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Thread: California Emissions Junk

  1. #1

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    Angry California Emissions Junk

    Just did a 200-mile highway drive and observed about 24mpg. I bought this truck expecting nearly double that. That made me sad. Browsed a bit and discovered that even according to the "estimates" of the EPA, the California model gets some 4mpg less than the Federal emissions one. That made me angry.

    My factory repair manual mentions that the CA model has a timing retard device, but doesn't go into detail. What is this device and how do I disable it? This thread mentions a custom (non-California) injection pump having dramatically improved efficiency. Is that just due to the retarded timing, or is there something else in the pump that's essentially wasting fuel? Does this engine have any other emissions equipment?

    As a sidenote, I just picked up two spare engines and an additional two spare turbos, which are the wastegated type (my stock one is non-wastegated). I would expect improved power and much improved drivability from the newer turbos, but what about fuel economy? Also, can I just hook up any old vacuum line to the wastegate actuators and have them work, or do I need to do something else to prevent overboost? I'm a newbie when it comes to any kind of FI.

  2. #2


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    Not something I'm knowledged about, but what are the differences side by side? Is there anything that is not there on the spare motors that is there on your oem california spec? Maybe a quick bypass of the uneeded emmissions may bump up your milage.

  3. #3

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    Well, phooey on the turbos. Two are completely seized; the other two have so much play I'm surprised they stay together at all. Assuming my stock turbo is good (minimal play, but it could be leaking oil. I've yet to diagnose), what should I do? Leave it alone, rebuild the wastegated types, or replace with something newer and nicer altogether?

    As for the two blocks... well for starters, they're so filthy that it's hard to tell what's going on, but they are not the same motor as mine. Funny enough, they have *more* stuff on them than mine.

    Peripherals arranged differently (PS where the alt is; alt who knows where; AC bracket elsewhere), one has a different intake manifold shape and EGR (mine doesn't have this at all), both have some funny doohickey on the back of the manifold that doesn't go anywhere, and other minor differences in the block and head castings. I wonder if one is a 4D56? Are there any serial numbers or other identifying marks I should look for?
    Last edited by CRIChouse; 05-09-2011 at 07:33 PM.

  4. #4


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    Turbos can be rebuilt. But may have to be sent in for balancing. Depending on the damage to the turbos. You can always simple green the engine to clean the stuff off of. It could be the ssame as the my 4g63 turbo motor where there is a flat machined spot with some numbers stamped into it. I believe it's on the exhaust side of the engine.

  5. #5

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    The Machined pad is on the Driver's Side of the Engine (opposite side of the intake/exhaust, same side as the injector pump). It'll be a flat pad behind the Block Heater that should have "4D55" or "4D55T" or "4D56" or "4D56T" plus some serial numbers below it stamped into the pad.

    Keep in mind the Ford Ranger was optional with the 2.3L 4D55 too, and the accessories were mounted differently on it.

    EDIT: and the part he mentions on the intake manifold (near the firewall / back of the manifold) is a Blow Off Valve, some 2.3's / 2.5's had em, some didn't. Mine does.
    Last edited by 74Dusted; 05-09-2011 at 08:13 PM.

  6. #6

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    o_O

    What's the point of a BOV if there's no throttle plate?

  7. #7

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    I think I have all the answers you're looking for. You state your truck has a non-wastegated turbo which would make it an '83 model year. All '83 model year trucks were non-EGR vehicles. It may say it is California emissions but in '83 that just meant the timing was adjusted to reduce emissions. Some of the later model years like the 84-85 were outfitted with California emissions that included an EGR. The EGR recycled the hot exhaust back into the intake which kills MPG. If you are experiencing poor MPG I would guess that you need to have your turbo, fuel pump and injectors rebuilt. After rebuilding these 3 components you should expect to see 30-35MPG.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4D55 Performance View Post
    I think I have all the answers you're looking for. You state your truck has a non-wastegated turbo which would make it an '83 model year. All '83 model year trucks were non-EGR vehicles. It may say it is California emissions but in '83 that just meant the timing was adjusted to reduce emissions. Some of the later model years like the 84-85 were outfitted with California emissions that included an EGR. The EGR recycled the hot exhaust back into the intake which kills MPG. If you are experiencing poor MPG I would guess that you need to have your turbo, fuel pump and injectors rebuilt. After rebuilding these 3 components you should expect to see 30-35MPG.
    Aha, I was hoping you'd chime in. Yes, it's an '83.

    So you're saying that there's no extra device, only that the static timing is retarded (in other words, a simple timing advance would put it at Federal spec)? This is my first diesel, so any extra gadgets on the injection pump would go unnoticed by me (unlike EGR).

    I'm seeing 24; it doesn't seem to matter whether that's highway driving or mixed (mostly country backroads here, not much stop-n-go). That's pretty much exactly what the EPA says I should be getting.

    Could you share what you did to your injection pump to see 32/44mpg? I'm new to diesels but generally competent with machinery; is rebuilding and customizing a pump a reasonable DIY task?

  9. #9

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    It is possible to rebuild the pump your self but I would not recommend it. Rebuilding an injection pump is an art, especially if you want it tuned for efficiency or performance. I had my pump rebuilt by a shop that only rebuilds diesel injection pumps. Most diesel shops can rebuild pumps but I would take it to a place that specializes in just rebuilding pumps. I requested that they adjust the settings for efficiency and I saw a big return in MPG. Also have the injectors and turbo rebuilt will make a large improvement.

  10. #10

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    May I ask what you paid for yours? I've heard figures of $800-1200 to rebuild a pump; that seems awfully steep. I can't imagine customization would make that any cheaper, unless I took a more efficient factory pump (late-model VW TDI, perhaps?) and modified it to fit the 4D55.

    I hate to foment or act on prejudice regarding local businesses, but I've been pretty consistently ripped off by and underimpressed with the work quality of any business in California that isn't nationwide (and many that are). I don't want to start a cultural debate here, but it seems a state-wide phenomenon of some degree of incompetence. I'd hesitate to outsource any labor like rebuilding a pump. Would rather deal with an out-of-state business (and at the prices we're talking, shipping is less than taxes).

    Regarding the turbo and injectors: is rebuilding those DIY-able? How about replacing with more modern, aftermarket pieces? The turbo in particular - I know they've become more efficient and responsive in the intervening 28 years, and that the lack of a wastegate is hurting response and drivability.
    Last edited by CRIChouse; 05-12-2011 at 10:37 PM.

  11. #11

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    I had a place out of Salt Lake City rebuild my pump. A standard rebuild will cost around $500 and go up from there depending on the condition of the pump. My pump had a worn out main shaft so I paid $700 to have mine rebuilt. The mainshaft is the part that the pulley bolts on to and it is one of the main components of the pump.

    I would also send out the turbo to a place that only rebuilds turbos because turbos need to be balanced. I recommend you give the guys at the Turbo Re-Source in Lake Havasu City, Arizona a call. They will provide you with a quality rebuild. They are also very capable of modifying your turbo for performance. To get a turbo rebuilt is typically $300-400 and price will go up slightly if you have the turbo modified. http://turboresource.com/

    Injectors also need to be calibrated and they cost around $150-160 to get all 4 rebuilt. To get the pump, turbo and injectors rebuilt should set you back $1000-1200 if you pull all the parts and reinstall all the parts yourself.
    Last edited by 4D55 Performance; 05-14-2011 at 12:59 PM.

  12. #12

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    Thanks. So about the California emissions spec, would simply advancing the pump a bit put it at Federal spec?

  13. #13

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    If you need any help locating a pump rebuilder I can help you with that.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4D55 Performance View Post
    If you need any help locating a pump rebuilder I can help you with that.
    Thanks, but can you tell me if there's anything special about the California pump, or if it's just clocked retarded compared to the Federal one?

  15. #15

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    On the '83 trucks the pumps are all the same. On the 84-85 truck the California and Federal pumps are much different from one an other. The 84-85 federal pumps are different from the 83 federal pumps. I run a 1983 high altitude pump, but that just means the timing was set different. My pump is the same as the pump on your truck.
    Last edited by 4D55 Performance; 05-14-2011 at 09:05 PM.

  16. #16

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    I also have an 83 4d55t and just had the injectors and the pump rebuilt for $915.00. I used Advanced Diesel Specialist here in Phoenix and the guy did a good job for me.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis8585 View Post
    I also have an 83 4d55t and just had the injectors and the pump rebuilt for $915.00. I used Advanced Diesel Specialist here in Phoenix and the guy did a good job for me.

    So how much of an improvement did you notice with the rebuilt pump and rebuilt injectors? Most notice a huge difference in performance and economy after rebuilding there pump and injectors.

  18. #18

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    I dont know yet, the motor is still being overhauled. I bought this truck in 1000 pieces so I am still putting it all together. I will report back my mpg when I get it running. Hopefully in about 2 weeks or so.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4D55 Performance View Post
    So how much of an improvement did you notice with the rebuilt pump and rebuilt injectors? Most notice a huge difference in performance and economy after rebuilding there pump and injectors.

  19. #19

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    I have a block off plate for both the exhaust manifold and the intake elbow at the turbo to remove all that crap. The 83 california pump also has a full throttle solenoid on the lever which recycles fuel from the return line. This fuel being overly heated also kills the MPG. For this reason when the pump needs a rebuild I always look for federal 83 pumps.

  20. #20

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    I would want to keep the timing on the 83 to around 3 deg. All of these trucks have a timing advance. Its on the top of the IP pump. It was mainly for high altitude.

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