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1993 dually conversion kit

Rick W

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Make / Model
Ranger XLT
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2.9v6
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2WD / 4WD
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Total Lift
3”
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N/A
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235/75-15 wranglers
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& I don’t know if I made it clear to Roert (or anyone else), the “5th wheel“ would be mounted on the pivoting new frame piece, not the original Ranger frame. It would float too. Hence the need for a massive pivot hinge (Like rebar in a piece of gas pipe or such)....
 


franklin2

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I see two major flaws with your design

1. The weight of the trailer will be on the pivoting section, not the drive wheels. This may cause traction problems since there will be little to no weight on the drive wheels in the back.

2. Since the rear section articulates up and down, and the hitch also articulates up and down, when you hit the brakes on the truck, unless the trailer brakes kicked in early and strong, the rear section with the hitch would have a tendency to raise the rear section wheels off the ground, especially in a panic stop.
 

franklin2

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I am thinking if you keep it simple, extend the frame and weld it rigid, and put a simple trailer setup behind the drive wheels with a weak set of springs on it, they will give enough to never give you traction problems. I would center the hitch between the two axles, and fudge it forward as much as possible onto the drive axle trying not to affect the looks too much. After all, that is all this is about is looks correct?
 

Rick W

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1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT
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2.9 V6
Engine Size
2.9v6
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
3”
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N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15 wranglers
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
The weight of the trailer will be on the pivoting section, not the drive wheels. This may cause traction problems since there will be little to no weight on the drive wheels in the back
The pivoting section is not behind the overall frame and the Ranger drive axle, it overlaps that axle and that part of the frame. The front of the pivot plate will be centered above the front rear axle. The ball will be centered front to back between the front and rear rear axles. The weight will be distributed equally, or slightly favors the front axle. The 2.3 L probably wouldn’t be able to spin the tires (but the v8 May materialize if all this works out). But my concern is traction on the front axle with braking action, not driving force.

On the panic stop, I mentioned shocks on the pivot piece, but I’ll also limit the travel of the upward swing. In a panic stop, it might kick up off the ground an inch or two, but I’ll prevent it from swinging up and over into anything. If/when it swings up in a panic stop, that actually puts more load on the steering axle and on the original ranger axle which should maximize the brakes (just before I run into whatever’s in front of me). Also, if you look at the geometry, leverage of the fifth wheel being pushed forward/up, versus the weight of the pivot piece and rear axle certainly with the trailer on top of it, I don’t think there’s enough leverage to force it up and forward over the weight of the trailer. And yes, all trailer axles will have brakes, and they will be adjusted to slow and stop before the truck brakes. This isn’t any of my silliness, that’s actually a serious point from having pulled many big trailers with all kinds of trucks over the years. That’s easy to do. I’ve actually used a back up battery for the brake systems on such trailers on the chance the truck dies.

I realize the absent minded might always pull out in front of me, but if you think of it, who in their right mind wouldn’t run for the hills and get out of the way if they saw this contraption coming down the road?
 
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Rick W

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2WD / 4WD
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3”
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N/A
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235/75-15 wranglers
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
I hear you, and I appreciate the input (truly) but again, probably the biggest point is balancing the load over both axles. Actually the only point for adding the second axle is to keep half the weight off the ranger axle. If the frame is rigid, no matter the hitch positioning and spring capacity, when accelerating or stopping or other high-G activity, if there is a solid frame without an equalizer between the axles, one or the other axle will take more of the weight, and this would happen constantly. Either would be unstable, wear tires. In my “vision,” The pivoting frame is actually the equalizer. The load is balanced 99% of the time, or each shift to the front axle a little bit for either driving force or braking. If I went to the expense of making the second axle also a powered axle with brakes, that wouldn’t matter too much.

And I take exception that you think this is only for looks! There is a good deal of satisfying delusions in this! And I wouldn’t be faithful to Rube Goldberg if I just put this together for looks and didn’t make sure it actually accomplished the goal of pulling a big trailer safely that I’ll probably never use!

But seriously, I joke a lot, but this thing will be functional and safe, I’m just not gonna push it at high speed on the highway, and I’ll use the 4WD for climbing up and down the hills and trails. Part of the project is to seriously see how inexpensively I can put this together.

And an answer to one other question that hasn’t been asked, is why I don’t I put trailer brakes on the floating axle? I’ve considered it, but they are either going to kick in before the truck brakes or after the truck brakes, and I’m concerned that either would make stopping unstable or inconsistent. Trailer brakes On the trailer should be plenty when pulling the trailer, and just the truck brakes should be fine when I’m not pulling the trailer.

Yes/no?
 

1990RangerinSK

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I have no engineering background, so maybe I don't know what the <censored> I'm talking about......

From what I'm reading, your plan would be a REALLY bad idea. If I was going to do a Ranger with a tandem rear axle and duallies, the way I would do it is I'd power both rear axles, and put brakes on both rear axles. That's the safest way to make sure that if the rear axle goes up over a curb, you still have drive wheels on the ground, and brakes.

I suspect, by the way, that doiong it that way would be the same cost as your floating rear section.
 

don4331

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Wow, is this your stuff, your toys? Way cool. Very close to my visions/delusions!

I’m pretty sure the reason you don’t see a lot of dual axle trucks like that…
You don't see a lot of dual axle trucks, because the cost of 2nd axle/additional drive shafts is more expensive than increasing capacity of single axle and adding dooley wheels.

I have done a lot of stuff - I was looking to going to the forum outing this year - while my Ranger wouldn't have been good offroad, my bike would have held its own.
atbtandem.jpg


Frame is still unpainted in that picture - my daughter and I were "testing" it. Would have been fun to let a few of the members here test their coordination/teamwork.

All my "toys" work/look like factory when finished (OK, the bike now has some battle scars but they were honestly earned).

If you want to use electric brakes on the tag axle, you would want a 2nd trailer brake controller from the actual trailer so you could adjust activation independently.

Note, I should have said narrowing, not shortening the Aerostar axle. And pulling tubes, cutting down to Ranger length, reinstalling and welding back into place doesn't cost that much, and you already have Ranger axles, so you're not buying anything there.
 

Rick W

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2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
3”
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N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15 wranglers
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
I’ve given up on the dually, all dually options are too expensive even if I could find the parts.

I probably have one or $200 in the axle, the wheels, the steel, the hitch, etc. to put an idler axle on with a pivoting frame. I’m sure any concept of adding a second driven axle would be 10 times that with hydraulic brakes. And I’ve emphasized, I’m ancient and retired and I like to do these projects for fun. It will still be safe and functional, but I love tackling the concept and banging it out In the garage.

And I just realize how late it’s gotten, I have to cut this off for tonight while I still have time to call my girlfriend and piss her off!
 

Rick W

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2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
3”
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N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15 wranglers
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Hey, I’m still planning on the “Rick-stoleum” $50 roller paint job. I’ve had many show winning cars over the years, either original or customs. But I’ve also had a lot of heavy equipment projects, which is the category I’d put this project, and it ends up rough and tough, but they always bring smiles and they always get the job done! this is more about proving the concept and getting it done, and maybe doing two or three projects instead of one, rather than a show piece. Hopefully, it will be a very interesting result, without actually being a rat rod!

I like the bike, but doesn’t it make it harder to drink beer at these events?

Got a run for today!
 

Roert42

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Another Idea would be use a drop axle, rig it to an onboard air compressor. Then you could control when the axle when holding a load and when it would be free floating.

Should save a bunch of time in the long run not needing to design a folding frame and other related accessories. Then you could hook up air horns too.
 

Rick W

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235/75-15 wranglers
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
I already have the compressor! It’s hard to find 2/3 size airhorns that don’t look like they belong on a bicycle! Especially in my budget…

I actually considered the lifting axle, but it still comes back to passive load leveling without a lot of effort or controllers. I’m considering Don’s idea of a second brake controller and trailer brakes on the tag axle too. The controllers are all electronic these days, and I’d be afraid of interference between the two controllers. They have some kind of a momentum pendulum inside that automatically adjusts the breaking when you stop. Having lived with Murphy all my life, I could envision the brake controllers fighting with each other based on each having a separate momentum check. Also, my senility is not conducive to trying to control three different brake controller’s and wet my pants all at the same time if something bad happens…

But that led me to the thought of finding an old fashioned hydraulic trailer brake controller and putting that on the tag axle. It’s not electronic at all, it’s actuated by pressure on the brake pedal, and there is a simple adjustment for how much or how little it brakes compared to the truck brakes. I’ll be doing more research on that. I’m kicking myself because I’ve seen two of these old fashion controllers at the pull apart and I didn’t grab them, probably five bucks apiece ! As stated several times I’m much more worried about braking traction than I am at driving force traction.

Keep it all coming, good stuff for the gray matter!
 

MikeG

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Why don't you just spring the extra axle very lightly, so that it doesn't take much upward force to lift it? Just a single leaf and some shocks. That way if you back up on a curb it will just move out of the way. Don't know if you would need brakes on it at all, but if you did, probably some proportioning valve that would only let a fraction of the usual line pressure through.

Then you don't have to monkey with a pivoting frame or whatever.
 

Rick W

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Vehicle Year
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Make / Model
Ranger XLT
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Engine Size
2.9v6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
3”
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15 wranglers
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
I hear you and understand, but understand my motivation: why am I doing this, like Everest, because it was there, not to accomplish any practical purpose....

Main focus is balanced weight distribution, passive, I don’t need to adjust or control it. (Actually, the main focus is on depression era mentality cheap). If there’s too much weight regularly on the ranger axle/frame while driving, it blows up. If there’s too much weight on the tag axle, I’d have to change the name from Rick’s Ranger Rig to “Jackknife!“

Vision/delusion is a low boy type trailer and hauling one of my collector cars. All just for fun, not for any practical purpose.

Right now I’m covered up with Lincolns. 87-88 town cars are almost 5,000 pounds at 18’ 4” and I imagine this trailer will be 1,500-1,700# from previous projects. My 78 mark V is 19’ 2” and about 5,500#. I sold all the Rolls, but I might get another, typical 6,000# for the Shadows and Spurs. So, 7,500- 8,000# overall. And again, no long distance hauling, just local fun stuff, but still completely safe and capable.

Hence a 20’ bed on a 25-27’ overall trailer (tongue to tail), plus ramps. Since (for no logical reason and no sense) I’d like it to look like a lowboy and not a typical tandem axle car hauler, I’ll be shifting the trailer axles back on that frame. Assuming the front trailer axle is 6-1/2 feet from the rear, tongue weight would be about 2,400-3,000#.

By “safely” (as if anything in this project is safe) adding another leaf spring to the ranger, I can bring the 1,250# Ranger load capacity up to around 1,800-2,000# without exploding the axle or rear end, and still having the Ranger axle softer than the tag axle. Then with a 2,750# trailer axle/spring set up for the tag axle, I’m easily over the estimated 2,400-3,000# tongue weight.

Another answer from a question not asked. Don’t assume I’m taking a piece of ranger frame and making that the pivoting extension. I’ll probably box or gusset the ranger frame around the Ranger axle and a little bit forward of that. The hinge plate/pivot extension will probably be 2x2x1/4 angle, positioned/doubled as necessary to handle the weight and action. I think I have to cut the frame just past the Ranger springs, and I may have to lose the last cross frame piece. I’ll replace and enhance the cross bracing by welding 3/4-1” black iron pipe between the frame channels, maybe 2/3 places. The pipe is only in tension or compression, no bending, plenty strong. Gas pipe is a highly underrated structural element. Cheap, too!

Again, no hotrodding, but this could do the cross country if driven wisely through the gears to not blow up the engine. Maybe a 302 if all this works out.

& you can see, “wisely” is my middle name....
 

Rick W

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Ranger XLT
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Engine Size
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Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
3”
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15 wranglers
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
One last thought. As I let my mind wander on the possibilities of such projects, I constantly scour Craigslist, etc. I grab anything I can for cheap knowing if I don’t use it I can simply re-sell it for more than I paid, or I can inventory it in the hoarder’s shed of miracles for the next hair-brained scheme.

I haven’t thought about the trailer much yet, but I’ve put out the feelers for some 16-20’ aluminum beams or structural elements. If I can score some cheap, that cuts the trailer (load) weight by 1,000#. I have sources from contractors who work in chemical plants, etc.

As they say, “One man’s junk is another man’s girlfriend’s nightmare!“
 

franklin2

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You are a little on the edge of reality in my opinion now. Like I said before, I see this based on a ranger platform as for looks mainly. That is all it would be up to doing.

Now you are talking about hauling a 5000-6000 lb car cross country on the trailer. Figure on at least 2000 lbs for the trailer, probably more. The ranger is not going to be up to the task in many ways.

The brakes are not big enough, even if you add some to the extra axle and have trailer brakes.

The rear axle is not large enough to pull that weight at a high rate of speed cross country. The 8.8 rear may barely do it, the 7.5 is just not large enough.

A 302 swap with a larger transmission would be mandatory, and even then trying to accelerate up a ramp into 75 mph traffic, the 302 is marginal, even if it has been hopped up some. The 302 is not a engine for towing. I have never figured out why Ford even put it in a full size 4x4 truck. They even put them in a light duty f250. Ask anyone with one of those trucks, they do fine daily driving and small hauling. But loading it to the max with a trailer really strains that little engine. A 351w does much better towing.

And then they used the AOD behind the 302 in many of those trucks. It's not up to heavy full time towing. An E4OD would be the one that would hold up to towing long distances, up over mountains and such. It would probably require a body lift to even get it underneath the ranger cab. And the ranger frame would need some beefing also.

How about finding a old class c rv cheap? And then see if you can retro fit the ranger body onto it?
 

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