With a near twenty-year-old Ford Ranger in the driveway, I ponder and plan about the next upgrades for the Ultimate PreRunnner project vehicle. At the top of that last, is a V8 swap of course. But that is far away with a tremendous parts acquisition program ahead. So I am left with simple and easy-to-do modifications that will keep this truck running.
For the most recent revitalization project, my goal was to add more firepower and life to a tired old engine. This 4.0-liter SOHC V6 has just over 165,000 miles on the odometer. I have changed out spark plugs and wires prior, and I figured it was time to do it again. But, I wanted to do a little more, so started clicking around.
After doing a little research, I found Performance Distributors makes a trick little coil pack replacement. Their Ford Screamin’ Demon Coil for my application is under $90 and advertises significant performance gains. It caught my interest as an affordable purchase, and I am a sucker for bolt-on power upgrades.
Screamin’ Demon Coils are built with brass terminals for better conductivity and corrosion resistance. The durable Thermoplastic housing and Thermal Epoxy waterproofing are a tremendous upgrade over the cheap plastic OEM units. This will provide much more protection in the extreme all-weather environmental conditions I regularly encounter on my adventures.
Screamin’ Demon Performance Gains
Weatherproofing is great, but then there are the performance advantages. The Screamin’ Demon Coil provides 45,000 volts of output and a larger .065-inch plug gap. The improved function results in intensifying spark output which produces more power and combustion efficiency.
Increasing the plug gap by as much as .015-inches over stock exposes more spark to the fuel mixture for an enhanced burn. That might sound like a gimmick, but a more efficient fuel burn equals more horsepower, more torque, quicker starting, a smoother idle, better throttle response, and increased fuel mileage. All of which are key to keeping an aging workhorse like the Ultimate PreRunnner on the trail and running strong.
Screamin’ Demon Coils Benefits:
- More Power and Torque
- Better Throttle Response
- Wider Plug Gaps
- Increased Fuel Mileage
- Improved Fuel Economy
- One-year warranty
While on the Performance Distributors website, I noted they had some very high-quality LiveWire spark plug wire sets. Like much of everything else Performance Distributor manufactures, these are top-of-the-line race-grade units. Not cheap, but not crazy expensive either. I figured my Ultimate PreRunner Ranger project deserves it anyways. But really, the silicone jacket as well as a braided cable cover provide both thermal and abrasion protection. The extra heat-resistance protects up to 1,400 degrees was an easy sell for me.
I have had high-quality spark plug wires before, but these LiveWires are on another level. Yes, they are made custom and specific to each vehicle application. Yes, they come in a variety of visually pleasing colors which include black, blue, green, red, purple, orange, yellow, and silver. But my favorite part is that they come printed with the cylinder firing-order numbered on each cable.
LiveWire Spark Plug Wire Benefits:
- High-Temperature Sleeve Protects Wire Up To 1400°F
- Custom Fit And Numbered For Each Cylinder
- Spiral Wound Core Prevents Radio Interference
- Low Resistance Value Of 300-350 Ohms Per Foot
- Durable Silicone Jacket And Insulation
- No Cutting or Splicing – All Sets are Ready To Install
Performance Distributors bundles both the Screamin Demon Coil and the LiveWires into a FirePower Ignition Kit. For my V6 application, it was $209 before taxes.
As soon as the Performance Distributor parts arrived, I went down to the local auto parts store and picked up the most expensive NGK IX Iridium Spark Plug I could find. Gimmicks and marketing aside, I was just hoping to actually feel a glimmer of performance gains.
Performance Distributors FirePower Ignition Kit Installation
Over the course of a weekend, I wrestled with fishing out and replacing the spark plugs. On my mildly built prerunner ranger in its current form, there are no fender wheel liners which made access easier in some areas. However, I have large shock towers bracing the 2.5-inch coilovers on each side which made things significantly difficult to reach the number-two spark plug in particular. After finding the unicorn arrangement of extensions and swivels, I finally pulled the last bastard out and got the new NGKs tightened in their pockets.
Installing the Screamin’ Demon coil was as simple as removing the old OEM unit and putting the new unit into place . The coil can only be oriented one way. Before I touched anything, I did take pictures of the existing configuration. I went one step further and looked up the vehicle’s firing order and cylinder numbers for my own personal reference and marked that down in a log book.
As for routing the LiveWire plug wires, well that was very simple when noting the pre-determined cylinder numbers printed on each cable.
Soggy And Sorry
I will admit the last time I went off-roading, I found a deep silty mud hole. Apparently, I failed to thoroughly pressure wash the engine bay. So I am paying the price now. It is filthy and rust is building up on my exposed raw metal shock tower crossmember. Also, this truck is only driven once a week as I am waiting on new coilovers to install all new suspension for the front end.
My dad taught me whenever you get the chance, it is recommended to give everything a good look over. As I was peering into the abyss of engine bay components, wondering how I was going to get the hard-to-reach spark plug, I found plenty of other neglect. This included rotten breather lines, among other things. The discovery may have revealed what was tripping a check engine light and causing a lean fuel condition. I replaced several lines and cleaned up much of the filth. I even pulled the crossmember, sanded it down, and gave it a heavy coat of black spray paint.
Performance Distributors Adds FirePower
Overall, I am very satisfied with the parts received. Everything is well made and constructed of the highest quality materials. Once I got the truck all back together and running, I noted a clean and powerful start. The engine appears to run smoother than ever. It has a crisp idle and a ripe response when I open the throttle. When it ran lean before, now she purrs as it should. Taking the truck out for a test drive and a systems check revealed improved throttle when I pepper it down the straight. And guess what? The unrelated mystery check engine light that was haunting my driving dreams has been corrected by a chance maintenance fix. I am super pumped and hope to report more feedback on fuel mileage once I get a proper road trip in.