Specs on a 1990 Ford Ranger 2.9 V6

by Christopher Jackson

Ford's Ranger compact pickup truck was a best-seller throughout the 1990s thanks to its rugged simplicity and reliable performance. Produced from 1983 until 2011, the Ranger was available with a range of four- and six-cylinder engines as well as two- and four-wheel drive. Though it was smaller than a traditional half-ton pickup, it was no less a workhorse and remains a favorite today on the used-truck market.


Available with a choice of two cab sizes and two bed lengths, the 1990 Ranger was sold with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine or one of various six-cylinder power plants. Ford offered a 2.9-liter V-6 engine in the Ranger from 1986 until 1990, when the 2.9-liter V-6 was replaced by a more modern 3.0-liter V-6. In 1990, the 2.9 V-6 cane optional on regular cab models and as standard equipment on four-wheel drive "Super Cab" models. Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions were also offered.

2.9-Liter V-6 Specifications

The 2.9-liter V-6 produced 140 horsepower at 4,600 rpm and 170 foot-pounds at 2,600. The 2.9-liter V-6 used a single overhead cam and a pushrod-driven valve train. The bore and stroke measured 3.7 and 2.8 inches, with a 9.0-to-1 compression ratio. The 1990 Ford's EEC-IV engine management system controlled the multi-port electronic fuel injection providing 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

Dimensions and Capacities

In the Ranger, the 2.9-liter V-6 held 5 quarts of oil and 7.2 quarts of coolant in models equipped with air-conditioning. Rangers without air-conditioning held 7.8 quarts. Fuel capacity was 16.3 gallons in regular cab models and 19.6 gallons for the extended cab 1990 Ranger. The regular cab, short-bed Ranger was the smallest and lightest of the family at 176.5 inches long and 2,820 pounds. With a long bed and regular cab, the Ranger measured 188.5 inches long and weighed 2,857 pounds. Extended cab models were available with a single bed choice and measured 193.7 inches long and weighed 3,128 pounds. Though petite, the Ranger was rated to carry up to 1,600 pounds in the regular-cab and 1,300 in the extended-cab form.

Reliability and Updates

During its production run, the 2.9-liter V-6 was fraught with long-term quality issues, from cracked cylinder heads on pre-1989 models to persistent valve train noise due to poor oiling. Leaky valve covers were also a common problem. The 3.0-liter V-6 that replaced the 2.9-liter, offered improvements in reliability as well as performance. Horsepower went up to 145, and though the 3.0-liter V-6 was slightly less "torque-y" than the 2.9-liter, fuel economy went up to 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Later Rangers were available with a larger 4.0-liter V-6 as well. The 4.0-liter V-6 eventually replaced both of the smaller engines and sold alongside the 2.3-liter four-cylinder as the upgraded engine choice.

About the Author

Christopher "Emmy" Jackson has been an automotive writer since 1999. His self-syndicated auto column appears weekly in print and online, and his work has appeared in "Grassroots Motorsports," "AutoWeek" and "African-Americans on Wheels." He is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with degrees in English and creative writing, and spends most of his free time reviewing new cars and working on new automotive projects.

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