Ranger bed trailer | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Ranger bed trailer

The time has come to put my Ranger out of her misery. She's seen 190K since 1990, when my uncle bought her. I beat the tar out of it for the past 120K and she took it like a champ. So I decided to give her a new life as a trailer.

How it looked as of friday: (Ignore the ugly red cap, thats off our company s-10. We just needed a place to put it for a few days.)

Lets get right into this. Pulled the bed: (The van in the background is mine, so is the Cobra behind it.)


I found a little rust on the frame, nothing too bad. (Oh look, a 1" BII sway bar.)

Forklifts make this kind of work so much easier, everyone should have one.

I cleaned up the surface rust on the underside of the bed and painted it with POR15: (I even found a use for the floor mats :D)


While that was drying, I chopped the frame in half. (The 2 green Explorers in the background are mine.)


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Next, we need to do some work on the frame.

I leveled it and welded in a new front crossmember and a support to the factory crossmember. (It may not look straight in some of the pics, but I can assure you its within 1/16" of perfect in every dimension.)



I added another crossmember near the rear. I have a few reasons for this.
1) The rear crossmember seems weak to me.
2) Im not putting a bumper on it, I have a rollpan on the bed already.
3) I may put some stabilizer legs on the back, for loading and unloading my quad when I'm not hooked up to a tow vehicle.


I welded all the factory crossmembers to the frame rails, in an attempt to stiffen the frame a little.

Gratuitous weld shot. Yes everything is stick welded, thats all we have at work.

How she sits as of today.

I have to cut a hole in the front crossmember for the tongue. Its going to extend into the chassis about 8" and be gusseted to the 2nd crossmember. The tongue will extend about 4.5' from the front of the bed and have braces off the frame on either side.

The company next door does hot dip galvanizing. I may strip it down and send it over to them before final paint and assembly. Last time I had something of this size dipped, they charged me less then $50. They cut me a good deal, because I fix their forklifts.



I wont have a real update for you until the weekend. The wife's out of town for work and I have to watch the kid.

I made up a waterproof junction/fuse block to adapt the factory tail light wiring to the new trailer wiring.


Its a waterproof electrical box and fittings from Lowes and a fuse block I found on ebay. Simple, cheap, effective.

I got the tongue built today. Here are some crappy cell pics (Its a 5 year old Casio GzOne, dont expect too much from it! :D But I can take pics under water with it, can your phone? :p: ), I forgot the real camera today.

The main beam is 2x3, 1/4" tubing. Its 54" from the crossmember to the front of the tube. The front crossmember is cut out and the tube extends through it inside the frame 8" and is braced to the 2nd crossmember.

The side beams are 1.5x2.5, 3/16" tubing.


They meet the main tube at the industry standard 50°, incase I ever chop the tube off and change to a different coupler.

Speaking of couplers... Where is it???? Kurt at the trailer shop said it would be in on tuesday. Today is saturday.... and its still not in!! :rant:

Added a pair of tabs to help support a tongue box. All 3 beams and both tabs are level across the tops, that will give me plenty of support for whatever I bolt there. The crossmember in this pick should stick out from under the bed by 1/8". I've got aluminum diamond plate to make the front look all pretty.

The reason I'm going through all this extra work is... I dont like the way they look when you just bend the frame rails in and weld on a coupler.

Very nice arc welds! Plans for a camper or just a haul-all?

Very nice arc welds! Plans for a camper or just a haul-all?

Thanks, I've got about 15 years experience.

Its main purpose is to haul my junk around, but I'm thinking about picking up a bed tent for it.

I got a little more done this weekend. I didnt have much time, you know, the whole family thing. I did manage to find a little time to make a convertor for my tail light wiring. As we all know the 2nd gen Ex has separate stop and turn signal bulbs... trailers dont, neither do 2nd gen Ranger trailers. I needed a way to convert from 3 wire to 2 wire, and as with the rest of this build, it must be done right but as inexpensive as possible. I figured there had to be a way to do it with just a few relays.

I sat down and did a little thinking and came up with a way.
Parts needed: (total cost...$0.00, I had everything already.)
3 Bosch type 5 terminal relays
3 pigtails
1 fuse holder
assorted elec connectors

I have a schematic all drawn out, but no way to post it. Here's the pin outs for each relay:

R-1 (brake relay):
85- Input from vehicle stop lights
86- ground
30- fused power from battery
87- to terminals 87a on both R-2 and R-3
87a- to terminals 87 on both R-2 and R-3

R-2 (Left turn relay)
85- input from vehicle left turn signal
86- ground
30- output to trailer left turn bulb
87- from term 87a on R-1
87a- from term 87 on R-1

R-3 (Right turn relay)
85- input from vehicle right turn signal
86- ground
30- output to trailer right turn bulb
87- from term 87a on R-1
87a- from term 87 on R-1

I figure with the stop lights off the blinkers will flash in sequence with the tow vehicle. With the stop lights on, the blinkers will flash alternately of the tow vehicle. The trailer lights are all powered off the fused input on R-1, the only thing the vehicle wiring has to do is turn on the relays.

I dont have any pics, and I'm not going to take any tonight. It was too hot and humid today... The power was out for over 6 hours... NO A/C ALL DAY:fire:!! . I'm going to bed.
I'll come up with some pics tomorrow.

Oh yeah, I ordered my tongue box today:


And a coupler handle:


Very Very cool, subscribin as well.

Tongue box and handle came in today.



Still waiting on the coupler....

Nice work so far. I like the box on the front. I just bought a *cough* chevy *cough* pick-up bed trailer last weekend. The person that made it cut the frame up where the cab is and then notched and bent the frame in to make the tongue of the trailer. The frame is one piece front to back. It looks like it would be really heavy, but it is balanced really well.

Thanks for bringing this up, I should have updated it a while ago.

The box was very reasonably priced, IIRC it was just over $200.
I though about just notching and bending the frame, but I never liked the look of that.

I kinda put this project on the back burner. I blew the trans in my Explorer and picked up an '01 Ranger. As everyone here knows Rangers have beds already... so a trailer of the same exact size as the bed on the back of my truck isnt as important as it was. I havent abandoned it though.

The coupler finally came in and got installed.
I welded the landing gear on.
I set the bed back on and positioned the tongue box.

I just need to drill a few holes, finish up a few welds, pull it back apart and send the chassis for galvanizing.

Oh man, any updates? This was a nice build.

Nope, no updates yet.... I like to start projects and then take forever to finish them.

Any updates?