Jesse Davis took the engine from a 1988 Ford Ranger to use in another project. After that the truck sat for a year until he made a deal with a good friend to buy it but only if Jesse swapped a non-factory motor in it. The group decided to buy a Nissan RB20DET and factory five-speed transmission from Japan. The inline-six produces 215 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque from the factory and should be enough to power the small truck.
Jesse installed the motor using modified factory engine mounts connected to custom frame brackets. The front crossmember had to be notched and he had to fabricate a custom transmission mount. The transmission shifter had to be relocated forward to avoid hitting the factory bench seat. The factory steering shaft couldn’t be trusted being so close to the turbocharger so a Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ all-steel steering shaft was adapted to work.
Since the engine took up a lot of room in the engine bay Jesse had to get creative with cooling. He found a Jeep Cherokee radiator fit perfectly with a little trimming. Unfortunately this left no room for the intercooler. Jesse once again stretched his ingenuity by using a Renualt 5 intercooler and installed it in the only space he had, the wheel well. The final step to get his intercooler to work was converting the inlet and outlet from 2 3/8″ to 2 1/2″.
Another issue that arose from the swap was the oil filter location. The swap put it right above a support. Which was fine if you wanted to remove an engine mount and lift one side of the engine every single time you changed the filter. For Jesse a better solution was to notch a support to provide enough room to remove the filter.
The turbo downpipe also caused it share of problems. The fuel filter had to be relocated inside the fender because it was interfering with it. The downpipe itself had to be modified at the bottom with a crossover to meet with the factory Ranger exhaust on the other side of the truck.
About the only modification Jesse didn’t complete himself was on the driveshaft. Jesse left a driveshaft he had pulled from a junk yard with a professional to shorten and balance.
In the end Jesse is proud he took a truck that wasn’t being used and turned it into something unique that his friend will have a blast enjoying.
Source: ironhydroxide.blogspot.com/ via Owner/Builder