Ranger seen on this page is my 1996 Ford Ranger extended cab 4x4.
The build up of this truck came as a result of a lot of luck, and a
great opportunity. During an event that I was hosting I was talking
to Jim Allen from Offroad Adventures Magazine telling him that I
wanted to get a group together and build another truck to see how
cheaply we could build it. The discussion turned to building a
capable off-road Ranger and Jim asked that I email him a list of
parts that I would use if I was building a truck. It all eventually
turned in to a sponsored build for a 6-part build series in Offroad
out the magazine build below:
before you start thinking how awesome it would be to have a
sponsored build, I need to point out that it took several months to
build this truck. It's not as simple as having someone give you a
bunch of parts and then taking photos of the finished product.
magazine wanted a newer body style truck that could be had for a
reasonable amount of money and built in to a respectable offroader.
The 1996 Ranger was found on eBay for $2,600 and trailered home from
North Carolina. Once home, I began stripping the truck down and
preparing it for the build.
after being purchased)
body was in great shape with a rust free body and frame. The front
fenders were removed and replaced with Fiberwerx fiberglass fenders.
The bed was flared out to match. The truck was then sent to Maaco in
Columbus Ohio for paint. The body shop was being overseen by TRS
member Randy Miller.
the truck was back from the body shop, I made the white vinyl stars,
hood logo, and some of the sponsor logos.
and Bed Cage:
bumpers and bed cage were all cut and bent by me. Everything was
welded up by my friend Bob 'Ozzy' Osborn.
front and rear bumpers were made from 1-3/4" DOM tubing. The
front bumper also uses 1/4" steel plate for a skid plate and
winch mount. The bed cage is made out of 1-1/2" DOM tubing.
bed cage holds (4) ProComp 100-watt lights and a 55-watt rear facing
work light. The bed cage also houses a large plastic bed box, dual
battery boxes, and a tire carrier. The plastic bed box houses a fuse
block and relays for the lights.
front bumper holds (2) Pro Comp 100 Watt lights and was originally
equipped with a Mile Marker E12000 winch. However....a spotter let
the cable spool up to much on end of the the drum and it broke the
supports. The winch was replaced with a Warn XD900i
DOM front bumper with 1/4" steel plate.
1-1/2" DOM bed cage with
mounts for spare tire, battery boxes and bed box.
(Flag was for
entering the Badlands at Attica, Indiana)
a look at the decal on the hood. There is a logo
for each of the armed services with a POW/MIA decal in the
interior was pretty shot when I got the truck. It use to be a farm
truck, and everything inside the cab needed to be thrown
new carpet kit was purchased from Summit Racing. The seats came out
of a Escort GT and were purchased from Millrock Auto Wrecking in
Rogers Ohio. A Ford Explorer overhead console with compass and
temperature gauge along with a Ford Explorer center console was also
salvaged from Millrock.
headliner was removed and recovered with new material.
dash and plastic interior panels were repainted silver.
custom fiberglass console was made to mount all the switches and a
the Explorer overhead console, center console, and custom fiberglass
/ Drivetrain / Wheels & Tires:
suspension consists of a Skyjacker Class II 6-Inch suspension kit
with extended radius arms and stainless brake lines. The shocks are
Skyjacker Platinum's (discontinued)
rear axle is a Ford 8.8 disc brake rear axle with 31-spline shafts.
It features a Detroit Locker and Genuine Gear 4.56 gears. The rear
end is covered with a TRS Fab & Off-Road heavy duty differential
front axle is a Dana 35 and also features a Detroit Locker , Genuine
Gear 4.56 gears, and Warn manual hubs.
engine is a stock 4.0L with a JET Performance Module and Gibson cat
back exhaust system.
Ranger rolls on 33x12.5x15 BF Goodrich Mud Terrains. The truck was
originally built with Black Procomp Streetlock wheels, but they were
later replaced with 15x10 American Racing Outlaw II's to brighten
the truck up some.
Does It Perform:
Ranger performs great! The truck will go anywhere that it can get
ground clearance. My wife and I enjoy sitting back and watching
others fail or struggle to climb and obstacle, and then go right up
when its our turn.
Ranger took quite a beating and was beginning to rust. In 2010 the
Ranger was repainted more in the tradition TRS color scheme, but the
military tribute was retained. Some of the damage on the truck was
severe, and although it looks good at a short distance, a close up
inspection will reveal that I didn't bother to remove every small
dent and ding in the truck. I couldn't see going through that much
work just to dent it up again.
(my wife) bought me new projector headlights and clear corners. I
replaced the chrome trim around the lights and above the grill to
give it a new look.
in reading the articles that were written to document the build in
Offroad Adventures Magazine? Click below:
- Part 1
- Part 2: Suspension & Tires
- Part 3: Gears & Lockers
- Part 4: Manual Hubs & Explorer Rear Axle Swap
- Part 5: Bone Stock To Trail
- Part 6: The Full Monty
to see some photos of the Ranger off-road? Click HERE
Allen & Off-Road Adventures Magazine