9,
    The banger out of a merc tracer and numerous other varients of the same is also a hot ticket. FOMOCO makes a set up from the same mill for the USAC circuite. There are a lot of hot pieces available for them straight from ford or any number of other sources.
  18. Dooley
    Joined: May 29, 2002
    Posts: 2,738

    from Buffalo NY

    old post, and C9 has passed away...
  19. 58custom
    Joined: Jan 1, 2009
    Posts: 398


    The late model Duratec 2.3 and five speed from a Ranger is what I would use. Check these guys for parts:
  20. evt
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 22

    from so-ore

    Ditto. I'm building a Quad 4. Wish I could figure out how to attach a pic.

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