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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


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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

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

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


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)
IMG_2957.jpg



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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410Fortune

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any evidence of them striking?

What was the fix? I read through both threads not sure he ever solved it!!


what are you looking for a Ford NOS rocker assembly? I could ask Brett he hoards parts LOL
I have a few OHV here, high mile blocks but late model if you need any parts
 



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Kirby N.

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I don’t see any evidence- but it hasn’t been run long. I stuck a feeler gauge under them last night and it slid in there but they weren’t tightened down and with the broke bolt I couldn’t tighten them down and check. Might be able to Monday.

Yeah, been looking for some nos rockers. There was an assembly on eBay with everything a few days ago but it sold I guess.

I have to work today but I am going to try to get to the yard- so no need to bug Brett. I remember seeing his parts stash or yours years ago. Seems like it was a crawl space or something filled up with cool stuff! Thanks for the offer. I’ll call the dealer too and give it a try.
 






Kirby N.

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Oh- his fix was to slide them back on the pedestals and tighten them down. I think my fix would either be a nos ford set or a little grindage on the melling rockers.
 






410Fortune

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Grind and push back!! Have you considered running two shims for .2? Maybe for now run the single shim push back and then put some paint on the retainers or arms the. Run it see if the paint gets nicked if the noise returns

Huge pita!! But this is wrenching. I had the trans out of my bii 4 times in one summer trying to get clutch just right… eventually went automatic then years later learned about the air bubble that gets trapped. When I first got my 7.3 truck I had the injectors out 4 times in one summer… now I’m learned and have not had to touch either in years!! Hoping once you get through this it will last forever!!

I have been known to keep some parts lol lol Brett has a special room just for parts too
 






Kirby N.

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Oh yeah- the air bubble. I fought that for years on my exploder with the tranny I got from you. I had a technique to get it in gear from a stop even. Had to wiggle and jam. I tried everything until the bench bleed fixed it. A member on here- Joe- helped me power bleed it and it still don’t work. I tried new clutches, new flywheels. All the stuff. Ran it without a clutch that would fully engage for years.

I am older and more meticulous now- my budget isn’t as tight as it used to be either. That helps! This one has me perplexed, but I am hopeful this is it.
 






Kirby N.

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Well, made some good progress today.

I went to the junk yard and pulled a ford rocker rail from a late explorer. Unfortunately, there was a ranger there that I had almost completely apart- but they hauled it off so I had to start over.

The ford vs the melling rockers are very different. The ford one has more clearance near the spring and spring retainer. It swoops way more than the melling one and the casting seems better.

Rails.jpg


They look similar in the pic but they are not. if I take them apart I will get some better pics.

I called ford and they can get me a full set of new ford ones- $30 a piece!!! Ugh. I dont know why i didn't do that before. It seems like ford told me they were discontinued. There is a guy at the counter that is really lazy- I think it is easier for him to say discontinued than to look hard. Maybe I cheeped out on the millings ones. I dont know.


Installed the ford rockers with no shims- tons of gap on the springs. Started it, warmed it up- it is way quieter. Still makes a little noise, but not like it was. I am using the new pushrods and used rockers- could be a part of the little noise it is making. I think the rockers were hitting the spring retainers.

Also, I compared my new pushrods with the set out of the junk yard- new ones are about .010 shorter??? I dont know how that happened. the old ones are about 5.475, new ones are about 5.36. might get another set of ford pushrods and see what the heck they measure.

also going to try a cts tomorrow and see if it cures the idle. i am out of ideas with that.
 






Kirby N.

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Did you presoak your new lifters in oil before installing them? Did you compare the new Melling rocker rails to the ones you took off to see if the holes were the same, they had the plugs in the end of them and so on? Maybe they could be leaking pressure off somewhere in the oiling passages and not making it out to the rocker arm tips or as you may be thinking some of the oiling holes are misaligned in the rocker assembly. I don't remember a notch in the shaft, I reused my rocker rails after popping the plugs out to clean them and then reinstalling them very carefully in the same orientation I took everything apart. Also measure the pushrods and see if they are around 5.475-5.480" to rule out the possibility of getting pushrods that were boxed wrong or made incorrectly, etc.
This- the new pushrods are 5.36 long. Maybe that is part of the problem too. I only measured one. Plan to measure more tomorrow. Although decking the heads .009 would compensate.
 






410Fortune

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WELL DONE!!!!!!
So would you call the ticking solved?

Factory parts always so much better

Idle is still way too high? How much have you driven it?
 






Kirby N.

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Yes, hesitantly I am saying it is solved. I am not 100% sure on how I will proceed- new ford rockers or used, another set of pushrods or keep these. I want to measure all the pushrods. I only measured one last night.

Idle is still stupid high. It has the junk yard iac and maf on it now. When I unplug them nothing changes- except the maf shows a check engine light. I can’t imagine a vac leak- I chased all the lines down and there just isn’t much there. I’ll try some propane next to confirm. I am also going to try a coolant temp sensor- I checked the on in it,m, with a volt meter but for $20 I can’t help but swap it.
 






410Fortune

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does the butterfly close 100% when at rest?

suspects:
TPS, IAC, IAT, CTS, throttle body, canister purge valve, EGR valve
and of course the PCM

May try disconnecting battery for a few after each part you inspect or change to see if it re learns base idle
 






Kirby N.

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Ok. Thanks. I did clean the crap out of the throttle body when the engine was apart- but it definitely closes completely. Maybe there is some soft parts in there around the tps that I could have screwed up? I’ll look at that. Haven’t messed with the purge valve at all. Can check that.

What made me think it might be the cts is that it seems to start a little hard warm.
 






410Fortune

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I AGREEE CTS can do this for sure
With OBD2 you would be able to watch it LOL LOL LOL live data
time and money!!
My trucks need work, I've been fixing everyone else's and beating the snot out of mine
You are getting closer to having your baby back!
 






Kirby N.

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I have still only driven it 45 miles. It has probably ran an hour on top of that too while I have been messing with the valves
 






410Fortune

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Plenty of time for idle to settle
 












Kirby N.

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How should it respond if I disconnect the pcv and plug it?
 






Kirby N.

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I did replace the pcv with a motorcraft unit when a did the rebuild.
 






Kirby N.

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I unplugged the brake booster last night and it almost died. Plug with with my thumb and it went back to high idle
 






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I unplugged the brake booster last night and it almost died. Plug with with my thumb and it went back to high idle
I had trouble with a mototcraft pcv one time worth a look
Try your old one
Won't hurt
 



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