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Completed Project Kirby's 1991 Ranger Build Up

Use this prefix for completed projects that are not "How to" articles or threads asking for help.
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:
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Here it is just after the SAS with 34s and a swapped in manual tcase and tranny:

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Winching out of Mikeys hot tub circa 2002 or so

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Stuck on a tree just after 37s
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37s, winch bumper rebuild etc
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Final State Explorerforum moab trip 2010

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Last Poser Shots
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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)
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Traded 1993 Ranger 4.0l and an abused auto tranny

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1991 Manual Tcase and Tranny Explorer Sport

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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
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2005 unlimited Rubicon 35s and 4" lift
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Our Current 2005 Unlimited Rubicon 4" Lift 315 Kevlars
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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.

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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.
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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)
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A optima yellow top
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A Black grill and headlight bezels along with new headlights:
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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
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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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Unfortunately, since I like to play with tjs, I have had a ton of experience with death wobble. I did learn something new though. The steering box is gears actually mesh tighter at straight then anywhere else. There is actually some slop in a gear box when it is turned away from straight. So it is important to diagnose death wobble when you have aligned the steering wheel. I had messed with my track bar due to clearance issues and not corrected the drag link to match. This had made the death wobble worse. After correcting it, however, I still think it needs a new steering box.
 



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I have never had the pleasure of owning a Jeep. My neighbor is new to off roading and of course bought a TJ. I am helping him with a lift and talked him into a kit that drops the track bar and drag link back to stock angles.
 






I have never had the pleasure of owning a Jeep. My neighbor is new to off roading and of course bought a TJ. I am helping him with a lift and talked him into a kit that drops the track bar and drag link back to stock angles.

How does it do that?

I have owned 6 tjs. The last 5 were ljs. They are fantastic vehicles. I wish they made scrambler style pickup in a tj with an extended cab. That would be the perfect vehicle. My favorite setup is a 4 superlift with currie steering and trac bars and rock men short control arms. Then a 1" body lift and a tummy tuck. The current one we have has a 2" budget boost, though.

I did some things this week. I got the death wobble controlled, but not completely solved so I will be changing out the gear box.

Shocks are in

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Suspension is cycled. The driveshaft hits the gas tank skid when i stuff the passenger side. It needs a little work.
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How does it do that?

Glad you got the DW figured out. Are you going to trim the fenders and bed to get the tires to fit, or use the body for bump stops??:D

My neighbors TJ is getting a Full Traction 4" kit, http://www.full-traction.com/detail.php?b=1&m=3&t=1&p=632#n

It drops the frame track bar mount with a new front track bar, and uses a drop pitman arm. Also raises the rear axle track bar mount. It was recommended by a guy I get most of my stuff from, who has always been solid with customer service and information.
 






That looks like a good lift. I am not familiar with their frame brace.

About bump stops- yes to all of that! I haven't decided what to do with the body. I want it to look nice so I am not excited to hack it up. However, the front fenders are toast from rust. So I am not sure if I will do fiberglass fenders or stock fenders and bushwhackers. Either way, it is going to take money and I don't have much of that at the moment! So I am planning on running it as is for the moment.
 






And also I am not stoked to bump stop it since it still has a good few inches of up travel, but I may do so to save the tires and body even it is temporary.
 






I had to limit the compression on mine because the track bar was contacting the frame in extreme flex situations. The problem with that is it limits compression for faster type dirt driving. I am still thinking about air bumps. At high pressure they should limit the suspension compression sooner while crawling and allow an inch or two more compression at higher speeds.
 






I trimmed my gas tank skid so it would clear my driveshaft. It still doesn't clear. The support gets in the way now.

I changed out the steering box. It didn't help much and now I can't tell if ford is going to give me back my money on the warranty swap.

I have been looking at some fiberglass fenders and bed sides.

I can't tell if the fronts force you to chuck the inner fenders?

I seem to like the glassworks or the hanneman. I have no experience with these things does anyone else?

I would like to retain the rear tail lights. The odd thing with glassworks, is that the fenders have a 3.5" flare and 3" rise, but the bedsides have a 5" flare and 3" rise? I don't want the rear wider than the front.

http://glassworksunlimited.com/products/ford/ranger

Hannemans are both 4" bulge, but the pictures are pretty lousy and as much as I like the fenders, the bedsides look a little cheesy in the pics.

http://www.hannemannfiberglass.com/custom.asp?id=457567&page=10

I am really tempted to cut the crap out of them and wheel the crap out of it... Wait, this is supposed to be a nice daily driver/ work truck for me.
 






Brian I also have a request of you. Do you have the stock steering stops on your axle? Can you give me a stock length? you know top of bolt to where the welded stop nut is bottomed on the knuckle. My axle didn't have any stock ones in it. So I put in some grade 8 bolts, and turned them out until my ujoints didn't rub. But I am afraid I am pushing my luck after driving it in low range 4x4 a little today. There is deflection in speed and stuff??
 






Sorry, both the stock steering stop bolts were bent so I replaced them with grade 8 bolts/nuts. I have adjusted them several times and have no idea what they were stock.
 






As far as steering stops. Ideally, they should be set so the steering gear travel and stop hit at the same time.
 






I haven't made any real progress on the ranger. I did have my buddy charge the a/c in his shop. It help vaccuum, but after 10 days he was able to find a condenser leak. I was like the happiest cdude when he showed me because I couldn't find a leak for the life of me! So I swapped that and had it recharged. I am supposed to return in 10 days for a recheck. I hope that's all it needed! Cold ac is sweet!!

Also, I picked this up for a ridiculous deal on craigslist. Estate sale deal. My old one on my x was an x8000i. This is an xd9000i. Should look sweet on the ranger. Glad I got rid of my ramsey pro 9000 now.

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Also, ford did pony up the cash and return the steering box.
 












How does it do that?

I have owned 6 tjs. The last 5 were ljs. They are fantastic vehicles. I wish they made scrambler style pickup in a tj with an extended cab. That would be the perfect.

Their considering it. Cast your vote on Jeep concept Gladiator on the Jeep website and they may build it.

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Or better yet:

International MXT!

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Was out driving around today and saw your beast of a Ranger. The pictures on here just don't do it justice. It looks fantastic, nicely done:thumbsup:

Thanks buddy. I am really enjoying it A/C and all!

We did a little trip to Ouray with the ranger. What was really satisfying, is this was a trip that would have been impossible (or much more difficult) with the explorer.

Mainstreet across from the brewery
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From the brewery with the ranger in the background
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Here is where the ranger really shined. This is cumberland pass on the way home.

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Yep. All 3 dirtbikes in the back and luggage. This was a dirt bike trip. We never would have made this trip in the explorer with 3 bikes. We would have needed a trailer, and then cumberland would have been really rough (more so then it already was).

I am really stoked not he ranger. Still need to address the fenders. Still have a stupid roof leak that makes me want to scream.

Winch bumper soon!
 






Their considering it. Cast your vote on Jeep concept Gladiator on the Jeep website and they may build it.

Jeep-Gladiator-Concept-003_zpsjncwghvy.jpg

I like the idea, I am not a fan of the jk platform though- the wider axles with weakling tubes, the wussy oil burning 3.8L (and later pentastar) and the fiat influenced dash. Just not a fan. I love the TJs.

If I were Jeep, I would put a bed on it and put a hemi in it and dana 60s under it and watch people like me buy it. But I am not jeep, so I will drive my 05 and 06 Long Wheel Base Rubicons and build me a ranger for hauling/ adventure duty.
 






The MXT has Dana 70's and a Rockwell 8:1 transfer with PTO. But the price will make your teeth fall out. With the 435 horse diesel they push $95,000.
 



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The MXT has Dana 70's and a Rockwell 8:1 transfer with PTO. But the price will make your teeth fall out. With the 435 horse diesel they push $95,000.

Woah! For that I would buy a 911. They come in 4x4 too.
 






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