The Ford F-150, America’s best-selling truck three decades running, is also among the most modified truck in America. During the 1990’s, Ford produced a special high performance model called the Lightning, with a 5.8 liter High Output V8. The Lightning came and went… and came back again, along with a little cousin of a concept, the Ford Ranger Lightning Bolt. Equipped with a 5.4 liter V8 engine, the Ranger Lightning Bolt concept was far out, even for Ford, who never actually put it into production. Too bad Ranger production is about to end, otherwise we’d be calling for Ford to fit the new Coyote 5.0 under the hood.
Luckily, there is Chris Jones and Blow-By Racing, who are currently in the midst of swapping a brand new Ford Racing 5.0 crate engine into a 2011 Ford Ranger. We caught up with Chris on the phone to get the low-down on this kickass project, which they are calling “Wile E. Coyote.”
“It’s for a frequent customer of ours. He wanted to do something different.” And what could be more different than buying a 2011 Ford Ranger 4×4, ripping the whole drivetrain out, and stuffing a 412 horsepower 5.0 V8 under the hood? Not much, we reckon. “Unfortunately we had to tear out the 4×4 system. The V8 engine just wouldn’t fit.”
Sure is a snug fit.
As it turns out, a lot of things wouldn’t fit, which has led to some serious modifications. “So far we have had to fabricate custom motor mounts, and we’ve got to get the engine to sit about another inch and a half down,” says Chris. Surprisingly though, the new 5.0 V8 engine weighs about the same as the outgoing 4.0 liter V6 engine, which lacks an aluminum block. They have also made extensive modifications to the fuel tank and fueling system, attempting to keep it stock looking, but able to keep up with the demands of the thirsty Coyote V8. As it stands, they’ve got the Coyote installed, and they’ve even had it running…but there is a lot of work to be done still.
“Right now we’re really busy, and this project has turned out to be a lot harder than we realized. It’s not that it isn’t doable, not by a long shot. But is it as easy as we thought it would be? Not so much,” says Chris. That said, he still isn’t sure whether or not they will offer a kit for the DIY mechanic to do it themselves. “Depends on how much interest there is.”
But it does look like it belongs there...doesn't it?
Well color us interested, and the thing hasn’t even seen the road yet. Right now the plans call for running Project Wile E. Coyote naturally aspirated for about a month (with the addition of a Boss 302 intake) before strapping on some kind of forced induction (most likely a Kenne Bell supercharger or 67 mm turbo.) Out back will be a 8.8 rear end that will get the appropriate suspension pieces to help keep it planted…though this is more a show truck/toy than a serious racing machine. That said, who wouldn’t want a 500+ horsepower V8-powered small pickup? We now we sure would.
For now the project remains “Under Construction” as they work out the kinks in the swap, as well as determine where the final project goes. There was mention of big disc brakes all around, which are sure to be complimented by some aftermarket wheels, and maybe even a spiffy new paint job. Maybe not. Whatever Chris and Blow By Racing do to this Coyote-powered Ranger, we’re sure it’ll be awesome. Check back soon as we bring you up to date details of the final completion of this amazing project.