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1983-2011 Ford Ranger Mini Trucks (Street) Show of your trucks, or post your build threads. This is NOT a help forum. Post your questions in the Help Forums further down

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Old 11-16-2014, 02:59 PM   #1
deankelly
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Vehicle Year: 1996
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Vehicle Model: ranger 97 T-Bird IRS 98 Expo engine/trans
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Default 96 StRanger

Hope there are a lot to choose from this month!

1996 Ranger

Mods, 98 Explorer 5.0 drive train, 97 T-Bird IRS, Mazda bed, Custom made (by me) wiring harness, 02 Ranger seats, 98 Explorer instrument cluster.

Paint, by Maaco
Tires, good year
Wheels, Sport Tuning
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:21 PM   #2
Jim Oaks
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Pretty cool looking truck. Can you tell us more about your T-Bird IRS? Would love to see some photos.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:33 PM   #3
deankelly
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Vehicle Year: 1996
Vehicle Make: ford
Vehicle Model: ranger 97 T-Bird IRS 98 Expo engine/trans
I use this vehicle for: Daily driver / project
My credo: The answer is always NO, if you don't ask!
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Thank you all for the votes!

I bought this Ranger shortly before I retired from the Army. I needed another set of wheels and the price was right.

After retiring I found that I had some time on my hands and I not had a hot rod since high school.

I wanted to do something different, apparently lots of Rangers have been converted to V8s. I still wanted that but I wanted to stand out a little also. Surfing around on the internet for things to do to modify my truck I came across a website dedicated to putting IRS systems under full size trucks from the 50s. I contacted the manufacturer (truckirs.com) and asked if their setup would work on a Ranger. After some back and forth and some measurements the engineer decided that it would work. Being that truckirs is located in Florida not too far from me the engineer volunteered to come over and assist with the installation and take notes and photos for their business. They build a kit that gets welded onto your frame and you can bolt in a Thunderbird IRS. I pulled the IRS from a 97 T-bird at a u-pull-and-pay yard in Orlando for $175.00.

We installed the system and the drive shaft bolted up perfectly after changing the flange at the rear.

With the IRS a new problem was encountered. The plastic fuel tank would no longer fit back under the truck. So for a short time (a year +) I had an F150 tank in a plastic tool box in the bed until I could afford to find a way to resolve the issue.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:37 PM   #4
deankelly
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Vehicle Model: ranger 97 T-Bird IRS 98 Expo engine/trans
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I finally found a way to resolve the issue. Buy a steel tank for an 87 Ranger, and have a welding wizard modify it to fit. The guy did an amazing job and even put a drain plug in the tank for me. (This guy is a pipefitter by trade, he has an awesome 56 Chevy that is blown with two 4s on it - he manufactured his own intake so that there are no holes in the hood. Carbs hang low on either side of the blower.) I will add photos soon.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:42 PM   #5
deankelly
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Vehicle Model: ranger 97 T-Bird IRS 98 Expo engine/trans
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I spent a lot of time browsing The Ranger Station before, during and after the 5.0 mod to get a lot of questions answered. ( Thanks to all who helped) The 5.0 came out of a rolled 98 Expo that I found at my neighborhood salvage yard. They normally don't do u-pull, but after some time chatting with the owner about what I was doing he allowed me to go into the yard on my own.

Keep in mind, I teach JROTC at a high school, so my time to tinker is limited. I managed to get about six or seven Saturdays in a row that I spent from opening to closing slowly taking the Explorer apart.

After that during a Christmas break from school with the help of my Dad and my son the engine went in after a new oil pump, pick up tube, timing chain and gears and oil pan went on.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:47 PM   #6
deankelly
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Vehicle Year: 1996
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Vehicle Model: ranger 97 T-Bird IRS 98 Expo engine/trans
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My credo: The answer is always NO, if you don't ask!
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Getting the engine in was fairly easy, motor mount adapters and remote oil filter kit did the trick. The trans bolted right up to the crossmember. The drive shaft had to be shortened up a little.

The fun part starts now. Do I wire in the Expo engine compartment harness or do I only graft in the circuits that are needed?

I tried to use the expo engine compartment harness, NO GO. To many things that the Ranger did not support. It turned out to be a lot easier to lay in the needed circuits one wire at a time into the Ranger harness.

Big shout out to The Ranger Station tech library for how to articles for starting and charging conversions.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:49 PM   #7
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Looking forward to more pictures of your Ranger.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:50 PM   #8
deankelly
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Vehicle Year: 1996
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Vehicle Model: ranger 97 T-Bird IRS 98 Expo engine/trans
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My credo: The answer is always NO, if you don't ask!
Rep Power: 10
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It seems that Ford went through a lot of trouble with emission controls to get it just right. There were so many check engine light codes to work out... Apparently there are sensors in the Expo that the Ranger never needed. I had to track down every P code and wring out every wiring diagram to isolate sensors I did not have (more trips to the salvage yard). Finally got all of the codes to go away, it helps if you plug the upstream o2 sensor into the upstream connector on the harness, not the downstream connector. Also when a o2 sensor is not getting power to the heater the wiring diagrams come in handy!
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:53 PM   #9
deankelly
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I did not like the fleet side bed, nor was I too impressed with the Ford step side style. I really liked what Mazda had done so I went looking for a bed that would fit that wasn't too messed up in the salvage yard. I paid $800 for the truck, it ran when I got it. I spent $600 just for the bed and another $75 for the tailgate.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:56 PM   #10
deankelly
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Central FL
Posts: 50
Vehicle Year: 1996
Vehicle Make: ford
Vehicle Model: ranger 97 T-Bird IRS 98 Expo engine/trans
I use this vehicle for: Daily driver / project
My credo: The answer is always NO, if you don't ask!
Rep Power: 10
deankelly is on a distinguished road
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The paint scheme came from looking at photos of cars from the 2013 SEMA show. I wanted the orange and grey, thankfully my wife added the silver stripe and the black pinstripes to the design.

I was limited to what wheels I could use because of the 4.25 bolt circle of the T-bird. I put adapters on the front and found the wheels on line.

Still tinkering when I am able and have some cash to spend.
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