88 Ranger STX 4x4 Draw thru 4bbl carbed Build: planning stage...


Jun 5, 2001
Hello All!
Back into the HYBVRID build scheme with my 16 year old's project purchase. He loves the original square body Ranger and wanted to use it as the start of the build.

We have an '80 Monte Turbo 4BBL engine (disassembled by me 25 years ago); an 85 Cutlass 3.8 NA 2bbl/ TH200 still assembled and stored 20 years ago w/ spare 4BBL Weiand intake and his recent $500.00 project shell purchase: an 88 Ford Ranger Supercab STX High Rider 4x4 complete shell, good glass, 90% complete dash, w/power windows & doors, Solid body, locking hubs, 2000 Explorer 3 spoke Chrome Steel 16" wheels w/ 235/70R16 AT's.

It has Mangled wiring, missing AC components and radiator, punched & destroyed steering column but no engine, no manual trans, no tcase.

Here's the thought process:
Needs a few interior trim pieces, LKeft front reproduction fender, carpet, front seats & headliner, steering column (Open on this) and a full new/swapped wiring harness.
Also Thinking about an 89-92 Ranger Dash swap for the aesthetics.

Engine:'85 231 Long Block w/ Weiand 4bbl from 85 Cutlass - (later to use 80 MC Draw-Thru carb'd setup on this block and heads)
Transmission & Tcase : Thinking 4.3L S-10 5 spd T5 Borg Warner & manual transfer case; would likely require custom driveshafts
Needs whole wiring harness (new or from donor vehicle)

My biggest issue right now seem s to be finding Any easier transmission swap ideas for 5 speed & transfer cases? Also open to the idea of using Chevy 1500 '64" ' rear leaf springs to improve the ride in place of the stock Ford units (6" longer springs- could allow us to reposition the rear axle centerline back also.)
I can't find an adapter for the Buick to Ranger Mazda-based M50D transmission & manual transfer case which would help solve the driveshaft issues. This is such an amalgamation, I''m not sure to look for help here on the Turbo Buck boards or on the Ford Ranger boards.

Thanks in advance for any input! Ill post as we build this summer, AFTER he finishes his Eagle Scout Project
Once he gets it going as a daily driver/college car, he wants to eventually build a flat-fendered late 40's to early 60's Willys Extended Cab pickup and bed to remove the Supercab Ranger body from it..
Sounds like a cool project, I hope you can make some headway on it. I don't have any real advice for the trans swap though.

Also, the willies would be great, I have a 63 willies truck with the flathead six, my mountain truck, love it!
I hope this guy comes back with pictures and updates.

For transmission, the S10 T5 is probably your best bet for a relatively cheap 4x4 manual option.
I am back. College visits/applications/ senior activities & Eagle Scout Project have all delayed this build a little.

I'll add pictures as we can. He's decided no Willys- he likes the 88 Ranger STX body as is. Once we get the Iowa title sorted out & registration issues, we'll start on the cab. For now he's started with the chassis and bed/interior issues. He's sourced all the missing parts except the carpet (easy - ACC repalcement) . We're going to use the steering column and entire wiring harness from the 85 Cutlass Supreme donor car, an 85 3.8 2BBL complete NA long-block we have. For transmission, he's thinking an NV3500 & transfer case from an S-10 or Silverado 1500 4x4 since it is a driver's drop setup like the Ranger

Next step is - The biggest concern is figuring out what MUST be done to swap the 80 draw thru setup onto the 85 NA block and heads. Any insights here (we have the GNTTYPE.org carbed turbo regal recipe & the Begginer's guide for a basic rebuild.

that's where we're at for now. More to come in the next few weeks.
Here's the update from my TheRangerStation (HadASplash/XLTSC)
Post today:

Turns out looks like the '80 MC Turbo had a salvaged '79 (818? series) engine and complete setup swapped into it when I got it back in '90.
Going to use the bare (disassembled) '79 Block and factory 85 Cutlass 3.8 Motor mounts
& the TH200C trans to locate and set up the engine's position in the frame soon as well, once he finishes cleaning/scraping and rust converting the surface. Then we can place the cab back down on the frame with minor 1"/1.5" lift blocking for the body to plan out the motor placement.

The 85 Cutlass had a running RWD Buick 2bbl 3.8L 140 series block (20 bolt pan, centered oil p/u position) with the best factory heads (8445's).

We cracked open the intake last weekend and started cleaning her up & mocking up the parts. Cam looks good, rockers look good, valve springs 'look' good. So we Test installed the '79 Buick turbo intake manifold after cleaning & painting it and the factory iron exhaust manifolds a high-temp Gloss Black. I am having issues finding a turbo to plenum and turbo to intake manifold gasket set for this setup. Looking to pull the crank bolt, crack the pan from the oil pump/front timing cover, etc. Then clean, prep & paint the block Buick Engine Blue, hopefully over the Holiday weekend. I still need to find my box containing the Turbo-specific Valve covers for the '79 that is hiding in the garage somewhere.
(He may be getting a 3.8 'evenfire' unused flywheel for the cost of shipping + a thank you donation)
also we - located a GM1500 series NV3500 & Transfer case too.

Currently we've gotta pull the windshield, rust convert the channel and re-adhere the windshield into the cab.
My son is working on interior panels, upholstery for the dash, etc. & some of the small-stuff for now.
I'm researching the IOWA (to PA) title situation also.
I straightened the left front tweak on the (about 90% better) the factory front bumper he will use temporarily.
We also swapped out the tailgate and LF Fender for more solid / less wrinkled options too.

That's the update so far. I'll get pictures soon as well.
Here's the update from my TheRangerStation (@HadASplash/XLTSC)
Post today:

Turns out looks like the '80 MC Turbo had a salvaged '79 (818? series) engine and complete setup swapped into it when I got it back in '90.
Correction- Dug the turbo block out of storage and it is NOT an 818 block, but a 787 block-
Which according to Buickgod.com Network - Preserving Buick History for Car Enthusiasts : Top : Buick Resource : VIN & Engine Info : Engine Specs / Torque All 100 years : V6 Engine Spec's All Years
would have made it a '78 or '79 motor, but not listed as a specifically turbo engine.
I wonder what truly led me to where we are today....

I'm going to keep the 787 bare block and the Edelbrock Performer for a possible future 4BBL NA build.
Progress on mock-up:


  • IMG_5971 (1).jpg
    IMG_5971 (1).jpg
    1.4 MB · Views: 46
  • IMG_5969.jpg
    759.5 KB · Views: 40
  • IMG_5972 (1).jpg
    IMG_5972 (1).jpg
    967.7 KB · Views: 39