Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I'm like a one eyed cat, peepin' in a seafood store


You may remember my tearful farewell to my lime green 1988 Ford Ranger last year. After I pulled the engine for Grace, I sent the Ranger to the back yard, unsure of what to do next. It sat there for over a year, and in the meantime I tried to think of things to do with it. Someone offered to give me $450 for it and then never called me again. I thought maybe I should just send it to the wrecking yard, and ultimately the crusher, but that felt like sending my puppy to the pound. Enter Colby.

Colby is a whale of a man, and a great friend of mine. We met in college when I was going to fix some random chick's car so I would never have to speak to her again (long story, but it worked). I was pulling out of my driveway and Colby, who lived across the street asked what I was doing. I told him "I'm going to fix some random chick's car so I will never have to speak to her again" and he said "Cool, I'm coming", and hopped in the truck. Last year while discussing this problem with Colby, we reached an agreement where he would buy my truck and give it tender, loving care if I put an engine in it.
Behold, Colby
There was one small hitch though. We agreed to put a non-original engine into the Ranger...

Unfamiliar with the anatomy of a powertrain, Harley sniffs the tailshaft assuming it is a butthole
 TA-DAA! Colby and I got the stupid idea that a Nissan Skyline engine from Japan was the best choice for the Ranger. This engine, codenamed the RB20-DET is a 2 liter, straight-six turbo, with a 5 speed manual transmision. It puts out 215 hp / 195 lb-ft, and redlines at 7400 RPM. Is it an odd choice for a Ranger? Yep. And that's half the reason we are doing it. People always ask why, but the better question is why not?

It's bone stock, I swear
The age old question of the forum noob is almost formulaic: can you put ("x" engine) in ("y" chassis)?? lol i'm 17 and have four dollars and a turnip Well rejoice dear noob, the answer is yes. It's always yes. I can put "x" engine in "y" chassis. And I'll show you how it's done. But you aren't going to like it because while I can put "x" engine in "y" chassis, you probably can not. To do so it takes a lot of wrenches, a lot more dollars, and a welder. Take heart though, if you keep at it and don't do anything terribly stupid someday you can also put "x" engine or "q" engine or "ü" engine in "y" chassis.

Since Grace is road legal and I had a couple days off, much to the dismay of my Fiancee, Jen, I set to work on the Ranger. While the Ranger had been sitting in the back yard for the past year or so, Backyard Chris (the predecessor to Backyard Steve) and Steve the barrel guy (who runs some sort of barrel exchange in the back yard?) had converted to Ranger to a rolling dumpster. I can't say this was my favorite thing but what can you do?

Starting Point
The Ranger's engine harness. Not my finest work...

Removing unnecessary weight
Stock left side motor mount bracket
Bracket mods
Bracket mods
Finished left side motor mount bracket

The RB20 engine sits at about a 10 degree angle towards the driver's side (the US driver's side) so I made a 3 point chain system to lift the engine and hold it in the proper position for mock up. 

On Saturday, I had the engine in and out of the engine bay no less than a dozen times. Lifting and maneuvering a 700lb powertrain by oneself is a pretty good workout. Sunday morning I felt like I had been pushed down an escalator. A couple of the trouble points for putting the RB20 in a Ranger chassis were the steering shaft and front suspension crossmember. I notched the crossmember, but the steering shaft will likely require some modification. I do not think the rubber "rag-joint" can be trusted when positioned right next to the turbo housing so I will likely have to get a metal steering U-joint.

Crossmember modification

Once I had determined where I wanted the engine to sit, the easy work began. Compared with finding an engine position, fabricating the frame brackets for motor mounts was relaxing. I just got to pull the trigger on the welding gun and watched Joan of Arc do the hard work. A few hours later. the engine was sitting securely in the engine bay.

So if you looked at the last two pictures with a critical eye you are probably thinking "This guy is loony. He's got no clue what he's doing! That engine is so far forward he'll never fit a radiator in it!" You are mostly right. I am loony. I really for the most part do not know what I'm doing. But I'll make a radiator fit. Somehow. I always do.

In the meantime, look busy my friends.

source: http://scorpiondagger.tumblr.com/

1 comment:

  1. You probably know I am something of an engine swap snob/purist. This swap, however, meets with my full approval since it's simple insane enough to just make sense.