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'87 Bronco II 2.9L V6 - Engine Improvements?


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#1 CraigK

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 11:18 AM

My '87 Bronco II is on the road again, and I'm probably going to keep it for a second vehicle. However, it's always been rather low powered (2.9L TFI V6), yet it still gets fairly crappy mileage - sort of the worst of both worlds, and I'm wondering what, if any, LOW COST improvements can be made to the engine etc. to improve performance. Can more power, smoother running and/or better mileage be obtained with simple do-it-yourself type modifications (i.e. timing reset?) or low cost easy-to-install aftermarket parts? (replacement coils, air intake filter, TFI unit???). (NO headers, as I'm sure the exhaust bolts would all snap off). Although I'll likely have my hands full keeping repairs done, I would like to know what successes others have had with this engine and tranny.
Thank you.

CraigK

#2 charger0280

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 06:15 PM

I have a '88 ford ranger with the 2.9 v6 5 speed. (Stock it comes with 140 horses). On mine however, I have a K&N cold air intake, 3 in. dynomax muffler, high performance plugs and wires, alternator, ignition, battery, wiring, and next week Im adding an electric supercharger. (I'm waiting to put the electric supercharger on before i test it out) When done, i should be pushing between 210-220 horses. Im throwing a mustang front end and possibly some Yokohama AVS Intermediate 195-60-15's on it, making it raceworthy of my buddies '97 Pontiac Firebird 3.8 series II, also running close to 200-210 horses. I've got to say, my ranger is pretty wild for being a v6. Like i said, im waiting for the electric supercharger before i go run the 1/4 mile, but its a daily driver for me, and this morning i slid it sideways in 2nd gear, so... its pretty ballzy. Stock i was getting about 19 miles to the gallon, now im ranging between 25-35 highway.

#3 Seabronc

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:34 AM

I have a '88 ford ranger with the 2.9 v6 5 speed. (Stock it comes with 140 horses). On mine however, I have a K&N cold air intake, 3 in. dynomax muffler, high performance plugs and wires, alternator, ignition, battery, wiring, and next week Im adding an electric supercharger. (I'm waiting to put the electric supercharger on before i test it out) When done, i should be pushing between 210-220 horses. Im throwing a mustang front end and possibly some Yokohama AVS Intermediate 195-60-15's on it, making it raceworthy of my buddies '97 Pontiac Firebird 3.8 series II, also running close to 200-210 horses. I've got to say, my ranger is pretty wild for being a v6. Like i said, im waiting for the electric supercharger before i go run the 1/4 mile, but its a daily driver for me, and this morning i slid it sideways in 2nd gear, so... its pretty ballzy. Stock i was getting about 19 miles to the gallon, now im ranging between 25-35 highway.


I don't see anything there that adds up to increased gas mileage :) . Keep your foot out of it, use cruise control whenever possible, keep it 65 or lower when cruising a major highway, ( know, you may feel like your driving backward as the other guys speed by, but are you feeding your ego or your wallet :D ) . I have had good results using Acetone, (no more than 3 oz per 10 gallons of fill up), gives me between 10 to 20% increase, (on a FSB that equates to 1 to 2 MPG :glare: , but every little bit counts :D ), and don't carry everything you own in the back, (put it on a diet) .

Good luck,

:)>-
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#4 charger0280

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 05:14 PM

The cold air intake and electric supercharger help with the gas mileage. When i put on the cold air intake, it had more air coming in than going out, so i had to match it with putting a bigger exhaust on it, I noticed when i did that, gas milage improved slightly, but performance had a noticeable difference in it. (if you add something to improve your air intake, you have to improve your exhaust along with it, or your losing serious hp and g.m. you might be needing) I was going to run the 1/4 mile this morning and post the results, but our local strip is still wet from the snow and ice, so im gonna have to wait to do that for another day. i gotta agree though, you have to decide which is more important, your wallet or your ego. Empty the back of your truck out and if you have a cold air intake on it, take it off if the temperatures in your area are under 70 degrees, cold air is good, but 2 cold and you actually lose gas mileage. However if you balance your intake with your exhaust, you can leave it on to impress, but dont count on the best gas mileage.

#5 yusuebronko2_86

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 10:28 PM

hey craig. you need to check out one of my previous posts (accessible from my profile). i don't remember what the tile of the post is, but it is in regards to another member asking the same question, how to make power out of a 2.9, and most of the available mods increase mpg as well.

have a look, and keep in mind airflow (intake and exhaust) and the elimination of emissions (egr, pcv, and cats) will be your best friends. good luck!
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#6 The Fox

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 05:28 PM

I have a '88 ford ranger with the 2.9 v6 5 speed. (Stock it comes with 140 horses). On mine however, I have a K&N cold air intake, 3 in. dynomax muffler, high performance plugs and wires, alternator, ignition, battery, wiring, and next week Im adding an electric supercharger. (I'm waiting to put the electric supercharger on before i test it out) When done, i should be pushing between 210-220 horses. Im throwing a mustang front end and possibly some Yokohama AVS Intermediate 195-60-15's on it, making it raceworthy of my buddies '97 Pontiac Firebird 3.8 series II, also running close to 200-210 horses. I've got to say, my ranger is pretty wild for being a v6. Like i said, im waiting for the electric supercharger before i go run the 1/4 mile, but its a daily driver for me, and this morning i slid it sideways in 2nd gear, so... its pretty ballzy. Stock i was getting about 19 miles to the gallon, now im ranging between 25-35 highway.

I have that exact same Ranger, except mine is a long bed, 3.73 F6 limited slip diff and 4wd(if yours is not). Would I be able to use any of this in California and still be able to get it smogged until me brother gets his smog license? Quick background on my truck. I bought this truck from my high schools auto teacher, he got it 11 years ago with cracked heads. He did a full overhaul on it, since he had an engine shop he hot tanked the block, replaced the heads with European style ones that have higher compression and don't have the cracking problem. he replaced everything internally the he could not machine to work. Rebuilt the transmission and transfer case, diffs and did brakes. All of this happened 40,000 miles ago (all cost me $500), this was his daily driver the whole mile to work everyday and his shop that was within sight of the school. I am wanting a little more power so I can tow trailer and just to make it a little more fun to drive off road. Can you post a link to all the parts, just so I can see for myself and have them if I ever move out of California. Well back my truck, it passes smog with half of the averges, so I can play a lot with it. Sorry about if I hijacked this thread, but this does have something to do with the Ford cologne 2.9L.
Thanks
Nick

#7 Psychopete

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 01:02 PM

Sorry for bringing up an old post, but there some information that might steer some one into false returns as far as performance with the 2.9L Ford engine. I was just searching around and noticed this thread..

On mine however, I have a K&N cold air intake, 3 in. dynomax muffler, high performance plugs and wires, alternator, ignition, battery, wiring, and next week Im adding an electric supercharger. (I'm waiting to put the electric supercharger on before i test it out) When done, i should be pushing between 210-220 horses.


Where is your dyno slip? There's no WAY IN HELL you are getting those numbers with those mods.

The stock air box flows enough for a 5.0L and pulls cold air from the front. So much for the K&N.
3in exhaust isn't going to allow proper scavenging (NOT GOOD).
Mufflers don't gain anything, they just change sound.
Stock ignition components are sufficient for the engine, and sufficient for the modifications outlined.
Electric super chargers have been PROVEN to not work as advertised.

Stock i was getting about 19 miles to the gallon, now im ranging between 25-35 highway.


Here's the killer. With more AIR FLOW your engine has a requirement for MORE GAS.

There's a carbbed sand buggy with a 2.9L that actually does get ~200hp out there, but has thousands of dollars in internals and many great minds in designing something as such. I believe it's peak power point was 7,000RPM with a red line of 9K. There's NO WAY with out forced induction that you will see those numbers.

My creditability? I actually have modified one of these engines INTERNALLY, hardly any bolt ons. My conclusions that the engine is pretty well for "what it is" - small V6, some power can be had, but it's simply not worth the money compared to a 4.0L or 5.0L swap.

Keep it tuned, take care of it, drive it, and it will treat you right.

Pete

Edited by Psychopete, 16 June 2008 - 02:07 PM.


#8 PC89

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 05:48 PM

My conclusions that the engine is pretty well for "what it is" - small V6, some power can be had, but it's simply not worth the money compared to a 4.0L or 5.0L swap.


How much would it cost to swap out the 2.9 for a 5.0? I'm probably going to be buying a bronc 2 soon but I am a power freak and 2.9 is WAY to small for me. I will be buying a '85 mustang 5.0 later and really like that engine.
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#9 SunSpot

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 04:04 PM

I have a 88 Bronco II 4x4 with Auto & 3:73 gears. My solution to better Gas mileage (was 17-18 hwy, now 23-24) and a bit of extra power as follows:

Flex-a-lite elec fan -- Black magic
Pacesetter headers
Magna-flow Cat
Turbo muffler (2-1/4 in/out)
2-1/4 dia tail pipe. (stock pattern w/ glass pack resonator)
Replaced flexible intake hose from airbox to radiator support (eliminated the vacuum unit under battery tray for warm air)
K&N air filter (fits stock airbox)

Motor is new, and completely stock, I am pleased with the results.

B)
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#10 67 Bronko

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 05:03 AM

Have you checked the timing? Checked the fuel & air filters? I always check the obvious things first.

#11 86nevadaBronco

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 02:52 PM

There are a few things you can do to help, but its never going to get the mileage of a compact car. My 86 has a cold air cone filter in place of the air box which helps it breath easier especially at high altitudes like where I live...7200ft. The Cats were hollowed out, and a blocked off EGR as we don't have smog checks....yes this is illegal. A flowmaster and larger exhaust have been installed too. A higher powered coil can increase the spark and burn the fuel a little more efficiently. Small add ons can help as long as your keeping your foot out of it .....mine gets 26mpg now. Basic things to check are the timing, and make sure the timing plug is put back in. Some rangers and BII's lose there timing plugs at some point...usually due to not being put back after timing is set. If it is not installed it will run at base timing with no advance...very poor mileage and performance. Oxygen sensor should be replaced about every 60-90k miles. A slow sensor will give false readings and effect performance and mileage. A good tune up with new fuel filter should be done if one hasn't, as well as oil change. Sensors to check are the Air Charge Temp Sensor in the intake, and Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor, as these sensors can operate out of range at times and NEVER turn the engine light on while effecting performance and milleage. Anything that helps your engine breath in and out, and fuel burn more efficiently will help. Be careful, as some things do say they help and cost alot...but don't work.

Edited by 86nevadaBronco, 14 August 2009 - 02:53 PM.


#12 that1mofo

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:36 AM

Have you thought about replacing the air in the tires with nitrogen? It's fairly inexpensive and pays for its self with in the month.

#13 Bonco-II_Guy_719

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 02:16 PM

My '87 Bronco II is on the road again, and I'm probably going to keep it for a second vehicle. However, it's always been rather low powered (2.9L TFI V6), yet it still gets fairly crappy mileage - sort of the worst of both worlds, and I'm wondering what, if any, LOW COST improvements can be made to the engine etc. to improve performance. Can more power, smoother running and/or better mileage be obtained with simple do-it-yourself type modifications (i.e. timing reset?) or low cost easy-to-install aftermarket parts? (replacement coils, air intake filter, TFI unit???). (NO headers, as I'm sure the exhaust bolts would all snap off). Although I'll likely have my hands full keeping repairs done, I would like to know what successes others have had with this engine and tranny.
Thank you.

CraigK


Hi I just bought a 87 BroncoII and I had no power. My simple cheap fix $50-60$
I go mudding so I have a dual setup of for my air intake, I kept original air box stock for when I go mudding
For when I go hill climbing and daily driver I use $24.99 Cone Cotton Air filter and had extra intake tube for stock airbox and hook straight into the intake.
I punched out my first CAT and cut off the second cat because second cat pipe pinches down to smaller diameter.
installed a 29in long 2 1/4 inch Cherrybomb Glasspack with lifetime warranty. 35.99 @ Checkers Auto (O'Reily Kregan)
Welded about another foot to the end of the Glasspack to reach the Hanger and put custom cut shallow turndown. all pipe is 2 1/4
Last thing was adjusted timing to 0 TDC instead of 10 BTDC - I still playing with the time. to see what works best for me.

Now my bronco has more power in lower rpms got in 2nd and 3rd and 4th gear now.
Time improved power as well, I have always had small spuddering miss fire and still not going away completely at idle sounds like a popping noise from exhaust. I think that might be a bad sensor like O2 or somthing like that the computer is trying to compensate. When I pull out the timing plug it seams to go away so I sure its a sensor issue.




a

#14 jewicke

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:31 PM

Hello all , new here , 85 bii all stock, 88 bii donor, ....I'm an old school mechanic from back in the day of oscilliscopes...

"Last thing was adjusted timing to 0� TDC instead of 10� BTDC - I still playing with the time. to see what works best for me"

By setting your timing to 0 your actually hurting yourself......

first of all timing is set to coincide with the duration of the spark , as the piston is coming up the plug ignites as the piston is compressing the a/f mix , so the spark continues it's arc until the piston reaches tdc. so what you are doing here is you are firing the a/f mix AFTER it has reached full compression and continuing the burn as the piston is travelling down.
that drastically cuts down on compression . So as the piston is travelling up. the spark starts it ignition and starts the burn ...not explosion, combustion....and the a/f starts to expand at the same time the cylinder is reaching max compression therefore increasing compression beyond what the piston can compress on it's own , see what I'm saying??? back in the day of leaded gas we could increase timing and not cause spark knock because lead A..would create a cushion to quiet the valves closing(ping) B...help to cool the valves C...increase compression during ignition by adding a non compressible element in the a/f mix...

so to sum it up you're not getting a good complete burn of your fuel by not utilizing a good full compression

that noise in your exhaust? get a valve job and possibly a timing chain

Edited by jewicke, 20 April 2012 - 09:33 PM.




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