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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.
 

Kirby N.

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I am starting to get excited. As if driving the clown mobile around for months isn't enough, it's been snowing pretty epically here. I have been romping the jeep around on parts runs wishing the ranger was up and going with 4x.

I grinded the axle shaft ears to accept full circle clips. On my first stub shaft, the joint caps push right in by hand. Crap. Someone spun some caps in these shafts already. Crap. I am not sure what to do. I may have made a mistake by not buying chromos to start with. I am going to sleep on it.
 


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section525

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I was just in your 'hood last week! The inlaws bought a house up in the Black Forest area.. but their address is CO Springs. I want to move out there!

Build is coming along good, Kirby!
 




timtimtimajim

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Saw your Ranger on the street a few months back. Have to say it was one of the coolest Rangers i've seen even though it's not done yet. Can't wait to see it finished
 




Kirby N.

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I was just in your 'hood last week! The inlaws bought a house up in the Black Forest area.. but their address is CO Springs. I want to move out there!

Build is coming along good, Kirby!

thanks! I grew up near BF. My parents live there still. It has really gotten dense with homes and people since I was a kid. I would never get away with now what I got away with as a kid living out there.

Saw your Ranger on the street a few months back. Have to say it was one of the coolest Rangers i've seen even though it's not done yet. Can't wait to see it finished

Thanks. It is hilarious to see/ hear peoples reactions. I catch people taking pictures of it all the time.
 




james t

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On my first stub shaft, the joint caps push right in by hand. Crap. Someone spun some caps in these shafts already. Crap. I am not sure what to do. I may have made a mistake by not buying chromos to start with. I am going to sleep on it.
4 really effing hot tack welds on the cap. I ran one "loose" like that for a while with the caps tacked on. Never broke.
 




Kirby N.

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Thanks James. That did cross my mind. I did that on my sploder too when I started stretching the stock ears. However, it really annoys me to put it together for the first time with sub par parts. That pretty much sums up every mistake I made on my explorer!

So with that in mind, I bit the bullet and ordered a set of 4340 shafts today. I am going to run the spicer joints I already have. I ran yukon superjoints in my explorer. They were tough, but I was always stressed when I ran it down the road in 4x. And I never really greased them like I was supposed to. So with the lighter truck, smaller tires and lack of a doubler/ ARB for now, I think the spicers will be fine. I may upgrade when I get a arb.

I also ordered a set of 2* c bushings in black and a 4" drop pitman arm.

For coil springs, I am going to "borrow" my buddy phils to check ride height before I order. His are the same 7" BC coils that I ran on my explorer. They were by far the best I tried. I tried deaver, WH, superlift. I cant decide if I should get the 5" or the 7". So hopefully, this will give a good indicator before I buy. I want the ranger to travel like phils truck:
IMG_3057.jpg


I still need: 1 Radius Arm Cap, 2 Coil Buckets, 2 late model TTB outer hubs. All junkyard stuff.

Also will have to have trackbar and steering DOM threaded and wrench flatted when the time comes. I get the DOM and the work done at my buddies machine shop.
 




BKennedy

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I always liked a SAS'd big Bronco. Is that a formed USBP Bronco (spot light)? If so, he should check the firewall where it meets the A pillar for cracks.
 




Kirby N.

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Border patrol? I don't know what it used to be. Did they crack there from the lights or the abuse? I will tell him to check. He has had it for like 10 years. Even wrecked it and bent the frame and did a frame swap. It's a shame it's getting rusty now.
 








Kirby N.

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I got my shaft kit today.
C1454736-C25D-4AB1-80DB-A5F4D4A25995.jpg


Machined for full circle clips:
6A34E9CC-8B09-42BD-9202-81BF28D6CC57.jpg


I also got a 4" drop pitman arm. On my explorer, I ran the stock one. In order to keep the track bar parallel I had to build it pretty steeply angled. This led to a lot of lateral movement through travel. When my passenger drooped and a driver stuffed, the driver would rub the outside of the fender. When the passenger stuffed and the driver drooped the tire would rub the coil bucket. So I am hoping running a drop pitman will put less demands on steering joints and allowe to run apre horizontal track bar.

I started reaming everything with a reamer I rented from a buddy.
01349397-9D5B-4311-9E44-5192B1FCCCE5.jpg

73921D70-4241-47D7-9E41-221909706700.jpg

5C81D4CB-08B8-4134-BA76-5315FAE99EE5.jpg

It can get away from you of you aren't careful. I got carried away on the right lower joint.
7072865C-4CAD-4444-A9BC-BC2339053347.jpg

That's a waste of $40. Guess I'll order a new one.
 








Kirby N.

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I went with USA standard from crazyedsperformance. They are yukons with a 1 year warranty instead of a lifetime. Significantly cheaper. My yukons fixed my front end breakage problems, so I hope I never need to warranty them. After all, what good is a warranty if you have to use it?

I really wish I would have gotten a couple late model ttb inner hubs when the weather was nice. I really can't imagine scrounging around a junk yard today. We have had good snow. This was the ranger the other day
A6CBADF8-FDF3-4D77-B701-1999C9A2A93B.jpg
 




BKennedy

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It can get away from you of you aren't careful. I got carried away on the right lower joint. That's a waste of $40. Guess I'll order a new one.

I did the same thing on a pitman arm. I repaired it with a BC Bronco bushing for their steering kit. Give them a call before you order a new joint (if you call, you get a break on shipping). The chrommoly bushing should be stronger than the original joint.
http://www.bcbroncos.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=96
 




james t

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Reamer- i did one hole with mine (carefully) then wrapped blue tape around it as a marking point... so now just run it to the edge of the tape and it's done. Yes they most certainly can get away from you... i figured that out on a buddys really nice high steer arm. One second it was almost perfect, the next second whoops it'll fit a dump truck TRE now. :D
 




Kirby N.

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James- that's a good call. Wish I would have heard that idea a could days ago!

Brian- called bc this morning. They sold me on the bushings. I ordered 3. 2 for the knuckles and one for the tierod. The tapers in the knuckles ended up hour glass shaped because the original tapers were too big on the large side. This should fix it. When they showed told me the shipping I was like ouch. So I decided to go ahead and buy coils too. Essentially, free shipping on the bushings. I went with the 5.5 w/ winch or 6" coils. An inch shorter than my explorer. I hope I don't regret it.
http://www.bcbroncos.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=299
 




BKennedy

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Brian- called bc this morning. They sold me on the bushings. I ordered 3. 2 for the knuckles and one for the tierod. When they showed told me the shipping I was like ouch. So I decided to go ahead and buy coils too. Essentially, free shipping on the bushings. I went with the 5.5 w/ winch or 6" coils. An inch shorter than my explorer. I hope I don't regret it.
http://www.bcbroncos.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=299

When I called and ordered one more to save my pitman arm, the gal with a southern accent who answered the phone threw it in a padded envelope and it was just a few bucks.

Are you going to use adjustable coil buckets?
 




Kirby N.

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No. I am going to use f150 full height buckets. More coil, more available travel. I was really happy with the setup on my explorer. I will cut the driver side to fit over the bulge in the drivers side frame rail too. Like I did on my explorer.

SAS1.jpg


If the coils are too short or too tall I will sell the coils and buy the set I need. The rad thing about bc is they sell them in 1/2" increments to 7". The spring rate are perfect. Soft and linear. I am amazed they aren't more popular in broncos and swaps.
 




Kirby N.

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I got a box today

3E2D9838-A467-4B8B-AC30-8FCDEF8056D3.jpg
 






Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

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Kirby N.

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Those are my energy supplement, Brian.

I got some painting done.

3763FDFC-0FBE-4509-8E12-CCCC2077D7E4_1.jpg


Also got the spindles started for rebuilding. Needle bearings were toast. They needed some timken replacements. This was the good one.

4EFD9017-6902-449A-B8BA-BCA62837F2AF.jpg


Also, I can't rember of mentioned it but one of my spindles is in terrible shape. It looks like someone beat on it with a sledge to remove it, then installed it with a c clip on the end of the stub and wore down the end of it. think I located another on Denver. Going to try to get it tomorrow.

E6A8931B-C2A5-4851-9745-8B0EDF847B7C.jpg


And fixed this link. Thanks Brian for the suggestion. It came out good. I used blue tape on my reamer like James suggested and got one knuckle done last night too. My drill got too hot so I will do the other knuckle later.

3B05E732-FD02-46BE-8EA8-4C32C7841D66_1.jpg
 




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