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1963 and 1961 Ford Ranchero
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 63 Ranchero with a 6 cylinder and a 2 speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission. Since I bought it I put a carburetor kit in, new radiator, new fuel pump, spark plugs. Got the breaks operational. It runs well at idle and revs up like it has power, seems strong, but the first (and only time so far) I’ve done a test drive it had very slow acceleration. Suffice to say, it could barely get out of its own way until it built up some speed. Any advice as to what might be causing the power loss when driving it. A buddy told me to check the coil for correct voltage. Also, the car has electric ignition instead of points. It has a coil meant for contactless ignition with what I think is an external resistor on the wire terminals.

I have driven some Ranchero sixes that were pretty responsive compared to this. It’s old but seems to have had some attention from its previous owner.

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There is some interesting hose routing in the picture. But that should not impact the issue you have posted.

Areas to look at
Base ignition timing
Distributor mechanical advance too
Maybe a bad condenser if you had points.

And the accelerator pump in the carb
Float level in the carb
Low fuel pressure

Besides "low power" is there anything else happening?
Back fire
Hesitation when stepping on the accelerator

Aftermarket electronic ignition -
Some require 12 volts to the coil. If so the stock coil will not handle that kind of voltage over long period of time.
Othe systems will be good with the stepped down voltage of the stock system to the coil. That is going to be in the 7 to 9 volt range.

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1963 and 1961 Ford Ranchero
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here’s some of things I know about. No backfire, no hesitation, starts easy. I’m confident I set the float level correctly in the carb. The spring on the accelerator pump was slightly bent but I can’t remember if I had one to replace it with or if I just tried to straighten and used the original. I did that about a year ago and have since deleted all the pics I took of my carb work. I have a new fuel pump on there but after I dropped and cleaned the gas tank, (the car had been sitting for some time), I installed a fuel filter in the line before the pump and another one after the pump in the line. They are transparent and show full of gas. Unknowns are timing and mechanical advance and voltage to coil.
 

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Nice looking engine compartment.
We need some actual data--can you provide a 0- 50 or 0 to 60 mph time? These cars were slow by contemporary standards and would be incredibly slow compared to a modern car. A zero to 60 time of over 20 seconds would be about right.

That 2 speed automatic doesn't help the acceleration, much.
Do you know the rear axle ratio? All these factors contribute.

If you say that it takes over 30 seconds to to get 60 mph on a flat road, I would agree that we can help look for problems and solutions. Please give some objective data.
 

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1963 and 1961 Ford Ranchero
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unfortunately I haven’t gotten that data because even though I’ve owned this car for two years I’ve been slowly getting it into driving condition and don’t have it registered with plates yet. It’s a long term project. Living in the middle of a major city I’m hesitant to get on a 50 mph street for safety and legal reasons. Just been driving it on neighborhood streets. I’ll check back in if I get that info. Thanks for the input.
 

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OK, lets work with what you can do.
The axle ratio is coded on the FORD Warranty Plate in the rear face of the Left door. At least that would be the code for the axle originally installed. If you can crawl under the car, there "might" be a metal tag secured by one of the housing bolts. That should have the ratio stamped on it. Last chance is to block the car so it can't roll and jack up one rear tire, put a chalk mark on the driveshaft and the tire so you can count the revolutions. Count how many times the driveshaft has to go around and around before the tire makes one single revolution. It could be about 3.1, or 3.6, 0r 3,9--or something close to that.
You should be able to read the tire size off of the sidewall of the tire.
How about 0-30 mph? can you safely do that? It is better to have a passenger operate the stopwatch as you call out the speed.
Here are some published o-30 times from road tests on the early Falcon:
Manual Trans 5.2 seconds Automatic 6.5 seconds
Manual Trans 4.8
Manual Trans 5.5
Manual Trans 5.5 --4 speed in a Convertible 7.4 in an Automatic Convertible

That may seem like a lot of variation, but cars and drivers vary. With an automatic--and it is only a 3 speed- you should be in the 6.5 to 7.5 second range. There was a reason that road testers nicknamed the 140 cid as the "Down Hill Six" Note the the convertibles all got the larger 170 cid six but becasue of the extra weight of a convertible, it was even slower.
( When i had a Mercedes 240 Diesel, some people called that slow--I called it "Stately" Its all in perception. )
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did the 30 mph test several times and clocked 6-7 seconds each time. Must be the nature of this animal. I guess I just wasn’t used to the smaller six and automatic. Wish it was a manual trans, though, and will still check the timing to be sure It’s right. I have a 65 Mustang inline 6/3 speed manual, and a 61 Ranchero with a dropped in 289/4 barrel Holley w/4 speed man, so therein lies my disappointment. Not used to the “economy car” type performance. I’m not not too disappointed with the performance of the smaller six once it gets up to speed, just won’t be a regular driver in my stable. She has potential in the looks department, though. Still love those early 60s Rancheros.
Thanks for all the info.
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A manual transmission isn't going to make the car faster. Just may make the shifts faster. And isn't comparable to the small block V8.

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That was exactly why I requested some objective measure of acceleration. You could have changed the ignition, the carb and made a bunch of adjustments and not improved the power at all---and maybe created some real drivability problems. Downhill Six, indeed.
To be fair, the Falcon was as quick as most contemporary cars, about the same as a 53, or 54 Ford sedan The muscle car era was just around the corner. Holman and Moody, Edelbrock and one other supplier made--at FoMoCo's request-- kits to improve the Falcon's performance. All three used 3 one bbl carbs and a hotter cam and made a significant difference---I used to have that issue of Hot Rod--maybe someone could post the article. Hot Rod Mag stuffed a 312 Y Block into a 1960 Falcon. In 1962 FoMoCo even had a '62 Falcon running around their proving Grounds with a 260 HP 260 cid small block, so more power was on the way.
 

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I believe that you said that the car has a 2-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission. Could you possibly have some slippage in the torque converter? Here is how to test it:

1) Check the coolant and transmission fluids to be sure that they are correct.
2) Bring the engine to operating temperature.
3) Connect a tachometer and place it where you can read it from the drivers seat.
4) Set the parking brake and step on the brake pedal.
5) Set the shift indicator to D or L.
6) Press the accelerator to the floor and wait for the reading on the tach to stabilize. Should take 5 seconds or so.
7) Note the RPM reading.
8) Run the engine in NEUTRAL at 1200 RPM for at least 2 minutes to bring the temperatures down to normal.
7) The RPM readings depend on the transmission in your vehicle. Here are the normal specs:


Transmission ModelRPM Reading
PBZ-A, E1740 - 1940
PBZ-H, J1645 - 1845
PCF-A, B1840 - 2040
PCL1600 - 1800
PCM1750 - 1950
 

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I have a 63 Ranchero with a 6 cylinder and a 2 speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission. Since I bought it I put a carburetor kit in, new radiator, new fuel pump, spark plugs. Got the breaks operational. It runs well at idle and revs up like it has power, seems strong, but the first (and only time so far) I’ve done a test drive it had very slow acceleration. Suffice to say, it could barely get out of its own way until it built up some speed. Any advice as to what might be causing the power loss when driving it. A buddy told me to check the coil for correct voltage. Also, the car has electric ignition instead of points. It has a coil meant for contactless ignition with what I think is an external resistor on the wire terminals.

I have driven some Ranchero sixes that were pretty responsive compared to this. It’s old but seems to have had some attention from its previous owner.

View attachment 51949
Let me tell you a story of a Mopar that wouldn't accelerate either. Before I got my hands on it the former mechanic replaced everything. They had diagnostic equipment but didn't use it. When I got in the car I noticed the low oil pressure light was on, but it had a mechanical gauge with good pressure. When I did a tune up I always put it on an engine analizer and one of the tests i performed was a coil output test. You take a spark plug wire off the plug and don't let it touch ground and the coil would put out all the voltage it was capable of trying to fire the plug. This should be in the neighborhood of 40,000 volts. This one was only doing 7,000 volts. The former ID10D's had hooked up the wire that used to feed the oil light to the positive side of the coil ( hence the red light being on ) and that single light took enough voltage away from the primary side of the coil that all it was capable of was 7,000 volts. A car will idle fine with 7,000 volts but when you step on the gas the coil needs to put out full secondary voltage ( 40,000 volts ) to ignite the rich mixture. Cure for the Mopar, remove the wire going to oil light and problem solved. So in the short, the coil supply voltage has to be correct. If your electronic system needs a coil for it, you have to make sure that it's the right one and has the correct voltage going to it. If you have a voltage drop designed into your car and a coil that doesn't need it, it will never run right. Did I say short story?
 
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