Blazer vs. Ranger:
Which To Buy?
I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm looking at two 4x4s to buy. One is a 2000 Ford Ranger (off-road model) with the 4.0L V-6 and automatic transmission. The other is a 1985 Chevy K5 (retired police vehicle) with the 6.2L diesel and auto transmission. The Ranger is free, but is going to require $500 to $600 in engine work. It is burning oil, but the truck runs and drives, has just over 100,000 miles on it, and is in excellent condition. While the K5 is going to cost $1,000 plus whatever work I don't know about, it has 158,000 miles on it and is in fairly rough shape. I don't do any hardcore wheeling at the moment; I'm just looking for something I can have some fun with but still have decent gas mileage for the longer trips. Which vehicle would you recommend, and what should I do to it to improve its off road capabilities?
If you want decent mileage, it's the Ranger, hands down. If you're looking for a rig that can be built for serious wheeling duties with a zillion aftermarket parts, it's the Blazer.
If we were you, however, we'd likely pick the Ford. It doesn't sound like you're looking to modify your truck for severe-duty use, and 600 bucks' worth of engine work seems like reasonable trade-off to acquire a vehicle that otherwise seems mechanically sound. Also, government service vehicles tend to be run rather hard during their lifetimes, and while they're often available at rock-bottom prices, they typically require a great deal of rehab (and rubles) to bring back to their original condition. Besides, the 6.2L is an anchor of a motor-one that you should stay away from.
How to improve the Ranger? You can lift it, add larger wheels and tires, install lockers and lower differential gears, add some rock sliders and a winch/bumper . . . the possibilities are endless. It all depends on what kind of wheeling you want to do and the size of your buildup budget.
The Engine-Motor Conundrum Redux
I was reading the Feb. '10 issue of your magazine today, and came across something I missed in Techline: The age-old question of "What is a motor and what is an engine?" You gave a politician's answer-that is, you danced all around the subject, but didn't answer the question.
A motor is a device that converts some kind of energy to mechanical energy-thus motion. This could be spring-driven, electric, hydraulic, or a combustion engine. An engine is a type of motor that uses fuel to produce mechanical energy.
Awesome. Glad that's settled . . . or is it? Readers?
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