New Answer - Posted by Steven In NC This is a little time consuming. Print this out. Decide if you have patience enough to do the job, or pay Precision Tune $398 to do the job. As stated above the Ranger 2.3L has 8 plugs, 2 per cylinder. First, buy good platinum plugs so you won't have to revisit this in another 30K miles...but rather 60-80K. Also, buy top quality spark plug wires and do them at the same time. Here is how to proceed.
Tools you will need. (2) 6inch extensions for your 3/8ths inch socket wrench.
(1) 3inch extension for your 3/8ths inch socket wrench.
(1) Swivle Socket extension for your 3/8ths inch socket wrench.
(1) Small flat head screw driver.
(1) Large flat head screw driver for the intake tube clamp on the throttle body.
(1) 1/2inch socket for exhaust manifold studs.
(1) Spark plug socket with rubber insert to hold plugs in place while inserting & removing.
Some liquid wrench or WD-40.
Some Anti-seize for your spark plugs.
Some Dielectric grease.
Magnetic Pickup Tool may be needed.
Preparation Steps: Prep Step A - Unhook the round air intake where the air filter is located on the passanger side of the vehicle.
Prep Step B - Loosen the clamp that holds the air tube to the throttle body intake and pull the tube off.
Prep Step C - Remove the tube from the top of the engine that circulates the crankcase air back through the intake tube. It's located right behind the oil filler cap.
Prep Step D - Move the entire air intake tube towards the front of the vehicle and lay it on the radiator/fan area.
Your now ready to start.
Start with the passanger side of the engine. It is relatively clutter free. Start with the 1st cylinder at the front of the engine.
1. Twist & remove the spark plug boot from the existing plug.
2. Use a very small flat edged screwdriver to pry open the clips that hold the plug wires together. Note the entire clip is easy to slide off of the little round mounting grommet attached to the engine...then you can hold it in some good light to get a better view of how to open it with the little flat edged screw driver.
3. Use a 6" extension & a 3" extension & your deep socket for the spark plug. I believe it is a 5/8ths...but can't remember for sure.
4. Remove the first plug, yes it will be tight against the 2nd coil pack, but it does remove without taking the coil pack off.
5. Replace the old plug with a new Bosch Platinum Plus 2 prong plug and use some anti-seize on the threads and tighten to the appropriate torque. For me, that's tight but not too tight.
6. Remove the old plug wire from the coil pack. It will be going to the 2nd coil pack (located to the rear of the first coil pack).
7. Install your new plug wire on the coil pack & coat the inside with some dielectric grease if you have some or if the plug wire set comes with some.
8. Repeat steps 1-7 for plugs on 2 & 3.
9. Plug #4 - the last plug on the passanger side. Remove the two (2) 1/2inch bolts that holds a bracket to the exhaust manifold. Make sure you spray the studs these bolts are on with some DW-40 or liquid wrench. Exhaust manifold studs are notorious for having a lot of rust & being difficult to turn nuts off without shearing off the stud & banging up your knuckles at the same time. It has some sort of aluminum box ontop of this bracket with some sensor wires coming out of it. Slip the bracket off and simply lay it to the rear of the engine to provide better access to this last cylinder.
10. Repeat steps 1-7 for plug #4.
11. Remount bracket containing the aluminum box with sensor wires. Tighten the two 1/2 inch nuts back down.
You have now completed the passanger side of the vehicle. It's should only have taken you about 45 minutes if you were working slow.
Now it's time to do the hard side. The drivers side of the engine appears to be literally encased in fuel injection wiring, and the intake manifold. Slow down, take a break, breath deep. You will NOT have to remove the intake manifold to accomplish this.
Step 12 - You will notice on the first cylinder at the front of the engine the spark plug wire has a grey handle sticking up next to the A/C compressor. Using some pliers (needle nose worked for me) twist & pull this grey handle. The spark plug boot should pop free.
Step 13 - Using your small flat edged screw driver, unhook the spark plug wire clips that hold the wires together. There are 3 - One just after the 1st coil pack located at the front of the engine, another just on the other side of the valve cover and a small 2 clip located about 1/2 way back on the valve cover under the intake manifold. Remember you can slip these clips off of their round mounting points to make access easier to un-hook the clips.
Step 14 - Remove the spark plug wire from Cylinder #1 on the Drivers side.
Step 15 - Using the small flat edged screw driver press the 4 connection points on the grey handle that is attached to the wire. It will separate down the middle and allow you to remove the wire.
Step 16 - Replace the wire with the new wire - ensure you line up the rubber round plugs with the round holes in this grey handle & snap it back together with the new wire in place.
Step 17 - Hold the spark plug socket in your left hand down near the plug. Now feed a 6" inch extension below the A/C Compressor line (black pipe) and the A/C Compressor with your right hand and attach the spark plug socket into the extension. (It will not fit if you try to slide the socket between the Compressor and the black A/C compressor line.)
Step 18 - Slip the socket onto the plug. Attach an additional 3 or 6 inch extension to the existing extension & attach your socket wrench.
Step 19 - Remove the plug & proceed to replace it with a Bosch Platinum plug & anti-seize on the threads.
Step 20 - Feed your new Spark Plug wire over to the 1st coil pack & replace it on the coil pack.
Step 21 - Take a break. Get some water.
Step 22 - Move on to the second spark plug. There is no grey handle on the second spark plug boot. You will be able to reach it & twist the boot and remove it. Replace the wire as you have done previously on the first coil pack.
Step 23 - To remove the second spark plug use your spark plug socket and a 3inch extension. Slide the extension & socket onto the plug. Next get a swivel socket adapter for your 3/8ths inch and attach it to a 6 inch extension. Now connect the 6inch extension & the swivel socket adapter to the 3inch extension. You will now find that it does not bind very much and you will be able to loosen the #2 spark plug.
Step 24 - Repeat Step 19.
Step 25 - Attach the spark plug wire to the plug.
Step 26 - Another break & more water.
Step 27 - Look between the intake manifold tubes & you will see another grey handle for spark plug number 3. Using needle nose pliers reach in between the intake manifold tubes and twist & pull the spark plug boot off.
Step 28 - Un-hook the spark plug wire from the 1st coil pack. Now is a good time to check and make sure you got that 3rd wire clip un-hooked so the spark plug wire will move easily. Now pull the plug wire out between / through the intake manifold tubes until it is free from the engine. Careful, go slow feed with your left hand while pulling slowly with your right hand.
Step 29 - Repeat steps 15 & 16 with this plug wire.
Step 30 - Using a 6 inch extension & another 6 inch extension hooked together, put your spark plug socket on and slide it between the intake manifold tubes and onto the spark plug. Remove the spark plug. If it drops out of your socket, use a magnetic pickup tool (telescoping rod with a magnet on the end) and retrieve your plug from the top of the intake manifold.
Step 31 - Repeat Step 19.
Step 32 - Feed your new spark plug wire through the intake manifold tubes like you removed it. With the coil pack end first and reach behind the intake manifold (yes it's tight but you will be able to feel it) and slowly pull it towards the front of the engine while feeding the plug wire with your other hand.
Step 33 - Using the grey handle and a flashlight, line up and push the plug wire onto the spark plug using your pliers again.
Step 34 - Repeat step 26.
Step 35 - Move to the last plug...your almost there..hang in there! Look between the last 2 intake manifold tubes & you will see another grey handle for spark plug number 4. Using needle nose pliers reach in between the intake manifold tubes and twist & pull the spark plug boot off.
Step 36 - Un-hook the spark plug wire from the 1st coil pack. Now pull the plug wire out between / through the intake manifold tubes until it is free from the engine. Careful, go slow feed with your left hand while pulling slowly with your right hand until the wire is free.
Step 37 - Repeat steps 15 & 16 with this plug wire.
Step 38 - Develop X-ray vision & using the flashlight look and see the very tip top of the spark plug. Line up your two 6inch extensions with your spark plug socket on the end and slip it over this last spark plug.
Step 39 - Going slow, remove the last plug. If it drops out once again use your magnetic pickup tool to retrieve it.
Step 40 - Repeat Step 26.
Step 41 - Proceed to replace it with a Bosch Platinum plug & anti-seize on the threads. This is where your X-ray vision is going to be helpful. This last hole is rather hard to see when you have your spark plug socket in place and are attempting to locate the hole. Remember the hole will be further towards the back of the block than the middle. You will eventually find it and without cross threading the plug it will fit and you can tighten it up.
Step 42 - Feed the spark plug wire once again through / between the intake manifold tubes with the coil end first. You will then use your X-ray vision & needle nose pliers to grip the grey handle and re-insert it over the plug.
Step 43 - Finally you connect this last wire to the 1st coil pack and make sure that the clips on all the plug wires are closed with the wires neatly arranged in them.
Step 44 - Make sure each of the spark plug wires are attached to the coil packs and the two clips on each side of the coil packs are snapped beneath the coil pack connection points.
Step 45 - Slap yourself on the back...your done! Go out to dinner to celebrate the money you just saved!
On the drivers side of the engine near the exhaust manifold.
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According to the 2000 Ford Ranger Owner Guide : The ( 2.5 liter , 4 cylinder ) takes : With engine oil filter change ( 4.5 quarts / 4.3 liters of engine oil ) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also , the 2.3 liter DOHC , 4 cylinder in the ( 2001 ) Ford Ranger takes ( 4 quarts / 3.8 liters of engine oil ) with filter change
Front cylinder, drivers side of engine.