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1988 Ford Ranger 2.9L 4x4 '5 Speed Restoration Project.


TexasDuck66

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71
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Location
Cleveland Tennessee
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Ranger XLT
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock LIft
Total Drop
None
Tire Size
235/75/R15s
Hi there, my name is Shane and I have been a member since 2020. I have owned approximately one 89-92 Ranger and four 83-88 Rangers. My passion/itch for Rangers started back in June of 2020 when I got my first truck in high-school which was a Green Single Cab 1991 Ford Ranger 3.0 Automatic. Miss that truck to death and I wish my dumb 18 year old self did not get rid of it.

Fast Forward to August of 2024, I purchased my current Ranger which is an 88' Extended Cab 2.9L 4WD 5' Speed. I bought the truck out of Fredicksburg, VA from a older gentleman who had religiously taken care of it. The truck had about 106k miles and was all original, including the paint, interior, etc.

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As you can tell, the truck was very well kept and in amazing shape. The first modification I did was upgrade the tiny 1 core radiator to a all Aluminum 5 Core Radiator and helped out immensely with heat soak and temperatures.

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If you did not notice already, the truck needed a little bit of body work and rust repair. I decided to go ahead and buy the patch panels, outside rubber, tint-able bed liner, and everything that was needed. I took it to a body shop that a buddy had recommended me and had a brand new paint job done.

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While it was in the body shop, I had a original STX Brushguard off my previous Ranger I had sold and got it Powder Coated Silver. Came out great and I also was able to pick up a STX Rollbar off marketplace.

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As for the paint job, I stuck with the factory upper and low two tone. Unfortunately, was not able to find a NOS pin stripe kit so I had the body shop hand paint them on. I went with Light Blue (3F/3170) and White (9A/8731) for the pinstripe which is 100% custom to the truck now.

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The truck got finished at the beginning December and it came out amazing and was really happy with how it came out.

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As of February 2024, I still got quite of bit work to do until this truck is 100% done. Main factor it needs is a new grille. I've kept tabs on 83-88 Ranger grilles on Ebay and Marketplace and haven't had any luck on finding a near perfect one which has proven to be very difficult but in the mean time, next thing I am gonna be doing is getting the STX Rollbar powder coated and then having it installed on the truck here in the upcoming month. Yes I do plan on adding quad KC Daylighters up top and mounting two vintage 5x7inch Rectangle KCs on the brushguard. My inspiration is the Toyota SR5 that Marty McFly drives in Back to The Future and I think that style would be era appropriate for this truck. For interior wise, I plan on switching the radio out to a Retro Sound Grand Prix head unit. As for the speakers, I am unsure if they work because the stock radio did not work from when I bought the truck originally but I will most likely replace them anyway. The truck came factory with no AC which is the worst factor about the truck but I will add Air Conditioning later on in the future.

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My goal of this truck is to keep it close to original/factory to preserve it all the while upgrading outdated and inefficient equipment along the way. This has been my dream Ranger since I started messing around with them and will definitely stay in the family until I die or it gets totaled. As of now, I will keep you guys updated on how the restoration process goes.



Update: April 6th, 2024

Hi guys, just making an update on this thread considering it's April now and February was the last time I gave any word on this truck. I also got nominated for TOTM again last Tuesday and just checked today.

Got some good news on the Ranger and was able to snag a New/NOS Factory Two Piece Grille off Ebay.

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I stated previously in February that I was going to go with square KC Lights up top on my rollbar and on the brushguard but for a pair of square 5x7 Lights, people are asking for way too much and I personally do not want to shell out 400-500 dollars on a set of pre-historic halogens that may or may not work.

As you can see already, I decided go with Hellas instead considering they are the alternative to KCs. They are also much more affordable and to my discovery, Hella still produces and supports all their vintage/oldschool lights. For the brushguard, I went with some Hella Comet 550 Fog Lights. I also installed new hardware and painted the brushguard brackets that hold it to the bumper.

My rollbar is currently off getting powder coated at a buddie's shop and not sure what the ETA for that is. I have a pair of brand new Hella Jumbo 220s that are the equivalent to the KCs used on the Marty's Toyota Pickup in Back to The Future. Costed me a hell've a lot less than the KCs and I can upgrade to LEDs while also still giving me the old-school 80s/90s 4x4 look.

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Lastly, I got the truck ceramic coated a few weekends ago. Came out great despite discovering that I'm gonna have to get a new hood at some point and time. Discovered that there's rot starting to form in the hood on the cowl side. Gonna invest in a fiber glass cowl hood so I don't have to worry about that anymore. I also scored on some second hand JBA 2.9L Headers and Downpipe. I will be getting those sent off and cleaned up at the same shop that is doing my rollbar.

Anyways, that's all I've got done in the past few months. I will keep you guys updated when I can. Thank you!


Update: May 2nd, 2024

What's up, decided to make a quick update on the Ranger.
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First off, I finally got the original STX Rollbar done and installed in the truck. Came out amazing and I'm super happy with it. Also replaced the tailgate straps while at it. Old ones were worn out and nasty looking.

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Shortly after, I installed the Hella Jumbo 220s and I am satisfied with how they look. Original Marchal lights are expensive and I personally don't want to shell out 600$ or more for a set of outdated lights. I also took my truck to it's first show which is the only show I have ever participated in. Won my first award!

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Last, I found a guy on Etsy that 3D prints new lock in hub knobs and decided to snag a pair to replace the faded and cracked ones that were on the truck originally. I also got my JBA Headers and Y-pipe powder coated and should be the next thing I get installed.

Anyways, that's it for now, until next time.
 
Last edited:


Blmpkn

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Ford Bronco
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2.3 EcoBoost
Engine Size
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Transmission
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2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5"
Tire Size
285/75/18
My credo
Its probably better to be self deprecating than self defecating.
Damn fine work. Not many 22? year olds have the means to do what your doing.. be grateful, and keep it up!
 

RobbieD

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Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
Damn nice truck!

Good choice on restoring the truck with an eye toward keeping a stock look, and there's nothing wrong at all with improving on the details and upgrading where it makes sense.

Thanks for the look.
 

Robertmangrum.rm

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4WD
Total Lift
2.5 level kit with rear add a leaf appox. 1.5
Tire Size
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My credo
Buy it, build it, and drive it like you stole it
Nice work man. Love seeing the first gens being saved. Also nice to see the younger guys and gals having the same passion for the Rangers. Awesome truck man.
 

Awesom-O

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1987
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Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Beautiful truck man! Very inspiring. Where did you order the radiator from?
 

TexasDuck66

Member
U.S. Military - Active
Joined
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Messages
71
Reaction score
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Points
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Location
Cleveland Tennessee
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford Ranger XLT
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Stock LIft
Total Drop
None
Tire Size
235/75/R15s
Beautiful truck man! Very inspiring. Where did you order the radiator from?
Just saw this now, sorry for the late reply. I was able to buy the Radiator off of Ebay.
 

Terrys87

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87
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Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
Nice truck you have. So nice to see such a clean looking original truck. I too am restoring an 88 extra cab 2.9 5 speed.

I see you are active duty. Doesn't matter which branch you are in; you are going to see and do things you will never get to when you get out. It goes by faster than you think. Thanks for serving and be safe.
 

Rick W

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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
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Manual
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4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
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My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Fantastic!

(So that’s what The Missing Linc would look like if I was normal…)
 

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