1980s ford ranger motorhome


Jlonga

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From a road trip in 1985. Not sure what year Ranger. This was a custom build. The floor plan was similar to early 80s Shasta's that has the dining area/bed at the back of the camper.
 


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Grumpaw

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Back in the 80's there were several companies that built small class c motor homes using Ford Rangers, Chevy S 10, Toyota pick ups.
They were popular during those years, and many are still out there. We see them very often when we're out camping. Those in good shape bring a premium when they go up for sale.
Sometimes they bring more than when they were new.
 

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racsan

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the toyotas were fairly common round here, Ive seen one where they took off the camper body, made a back wall for the cab and shortened the frame to make a 6’ flatbed dually. Still had the camper rear axle. Ive never seen a ranger camper in person and havent seen a S10 in camper form.
 

Grumpaw

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Lot of it depended on what part of the country the rigs were made. At the time manufacturers were all over the USA, and those made/sold usually stayed in the area. There were west coast manufacturers, east coast, and central.
Toyota's were the most popular, but I've seen Fords, Chevy's in our travels.
Unfortunately, they were all not the most "better built" rigs, and most I have seen have just rotted out. In our travels in 45 of the lower states, have seen many just sitting in yards, probably due to the running gear just giving out and the owners just not wanting to spend $$$ to fix.
Almost all were overloaded as they came from the factory, exceeding the GVWR. The manufacturers got around this by adding stiffer springs, shocks, dual rear wheels, but didn't help much.
The early Toyots rigs even came with a 4 cyl. engine and single rear wheel.
Would be nice to see what the manufacturers could do with a current Ranger. Would make a nice smaller class c.
 

rusty ol ranger

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Maybe its my bias talking but the 1st gen ranger should of held up to that kind of "abuse" much better then the early yotas, not to mention the S10.
 

Grumpaw

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Maybe its my bias talking but the 1st gen ranger should of held up to that kind of "abuse" much better then the early yotas, not to mention the S10.
Rusty, it's all how they were maintained. Have had many rv's,, both trailers and motor homes since 1970. Took care of mine, and never had any real problems. Have seen rigs that were only a few years old that were trashed.
Those early small trucks had minimal power to haul the added load and were really not designed for what they were put through.
Imagine running a rig with 140 hp, loaded to the max, up through the Rockies, or over the Alcan Highway. Put 2500 lbs in an older Ranger/Toyota and just hauling it around on flat ground would tax it.
And, then you add clothing, food, water, personal gear, ect. They were overloaded from the start.
 

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Grumpaw

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And here's a few on the older Datsun pickups....
 

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Grumpaw

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racsan

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forgot about the datsuns. The dakota might of been a better chassis , being bigger and offering a V8, but at the end of the day its still a dodge.
 

rusty ol ranger

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Rusty, it's all how they were maintained. Have had many rv's,, both trailers and motor homes since 1970. Took care of mine, and never had any real problems. Have seen rigs that were only a few years old that were trashed.
Those early small trucks had minimal power to haul the added load and were really not designed for what they were put through.
Imagine running a rig with 140 hp, loaded to the max, up through the Rockies, or over the Alcan Highway. Put 2500 lbs in an older Ranger/Toyota and just hauling it around on flat ground would tax it.
And, then you add clothing, food, water, personal gear, ect. They were overloaded from the start.
Thats kinda what im gettin at though. Im guessing the ranger ones were 2.8/2.9s which were pretty damn gutsy compared to a 20/22r or 2.8L GM.

Not to mention the ranger had probably the strongest overall drivetrain of the trio, espicially if they ran C5s.

Not sure how the 7.5 rear stands up to the other two, but at those power levels im sure it was fine.

I doubt an S10 frame, and certainly not a yotas toothpick frame is nearly as stout as a ranger, and the ranger had I beams.

Im not saying that theres any doube in my mind they were way overloaded and not exactly set up for a long service life...but i can tell you right now id trust a 2.8/2.9 ranger chassis to get me, my family, and all my shit up and over and down the rockies before i trusted an S10 or yota. Regardless of how slow it made the climb.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Not sure how the 7.5 rear stands up to the other two, but at those power levels im sure it was fine.
I have yet to see any photographical evidence but supposedly the 31 spline 8.8 was available on cab-chassis first gen Rangers.

The Toyota conversions seem to be far the most popular, they have the most still in circulation anyway. I think they changed the rear axle on those too.

I have the slide in for my '85... pretty sure it would kick a 2.8's @$$. I can't imagine a full camper body. My 5.0 toys with it but knows it is there, with half the hp... lol pack a lunch. It cackles a little more going up a hill but can still break both tires loose on gravel with the 800lb camper in the back.

But back then 55mph was the national speed limit too.
 
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rusty ol ranger

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A legend to the old man, a hero to the child...
I have yet to see any photographical evidence but supposedly the 31 spline 8.8 was available on cab-chassis first gen Rangers.

The Toyota conversions seem to be far the most popular, they have the most still in circulation anyway. I think they changed the rear axle on those too.

I have the slide in for my '85... pretty sure it would kick a 2.8's @$$. I can't imagine a full camper body. My 5.0 toys with it but knows it is there, with half the hp... lol pack a lunch.

But back then 55mph was the national speed limit too.
Why do people nowadays think they gotta hurry everywhere?
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Why do people nowadays think they gotta hurry everywhere?
I like to at least be able to maintain the speed limit.

The big thing with these things is going to be stability at speed too.
 


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