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Rust to Riches, Blue's 98 Ranger

Discussion in 'Ranger / Mazda Registry' started by Blue91Ex, January 26, 2015.

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    1. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Thanks mike! I'm just glad to have one thing crossed off the list. Next move is onto body work on the front fenders, and replacing broken bolts. So you guys should be seeing some more sheet metal work soon on here, as well as body filler work and paint. The bottom half of the truck will be slowly turning into black bed liner like I used on the rad support.

      I'm thinking something like this:
      [​IMG]
      I think I'm getting better at editing images in windows paint haha. It's never going to be as nice as a proper photoshop but it does the trick.
       
      Last edited: April 27, 2015
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    3. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      Nice work, I would have given up a long time ago.
       
    4. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Thanks! Sometimes I think I should have but at this point, I got myself into it and it hasn't cost me that much, so I may as well finish what I started, do it the way I want to, and at the end hopefully I'll have a pretty nice rig.
       
    5. DoraThe_Explorer

      DoraThe_Explorer Active Member

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      This is a cool project you're working on! Looking forward to seeing your progress buddy.
       
    6. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      By the time you finish, you'll be too attached to it to let it go! :D Great work!
       
    7. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Yea I don't think I will get rid of it, at least for a few years, after all the work I have and will be putting into it, When I'm done it should be a pretty solid dependable vehicle (the motor is high mileage so I'll be keeping an eye on that) So I will have no real reason to sell it until maybe I have a good reason to or have enough money to buy something that is already in good shape. So I don't plan to sell it, but with all the crap it will certainly task and delay me with, I feel that it will be very much a love-hate relationship haha.
       
    8. 5spdman

      5spdman Elite Explorer

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      You'll have that with every old, rusty project vehicle....I hated my first Explorer for how bad it was and for all the work it gave me, but I teared up when I dropped it off at the junkyard a few months ago.
       
    9. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      I remember that part of your registry. I don't think I will ever scrap the explorer.
      If anything when i have the time and money ill build it back up for offroading but that's a long ways away I think. Deffinitely not scrapping it. The ranger I don't hate, but I accept that currently, it is very much a pile of crap haha. But, I made the purchase, I have the truck now and what it needs is what I'm good at so I may as well fix it up while I have another vehicle to use.
       
    10. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Alright so tomorow it is supposed to be nice, and I'll have all afternoon to work on the truck. I think I'm going to start building the new rear frame section. That is the only part of the project that I don't need any more parts or material for, and I don't have the proper sheet metal for the body work right now, or enough new bolts (miscounted) to replace all the ones I broke off taking the front end apart. So, I will be measuring out the frame section I am rebuilding, dig out the 1/2" thick angle iron I have from a snowbank (all I got for crossmembers, I might just have a thin pipe for one and just use the angle for the farthest back.) and start cutting out the metal I had bent up and it should go pretty quickly and will be good progress.
      I'll make sure to take plenty of pictures as well!
       
    11. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Alrighty update time

      Soooo. first reply here is about the back of the frame, I did start building the new piece. kinda boogered it up but I'll get to that.

      Okay so I had some 3/16" wall pipe laying around and I used it as a crossmember for my custom bent frame rails, after cutting out the length I needed (about 21.5") I used the leftover rail to act as a support while welding in the pipe, it just happened to be exactly the right width (seriously, I just stumbled on that after getting frustrated not being able to hold the pipe square) so this is what i got from that:
      [​IMG]
      big and ugly, the only kind of welds I can seem to get with this welder, I hate flux core so much..

      This is what I ended up with, it isn't pretty, and the brace wont be staying (I am going to re-use part of the existing spare tire crossmember (solid up front) which will go where that piece is.
      [​IMG]

      The front cut is angled to avoid shock mounts and lessen the risk if the frame cracking where I add the new metal.
      [​IMG]

      I added a brace made out of 1"x2" box tubing I also had laying around.
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      Seriously the spatter with this wire is atrocious.

      I also spent a few hours (it took forever) to grind down and repaint the front bumper with truck bed liner.
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
      This will also end up being the texture on the frame and floorpans, as well as the body below the beltline.

      I'll add the other more recent frame work in the next post.
       
    12. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Actually I forgot to mention the bad part of the frame I built.
      I spent all this time measuring it out to make sure I could still bolt on the spring hangars and bumper etc. Yea I forgot the rearmost bed bolts, so I'm going to have to deal with that later before I weld it on...
       
    13. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Okay, so now to the recent work

      I made templates and brought my slab of 1/4" flat/plate to school and cut these pieces out with the plasma cutter. I drilled holes in the plates for rosette welds because why not.
      [​IMG]

      I had to trim and grind down the end of the passenger side because it didn't sit flush over the shock mount bolts.
      [​IMG]

      starting to weld stuff together, I learned I really need to clean the rust off better, wire was sort of "getting caught" as it hit the metal and not arcing so that was good.
      [​IMG]

      some rosette welds (also used holes in the original frame to do rosette welds on the other side as well)
      [​IMG]

      more welding..
      [​IMG]

      Welding and grinding welding and grinding swearing and repeating..
      [​IMG]

      This area was a huge pain. I only had a 5" wide piece of metal to cut out of, so I messed up the shape a bit and ended up with a huge gap to fill even after lots of grinding on that bottom edge to lessen it, and since it was vertical none of the beads wanted to stay stuck (if there is some special technique to this you guys know about please please feel free to tell me haha)
      [​IMG]

      My system was throw some metal in there, grind it flat, throw some more in the gaps, grind it flat, repeat until it came out one smooth surface
      [​IMG]
      You can see in that pic that the first 6" or so was where I wanted it but still working on the rest.

      Alright last pic of mostly finished ( I was getting tired of working on it for the afternoon)
      [​IMG]
       
    14. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Oh and just because I forgot to mention before, no that piece I added is not finished, I haven't welded the bottom edges all the way so when it's done, the lower arch will look smooth instead of having the pits in the welds.
       
    15. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      I did some body work on the passenger side fender yesterday, finished up the paint on the front today after work.

      Before:
      This is the driver side but it was pretty much the same idea.
      [​IMG]

      I filled the smaller holes just using the welder, tiny tack weld, tiny tack weld, burn through, get mad, more tiny tack welds, grind, repeat, you get the idea.

      The larger holes however I used pieces of sheet metal off of the dash of an old parts lawnmower (it was laying around why not use it) to act as backing plates, tacked them in. not the best picture.
      [​IMG]

      The outer side after truck bed liner, I am going to wait until tomorrow to paint the back so the bed liner has time to dry. Also I ran out so i need to get more :p
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]

      As you can see, I am going with that paint scheme from before with the bed-liner, I like it and the original paint looks like ass anyway so its no show truck and I accept that. The wheel arch bed-liner in the pic is for rust protection only, as the fender flares will also be bed-linered and put back on. For the bare spots above the black, I'm probably going to get some color match paint from Napa in a regular can and brush it on. like I said, paint looks like ass anyway I just don't want it to rust haha.

      any thoughts on anything recently?
       
    16. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      So no real progress recently, I did re-adjust the hood hinges to help it sit more evenly with the fender and cowl, as I believe it had been bent when someone forced it up with something stuck in the rear gap, the back edge is dented in and the paint chipped badly. For now I just moved the hinges up to help it sit straighter, but at some point I may try and take it off and hammer the back edge somewhat straight again and touch-up the paint on the hood (including the bubbles on the front edge that are so common with the aluminum hoods)

      anyway I just wanted to add SOMETHING since I haven't done much to the thread recently.
       
    17. BroncoIIPower

      BroncoIIPower New Member

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      Metal. One good reason to live in Arizona:biggthump
       
    18. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Yea, Maine is an evil bitch of a state when it comes to rust haha. I am once again considering selling the ranger to a guy at school but I wouldn't get more than 400 out of it, and that's a big maybe. I would then have to put some of that money into the explorer, then start over with saving money, which right now won't really work because I have to buy like 2k worth of tools before the end of the summer for my program at college, so I would basically be subjecting myself to running the explorer for 2 years while I'm in school and I don't think that is a good idea..
       
    19. 96firephoenix

      96firephoenix Active Member

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      I applaud you for taking that truck on... and in the same breath, marvel at your willingness to buy a truck with all that rust... 98-01 rangers were notorious for rot issues, and especially worse in high-salt states...

      looks like you're doing a good job of it though... If you do scrap the thing, I might be willing to meet the scrapyard's offer to drag back here for the 4wd... I've got family in Boston, so a trip up there could include a flatbed.
       
    20. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      That is an interesting offer, and I will keep it in mind, though I realized with my current situation, my only real viable path is to fix it, as unfun as it may be becoming, as I wouldn't be able to save up enough money to buy anything else, as I have to save up for tools for college. as well as other expenses, and if i did buy anything else in the price range I would expect to sell the truck for, it most likely wouldn't be any better.

      So, I simply have to keep going, which is difficult, as the only times I have had time to work on it in the last month, it has either rained or I had other things I had to do instead..'

      Hopefully there will be progress soon though. Next small project is get the other front fender fixed and back on, put the plastic back on the bumper after painting it, and put the front end back together.
      Then get the gas tank out. after that, everything SHOULD fall together relatively easily.
       
    21. 96firephoenix

      96firephoenix Active Member

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      I hear you there... I know how the "too deep to back out" situation happens with cars... It was just a thought. I'll probably get one local for a 4wd swap....
       
    22. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Yea. unfortunately it did turn into that, though luckily for me I do still have the explorer, so I can at least somewhat take my time, but once I start having to drive to school (1.5-2 hour drive one way) I won't be able to afford to drive the explorer, at like 12-14 mpg, its just too much, I'm hoping after the ranger is all fixed up I will be able to get around 22-24 out of the little 3.0, that's with practice with the 5spd, spark plugs, synthetic oil, trans fluid change and clutch kit, repack wheel bearings etc. with grease, and any other tune up stuff I can think of. Almost double the gas mileage (especially in the winter when the ex gets 11mpg) should be pretty nice.

      So yea even after the rust repair I will have some work to do. goal now is basically asap but at the latest before school starts in the fall..
       
    23. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Fender body work is DONE! Well mostly. I still need to spray the bed liner on it and put the fender flares back on (also freshly repainted with satin black Krylon Fusion, seems to be what people suggest for the plastics on these things) but the metalwork is done! It doesn't look pretty inside (not worth the hassle is grinding the welds down on the back side) but after I get a little bondo on a couple spots and spray the bedliner it should be ready to throw back on, and I can cross it off the list.

      I started working on getting the gas tank out as well, and for the last bolt (no way it is coming out, stripped the head and its rusted in good so it will have to be cut or drilled) I will probably have to take apart the E brake system partially and disconnect the swaybar to get enough space to get in there and grind the bolt head off. I haven't looked at drilling it yet because drilling out the larger bolts freaking sucks haha.

      more progress to come. still haven't found my new camera... its around somewhere...
       
    24. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      well I still can't find that stupid camera. I have tomorrow and Monday off of work though So there should be updates here, may or may not have pictures depending on whether my sisters camera is working right now. I will be redoing some of the work on the drivers fender because I wasnt able to put paint on the fresh metalwork and rust converter and the humidity flash rusted it (even though I had it under cover from rain), so I have a lot of grinding to do, again.. then bondo and more rust converter and paint.

      Also on the list is get the gas tank out. The skidplate is getting in the way and I have had to cut every bolt off and there is one I am having trouble getting to with the grinder, but I have a way to remove it in store. then dropping the tank shouldn't be too difficult. I might even be able to re-use the straps. after the tank is out frame work should go pretty quickly aside from some spots where I have to remove brake lines and fuel lines and such.

      Also notable, I think I have my mind set on a special project. a project along the lines of a flatbed, but much better.
       
    25. Blue91Ex

      Blue91Ex Active Member

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      Got some work done on the ranger
      No real finished projects but progress. couldn't get pictures unfortunately.

      So, i got the tank out finally, I had to cut one of the skidplate braces (bolt stripped out) and I lopped off the front gas tank crossmember since it had to come out anyways. then pulled the tank out forward, after removing the fuel pump. dumped the tank's gas into a can and left the rest to evaporate. I have an issue though, one of the fuel line fitting on the top of the pump will not come off, it had a metal clip that seemed to just wedge it on, the other had a plastic clip of a different style, but I cant get the first one off... any ideas? It would be easier if I had a picture of it..

      Also found out the small crack to the left of the gas tank on the frame rail (right behind the overlap between front and rear halves of the frame) is actually large holes and cracks halfway up the rail, so I started to brace that (angle iron on top tacked on for support) and started welding in a brace plate inside the frame rail to make sure that area of the frame won't break, I may cut out a chunk of the bottom of the frame rail there and replace it with another piece of angle iron that would be welded to the inside patch piece.

      I also trimmed the driver side wheel arch brace I made weeks ago to fit better and match up with the new frame rails I built, which will be going on soon.

      I bought the driver side spring perch and shackle so that I can continue with replacing that part of the frame as quickly as possible (one of the largest parts of this project) but the leaf spring bushings are fused to the inner bushings and bolts, I didn't realize the leaf springs had a separate outer bushing, and I tried to burn out the inner bushing, but instead damaged the outer one on the driver side, so it will need to be replaced..

      Seriously if any of you have any idea where I can get this outer rubber bushing please tell me because I can't find that part anywhere, and I don't have any main leafs that would have one, and anything in a junkyard is going to be as difficult to remove cleanly as this one due to rust and age..
      Is that rubber bushing a part I can buy new?

      Thanks!

      edit:
      Sorry about the massive amount of text-only posts recently, especially with this last one, very long..
      anyway I found this:
      http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ENS-4-2134G/
      Is that the parts I need? my shackles came with bushings but they are not large enough to fill in the leaf eye without the outer rubber bushing, if I bought this kit in the link could I just use the poly pieces and then use the bushing that came with my shackles?
       
      Last edited: June 15, 2015
    26. 96firephoenix

      96firephoenix Active Member

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      the bushings that I got were 2 steel sleeves with rubber between them... I did have to get a sanding drum and take some rust out of the ID of the leaf spring eye before I could get them in...

      I don't think that kit will hurt, but you can make those bushings fit in your leaves... just be careful when de-scaling the eyes in the leaves.

      Edit: RockAuto carries leaves with bushings installed for about $70/side.
       

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