Starkman's Rally Ranger now B5000 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Starkman's Rally Ranger now B5000

I've been dreaming about this project for a long time. The spark started when I took my Explorer ice racing. I entered my Explorer in a class that was mostly, well all all-wheel drive cars. A few WRX a Mistubishi Evo 8, and a very fast Audi RS4. I had fun but the Ex is no all-wheel drive car. So one day I was reading this forum about the V8 Explorer all-wheel drive transfer case and the author stated the power split was 65-35. I had just read an artical about the new Focus RS and how it can shift the power to the same ratio to make it able to slide and handle more like a rear drive car with power oversteer. Well? What if a find a short bed, regular cab Ranger (just so happens that Ranger setup has the same wheel base as the 4 door V8 Explorer) then find a donor Explorer and swap the V8 and all-wheel transfercase and throw in some better gears in the diffs, lower the suspension, add some bigger tires and wheels (I'm a big fan of the LOORRS truck racing) and see what happens. Note that I already have built a vehcile for off road, so this is not going to be an off road truck. It will be a truck I can race on the ice, run fast on dirt roads and when it snows here in Colorado I can run the same roads I do on my sportbike but have a blast power sliding and general hooliganism.

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So I found this little truck with a blown motor.

Found this poor Mountaineer with 115 K miles on the ODO.


I was busy this weekend, installed front fenders and did a bed side spread. Lowered the front 2" and the rear 4". You can see that I've mocked up a roll pan, I think I want to run the exhaust through it in the center like an SRT8 Grand Cherokee or a Focus RS or ST.

Here is a better view of the bed side spread. I pushed it to the maximum at 2".

Tires and wheels

I run BFG 33-10.50/15 rubber on my Ex and I like the way it looks from the front. Not a fan of the look of the fat 12.50 tires from the front. And because I always liked the look of a fat rear skinny front look of a drag car. I decided to try an unusual size combo, 33-10.50/15s on the front and 33-12.50/15 in the rear. 8" wheels with 2" spacers in front and 10" wheels in back give the same overall width front to rear. It is 6" wider than stock. Along with the new lowered stance the center of gravity is very much better then before.

scribed. really interested to see this project unfold.

Subscribe , just my kind of crazy

Lowered suspension,
In the front it was easy, just unscrewed the torsion bars. Still an inch of room to the bump stop so should be OK for bottoming. When I swap the Mountaineer drivetrain I will also swap all the front suspension components including the larger torsion bars.
The rear was more work but not hard. The first 2" was got by removing the factory lift blocks. The next 2" was accomplished by doing an old prerunner trick (and I think I read people do this on 2wd Rangers) I flipped the rear shackle hanger. The factory hangers and shackles were badly rusted. Rock Auto sells replacement parts so a few clicks and they were at my doorstep. Grind off the rivots and remove then bolt the new ones on upside down and the rear of the spring is now about 6" lower. It nets about 2" to 3" of drop. I do have some conserns about spring wrap with this setup. If that happens I will raise the front spring hanger and remount the rear hanger down on the frame to get the spring eyes more in line. Still have 6" until the axle tube touches the bump stop so plenty of up travel. I will finalize the rear suspension when the Mountaineer gives it's rear end to the Ranger and I swap in the disc brake 8.8.

I will add pics later of the finished rear setup but here are the hangers side by side the show the amount of drop from flipping them.

The seats have been in my living room staring at me so I figured I should put them where them belong.
Seats, Scat Procar, they seem to be good so far.

Removed the factory seat from the sliders by cutting them and air hammering out the rivots and all that is left is flat sliders.

A flat bar of steel welded on to them and bolt down the seat. They sit a little high in the ****pit but as you can see above there is a ledge that doesn't allow them to go much lower. Now finish this side and move to the passinger side.

It's been a while I've been distacted by the grill from the Mountaineer donor, I customized and installed it on my Explorer.

Here are some pics of the bed side spread.

Just cut the inner fender and I used the factory jack and a block of wood and cranked it open 2", install some plates to hold it in place then add longer braces to hold lower wheelwell opening out to match upper.

I used small electrical conduit for the new braces,
IMG_0732-M.jpg, very cool project!! Subscribing....:popcorn:

OK, summer now past. Time to focus on the Ranger.

Finally got the engine and trans out.

Poor old 3 liter. Scrap metal now.

Now clean and paint the engine compartment.

On a side note, here is the customized grill I installed in the Explorer.


Well,a lot has happen since my last post.The gold Ranger was too rusty to save so I saved all the good parts and sent the rest to scrap as the Explorer looks on...

But the good news is I just bought another one, this time a Colorado truck so not rust.
This time a Mazda!

Would you believe this truck has 50,000 miles! The young man that drove it didn't check the oil and the poor old 3.0 locked up.

Since I did some mods to the Ranger, I am faster at completing them on the Mazda.

I think the Mazda fenders are wider than the Rangers, I spread them 1 1/2" and they seem to be wider. Also removed the factory lift blocks, they are 2 3/4" tall so it's looking better.


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Also mounted the seat.