1985 Ford Ranger service 2.8 gas V6 from North America
Extremely reliable little workhorse
Transmission at 90000. Professionally rebuilt.
Water pump at 145000. Change by me in about an hour, simple.
Tires as needed.
Drips oil at a rate of a quart every 2-3 months.
I was driving a Geo Metro with 120000 miles on it, and really wanted a mid-size truck with a service bed. Someone from down the street had the opposite problem. We traded straight across.
The truck was originally a General Electric service truck in San Francisco so it had low miles, but a lot of steep hill driving. Naturally the transmission could not hold up to it. Even with the heavy (750 pounds empty) service bed, the truck had little trouble cruising freeway speed, carrying up to 1500 pounds of cargo or even towing cars on a tow dolly.
Two wheel drive never kept it down in the winter. We can get several feet of snow and temperatures can stay way below freezing for four or five months. I have taken it up mountain logging roads in winter snow so deep and steep that I have lost Ford Explorers behind me. I have pulled huge Dodge Powerwagons out of ditches and snowbanks with two wheel drive and studded snow tires.
I have since replaced the service bed with a homemade six foot by eight foot flatbed. This improved gas mileage from 12-14 up to 18-20. I have towed midsize cars on a 750 pound tow dolly for hundreds of miles with only minor reduction in power.
Be careful of the oil pressure gauge. It will not always read accurate. Check the oil level often. Wider tires (I have 205-75-14) will greatly improve traction and handling, with only a tiny loss of gas mileage.
Bench seat is very comfortable. Visibility is excellent. Engine starts with one hit of the pedal (carbureted) every time. Engine operates great at 20 below or 110 above.
I hope to keep this truck a long time, even at 20,000 plus miles a year. I will not hesitate to take it across the country in any weather, or far into the wilderness to camp.
These trucks are fantastic. The following year (1986) the engines changed to 2.9 and added fuel injection. I like my carbureted 2.8 thank you.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 12th August, 2004