By Jim Oaks
On September 7 2001, The Ranger Station and the members
of the Rough Rangers Off-Road Club got the opportunity to get a first hand
look at the Ford Ranger FX4 that was slated to be introduced later in the
fall. Although you'll find other Ranger sites that talk about the
FX4, we actually got to wheel with it and talk to a couple of the
engineers from Ford who are responsible for the Rangers development.
The new FX4 comes complete with the equipment
serious off-roaders will recognize -- Bilstein shocks, Torsen Limited Slip
Differential, 31x10.5 BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO tires, tow hooks and
a full compliment of steel skid plates to protect the front suspension
/differential, transfer case and highly vulnerable fuel tank. It
even comes with a manual transfer case!
For power the FX4 features a 4.0L SOHC V6 under the
hood feeding 207 HP and 238 ft. lbs. of torque to your choice of a 5-speed
manual or an automatic overdrive transmissions backed by a 31-spline 8.8
rear axle and 4.10 gears.
The Ford engineers didn't baby the FX4 on the trail
either. You can't really tell in the pictured linked to above lower
right, but the FX4 went back to Detroit with some body damage. The
Ford guys are watching and listening to see what the customer wants in a
truck. More importantly, they're hitting the trail and seeing how
their trucks are being used and what improvements need to be made.