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How to Get 5.0L V-8 Torque In a Ford Ranger EcoBoost for $825

And the upgrade is completely legal and sold with a warranty.

Have a stimulus check headed your way? There are a trillion ways to spend it, but for those horsepower-hungry owners of late-model Ford Rangers, here's a good option. Ford Performance is offering a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost Power Pack Performance Calibration (M-9603-REB) for 2019-2020-model-year Ranger pickups that it claims will increase power, optimize shifting for the 10-speed automatic transmission, and improve engine response throughout the rpm range.

Ford Performance claims commendable power gains for the new Ranger's lone engine, a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. Bear with us, because this is a little confusing, given how Ford is only quoting horsepower and torque increases at specific engine speeds—not overall, certified peak numbers. From the factory, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine makes 270 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 310 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. The new EcoBoost Power Pack is claimed to increase horsepower by 45 ponies at 4,500 rpm and torque by 60 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm.

If you wanted to ballpark things, sure, you could add those increases on top of the Ford Ranger's factory engine ratings, which would net you 315 horsepower and 370 lb-ft, but remember, peak gains and overall gains are two different measuring sticks. The point is, nudging the Ranger up to around 300 horsepower and giving it a substantial torque increase at low rpm should do quite a lot for its performance. Just think of how this Power Pack would perform in, say, the base Ranger XL SuperCrew (extended-cab) two-wheel-drive truck, which weighs only a little over 4,200 pounds.

Since stuffing a big 'ol V-8 in a midsize truck is so mid-2000s, and squeezing V-8 power figures out of a truck that doesn't offer a V-8 option is grounds for internet bragging rights, let's compare the Ford Performance'd Ford Ranger 2.3-liter to the F-150's five-oh V-8. (For this comparison, we'll use our flawed estimates from above, 315 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque—just to ballpark things.) The V-8 wins the horsepower battle, but the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine falls only 10 lb-ft shy of the 2011-2014 F-150 pickup's 5.0-liter V-8 option, which made 380 lb-ft and 360 horsepower.

If that's reaching too far down a rabbit hole for you, here are a few other more recent 5.0 iterations to compare against the Power Pack-equipped 2.3-liter engine: The 2015-2017 model-year 5.0 V-8 (385 horsepower and 387 lb-ft of torque), plus the current 2018-present F-150's 5.0 (395 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque). So there you have it. The Ford Performance calibration wrings V-8 torque out of the Ford Ranger's four-cylinder engine for less than $1000. Add a Ford Performance exhaust system, and the performance gap will surely close even more.

Next to the raw power gains, the $825 Power Pack includes the Ford Performance Pro Cal 4 calibration delivery tool and a high-flow K&N air filter. The Pro Cal 4 on its own costs $450, which is competitive with other tools that diagnose, log data, and download and deliver calibrations. Add in the K&N filter and the calibration wizardry, and it's a pretty tempting deal for 45 horsepower and 60 lb-ft of torque.

The Power Pack also is pretty worry-free, having been engineered, evaluated, and dyno-tested by Ford Performance. It also is 50-state legal, so your smog guy won't get grumpy, and backed by a Ford Performance 3-year/36,000-mile warranty when installed by a Ford dealer or certified technician. The only caveats for that warranty? You can't run a tire larger than 265/70/R17, and you'll have to feed your Ranger premium fuel. Ignore those rules, and you can have your Power Pack and big wheels, too—but wave goodbye to that warranty.