Kirby's 1991 Ranger Build Up | Page 39 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
  • Register Today It's free!

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.
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





Josh P

Shaggin Wagon
Elite Explorer
Joined
February 18, 2015
Messages
3,191
Reaction score
2,110
City, State
Phoenix Az
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 aerostar
Your TB, is it original? I know at some point ford put a coating on them. Some people have reported a high idle after cleaning them. Air gets around the throttle plate when the coating is cleaned off. Someone on this forum had this high idle issue, he put tape over the hole on the throttle plate, idle dropped so he soldered the hole shut and drilled a smaller hole. Idle was normal after.
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
Ok- no change when I plug it with my finger.



Well I was hesitant to celebrate. Took it for a drive tonight and got it up to operating temperature and the noise is back. I don’t know if it wasn’t getting hot enough the other day or what. I am completely out of ideas. I was ready to go tomorrow and spend 360$ on ford rockers. Now I don’t know what to do.

I am going to put in the old pushrods out of the junk yard and see what happens. If that doesn’t work I am completely out of ideas.
 












410Fortune

Truck Season!!
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
August 3, 2000
Messages
28,707
Reaction score
5,064
City, State
NORTH IDAHO, 7B
Year, Model & Trim Level
B2 "Slightly" Modified
Callsign
FOURTEN
oh dang, geeze
get video of noise

I still think you should get adjustable pushrod and go through the process of checking proper length by hand
compare results to the pushrods you have
Basically you can mark the tip of the rocker and where it lands on the valve stem, bar engine over by hand several times and this will tell you if they are too long too short, etc. I have only done this on v8, but Im sure one of these dudes will chime in, cannot think of why it would not also apply to v6
The geometry must be correct!! or tick tick tick

@Brett would be my lifeline here he would be able to help me solve this if I was still in CO
stupid engine why wont you just work!!
I feel your pain!!
 






Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
Thanks Jaime. I guess the issue with measuring pushrods is the hydro lifters- do I collapse them to measure?

My dad wants to try .050 shims. Will probably do that today. I am also considering pulling the heads and taking them to the machine shop to have the recheck the valves and stuff. That’s a buttload of work.

It would be really tough to just drive it- at operating temperature it really sounds like a diesel. It’s loud.
 






Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I feel hopeful tonight.

I shimmed the pedistals .050. no difference. Also ran it hot without valve covers, made a mess, but nothing learned.

I went by the ford dealer and got a coolant sensor. Also went to the junk yard and grabbed a throttle body. My dad cleaned the one I have on the rebuild and he said he was really aggressive with the parts cleaner tank and a wire brush- so wondering if that it my issue.

I also went by the machine shop that prepped my heads. I considered having them shave down the pedistals- to see if the pushrods are too short. They insisted that it wasn't a good idea and instead asked to see the heads.

So that was the rest of the day. Its nicer to work on when it is clean. Though it launched oil everywhere, the oil was clean oil, so it was nicer to work on.

Reomoving Heads.jpg


got the intake and accessories off.

Pulled the heads. Here are some shots of the cylinders in case anyone sees anything concerning

HEads off 2.jpg
Heads off.jpg


The drivers cylinders:
Drivers cylinders.jpg
Drivers cylinders 2.jpg

and passenger cylinders
passenger cylinders.jpg


The head underside was interesting.

the 2 front cylinders on both sides had this char mark on the intake valve. Back cylinders on both sides did not. Does this look concerning?

Head underside.jpg

Head underside closeup.jpg


Thanks everyone for the support on this. I am saying a prayer tonight that the machine shop will have some answers.
 






Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
The time has arrived. I got the heads back.

The machine shop had some peculiar things to say. Perhaps you can help me decipher them?

The machine shop said: everything was in spec. Everything from the total height of the heads, to the stem height, to the preload.

He said the marks on 4 valves in 4 cylinders indicated that the valves were not closing completely. I dont get why- but the machine shop said they think it is the lifters fault???

the machine shop said they pressure tested the heads with valves both last time and this time. Them they did another valve job. He said he laped them with a stone old school style and got them all really close to the same stem height.

I dont get why they need another valve job if they were in spec and tested? I also dont get why the valves would hang open due to lifters? They are new melling lifters.

SO I collapsed a lifter and measured the travel. It came out to about 180 thousands of travel. Next I installed the heads with new old stock ford lifters I purchased on eBay. That will remove the possibility that it was the lifters. Its unfortunate that the heads have to come off to swap lifters or I would have installed the heads with the melling lifters.
Reinstall head.jpg


Next I used a pry bar wired to the rocker to collapse the lifters on the #4 cylinder because before install I put it on TDC. Then with my magnetic stand and a dial indicator I measured the lash with a collapsed lifter on the rocker on top of the pushrod. It came out to about 110 thou on both. Pretty close to middle travel.
Lash Measure.jpg
lash measure 2.jpg


I changed to motocraft platinum plugs since the others had likely been hot tanked. installed a new motorcraft coolant temp sensor. Cleaned and scarped all surfaces and put it back together.

final install.jpg


I also changed the oil and filter because there had been water and some gasket scraping.

It started with a racket likely from the two collapsed lifter and the others getting pumped up. Thought I soaked them in oil for a week. Most of the racket quit nearly immediately. The two front lifters made a noise for maybe 30 seconds.

The it was quiet.

the idle still really high.

So I swapped to the junk yard throttle body. This fixed my idle issue. Back to 800-900 rpm idle.

Ran it for an hour or so. Ran it around the block. The oil pressure got down to 22 or so when it was hot- lowest I think I have seen it, but also the lowest it has idled.

oil pressure.jpg




No noise.

I am so thankful. I have prayed my tail off about this- so I can't understate that. But gosh, I was completely out of ideas. I didn't know what to do next if it didn't work. I am still reluctant to say, but I am pretty confident it is good to go. I am so relieved- this has been way more $$ and way more time than I had expected.

Tomorrow I am going to reinstall the a/c and charge it. I am also going to change out the front brake lines because I noticed they are split. And I am also going to flush the clutch master cylinder because I am concerned it may have got dot 4 or 5 fluid and that may have caused the failure on the other one.

I also figured out that the tranny was leaking oil- but it was due to the full level indicator bolt being loose. hope that is fixed.

One other thing- the poly mounts transfer more vibes and noise to the cab.

On to breaking it in starting this weekend. I have to return my dads truck- so I need to give it a cleaning.I also ordered a nos throttle body off eBay. Ford said they are obsolete. everything else is nos. prob should have one.

Thank you everyone for your help and support!
 






410Fortune

Truck Season!!
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
August 3, 2000
Messages
28,707
Reaction score
5,064
City, State
NORTH IDAHO, 7B
Year, Model & Trim Level
B2 "Slightly" Modified
Callsign
FOURTEN
Ford lifters!!!
IF the valves were not opening fully and the pushrods are correct.......the cam is not worn, the only thing that could have caused it is the melling lifters and or issue with original install

PERSEVERENCE

Interesting about the throttle body coating possibly causing high idle.......you are not the first to chase that issue after a rebuild

Such good news!! A working operational 4.0 truck!
 






donalds

Elite Explorer
Joined
July 12, 2015
Messages
5,809
Reaction score
3,700
Location
Stem
City, State
Nc
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 ford explorer sohc
I have the instructions on how to set up your new throttle body so your idle is correct if you want I'll post them
 






Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
That would be wonderful
 






Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
I 1 by 1 took off the new motorcraft- non junk yard sensors and replaced them with the motorcraft ones I bought and the throttle body is it. Nothing else has changed.
 






Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
Ford lifters!!!
IF the valves were not opening fully and the pushrods are correct.......the cam is not worn, the only thing that could have caused it is the melling lifters and or issue with original install

PERSEVERENCE

Interesting about the throttle body coating possibly causing high idle.......you are not the first to chase that issue after a rebuild

Such good news!! A working operational 4.0 truck!
Thanks Jaime! I am over analyzing I think. I wonder if what the machine shop did fixed it because I don’t see how a lifter could cause the valves to hang up. A good friend told me it doesn’t matter- all that matters is that it is fixed. The only piece I see that matters is that I am going to try to return the lifters if they are truly the problem.
 






410Fortune

Truck Season!!
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
August 3, 2000
Messages
28,707
Reaction score
5,064
City, State
NORTH IDAHO, 7B
Year, Model & Trim Level
B2 "Slightly" Modified
Callsign
FOURTEN
If lifter never pumps up then it will not push the pushrod far enough
 






BKennedy

Elite Loser
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
November 29, 2000
Messages
9,424
Reaction score
2,933
Location
USA
City, State
San Diego, PRofK
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT
Mine idles low, 650-700 when in gear and stopped. That's the only time I notice any vibration from the poly engine mounts.
 












Kirby N.

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 6, 2001
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
259
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Ranger
If lifter never pumps up then it will not push the pushrod far enough
It’s not that the valves were not epening enough- the marks indicated that they were staying open and firing with the intake valve still open. I just left autozone- they said they would refund me on the melling lifters if I brought them back. This is why I need to use rockauto less.

Rockauto sent me two different head gaskets- even though they weren’t different online where I ordered them. I wasn’t putting two different gaskets on so I bought some from autozone and returned the rock auto ones. I had to pay the shipping and it took a week to get my cash back minus shipping cost. They also sent the wrong clutch for my jeep- even though I ordered the correct one. So I had to deal with the hassle of shipping it back and waiting for the credit. Atleast on that one they paid for the shipping.
 






BKennedy

Elite Loser
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
November 29, 2000
Messages
9,424
Reaction score
2,933
Location
USA
City, State
San Diego, PRofK
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT
Are the valves still clicking on start up?

I used to get valve/lifter/rocker clatter on start up all the time. I get it less when using Castrol Magnetic oil. It also eliminated the knock I got on start up with the RV's 8.1 after it sits for more than two weeks.

I buy a three pack of one gallon jugs off Amazon. I can do the yearly oil changes on the Explorer and RV with enough leftover to keep them topped off for the year. Explorer has pan and main seal leaks but never drips on the floor, RV burns about a quart every 2,000 miles (been doing it since it was new, known issue with the 8.1).
 






Paul

Elite Explorer
Joined
August 18, 1999
Messages
1,203
Reaction score
442
City, State
Grit City, Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 “Sport”
Hope it is all sorted - - yours is my favorite Ranger, and I own a Ranger ! ! Worst case, consider all the knowledge gained from the process, and the time spent with your Dad during the rebuild. . .
 






BKennedy

Elite Loser
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
November 29, 2000
Messages
9,424
Reaction score
2,933
Location
USA
City, State
San Diego, PRofK
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT
I agree with Paul, as far as Rangers go, yours is my favorite. Clean and very offroady. All around capable rig.
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





Josh P

Shaggin Wagon
Elite Explorer
Joined
February 18, 2015
Messages
3,191
Reaction score
2,110
City, State
Phoenix Az
Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 aerostar
I've bought cylinder heads that had the valve spring retainer installed incorrectly. That is easy to overlook and would keep a valve from fully closing.
 






Top