Oil advice for "tuned" Ranger

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Sep 27, 2003
Princeton, TX
This is kind of a dumb question, and I know the answer is to get a UOA, but I want to make sure that I'm on the right track. I plan on doing a UOA soon and having Terry look at it for me since he's so close.

I have a 3.0L (Vulcan – pushrod) 2004 Ranger. I currently am running MC 5w-20 with MC FL-400S.

I have an aggressive tune (custom tuned for low end torque) on my computer and currently run 93 octane. I'm going to be installing a K&N FIPK and some JBA headers next week. Needless to say, I will be making more HP and torque than the stock engine.

Would I be better off running a little heavier (5 or 10w-30) oil and/or a full syn? The truck currently runs very good on the MC 5w-20 changed at 3,000 to 4,000 OCIs. I’m just concerned that the 20 weight might not be enough with the modifications on this truck.

Thanks for reading all this and for the help,

[ March 17, 2006, 08:27 PM: Message edited by: Brian Miller ]
Just bump of to fully synthetic 5w20. That is what I would do if I were to modify my 03 Ranger with the vulcan 3.0. However, I don't see the point in trying to make more horsepower so I stick with the MC5w20 in my fully stock 3.0.
I have an 04 3.0 Ranger too. How much power do think you are going to have?

Stock is 148hp at the crank. So with a few bolt ons and mods, what 175 on a good day?

You are fine with the oil you are using.

I doubt that FIPK is worth much over stock if anything at all. Stock intake tube is not restrictive, its a straight shot to the TB. Put the money into a catback and a ASP pulley instead. You'll see more gains. But don't go too big on the exhaust.
It's got plenty of mods. It already has a Gibson cat-back on it. I put that on right after I bought it (around 1,000 miles). The cat-back helped with low end torque, and I had my Superchips tuner setup for low end torque. I'm trying to get as much in the low end as I can because of the 31" tires, rear locker, etc. I'm happy with what I have now, I just want more
. I do plan on switching out the K&N filter with one of the dry filters from AEM (I don't like the idea of the oiled filter)

I'm just hoping to get more power by letting the engine breath better with the CAI and headers.

I tried an underdrive pulley for some time, but was getting way to much noise from it with the A/C on so I put the stock back on (no more noise) and sold the underdrive pulley.

I think that the MC 5w-20 will probably be fine, but I just wanted to get some opinions.

Which pulley did you use? They are not all created equal. I have an ASP and think it is superior in design than others. It makes no noise. I used to have another one on there that made lots of noise, lets just say it was a popular one that lots of people use.

CAI don't work on every car. The main advantage of a CAI is the improved intake tube and not the filter. There has to be a problem with the stock design to see any gains. The stock tube is a straight shop to the throttle body. I would like to see someone who did an independant dyno run before and after just to prove it. I'd bet it didn't make much of a difference or potentially lost power down low. The claims from K&N are usually not true.

If you want to hear the intake take the snorkel out of it. Plus if you drive off road a closed airbox will keep the mud out better.
I just looked at the K&N website for the PN for our trucks. It doesn't have a closed airbox so its not a true CAI, it will be pulling hot air from the engine compartment. If you have ever driven in the mud, what does your engine compartment look like after mudding? That exposed filter will be covered in mud.

And it cost $300!!!

They claim 10.03hp at 4921rpm. That's total bogus. I'd like to see someone duplicate 10hp out of that thing. They even post a dyno sheet that looks official. I bet it get 2hp at best. And you are spending $300 for 2hp.

I've been working on hotrods for years, so that's where I'm coming from. I don't believe mfg's dyno runs. Remember the Turbonator has dyno sheets to back it up too.

K&N link
Brian miller, have you looked into roller rocker arms yet? If these are available you will get some extra ponnies out of them.
I also have the 3.0 liter V6 Vulcan motor, in a 2003 Ford Ranger. I'm on 3 different Ranger website forums. The concensus of opinion on the forums is that this engine simply does not respond much to ANY bolt-ons and mods, other than the Whipple Supercharger, nitrous, or getting into the guts of the engine and putting in expensive high performance parts such as the cam, pistons, piston rings, rods, and rocker arms. A few mods and bolt-ons are only going to give you a few extra hp. You won't get anywhere near the 175 hp mentioned above. Two or three guys added an aftermarket air intake kit and an aftermarket catback exhaust with larger pipes and a less restrictive muffler and dynoed the engine before and after those two add-ons and got a total hp increase, dyno-measured, of only 3-4 hp. So adding headers to open the exhaust flow will also give you next to nothing. The various chips and computer tuning programs also add only a very few hp. There's lots of hp increase claims by the manufacturers of various bolt-ons, and lots of seat of the pants hp increase claims, but for this engine they simply are not born out by dyno tests.
I said "175 on a good day" because I knew it wasn't attainable.

As far as bolt ons go you have to choose the right ones. The engine does respond well to a tuner and a cheap UD pulley. I also have an exhaust with 2.25" mandrel piping and a nice and quiet aftermarket muffler. On my Gtech I cut more than a second off my 0 to 60 time with those things alone. And that's running an 87 octane torque tune. Truck is a manual trans and factory limited slip. Now I get 0-60 in 8.00 seconds. Stock was 9.1-9.2. Not fast, but it helps hauling the dirtbikes and climbing mountain roads. I also have a one inch larger tire. If I went to stock tires the difference would be even bigger.

I also get 22mpg city and 24-25 highway (running 75-80mph). Thats 2-3mpg better than I got stock.

The way I look at it I'm not paying for a supercharger on my $14k truck (new). I bought this thing because it was cheap and reliable. I bugeted $500 in aftermarket stuff and I got better mileage, power, and get to correct my speedometer for the tire change. I wouldn't do anything else though. Like I said I'm a hot rod guy and its all about $ per hp, or $ per benefit. I don't want to waste my money and time with a slow truck. It's never gonna be that fast.

I didn't want to go there, Bottom line, its your truck. Do what you want. IMO if you can afford all that junk you shoulda bought a more expensive truck.

Originally posted by Huhwhye:
I didn't want to go there, Bottom line, its your truck. Do what you want. IMO if you can afford all that junk you shoulda bought a more expensive truck.


I bought my Ranger because I like my Ranger. I didn't want a Japanese truck, the Colorado and it's clones make me sick to my stomach, and I'm not a Dodge guy.

All I was asking is if anyone who knows what they are talking about thinks I need to run a heavier/syn oil. I wasn't asking to be attacked by someone who thinks it's stupid to add mods and spend money on my truck. Even if I get 0.5 MPG better, they will still pay for themselves since I keep my vehicles until the wheels fall off.

Good day and good life

I'm done.
I meant a more expensive Ranger. Like one with a 4.0.

I was just trying to give some advice from my perspective and hopefully save you some money. Enjoy your truck, I like mine and don't think I could have gotten anything better for the money.

You may want to lurk around the TaurusCarClub.com forums and see what they say about modding the Vulcan. I get good tech tips about my 24v, and I don't see any reason why the Vulcan in a Ranger is any different in a Taurus. Oh, I'd probably stick with 5w/20 if that has been working out for you.
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