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1984 4x4 XLT... Buy it or run away screaming in terror? Help me decide.


SnowinOnRaton

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I’ll try and make a long story short here. I was doing a yard cleanup job for a friend (heck that’s a story in itself... 14 tons of yard debri removed!!) and in the process one of the vehicles that I found on the property wasting away in the Arizona sun completely covered in overgrown vegetation was this 1984 4x4 Ranger XLT. It’s a one owner vehicle with 40k original miles on it. (The bill of sale and financing papers were still in the glove too.) It still has 1989 tags on it! It’s been sitting there in the yard for 30 years. Interior is probably a total loss. Windshield has a hole in it and it’s been rained on for decades. Engine compartment is full of a long abandoned pack rat nest. The good news is being in AZ it’s whole life it’s essentially rust free. The seller “inherited” it (along with the hoarder property) after his mom died. He thinks it was still running when they parked it there in the yard in 89’ but can’t be sure. He said I can have it for $250. What would you do? If you say buy it and get it running, where would you start? :oops:

A little background on me, I’m 50 and good with my hands, (construction, woodwork, metal work, diy welder, etc...) but I’m no mechanic. I wrench on my 97’ Jeep TJ some but this would be my first real “project” vehicle. What say the Ranger folks? Buy or let her Rest In Peace? :unsure:
 

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rusty ol ranger

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Id buy it.

The floorpans may be rotted out from being rained in...but you say youre good with metalwork.

For 250 bucks id buy it and pick away at it when you got time. Everything is worth saving.
 

ericbphoto

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Looks like a keeper to me
 

Uncle Gump

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Well I certainly wouldn't let it go to the crusher.

It would take a bunch of work to bring it back... but I think it is worth a shot at a second life.
 

Grumpaw

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For $250 even I would jump on it especially with the original paperwork. Just bit n piece in spare time to play with it.
Just the rust free body parts would be worth saving. If frame is in good shape that's a double "plus"
 

rusty ol ranger

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Truthfully some fresh gas down the carb and a battery you might be surprised....

Ive never revived one thats sat that long....but my current ranger sat for 12 years, and i had no seize issues.

I think the biggest issues with that truck will be chasing the rodents out cleaning up their mess, floorpans, brake lines/hoses and fuel lines/tank,
 

Uncle Gump

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I would just gut it... then do a TDI swap on this one.
 

rusty ol ranger

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Uncle Gump

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Its a 40k mi field find....it deserves to stay original.
Why?

Nothing about keeping it original is going to make it more valuable. And you end up with a carbed 2.8L.

Have some fun with it... do your own thing and have some fun.
 

rusty ol ranger

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Why?

Nothing about keeping it original is going to make it more valuable. And you end up with a carbed 2.8L.

Have some fun with it... do your own thing and have some fun.
Its not about value. Its about the fact they arnt making more 1st gen rangers and solid, low mileage examples should be preserved.

Besides whats wrong with a carbed 2.8?
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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buy it.

Fix it.

Duraspark and carb it.

Carry a few spares and a few tools.

Circumnavigate the globe a few times. Its a first gen, you get 250k between rebuilds, what are you waiting for?
 

sgtsandman

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I’d give a shot at resuscitating it. See if you can get it running.

If the floor looks salvageable, then I think the major hurdles are covered.

The rubber hoses probably will need replaced. They are probably all dry rotted. The same with the tires.
 

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1) Welcome!

2) Buy it. $250? No brainer- it's a complete '84 Ranger with only 40k on it. See step 8).

3) Clean it out and evaluate what's there. SAVE any parts that you remove. Document things "as is" and disassembly, with pics and notes. You'll be able to evaluate the floor pans, and anything else that's not expected. If you're still on "go", go to the next step.

4) Clean out the gas tank, replace the rubber line parts. Change oil, antifreeze, trans fluid. Check the wiring for obvious damage, then put a battery in it, and check power up (ignition, starter). Note: you could short-cut this, and try to start it. But if it were me and I was considering keeping this truck, I'd invest in getting the old fluids out and new fluids in before any parts start moving.

5) Can you get the engine to start and run? Remember this word for later on: "Duraspark".

6) If engine at least runs, check and service the brakes. New parts as/if needed, flush and fill with new fluid bare minimum.

7) Now you can see if the transmission is still functional, and then if the 4WD works. Bonus point with an '84: the truck won't have an A4LD.

As you go along just seeing if it can be brought back to life, and really if you even buy it in the first place, you might just find that these are damn nice little trucks, and that you like it and want to keep it. For a lot of us, working on them and fixing them up is just as enjoyable as driving them.

It helps to have a plan; that's why the long post here. Free food for thought.

8) With what it is and what you can get it for, you can always flip it for a profit, or at the least for what you have in it, at any point unless you find deeper major issues, or go nuts on fixing it up. You can bail at any point, or end up with nice restoration that's fun to drive- winner, winner, chicken dinner! either way.

You sir, have come to the right place, and whichever way you go, Good Luck!
 

Shran

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Probably has a C5 automatic, that by itself would be worth the cost.

If you have a good junkyard nearby, I'd go for it. I agree with the engine swap idea - dump the 2.8... drop a carbureted 302 in it, you just need a different bellhousing and torque converter.
 

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The bed is worth more than $250 if it is as clean as it looks if nothing else.

Check the pedals for wear, it still have have 140k

I don't have high hopes for the floor pans, crawl under the truck and check. Also check the cowl, there are two silver access panels on the firewall. They fill with leaves and rot out the cowl allowing more water to leak into the cab. PITA to fix.

IMO worth the $$ in parts if you want to deal with parting it out.
 
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