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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
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37s, winch bumper rebuild etc
IMG_0388.jpg


Final State Explorerforum moab trip 2010

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MoabMay2010217.jpg


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)
IMG_1339.jpg


Traded 1993 Ranger 4.0l and an abused auto tranny

IMG_1594.jpg


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.

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)
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A optima yellow top
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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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BKennedy

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That is a good deal. You got two for one. When I was tire shopping last year, the Goodyears were about $30 each more than the KM2's, so I got the KM2's. Good tires.

Good choice on the 35's as well, 33's are so 90's.
 


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Kirby N.

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That is a good deal. You got two for one. When I was tire shopping last year, the Goodyears were about $30 each more than the KM2's, so I got the KM2's. Good tires.

Good choice on the 35's as well, 33's are so 90's.

LOL! That made me laugh. In the 90s, I had 30" BFG All Terrains on my 1984 S10 Blazer that I swapped in a 3.4l crate motor, and my buddy had 31s on his 1983 regular cab ranger with a carbed 2.8l v6 and a James Duff 2.5" lift.

We dreamed of 33s!

That blazer was such a piece! Most miserable vehicle to work on I have ever touched. Here is a scanned in picture to prove it!

Blazer.jpg
 




Kirby N.

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Got the 2 tires mounted and ordered up 2 more to match. I may order a third if they will make me a deal on one for a spare.
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It is hard to believe they will fit!

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Also started installing the 5.13s. The dinky pinion looks funny down there!

image-7.jpg
 




Kirby N.

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I had to use every shim my install pack came with to get the pinion deep enough. Of course then the carrier had to be shimmed far left to get the backlash in spec. I am worried this will screw up my disk conversion on one side. Anyone set up 5.13s and have to use a ton of shims under the pinion to get an acceptable pattern?
 




Kirby N.

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The newer calipers I had weren't fine enough. Only measuring to the .01 of an inch. So l was adding way too much shims every time I was adjusting and really got off track! I was adding .030 every time I adjusted. It's all setup now. I got my parts from the machinist today and it is ready to go together. Hope I can put the rear together next weekend. Just have to cut off the stock leaf and shock mounts and get some brake pads, calipers and 1/2" bolts to replace the rivets. It won't be long now.
 




Kirby N.

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Got all the parts I needed and torched the stock mounts off. I have tomorrow off work so I hope to get it all assembled and ready to slide in.
image-12.jpg
[/URL]
 




turboexplorer

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I had to use every shim my install pack came with to get the pinion deep enough. Of course then the carrier had to be shimmed far left to get the backlash in spec. I am worried this will screw up my disk conversion on one side. Anyone set up 5.13s and have to use a ton of shims under the pinion to get an acceptable pattern?

I did 5.13's and don't remember a bunch of shims for the pinion depth. Mine set up pretty good if I remember right only a few adjustments. And yes the disc conversion will be very close and you will have to grind/clearance the passenger side pretty good. Mine is all on Page 6 of my build thread if you need any reference to save some time. BTW take the time to clearance the shoes and park brake shoe mount and c-clips. Some have mentioned how they have tapped in/hammered the c-clips in place. Can't imagine trying to get them back out. Mine slide right out which was very nice since I have had to replace axles since the first go around because I snapped my right rear shaft. Would have been a nightmare to pull apart to replace the shaft if I hadn't taken the time.
 




Kirby N.

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Oh man! I so wish I would have seen your reply earlier!!!

On the gears, I figured that out. I was using the wrong calipers for the job and jumping way too far every time I adjusted the pinion. Thanks to that, I set up this 8.8 way more than anything I have ever set up! I figured it out, and had it perfect in 2 steps from stock.

The disk conversion has been a nightmare. I so wish I would have seen turboexplorers thread a few months ago- atleast I would have known what I was getting into!

Here are the parts that have been modded by my machinist buddy:

image-15.jpg


The shafts have been chamfered on the outer edge of the wheel mounting flange so they fit inside the rotors. The inside "hub hole" of the rotors has been opened up and the rotors have been drilled for 5 on 5.5.

Like turboexplorer, I had problems clearing the emergency brake shoe retaining pins. For a solution, I visited 3 parts stores tonight and took a few hours going through their stock of brake hardware kits looking for shorter pins. Let me save everyone the hassle- There are no shorter pins in any of the brake hardware kits on the shelves. There are longer ones. There are thicker ones. There are a ton of kits with the exact ones. There is only one at the 3 stores I went to that is shorter. It is only a 1/16" shorter, but after you spend $23 on it you will also decide it wont work.

Here was my solution:

image-14.jpg


I added 4 small #8 washers to the pin before I did this on both sides, and along with removing the out upper spring and a little grinding on the upper piece between the shoes and it fits. Mine seems to be about the same on both sides. I am sure it is all about pinion depth and shims to get backlash in spec.

So I was really excited. Then I slid on the rotors and found this:

image-13.jpg


And that is when I had a tantrum and decided to call it a day!! Haha!:D

After reading turbos thread, I will take off the inner lip. I might have my buddy do it on a lathe or I might just do it with a grinder. I am also concerned because it looks like the inside face of the rotor will rub the dust shield. The dust shield got a little tweaked, and it is close all together. I may just cut the whole out 3" of the dust shield off. Also, I heard rumors the calipers wont travel enough to wear the pads evenly. That was not true. The calipers have plenty of travel.
 




Kirby N.

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As a side note, my brother once had a Chrysler 8.25 with a TSM disk conversion using Cadillac calipers. I thought it was a little jumbled together, so I vowed not to do one of those kits. Honestly, this is as jumbled! I read a thread on fullsize bronco forum that lead me to believe this would be a bolt on conversion- save for a little machining. Now that I am completely into this, I probably would have stuck with drums. Such is life!
 




turboexplorer

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To almost all of your comments, been there did that. :D Wanted to throw the axle through the window at one point. I used a lathe to do the chamfered angle on the axles and to cut off the little lip on the inside of the rotors. Post #75 Later on the replacement axles I didn't have access to a lathe so had to do the whole thing with a grinder Post #601. Took FOREVER but turned out good.

Anyways like you said knowing beforehand the effort involved in the swap I may have gone a different route. Leave drums, meh maybe. Like my Explorer discs better now that its all done. But in hind sight I would get a 96+ F-150 8.8 axle. They have the factory disc brakes. Then I would have the axles and rotors redrilled for 5X5.5 and be done! That's all the machine work that would be needed. Done and done, also it is a bigger diameter rotor than the explorer rotors so slightly better brake performance as well.

Also noticed your in Ogden! Will have to get together to wheel at some point, I'm just down in Eagle Mountain.
 




Kirby N.

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I considered the option of the later axle with the larger disks, but you can't run 15" wheels with them and I am still frustrated with the expense of 17" wheels and tires that all the tire manufacturers decided we need to undergo, so I want to stay with 15s! It would have been much simpler, though.

I am no longer in Ogden. I moved back to Colorado Springs about a year ago. We really miss Utah! I need to change my profile info.
 




Kirby N.

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I was thinking that it may be way easier to cut the outer flange off the axle and reweld a new flange on at explorer specs. Seems brilliant right? I called currie, moser and strange and no one makes them unless it is for a c-clip eliminator. Does anyone know where I could get them from?
 




Kirby N.

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I was thinking that it may be way easier to cut the outer flange off the axle and reweld a new flange on at explorer specs. Seems brilliant right? I called currie, moser and strange and no one makes them unless it is for a c-clip eliminator. Does anyone know where I could get them from?

I figured out this was a bit of a dumb question. The mounting flanges aren't just 1/4" rings with holes for mounting the brake backing plates, but it is a bearing housing that welds on the end of the axle tube. I am dropping off the rotors at the machinist today.
 








Kirby N.

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My thread is spammed. What do I do about that?

I finally have a rolling rear end! So glad I got all the brakes clearing and bolted together.

I got the inside milled off smooth, but then I had conflict with the dust cover. Mine were tweaked some. Most probably wont have the interference. Whatever, I cut them off.

IMG_40971.jpg


Take that! Got her all bolted together. Hope to start putting the rest together this weekend. I need to get some gorrilla lug nuts somewheres.

IMG_40961.jpg
 




Kirby N.

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image-17.jpg
 




Kirby N.

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Demo day! Got it all out! I am running into some ranger specific problems I didn't foresee. It has a 2 piece driveshaft. I am thinking it can go away, however there is this huge crossmember, that holds up the gas tank and the mid shaft bearing support that will be in the way. Any ranger guys have suggestions?

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Stic-o

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Did you ever read the thread about my Disc brake swap? Probably mite have helped. I didn't do anything to my stock full width shafts. I am running a few washers on each stud to space the Disc out because of the inner edge on the rotor. Been running this for a long time now with no issues.
 




Kirby N.

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Yeah I did. I didn't really like the idea of washers, but looking back I am sure it would have been fine after all the other hokey crap I did to make it work. I wonder if a set of these would work well between the rotor and shaft
http://www.4wheelparts.com/Wheel-Spacers.aspx?t_pt=4049&t_pn=MRG2376

We might do that on the bronco setup. They are cheap enough.
 


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Kirby N.

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So another couple ranger specific problems that suprised me:

The 64" springs require the front spring hanger to be moved fwd 6". Which is easy enough but I have a cab mount in the way. So I will have to do some hacking.
BD23B5DB-D39D-490F-B687-2FFEEA8D86D2.jpg


My new shackles will conflict with my exhaust so I Will have to figure a new Route or something

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