1993 STX 4x4 Restoration | Project Ranger '93


projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
368
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Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
It's been 10 months into the restoration, so why not finally start a build thread. This will capture everything I've done so far up to present date.
For all pictures and some videos, visit my Instagram page: projectRanger93

Background/Motivation:
I searched for a year for a general work truck to haul materials since i do woodworking as a hobby. I eventually narrowed it down to a Ford Ranger, specifically between the years 1993 -1997 because i loved the sporty look and because the MotorWeek review had a big influence. Of those years i really dig the more 90s looking interior, so the 1993/1994 years were the goal. Craigslist and FB marketplace ads were sketchy, since the odometer reading was never accurate, so i turned to Copart to not deal with another owner altogether. At least from there, i'm at peace if i bought junk.

I came across my ranger at the Copart lot in Van Nuys. I wasn't intentionally looking for 4x4s, but when this one popped up I had to get it and the body looked straight, the interior looked semi taken care of, and it was within my target years. It only had 148k miles, and this was verified through documentation. Since it was a lifeguard truck (spoiler, it in fact wasn't), I knew the city had routinely maintained it, so big plus there. However, it didn't come with keys, i had no idea how long it had been sitting, so no idea if the engine or transmission worked, and no clue if other gremlins existed. Regardless, I bid and won the auction on April 15th, 2019.

Fastfoward 3 months later, i found the previous owner's name during the dmv registration and i contacted him via Facebook. I asked him about the truck's history and this is what he said:
"That was my grandpas. Sat in his yard for years and years. Pretty sure he got it new. I sold it cause I was hard up for cash when I was in college . The truck ran fine. I remember I put a new battery , tires and started to get it out of his yard . The only issues were that all of the plastics under the hood were super deteriorated because he left the hood open. The company that bought it from me was a pretty notorious Hollywood car company. Supposedly the truck was in the new bay watch movie . The same company built the original herbie and “Eleanor” from gone in 60 seconds . I sold it for 4K."
So no, it wasn't in fact a true life guard truck. The original red paint job is apparent in the truck bed and in the engine bay. I haven't found photo evidence that it was in Baywatch, so that is TBD. Regardless, it meant that this was a one-family owned vehicle, and it was mostly stock.

Copart Pictures:
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Specifications:
Year: 1993
Trim: XLT (to be STX)
Engine: 4.0L V6
Miles: 148,626
Transmission: Manual 5 Speed
Drive: 4x4, Manual
Color: Yellow (original EY, Performance/Vibrant Red)
Rear Differential: 8.8" 3.73

Goal:
This will be a stock XLT to STX restoration, but with some factory flare, i.e. factory upgrades that would have been available from the dealership. For the time being it's a medium level restoration, meaning besides making everything mechanically and electrically functional, I am also restoring parts of the truck aesthetically, both exterior and interior. In the future when i have more funds, i'd like to restore everything from the frame up.

Note, i am not a professional mechanic or active gearhead, but i am an engineer by profession, so I am mechanically and electrically inclined. Thanks to everyone who has answered my questions on these forums, they've been a gigantic help!!

More build details to follow.
 

Attachments

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Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 32B05A80BF19AF Expires: July 1st, 2020

projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
The first steps before DMV registration was to have keys made and get it mechanically/electrically working for the smog test.

A locksmith came out and took 3 hours to get keys made. Don't know why it took so long, but it did.
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For the major tuneup i bought the following parts from RockAuto, Amazon, Autozone, and Oriely's:
BrandPart NumberPart Type

MOTORCRAFTASHV1049Shock Absorber
GATES43060Water Pump
GATES21736Radiator Lower Hose
GATES33778Thermostat
GATES21897Radiator Upper Hose
GATES38134Belt Tensioner
GATESK060870Belt
MOTORCRAFTFL1AOil Filter
MOTORCRAFTSP486Spark Plug
MOTORCRAFTWR4062Spark Plug Wire Set
MOTORCRAFTDGE446Ignition Coil
MOTORCRAFTEV118PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) Valve
MOTORCRAFTASHV1000Shock Absorber
WIX46126Air Filter
WIX33097Fuel Filter
P EXHAUST700034Muffler / Resonator
DELPHIHP10144Fuel Pump & Housing Assembly
WALKER80690Catalytic Converter

DormanM39953Brake Master Cylinder

Battery
Flex-ProRDS55341Rear Differential Gasket

Cardone122029ABS Hydraulic Valve
MOTORCRAFTSTP25RMPower Steering Pump
Dorman620112Fan Blade
Murray2794Heavy Duty Fan Clutch

I also bought fluids to change whatever i could out: oil, coolant, brake, rear differential, and transmission.

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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
Before first starting the truck I didn't want to run the old gas inside the tank, so i took off the bed, removed the old fuel pump and housing, took out the gas, and installed the new fuel pump and housing.

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The first start was on May 27, 2019. it started up immediately, and the engine sounded smooth, no ticking or knocking, but idled around 1k rpm. There was no engine light either. While lifted, the transmission was tested and was able to go through all gears without issue. So big win win for a working engine and transmission! At that point i didn't drive her yet since the brakes weren't working and the tires were shot, but that was soon to come.

The ABS light was the only thing on so I bought the Electrical Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM) off ebay and i traced the issue back to a broken wire harness inside the frame near the rear differential. Seems like rats had been living inside all parts of the truck at one point and chewed through all sorts of wires. I soldered the necessary wires back together and the ABS light went off, score.
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
As much as I like the front tubular bumper the truck came with, it was not part of the vision. So i took it off, and started gathering the pieces to have a STX front. I found an original front bumper from the junkyard, but that ended up being too bent and dented that it wasn't going to work, so I sourced a new bumper off eBay. I also found an aftermarket front valence and through the seller's mistake in the product details, i ended up getting it for free. Before install, i painted both together black using Rustoleum's Trim and Bumper paint and gave it a few coats of Satin clear. Install was much easier to deal with than a bent bumper. I used the brackets off the truck since those were straight and i gave them a paint job too.

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While i was at it, i fixed the cracks of the front grille, and also painted it along with the headlight surround. I used the badge off the junkyard truck, so that part made it more complete.
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
During the beginning of the restoration, the truck was parked at my parent's house so i ended up moving it to my current pad. Luckily my neighbors are mechanics, so they helped me bring it from the San Fernando Valley to the downtown LA area. Off she went!
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Since the bed was already loose, i took that as an opportunity to take off the surface rust from the rear frame. I ended up painting it with industrial grade black paint. Whether that will hold up in the future is TBD, but since it's always sunny in CA, the constant fear of rust isn't a big issue. Also note the original color in the back of the cab. Great paint job isn't it?
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The power steering pump also needed to be replaced, so that was done too. A lot of the underside was covered in old mud, so a future under detailing is sorely needed.
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The rats also chewed through the main electrical harness running towards the rear; the ground wire was cut, as well as the rear brake lights and reverse lights. It was a pain in the ass to fix it where it was, so i ran new wires from the harness upstream and soldered those to the split ones. Alas it worked! But some light bulbs were out, so those needed replacement too.
 

projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
I got a bunch of replacement light bulbs from rock auto, including a set of fog lights.
HELLA9007LLHeadlamp Bulb
PHILIPS3157LL (3157LLB2)Turn Signal Lamp Bulb/Brake Light Bulb
TYC19535500Fog Lamp Assembly
PHILIPS3156LLBack Up/Reverse Lamp Bulb
PHILIPS906LLEngine Compartment Light Bulb
PHILIPS194LLInstrument Panel Light Bulb/ License Plate Bulb
PHILIPS2122WLEDMap/Reading Light Bulb

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In addition, I gathered the remaining pieces to install the factory fog lights, including the fuse and relay, a set of OEM brackets (thanks to another individual on these forums) and the fog lamp switch (off eBay, which included the factory pig tails). I took off the surface rust from the brackets, and painted them with industrial black paint. I combined them with the lights and they were ready for install.
FordF3TZ 15266 A/BFog Lamp Brackets

FordF37B 15K218 AAOEM Fog Lamp Switch
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Luckily my truck came with the factory fog light harness in the engine bay, so i just bolted the brackets to the bumper bracket and plugged in the lights. Super easy. I wired the fog lamp switch according to the schematic in the EVTM. There's 4 colored wires: yellow, red, black and blue/red. Black was ground, blue/red is used for cluster illumination, red is power to the fog lights (connected to one of the relay pins), and yellow is power from the battery after the fuse. So after taking off the dash bezel, I connected these wires to their counterparts from the main electrical harness, while the yellow one was looped through the firewall and connected to its counterpart out there. Normally if my truck came with the factory pigtail, it would be plug and play, but oh well. I cut a hole in the dash bezel for the switch and then put everything back together. It all worked on the first attempt.
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
I then moved onto troubleshooting the brakes because something was clogging the lines while bleeding it for the first time. The culprit ended up being the hydraulic valve, so i bought a replacement from orielys, despite being some negative reviews online (i got a good discount through someone). After replacing it and bleeding the lines again, the brakes worked, but now the ABS light is turned on. After more troubleshooting and more bleeding, i suspect the pins on the remanufactured one is switched, so i have to replace this yet again. If the same thing happens, i'll just buy a different brand altogether. Nonetheless I was able to stop safely so i went onto to buy new tires from Costco. During their BF Goodrich deal, i got 4 All terrain Ta K02 for the 235/75R15 size. I debated for a while whether to go stock or get something bigger, but ultimately this restoration is for a stock truck, so the stock size was sufficient. Plus, i didn't want to deal with speedometer errors if i went higher in size.
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I made my first test drive July 5th, 2019! Ultimately the ride was smooth with no major issues, but it was clear the truck had a misalignment and it needed rear brakes. A few days later i took it to get smogged and it passed with flying colors.
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After that, i got it registered with the DMV and later on i got my plates. Huzzah.

Not bad for a 3 month transformation:
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
Thanks to eBay, i've picked up some goodies along the way, like an original owners manual, floor mats, and the missing tire jack.
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I got a replacement windshield spray nozzle and i ended up replacing my head unit because it wasn't transferring any audio to the speakers.
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
My temporary DMV paper plates came in and i did the first highway test drive on July 20, 2019 traveling for 35 min. Everything seemed strong, and the truck was performing like a champ. I did have to suddenly brake at one point and since my ABS wasn't working my rear brakes locked up. It was a frightful 2 seconds haha.

I then focused on restoring a few more things, like the tail lights (sanded/cleared), 3rd brake light (sanded/cleared), headlights (sanded/cleared), side mirrors (sanded/primered/painted/cleared), and spare tire (sanded/primered/painted/cleared).
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The center console was also wobbly and it suffered the usual fate as a lot of others: the plastic latch had broken. After tightening the bolt, i replaced the latch with an aluminum version off eBay. Works great and i don't expect it to break any time soon.
 
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
I'm fortunate that I live in an area that is nearby many mechanic shops, service shops and auto parts stores. So i just drove a block over to get my alignment done.
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Post alignment the steering was strong, but after driving a few more miles it started to get loose again. I'll have to replace all the steering bushings and get it realigned again in the future.

New brake shoes, cylinders and hardware from NAPA were installed. I can confidently brake now, woo.
NAPATS TS581Brake Shoes
NAPAUP2497Brake Shoe Hardware Kit
NAPAUP80438Brake Shoe Hold Down Kit
NAPAUP37663Rear Wheel Cylinders
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
One of the first major factory add-ons is the rally bar and off-road lights. I first found NOS OEM lights and the off-road switch off eBay and i spent months scouring the internet for a rally bar. The ones i found in pictures were already sold and nothing was available to be shipped to me in CA. By chance i came across a post on FB marketplace for a roll bar in AZ and after closer examination, it was an original Ford! I contacted the guy (who didn't really know what its importance) and he wouldn't ship it to me. After more talking, he agreed to save it for me while my friend in Las Vegas, NV had time off to drive two hours down to pick it up. My friend isn't on the forum but shout out to Mario for the effort!
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In mid August 2019 i took the day off from work and my buddy and I drove to Las Vegas in the truck to pick up the rally bar. No Ranger problems on the ride there (in fact i got great gas mileage), but the ride back was horrendous. No AC and tinted windows meant the 100+ degree air and Sun were in my face for hours. Luckily my seats aren't leather or else I wouldn't have made it. With any road trip inside a car or truck you love, you have to stop off and take pictures ;).
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This is what the truck looks with earlier style off-road lights. I still have them, so maybe i'll make them into an aux to-go lamp.
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projectRanger93

Well-known member
Joined
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Messages
368
Reaction score
277
Points
63
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ranger STX
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-R15
I sanded off any surface rust from the rally bar before i primered it and painted it the same black as the rest of the trim. I prewired the lights using Delphi connectors (could not find original counterparts) and 12 gauge wire as well as a generic LED brake light from Amazon.
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I couldn't find any factory wiring diagrams for off-road lights online, but i followed the generic convention from KC. I got fuse box terminals from a junker for the new 40 A relay and 20A fuse and wired everything accordingly. The off-road switch has 3 pins: 1 for ground, 1 for power in and 1 for power out. One wire ran from the battery (+) to one end of the fuse and another wire from the fuse pin to one of the relay pins. The blue wire of the switch is connected to the park lights wire while the red wire runs from the switch to one of the pins on the relay, while 2 more wires ran to the lights in the rear. After cutting another hole in the dash bezel, i put the switch in and everything worked, sweet! The rally bar was installed in the bed via carriage bolts. Since this is really more decorative than practical, i secured it with a total of 6 and tightened it from underneath.
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sgtsandman

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