What didn't I expect...current entries toward the bottom.Much has happened since I've finally started using my truck as a reliable daily driver. Some of this might be useful for those undertaking such a project.The gauges are still working the same, the tach is still reading 2x actual rpm's, gotten used to it by now. The oil pressure indicator still blinks and found it may be nothing more than a bad or unattached ground wire. The GPS has tracked the mileage since the install showing 1,600 miles so far. Still need to get the speedometer cable that will match up.The old 2.3 4 banger was sold to a friend who was going to drop into another ranger with a trashed engine. The tranny should be traded here fairly soon for a set of 15" wheels and an 8.8 rear end. Will need some work to get it to match up but do-able. I was able to borrow a set of 15" wheels from a crown vic with 235 tires just to see what it would do with the mileage and it did add to the benefit for the short time. The wheels just didn't look right with the truck but was glad to give a trial run with the larger tires. Initially, the 5.0 started out with around 10 to 11 mpg and after enclosing the air filter, applying a home brew ram scoop, adjusting the timing, the mileage made a jump to 19 mpg with the larger tires. The smaller 14" seem to give a fairly consistent 16 to 17 mpg with mid grade unleaded.One hell of a difference adjusting the timing made to the performance. Just for kicks, went to a stretch of road not heavily patrolled and let loose on the throttle. I ended up smoking the tires all the way up to 4th gear before reaching 80. The acceleration would definitely benefit by using 8" to 10" wide tires with the back with the mustang geared rear. The gearing right now is the standard 3.45 with the 7.5 rear and is still holding up with no problems. On one occasion I found there to be a rev limiter when reaching the top rpm knowing me and the lead foot tendencies. For the most part, the timing adjustment helped improve the idle and made the biggest improvement on mileage considering the 16 to 17 is just around town.The leaks were solved over time. The remote oil locator was the only problem with oil leaks and the bolts that cap off the unused ends were able to be tightened up only after re positioning the locator where the wrench could reach and apply sufficient torque to seat the caps "all" the way down, no problems since then. The antifreeze leaks came from the hoses not seating properly. Only after constant tightening and replacing a few clamps did the leaks eventually stop. Leak free for the last month.The only other problem encountered was the clutch cable support fabricated in a makeshift way that it was only a matter of time till the bracket snapped in half. Just as I'm getting ready to leave work, step on the clutch and feeling it bottom out(oh shi*) not good. Worked out for the better since a new bracket was fabricated and now supported in a way it takes the stress off the bracket and stiffens the clutch cable.When driving around, most people don't take notice even with the loud exhaust unless they're parked next to me with small kids when starting up or when opening the throttle up. The biggest advantage I've noticed is the ability to drive in 5th gear even on hills and no hesitation whatsoever while using barely any throttle. Passing makes you feel you got a rocket attached to the rear bumper. Need to do another trip just to see if the mileage can peak over 20 mpg, wishful thinking.1/17/09Actually got some time to drive it off of the island for once and discovered some more realistic figures on the gas mileage issue and other performance checks.Was staring at the gas receipt in sort of disbelief, but actually managed to get 22 mpg with the speedometer set at around 66 to 70 for most of the trip. That allows for just over 300 miles before the gas guage starts yelling for a drink.Got a short video taken of the third gear run from 35 to 100 mph in third and will need to finish the rest of the video clips to compile it into something a little more entertaining.With all of the intense rain that has fallen on the Puget Sound region, i found myself a victim of the maze network of water blocking off road around the Skagit valley. Many areas flooded with farms under a 2 feet or more of water and had to wonder if water was going to start filling up the floor in the cab when there was a couple of roads i had to cross, no worries with the bigger tires, forget it with the standard 14 inch low riders, engine would have flooded for sure.Got stuck in traffic jams for the first time, hell of a time for the ground line on the cooling fan to come off. Watched the temp guage go up the first time thinking the fan was still operating and turned on the heat as well to help with cooling. Thought the regulator went out, but the temp never went above the "O" on the normal range, considering it sits on the "L" most of the time. Thought for sure the engine was going to fry for sure when the steam started coming up from the hood. The clutch cable might have to get replaced soon, probably got too hot sitting next to the catalytic converter even with the heat shielding, starts to stick.Every now and then the urge to step on the gas to pass some slow traffic comes up and found even in 5th gear you only need half throttle before you find yourself at 100mph plus in around 15 seconds. The tachometer works out great with the new resistor in place. Hope to find a better set of side mirrors since the ones on now flop back at around 80 all the time.6/1/09Had a really great year and a half of driving to and from work with very few incidents, lots of looks with the air intake. A few adjustments on the timing seems to have helped smooth out the rough idle and brought the mileage back up to the 22 - 23 mpg. The alternator was giving some problems with a dry bearing and got me worried a few times with just the sound it was making. Now the big issue to deal with is the mushy front brakes and the clutch feeling a bit wierd, such as grabbing soft at first then all grab. Smoked it a few times when taking off with a heavy load or determining that both tires were breaking loose on the dry pavement and leaving a nice 20 foot burn out. Try not to do this often since the rear end is getting looser as well, probably attributed from the torque. Scoping out old 8.8 drives from old rangers or explorers, have the wrecking yards on the lookout to let me have first crack at it. The clutch will get replaced first which requires lifting the engine out again and will give the 5.0 a once over. Car show in Oak Harbor is coming up and need to get it done before then, strikes up a lot of interest as i've got the only ranger at the show. Wish there was more...7/17/09I've officially crossed into the dark side and had to perform a manifold gasket replacement on our Chevy Venture(Chevy?!?!?!?!?!), an 02 of all things. The dealership is trying to determine if the cooling fan is coming on when it's supposed to according to the computer and it turns out fine, then they finish off the paperwork to complete the checkout and tells me the lower manifold gasket needs to be replaced as well as a flushing of the coolant. OK, that's fine and dandy, till i look at the estimate for the two. $1100, are they "jlkfjld" crazy. Alright, call up Schucks, lo and behold, complete gasket kits for around $60, and a good ol haynes manual for $30.