Kirby's 1991 Ranger Build Up | Page 27 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Kirby's 1991 Ranger Build Up

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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Kirby N.

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It’s about 3” and I would need to come up with something to shim it up on the bed so it doesn’t hit the cab- so that would add to it.
 


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410Fortune

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air down!
 




Kirby N.

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Lol
 




BKennedy

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I would sell it and get a small pop up trailer. I towed a 12' Jayco around for several years. It had a sink, stove, potty, shower and slept 6. I don't like roof top tents because if base camping, you need to break down your camp every time you leave.
 




Kirby N.

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Good morning explorer forum! I have had a wonderful summer and I have just been driving the ranger and not wrenching on it. Not to say that it doesn't need it!

I did sell the Flip Pac and made a handsome profit on it. We have taken the ranger on two dirt bike trips this summer and it has performed flawlessly.

2 recent problems with the ranger:

1. The A/C took a dump on me. I replaced ALL of the components when I painted it. Everything including compressor. It worked fine for 2 months, then a coupe weeks ago the new compressor seized up while going down the highway. Grr. Thats $300-$400 wasted. I have just been dealing with no a/c life and soon it will be cool enough around here that I won't need it. I will worry about it in the spring. Unfortunately I am told that when a compressor seized it comes apart on Ford systems it pollutes all the lines and to properly start over you have to get all new components yet again. Frustrating for sure.

2. My bilstien shocks are garbage. The front lower mount bolt is frozen in the mount (not the fault of the shock) and the eye came off the shock (showed in previous post)- so my "bilstien support sucks" fix was to weld the eve on to the shock shaft. That kind of worked, but I must have gotten it hot and ruined the seals on the shock because now it is oozing oil everywhere and not dampening at all. So I think that is a priority- to get new shocks.

Any shock suggestions? I am considering anything BUT bilstiens. Maybe Fox shocks? Something with a dampening rate that I can select would be cool. These have been good with their rate. I am going to look through my build thread and see what lengths I needed.
IMG_5599.jpg
IMG_5598.jpg
 




Kirby N.

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Also- I had a guy reach out about the Navajo. He is the current owner and got my number from my buddys performance shop that I had stickers on from. Looking for info on the D and D doubler.
 




410Fortune

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ahhhhhhhhhhhh ac black death = sucks!!

I swore off bilsteins 10 years ago now after going through similar
Fox shocks have been good for us much much better
I also like Skyjacker black max
Rancho 9000's are blah.....shafts are rusting??? shocks are like 1.5 years old and barely driven..........was really hoping for better

Put kings on the wifes FJ........OMG these are what all other shocks wish they were....but of course $1000+ for shocks is hard to swallow, unless you are keeping your truck forever and these are the last shocks she will ever need........so now saving for kings for the front
 




Kirby N.

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Yeah, Black Death after 2 months. I don't know if I got a bad compressor, if the guy who charged it didn't put enough oil in the system or what. The warranty on the compressor is long gone because I bought it before paint, installed after and then didn't charge it until spring. IDK if RockAuto is a good place to get things like compressors.

I have been combing through my build and found my shocks are:

At the mount full stuff is just under 21", full droop is 27". Bilstien part number: 33-185569: 17.9- 29.7"\

I am thinking fox after hearing that. Thanks Jaime
 




gmanpaint

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Fox has the select-able knob Resi versions for a few bucks more. I wish I ponied up for them when I got mine. Download the Fox Catalog for sizes, I'm sure you will find one close to what you need.
 




Kirby N.

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Fox has the select-able knob Resi versions for a few bucks more. I wish I ponied up for them when I got mine. Download the Fox Catalog for sizes, I'm sure you will find one close to what you need.

ok, found the catalogue. Looks sweet. Found the adjustable ones. I don't think I can do $350 per shock!!! WOAH!
 




Stic-o

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Been very happy with the Fox's on JP. Even after 10+ years. Plus there fully rebuildable, which is good, because I think one was starting to leak from sitting.
 




Kirby N.

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Ok, You guys have sold me. I think I am going to order 2 for the front for now- just the lowest end I can buy. Unfortunately, I can't swing the remote resi adjustables.

Thanks Stic-o. Unfortunately, I think the bilstiens are rebuildable too- but they suck.
 




gmanpaint

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You will be happy you got them, no matter which you buy. They all are leaps and bounds better than most out there.

Wish I had room for the 2.5's up front, but don't. I have the 2.0 coilover's w/resi up front, and 2.0 w/resi in the rear. Rig has never felt as good as it does currently. The adjustable resi's aren't much more, and why I wish I got them. Saved like $100 w/o them. In comparison, that was nothing to the total costs, and I regret it to this day. Buy once, cry once. Lol!
 




410Fortune

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Have had good luck with Rockauto and fourseasons AC kits

The fox threaded bodies on the wifes FJ are holding up just fine, which is leaps and bounds above the prior two sets of bilsteins, first set blew out lower bushings, second set of bushings lasted months before replaced with another set of bilsteins, then lower eye completely broke off shock........finally replaced with Fox's and now no issues. Same length shock, same coils, same setup, but the bilsteins just broke??
So then we put Kings 2.5" with resis on the rear and now, well the kings just make the $800 foxes look like little play toys....so saving $1500+ for some front kings.......and $4000 for some front long travel...... can do this stuff when you plan to keep the FJ forever AND at 220K miles its holding up like a tank considering what we put it through.....our driveway is starting to look like a rough section in Baja and the wife treats her FJ like a prerunner....daily and over and over
 




Kirby N.

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Went out to my dads today and he has a perfect spot to cycle the suspension so I did and measure for shocks.
IMG_5768.jpeg


IMG_5770.jpeg


She still has it. Tucks and travels really nice. The bilstiens were really the perfect length. 18" compressed was perfect and fully extended is about 28".

I decided to go with a little longer shock. I am going to hack off the lower mount anyway, so I will move the lower mount down a bit. This will give me a little more travel available. I really need to do air bumps at some point anyway, but for now I will be sure I am not maxing out my shocks.

I got my buddy Ed to order me 2 shocks today. They are 10 days out. Went with the performance series 2.0 smooth bodies. Part #
985-24-006 19.65 inches compressed and 31.75 inches extended 12" travel shocks.

As a side note, I had a gentleman contact me about my exploder sport this weekend. Apparently, he is the 3 guy to own it since I had it and the guy before him beat the body up pretty bad. So he took the good parts and scrapped the rest. The good parts ended up in his ranger. He sent me some pics. He is on the search for another d and d machine doubler for another build. I don't think that will ever happen again....

20200905_142518_1600617193210.jpeg


20200906_143737_1600617180586.jpeg


looks like a nice ranger. Long live my Navajo!
 




Kirby N.

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Have had good luck with Rockauto and fourseasons AC kits

The fox threaded bodies on the wifes FJ are holding up just fine, which is leaps and bounds above the prior two sets of bilsteins, first set blew out lower bushings, second set of bushings lasted months before replaced with another set of bilsteins, then lower eye completely broke off shock........finally replaced with Fox's and now no issues. Same length shock, same coils, same setup, but the bilsteins just broke??
So then we put Kings 2.5" with resis on the rear and now, well the kings just make the $800 foxes look like little play toys....so saving $1500+ for some front kings.......and $4000 for some front long travel...... can do this stuff when you plan to keep the FJ forever AND at 220K miles its holding up like a tank considering what we put it through.....our driveway is starting to look like a rough section in Baja and the wife treats her FJ like a prerunner....daily and over and over

LOL. That sounds like a fun commute.

From Rockauto I used gates hoses and a delco compressor. The condenser and evaporator was who knows what. That evaporator is going to be a pain to get in again. Grr. I didn't know four seasons was good stuff. Maybe I will try that next round.
 




RockRanger

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Behemoth in Tennessee is making ranger doublers. However getting one seems to be an act of Congress. People pay and takes months to get them with parts slowly showing up and charge backs on credit cards being threatened. Be cautious dealing with them.
 




BKennedy

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Just reading what Behemoth has done to customers in the past would keep me away. Promises not kept, months overdue for parts, charges credit cards up front then never finished the orders, etc.
 




Kirby N.

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Yeah, that and all the driveshaft and other mods I had to do on the explorer I would just do an atlas next time. I told him that but he doesn’t seem to believe me.
 


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BKennedy

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I think if I was doing the Atlas again I would have put a Black Box-i from NWF in front of it. He doesn't have the rear seat footwell to contend with so it should fit in there nicely.
 




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