Kirby's 1991 Ranger Build Up | Page 34 | 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 so cool when a rig with a suspension is up on a lift and unloaded.

That's all I got
Haha. Thanks. I really need longer front shocks and limit straps. The rear needs different shocks moved outboard and bump stops. Got to get the engine sorted for now though.

This is my dads shop that we just finished. It is attached to his house. He has always wanted a lift. Now he finally has one. It’s a ball to work off of.
 



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Kirby N.

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Spending more money today. Might have to get used to this...

The rocker rail is a little worn on the drivers side. I started to rebuild and decided I needed a new shaft. Ordered a couple melling shafts from Autozone. Rockauto only had 1 left.

Rocker Arm.jpg


On to the injectors. I have labored over figuring out what to do with them. The Ford dealers don't help me much anymore. Its frustrating they dont make parts for my old truck anymore. I found out 2 dealers each have 1 new original injectors in the country. I also found out 2 dealers each have 1 of the newer 4 hole injectors in the country. There is one of the new versions on eBay NOS. There was another yesterday but it is gone. SO- decided to order from MotorMan in Michigan. Seems like a good family owned business. I talked to them on the phone. They are sending me a flow matched set of 6, 4 hole remanufactured injectors. This is the the best solution I could come up with - though I would have rather had 6 new motorcraft injectors for $150. I like this better than cheap new injector solutions out there.

Friday I am headed to the junk yard to grab a 4 cylinder transmission with a buddy- then I will be dropping them both at the rebuilder. They said $600 to rebuild with the 4 banger gear set.

I am also going to order some heim joints from James duff for the radius arms. These are getting sloppy and I am here anyway.


My pockets are empty!
 






Scott B.

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That rail is not worn - it's polished! ;)
 






410Fortune

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Flow matched and reman 4 hole Bosch will work well for you when done properly they are just as good as new
4 hole are a nice upgrade over your 91 style injectors

$600 is a good price to have anything done to a manual trans these days
 






Kirby N.

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A couple of updates.

1. I got a 4 cylinder transmission pulled. It was a 2x4 1996 I think. It had 125,000 on it. Plain jane truck. Dropping them off at the rebuilder today.

Transmissions.jpg

Transmissions 2.jpg


Just to review, these are both M4OD transmissions but the 4 cylinder case is different. The 4 cylinder transmission gears for gears 1-3 are lower, so those gears will be installed in my 4.0 transmission as well as a replacement of all worn parts over the last 300k miles. This transmission has never been touched- so I do imagine there will be some wear.

My current transmission gears:

3.40 : 1
2.05 : 1
1.31 : 1
1.00 : 1
0.79 : 1

What it will have after this mod:
3.72:1
2.20:1
1.50 :1
1.00:1
0.79:1

This will be around the equivalent of going from a 3.73 gear to a 4.10 gear in the differentials in first gear. Not a ton, but hopefully it will get me low enough in rock crawling situations that I don't smoke the clutch with the 5.13s. Also hoping I dont need to do something in the transfer case after this. We will see.


I also hit a road block last night. I unboxed the NOS ford heads I bought off eBay 45 days ago, to find that they are not 95tm heads- they are 93tm. GREAT. I am so frustrated. I am reaching out to the seller today to see if he will make this right. I should have checked that when I inspected, but I was looking for damage and didn't look for casting numbers. My mistake...

Heads.jpg
 






Fix4Dirt

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A couple of updates.

1. I got a 4 cylinder transmission pulled. It was a 2x4 1996 I think. It had 125,000 on it. Plain jane truck. Dropping them off at the rebuilder today.

View attachment 430711
View attachment 430712

Just to review, these are both M4OD transmissions but the 4 cylinder case is different. The 4 cylinder transmission gears for gears 1-3 are lower, so those gears will be installed in my 4.0 transmission as well as a replacement of all worn parts over the last 300k miles. This transmission has never been touched- so I do imagine there will be some wear.

My current transmission gears:

3.40 : 1
2.05 : 1
1.31 : 1
1.00 : 1
0.79 : 1

What it will have after this mod:
3.72:1
2.20:1
1.50 :1
1.00:1
0.79:1

This will be around the equivalent of going from a 3.73 gear to a 4.10 gear in the differentials in first gear. Not a ton, but hopefully it will get me low enough in rock crawling situations that I don't smoke the clutch with the 5.13s. Also hoping I dont need to do something in the transfer case after this. We will see.


I also hit a road block last night. I unboxed the NOS ford heads I bought off eBay 45 days ago, to find that they are not 95tm heads- they are 93tm. GREAT. I am so frustrated. I am reaching out to the seller today to see if he will make this right. I should have checked that when I inspected, but I was looking for damage and didn't look for casting numbers. My mistake...

View attachment 430710
300 out of any trans is cool! welcome to the club, 330 here on a 5r55e. the trans look like twins!

hopefully they make it right cause you did order 95 not 93! sorry to hear that!
 






Kirby N.

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Well, they will give me a refund on the heads- however, they don't have any more 95TM heads to replace them with. So it looks like I am going to keep the 93TM heads, and likely change pistons. What a pain. Anyone need some fresh 98TM pistons?
 






Kirby N.

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So I am stuck. IDK what to do.

My block and pistons are .75mm over bored. I can't find any Ford pistons that are .75mm over for the 1994 spec engine. So now I am trying to figure out if I should send back the heads and get some 98 spec aftermarket heads of get some aftermarket 94 spec pistons. I would really like oem pistons and block but I dont think it is going to happen at this point. I dont really see a good solution. There was some pistons that were oem and .75 over on eBay yesterday. I asked a question and the guy took them down and will not respond to messages.
 






Fix4Dirt

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So I am stuck. IDK what to do.

My block and pistons are .75mm over bored. I can't find any Ford pistons that are .75mm over for the 1994 spec engine. So now I am trying to figure out if I should send back the heads and get some 98 spec aftermarket heads of get some aftermarket 94 spec pistons. I would really like oem pistons and block but I dont think it is going to happen at this point. I dont really see a good solution. There was some pistons that were oem and .75 over on eBay yesterday. I asked a question and the guy took them down and will not respond to messages.
dang that sucks!!!!! sorry to hear that. :(
 






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:popcorn:

I will leave this for the engine builder dudes, in over my area of specialty!
Rebuilding these things can be oh so fun. V6= $$$
 






Kirby N.

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I respect that!

I guess the real question is:

Would it be better to have aftermarket heads or aftermarket pistons?

Because I can’t have motorcraft oem heads and motorcraft oem pistons that are compatible.

And if it is pistons- is it a good option to go with flat top sohc pistons to increase compression to 10:1? I don’t want to have to worry about tuning or reliability being compromised.
 






Fix4Dirt

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I respect that!

I guess the real question is:

Would it be better to have aftermarket heads or aftermarket pistons?

Because I can’t have motorcraft oem heads and motorcraft oem pistons that are compatible.

And if it is pistons- is it a good option to go with flat top sohc pistons to increase compression to 10:1? I don’t want to have to worry about tuning or reliability being compromised.
i aint no engine builder just ya average joe, but imo id rather have mismatched heads in that ya can at least replace em without pulling the motor iirc, pistons... nit so much! as long as ya can find a reputable supplier of heads maybe even updated ones thats even better imo! i think hugher compression may mean tuning to get every pony outta it, cause the stock computers compensate quite well in my experience, but once ya get that far i think itll give you a power boost undoubtably but then tuning will be needed to milk every house outta it. not sure reliability wise however.
 






Scott B.

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I respect that!

I guess the real question is:

Would it be better to have aftermarket heads or aftermarket pistons?

Because I can’t have motorcraft oem heads and motorcraft oem pistons that are compatible.

And if it is pistons- is it a good option to go with flat top sohc pistons to increase compression to 10:1? I don’t want to have to worry about tuning or reliability being compromised.

Were it me, I would find the best flowing heads, and start there. I don't there is much difference between OEM and aftermarket pistons, functionality wise (other than the obvious shape of the top of the piston), but there can be a huge difference in the flow through different heads.

Also, watch out with 10:1 compression - that may put you on high octane gas. Of course, the additional power will be nice... ;)
 






Kirby N.

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Thanks Scott. I think I am leaning toward different heads now. The only ones available are 98 spec heads aftermarket. I called engine quest today. One idea I got from a guy on The ranger station is getting a set of 95 heads out of the junk yard and having them rebuilt. Any thoughts on that? Does anyone have a good place to have heads rebuilt?
 






Scott B.

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Thanks Scott. I think I am leaning toward different heads now. The only ones available are 98 spec heads aftermarket. I called engine quest today. One idea I got from a guy on The ranger station is getting a set of 95 heads out of the junk yard and having them rebuilt. Any thoughts on that? Does anyone have a good place to have heads rebuilt?
One model of head (I forget which) is prone to cracking. Brian1 would know.

Be careful getting used ones.
 






Kirby N.

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I talked to a local machinist today. He was kind of a tool. He said every 4.0 head that comes in is always cracked. Always. I told him I have a set with 300k on them of the 1991 variety that are not cracked. He said there is only two varieties- early and late, to which of course I know better. So after we bantered a little, he said bring in what you got and we can look at it. Thinking about getting a set of 95 heads out of the junk yard and having him rebuild them with the 93 parts then selling the new 93 head bare. Still looking for a set of aftermarket 95tm heads, but I have not found any.
 






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