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1987 Ranger Project


Awesom-O

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Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Hey all. Thanks for the interest in my build. As requested in the intro page, I will document my Ranger project as time progresses. I look forward to all your insight and tips, as this is my first Ranger.

My goal is to restore this basket case to its former glory and then some, to be a daily if needed, and to also become my little ultimate hunting rig. I’m a restomod kind of guy in the car/hot rod world, and I like the nostalgia of this mid 80s era, but also appreciate more modern touches as well, so there will be a mix of mods and upgrades for sure.

This particular unit has the standard 2.9L with a manual transmission, supercab, and a substantial amount of body rust. The floor pans are good, as I only had to fix one tiny hole back when it was my kids truck.

I’ll be looking for the upgraded Dana 35 front end, and 8.8 rear upgrades, and maybe even the OHV 4.0 swap if the right donor truck crosses my path? I have an ‘88 parts truck that I will be robbing of sheet metal to replace the rusty sections. I’ve already robbed all the best Interior parts from both trucks and have changed the colour from red and blue in the donor truck to all new black. Other plans include a mild suspension lift, custom winch bumper, and a pile of parts that I’ve ordered and am eagerly awaiting from LMC. Custom seat covers from Durafit for the dated 60/40 seats, (maybe I’ll find some nice seats from a donor truck down the road?)

Obviously open to suggestions from this group as we go, so please don’t hesitate to throw ideas etc at me.

Anyways, here we are with what it looked like the day I brought it home for my kid a few years ago. He messed around with it and did a few things, like took the doors from the donor 88, and a few other choice parts, all before he could even legally drive, then got a good deal from family on a Ford Escape, so ended up driving that until he upgraded to a Nissan Frontier. He sold me the Ranger for what he paid for it to help pay off his bank of Dad loan for the Nissan, and now that I’ve started on it, has regretted selling it. Lol. I don’t think his youth and inexperience could let his minds eye see the potential, as it is a lot of work for a young fella. Hell, it’s a lot of work for an older fella like me, but that’s the fun of doing a project.

Here are some pics of the carnage I have to deal with. First pic is the day my kid first got it, the rest are after I acquired it and pulled it into my shop to start.
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Last edited:


Awesom-O

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Messages
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Location
BC Canada
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Here’s a dent I pulled out when my kid owned it. Tried to show him we could clean this little unit up.
825D2C36-55FA-4265-877D-B441CAEB6E51.png
071056B9-6860-4F0F-97A2-37B2BDEDD110.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Awesom-O

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1987
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Ranger
Engine Type
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Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
I detest red interiors (sorry for those that like them) and these are shots of how beat, dirty, and worn everything is.
A3DB4692-60BA-4EC5-B241-D491806903DB.jpeg
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Last edited:

Awesom-O

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1987
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Ranger
Engine Type
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Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
SEM paint works wonders for the interior parts. I used an epoxy paint for the white doors. Colour is almost factory original, well faded factory, and is called black stainless steel. I chose the best parts from both trucks, hence the blue and red bits everywhere. I had some help in the shop with my daughters too. Got to get them involved young!
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Last edited:

Awesom-O

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1987
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Ranger
Engine Type
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Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Painted the lower dash with the black stainless epoxy paint. Eliminating that red! Restoring the 88 upper dash as it only had a couple cracks to fix. The original is way more work. I’ll update a post on the dash restoration when I dive into that this week hopefully. Door panels, painted and installed. Looks way better than before to me. Pulled the steering wheel and restored that too. Couldn’t believe the finger grime on the red steering wheel from all the years of use. Was no match for wax and grease remover though. I think it looks brand new now. Also painted all the dash plastic, kick panels, and restored the chrome paint on those pieces. I’ll snap pics later as I forgot my phone in the house that day. Just waiting for my green LED dash bulbs to arrive, bought new 4” speakers for the upper dash, and once I have the cracks fixed it will be reinstalling time. I figured I’d work from the interior out to the body. Probably procrastinating the rust work. Progress is progress though.
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Last edited:

Awesom-O

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1987
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Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Also ordered some parts from eBay, as well these headlights from Amazon, as they had nearly perfect reviews. They will be installed after paint and can all collect dust on the shelf until then. Also picked up some Herculiner today for the box floor. Again, a later project.
0CA3DC82-ADCF-4FE3-B6FD-E2D373C92604.jpeg
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Last edited:

85_Ranger4x4

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Those side marker lights, people used to go nuts for the white ones.
 

Awesom-O

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4WD
Those side marker lights, people used to go nuts for the white ones.
Yeah these are kinda smoked. I like the look. Wish someone would make a smoked or LED tail light for these trucks. Every other year but first gen has options it seems?
 

Awesom-O

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4WD
Well my LMC order arrived. Lots of goodies, most of it is finishing details at the end however. Also, think I’ve decided on these wheels. Probably order them up Monday. Busy for a couple weekends with the wife and family, then it’s back at er!
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Last edited:

sgtsandman

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I agree with your opinion on the red interior. I didn’t like them even when it was the popular thing. I feel less strongly about the blue interiors but still would rather not have it.

I’m looking forward to see what you do to this.
 

Blmpkn

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In a market oversaturated with gaudy, ostentatious wheels... you picked some good ones. Much relief. Nice pick!
 

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OftenWrongNeverUncertain

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Hey all. Thanks for the interest in my build. As requested in the intro page, I will document my Ranger project as time progresses. I look forward to all your insight and tips, as this is my first Ranger.

My goal is to restore this basket case to its former glory and then some, to be a daily if needed, and to also become my little ultimate hunting rig. I’m a restomod kind of guy in the car/hot rod world, and I like the nostalgia of this mid 80s era, but also appreciate more modern touches as well, so there will be a mix of mods and upgrades for sure.

This particular unit has the standard 2.9L with a manual transmission, supercab, and a substantial amount of body rust. The floor pans are good, as I only had to fix one tiny hole back when it was my kids truck.

I’ll be looking for the upgraded Dana 35 front end, and 8.8 rear upgrades, and maybe even the OHV 4.0 swap if the right donor truck crosses my path? I have an ‘88 parts truck that I will be robbing of sheet metal to replace the rusty sections. I’ve already robbed all the best Interior parts from both trucks and have changed the colour from red and blue in the donor truck to all new black. Other plans include a mild suspension lift, custom winch bumper, and a pile of parts that I’ve ordered and am eagerly awaiting from LMC. Custom seat covers from Durafit for the dated 60/40 seats, (maybe I’ll find some nice seats from a donor truck down the road?)

Obviously open to suggestions from this group as we go, so please don’t hesitate to throw ideas etc at me.

Anyways, here we are with what it looked like the day I brought it home for my kid a few years ago. He messed around with it and did a few things, like took the doors from the donor 88, and a few other choice parts, all before he could even legally drive, then got a good deal from family on a Ford Escape, so ended up driving that until he upgraded to a Nissan Frontier. He sold me the Ranger for what he paid for it to help pay off his bank of Dad loan for the Nissan, and now that I’ve started on it, has regretted selling it. Lol. I don’t think his youth and inexperience could let his minds eye see the potential, as it is a lot of work for a young fella. Hell, it’s a lot of work for an older fella like me, but that’s the fun of doing a project.

Here are some pics of the carnage I have to deal with. First pic is the day my kid first got it, the rest are after I acquired it and pulled it into my shop to start.
Could you tell me and take a picture of where your fuel injection wire harness connects from the engine to the truck? I'm having g wire problems with my 87 and trying to figure out what plugs into where.
 

Awesom-O

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Location
BC Canada
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
So I picked up another parts truck. 1991. Was hoping to get a Dana 35, 8.8, and 4.0 with this truck. Travelled 4 hours to get it. Unfortunately it only came with the Dana 35 and another 2.9L and 7.5. Oh well, it’s an AC truck, it runs, has a new clutch, 4x4 works, power windows and about $1200 worth of replaced parts so there’s that. Had to drag it on the trailer, and once I got it home I put a battery and a few litres of fuel in and it fired right up! And someone also replaced the seats with newer 60/40 Ranger seats so I may clean those up and use them as well? I’ll definitely pull the D35 and it will go into the 87 at the least, and I now have even more spare parts for when shit breaks. The search continues for the 8.8 and possibly the 4.0 OHV. Hope to pull the headliner and redo it this weekend.
D6A399F1-D811-4340-9657-6A69DD5B56E3.jpeg
 
Last edited:

scotts90ranger

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Nice

'91 was the first year of the tall seats as it was a requirement then so they might be original, it's when all the whiplash stuff started... Did you luck out and get a M5OD instead of the other trans? the 2.9 was the only oddball that got random manuals until the end...

At this point you don't need to get picky on a 4.0L donor if you already have a D35, a 4x2 would work or an Explorer...
 

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