Getting Her Running
After some more online searching I came to the conclusion the Turbo four wasn’t really that great of an idea. For one I’d have to kill the Air Conditioner option and then I found the tranny in the truck would not work with the 2.3L so I had to regroup.
I figured I’d try to get the 2.9L running and really see if the intake gasket was really the problem. I pulled everything off the top side and checked it and could not really find any intake issues. I decided to put it back together and see what happens. Changed the oil, filled it full of water and got her fired back up. I was quite happy how easily she started right up and thought maybe things were going to work out after all.
It didn’t take long to realize there was more than an leaky intake going on here as checking the oil and water revealed the mix was back.
What else could it be?
A little research a bad intake gasket was the least of my worries as unknown to me at the time the 2.9L are really bad about cracking heads and creating other issues. That would match the oil / water mix issue. I then pulled the valve covers off and sure enough it was pretty obvious both heads were cracked complete from around the valve downt through the exhaust manifolds even. Crap!
Figuring It Out
After that disappointment I thought what would any self respecting hack do?
Stop Leak! – of course!
Somewhere along the line I also realized the radiator was crap and leaking around the bottom so I went ahead and bought a new radiator. I picked up an overload of stop leak and began the journey. I tried the process the first round with little luck, tried again, and actually I can’t remember how many passes I made with the process but it finally cleaned up and actually sealed!
I also then realized how worn out the old 2.9l was as the valve train racket was amazing. Sounds like a diesel sitting there idling. I again hit the net and found that these old 2.9L are really tough old birds and the noise isn’t going to affect how it runs much so I just cleaned things up and worked on the rest of the truck.
Cleaning Her Up
Since it looked like she woudl run and drive I started the clean up process. I really needed to drain the fuel tank and replace the fuel pump so I worked on that process and about half through realized there was about 1/2 inch of red mud everywhere under this thing.
I drug the power washer out and washed, and washer, and washer leaving red stains down the driveway and into the yard. She really was “used” at least on those back roads.
Ranger New Eyes
One thing I was very happy about was finding some cheap NEW headlights for the old gal. The original ones were very hazed out and messy and were going to be quite ugly. An excellent ebay score landed these new ones that look SOOO much better.
Ranger New Face
With the new eyes I really couldn’t leave the rest alone so I pulled the grill and cleaned and painted things up front, cleaned up the turn signals and reassembled her face.