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Kirby's 1991 Ranger Build Up


Kirby N.

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City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
I haven't posted much here since I sold my 1993 Mazda Navajo around 2010 or 2011. It was 10 years in the making and finally to a solid, reliable state. I had some other priorities and decided to sell it and get something more versatile. I will include some pictures below of its developing states and final state when I sold it below. In the end, it had 37" MTRs, Arb front, detroit rear, 4.56 gears, D and D doubler and I built all the armor and the Dana 44 front Solid Axle Swap.

James duff 3.5" VR coil lift, 235" defender tires and a home made heavy ugly bumper (around 2000 when I bought it) :
Before.jpg


2001 with 33x10.50s and James duff 4.5" lift with extended radius arms, manual hubs and new auto tranny:
33sand4inch.jpg

Here it is just after the SAS with 34s and a swapped in manual tcase and tranny:

864825-R1-044-20A.jpg


Winching out of Mikeys hot tub circa 2002 or so

Tub.jpg


Stuck on a tree just after 37s
DCFC0209.jpg


37s, winch bumper rebuild etc
IMG_0388.jpg


Final State Explorerforum moab trip 2010

IMG_2875.jpg


IMG_2930.jpg


MoabMay2010217.jpg


Last Poser Shots
IMG_3625.jpg


IMG_3617.jpg


I hear it still gets around Colorado and Utah and I have had buddies call me with airings from time to time.

I have had a few rangers and one explorer since I sold my explorer.
Here are some pics of those:

Beat up 1994 Ranger 2.4l ($250)
IMG_1339.jpg


Traded 1993 Ranger 4.0l and an abused auto tranny

IMG_1594.jpg


1991 Manual Tcase and Tranny Explorer Sport

IMG_4973.jpg



We have also had a ton of cool Jeeps. Here are a couple of pics, along with our current Jeep which we are hanging on to:

2005 unlimited Rubicon Sahara 5.7 L Hemi
IMG_3981.jpg

IMG_3980.jpg


2005 unlimited Rubicon 35s and 4" lift
IMG_1196.jpg


Our Current 2005 Unlimited Rubicon 4" Lift 315 Kevlars
IMG_1369.jpg


It does great grocery getter, family truckster, and occasional wekend wheeler, but I need a truck and I miss my exploder, so I decided to build a Ranger. However, I want to build it a little different this time.

I have always wanted to build a 1989-1992 ranger, so I spent a considerable amount of time looking for a low mile one with the right engine, tranny and tcase in good shape. 4.0l, m5od and 1354M stock. My explorer ended up with this combo, but started out as an auto tranny and tcase. This made for a ton of modifications and headaches with my explorer. Rangers can be had in many other undesirable configurations because they were available with 3 different v6s in 1989-92 and a 4cylinder. It proved to be a difficult task. Finally in the fall of 2012 I picked this one up. A 1991 4.0l manual tranny and transfer case 4x4 extended cab "mountain States Edition. It had 130k on it and ran great. The paint was toast, it had a rusty bed and (my biggest complaint) it had no factory air.

IMG_2624.jpg


I drove it for a year until I was ready to have it painted. I fixed a bunch on it- thermostat, muffler, wheel bearings, brakes, had a new headliner installed, etc. When I got a quote for the paint (one solid color and fix the dings) it was 2k. So then I started thinking I better look for a different ranger to build! I settled on this one. It too is a 1991, it has air (huge plus after not having it in my other truck all summer), manual case and tranny and everything else and a 4.0. The body is really straight no rust and the interior is super nice. The odo read 83k and I believed it.
IMG_2956.jpg



Since then I tracked down the original and only owner to find it has 183 k on it and they were all hwy miles. The only complaints I have is I wish it had the other mirrors and pop out extended cab windows. I can deal with those, though. This truck has been taken care of.

First order of business was a tune up, brakes and leaky valve cover gaskets.

The build plan is pretty simple: build it similar to how my explorer ended up, with out all the half builds in between. It took me a lot of work and money to get my explorer to preform well off-road and on the street and be reliable. On this one I want to skip all the poor performing, cheapskate half steps I took with the explorer.

My goal is to end up with a reliable, daily drive able, off-road capable ranger that will make a great driver, great work truck and great expo vehicle. I like the idea of a truck over a explorer sport because I need to haul dirt bikes and Sheetrock and plywood and all kinds of stuff all the time so I always needed a pickup when I had the explorer even though I wanted to drive the explorer all the time. Hopefully this will do both functions well.

So far, I have installed:

A blue tooth pioneer stereo (replacing the stock tape deck)
IMG_2957.jpg



A optima yellow top
IMG_2958.jpg


A Black grill and headlight bezels along with new headlights:
IMG_2961.jpg


The only body work it needs is the topper it had on it was put on with a loose and poorly placed clamp that rubbed a hole in the bed cap. I will weld it up and hopefully add a LineX bedliner over the top
IMG_2962.jpg


I purchased a Dana 44 out of a 76 f150 with no guts or outers for a $50 bill. I still have my spare warn premium hubs off my ex, and I plan to build this one stout before I put it in and leave it full width but move the c bushings in about 2" per side. I will likely then run stock style f150 wheels with stock backspacing and 35s or 37s as skinny as I can find. It will get a full rebuild and at least 4.88s, maybe 5.13s. I am not decided on radius arms yet. I suppose extended ones are on the bill instead of the stock wristed ones I had before, but I haven't sorted that out yet. The wrist traveled fine but it clunked and made a racket and it was also a pain to get out and pull the pin when it was time to wheel. Extended arms won't perform quite as well on the street as the stock length ones did with the pin in, but longer arms should stream line things.

For the rear I will rebuild a full width late model 31 spline 8.8 put of a bronco or f150 and install explorer disk brakes. I will likely need to have the axle flanges turned down and drill the rotors for the new bolt pattern.

I will extend the wheel base around 3" by moving the front axle forward and leave the rear axle centered in the wheel well. I plan to leave the bed size stock as I need the truck to haul stuff all the time. I will build bumpers and sliders before I beat it up this time.

Stay Tuned, I am picking up the front axle tomorrow.
 


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4pullingGM

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Stand on it!
Thats a nice looking Navajo, I like the build plans for the Ranger, can't wait to see it done
 




RockRanger

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86 ranger no more
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Can't wait to see the build. That is my favorite body style ranger as well.
 




james t

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94 SAS sport
Awesome, in for updates. FWIW... go 5:13's. Even if you end up with 35's.
 




Kirby N.

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1991 Ranger
It seems like 5.13s are the best choice. It is rare to hear anyone say, "I wish I would have went with taller gears!" Even though the doubler made 4.56s fine offroad (still could have been lower, but honestly it was plenty low) the 4.56s were a little rough on the clutch even on the street on my explorer. The ranger is quite a bit lighter and seems to have significantly more power than my explorer sports due to its weight, however lower gears never hurt.

I am really looking into the Zip locker by Yukon. I have heard fantastic things about it and it is cheaper than the ARB. It is definately not worth the savings if I have to use the warranty though.
 




Kirby N.

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1991 Ranger
I picked this up today. I hope to get it cleaned up soon and put some new ball joints in it.

IMG_29721.jpg
 




Kirby N.

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1991 Ranger




jrgaylor

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1985 BroncoII
Awesome, in for updates. FWIW... go 5:13's. Even if you end up with 35's.
I got 5.13's and 35's in the B2 I just bought, I am very happy with the gearing.
2,000 RPM @ 70 MPH in overdrive and the other day we went out wheeling and at the end of the day realized I had been in 4high the whole day.
The V8 could have helped with that.
 




FROADER

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Can't wait to see the build. That is my favorite body style ranger as well.
x2!

I had a Emerald Green '91. That was a fun truck. Looking forward to it.
 




Kirby N.

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The ranger will be a good home for this:
IMG_2979-1.jpg


Ramsey Pro 9000. I bought it from a guy for $75 it needed a solenoid pack which cost me about $100 and I still need to find a remote. I tested it and it works fine. It should be a good winch, I am very partial to Warns but Ramseys (especially old ones) seem to have a good rep. I have a few buddies with old as dirt 8ks that are still going strong. The one complaint I have is the cost of parts and the support. It is hard to beat a warn. Maybe I will sell it and buy a used warn. Maybe I will just run it. We will see.
 




Bruces expo

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91 Mazda Navajo
I miss the Navajo , it was Pretty Sweet Before you got rid of it , Looking forward to the Ranger build man and Welcome Back ! .
 




Kirby N.

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1991 Ranger
I miss the Navajo , it was Pretty Sweet Before you got rid of it , Looking forward to the Ranger build man and Welcome Back ! .
I miss it too man. It was a hard time in my life but it was a good choice. I would probably buy it back if I came across it again. I finally had all the bugs worked out- the body was getting rough and it wasn't a pickup, so there is that.

Progress on the ranger has been slow. I am completely gutting my house and I have been working it Venezuela, Guatemala and Swaziland so it has been tough to get anything done. I did however carve out some time the last few nights. I changed out the drain plug for a new ford one (someone stripped the old one the die grindered it until a 11mm would fit). I also changed the plugs and cleaned the mad sensor. It runs so much smoother.

Tonight I got the Ramsey pro 9k working again. I got it cheap but it was missing solenoids and a remote. I got it all sorted out and it works great! I had to remove part of the top frame to fit the solenoid housing but it isn't noticeable now. Fresh coat of paint too!

image-1.jpg


image.jpg
 




Kirby N.

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1991 Ranger
A few updates:

I sold the Ramsey for $375. It was a hard choice, because it seems like a good, reasonably priced winch is difficult to find. However, this one sat in my garage for years collecting dust and I needed the cash for the house remodel. So I figured when I have a bumper on the truck I will look for a used warn and stop storing cash now!

The pick and pull was having a 20% off sale for the holiday weekend, so my buddy and I picked up two Full width (1993, 1995) F150 rear axles with Disk brakes. $100 a piece.
88s.jpg


One will be built for the ranger, one will go in the back of my buddies bronc we built a few years ago:

MoabMay2010295.jpg



We both can't stop saying how excited we are to not have to mess with drums again. The rangers rears are completely worn out and it is scary on the ice. I haven't opened it up because I know it is going to come out. My ranger has rear abs and I will keep it with this new rear axle and the SAS.
 




yostyexplorer94

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The pick and pull was having a 20% off sale for the holiday weekend, so my buddy and I picked up two Full width (1993, 1995) F150 rear axles with Disk brakes. $100 a piece.
1993 and 1995 f150 8.8 full width axle with factory? disk brakes.... I never heard of disk brakes in that year on those axles. What am I missing here?
 




Kirby N.

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1993 and 1995 f150 8.8 full width axle with factory? disk brakes.... I never heard of disk brakes in that year on those axles. What am I missing here?
You caught me! It is a full width f150 axle with disks breaks from a 2000 explorer bolted on. The $100 prices was on a complete axle, so I did the swaps before I made the purchse. Still have to drill the rotors and grind the axle flanges.
 




BKennedy

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Subscribing..
I know you will probably make your own radius arms, but the JD long arms I have seem to ride fine on the street. Smoother and more stable than the old TTB anyway. They are about 43" long.
 




Kirby N.

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Subscribing..
I know you will probably make your own radius arms, but the JD long arms I have seem to ride fine on the street. Smoother and more stable than the old TTB anyway. They are about 43" long.
I love your build Brian! I really want a set of those JD arms, but the price tag is killing me! Shorter radius arms (pinned of course) conflict more (the reason people extend/ wrist) so they almost have a "sway bar" built in. This is felt most on cornering in my experience. My exploder drove great on the street, too. That is why I choose to stay at stock length and wrist (that and I am a cheap skate). I think it is worth giving up some cornering to not hear the clunk or have to get out and unpin the arm.

I may build some. Me and my buddy built these for his bronco:
P1011057.jpg

P1011056-1.jpg


They have a nice tire clearing bend in them. The only thing I would do differently with them, is I would run the 2" DOM all the way down by the axle. I have seen some pictures of those built like that and they look great. I dont even think a bend would be necessary with moving the c mounts in on the axle. It sure would be nice to just buy the JD ones.

I also made a fathers day purchase today:
https://www.ruffstuffspecialties.com/catalog/88SS-31.html

 








Kirby N.

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We'll see if I can get enough pennies together!:D

I tried to recharge my A/C yesterday. It worked for a little bit, then when I turned the truck off, I could hear a "pssss". I little investigation revealed a hole in the rubber hose where it goes over the alternator.

Got one on the way from Rock Auto. Hopefully I wont miss the pop out side windows after I get the A/C working. I have to get the stupid flag mirrors fixed. They wont stay put!
 


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BKennedy

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Yeah, like 93,500 pennies!!

The reason I went with the JD arms are numerous, but the main one was I was not very confident in my fabrication skills when I started the SAS. As I progressed and realized that I was decent at it, I figured I could have made my own arms. Then, I thought about the RA's being so critical to a good build and that JD's are so well thought out and strong. I also was thinking there was no way I could fabricate arms with the forged steel mounts like these. They weigh several pounds each and are just plain beefy. Also having the arms bolted to the axle mounts with separate bushings keeps them from binding. When they showed up, I was very impressed with the quality, fit and finish.

As far as street drivability, I don't have any reference. The old TTB setup seemed to lean and sway much more than the SAS. I think the longer arms act as sway bars. When I had the light valving in the shocks, there was a lot of body roll during slow speed turns. Now, with the medium valving, its mostly gone. At any speed over 15 MPH, there is hardly any body roll on tight curves. I wish someone made wedgie bushings that were set about 4.5*. The 6* was too much and the 3.5* is too little. Highway steering is a little sensitive with the 3.5's but the drive line angle is much better.
 




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