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1997 ranger 4x4 trail truck build! UPDATED finally offroad with video


USCGC130

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1997
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ford
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4.0 V6
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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
5.5"
Thanks Bobby, i agree the efficiant packing and storage really makes me happy. Also thank for the tip on making the hitch stronger, when im under there next ill look at bridging it with some steel i have around.

I originally got the TW for my wife to learn on, but figured why not get a little bike i can enjoy too, its a great compliment to my DR650, and it really makes a great little camp bike, enough for 2 people to putt on and something i can hammer on trails, and youre right , this little thing is a tractor, it will go where ever you point it, granted not very fast.

If 2020 gets any crazier i may just pack up the bed with beer and whiskey and go live in the mountains until winter lol
 


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JMF661

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Ford Ranger XLT
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Stock
Tire Size
31” x 10.5”
I love the spare tire carrier! I’m looking to fab up something similar.
 

USCGC130

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1997
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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
5.5"
So i got a little bored today and wanted to see how much drop out i have from the rear end, and while doing so decided with a buddy that im probably going to cut off my rear lower shock mounts and swing them up the axle tube a bit to help with clearance ( one less thing to catch on an obstacle and give me maybe 1-1.5" of more drop out. In the picture below i am hanging on my shocks, so i think ill move the bottom shock mounts and then after a bit of wheeling see if i should make some limit straps, but i dont know if ill really need those. Right now i have 5.5" of down travel.

and my motorcycle carrier should be here tomorrow!!

IMG_2591.jpg
IMG_2577.jpg
 

USCGC130

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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
5.5"
just make sure doing that doesnt make the shock bottom out prematurely.
yea jolene, thats a good point, we looked at it yesterday and didnt think it would be too short, but after you saying that, its got me thinking that since my bed will be pretty heavy with tent and gear and 5-10 gallons of spare fuel and the spare tire AND i plan on hanging 350+ pounds (motorcycle + carrier) off the hitch sometimes that maybe i should just play it safe and keep the extra shock length for hitting a big bump when im fully loaded, at least until i get some good bump stops dialed in. Thanks for the input and extra food for thought, i appreciate being able to bounce ideas off you all and get feed back.
 

JOLENE_THE_RANGER

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yeah man! UP travel is the most important travel number in offroad suspension. the higher your rear axle can travel (without your leaf springs going too far into neg arch) the smoother the ride will be. the most common mistake i see in setting up offroad suspension is people wanting as much droop as possible and sacrificing up travel for it. no bueno!
 

Jim Oaks

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33x12.50x15
Can't wait to see pictures of this off pavement.
 

USCGC130

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Can't wait to see pictures of this off pavement.

Jim, you and me both! This truck deserves to finally see some trail action, i do have a 4 day camping trip planned in july with some off roading. Now that things are opening up again here in comifonia hopefully ill make a good day trip ASAP. Between my modified work schedule (which includes one weekend day almost every week) and my wife working full time its been tough.
 

Naddanme

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Just got caught up. Nice build thread and lots of good info. Giving me a few new things to think about as I start my build. Thanks
 

USCGC130

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Total Lift
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I finally got the truck out on some trails and a camping trip, took everything with me, kayak and the motorcycle! Everything did well, except i had to use 4x4 low to get up the steep hills, i really need to get gears! But for now ill just get by with low. We did 4 days/3 nights covered probably about 350-400 miles total, that is with 95% pavement but some really good trails up to a fire lookout at 8600 ft and we drove to the VERY TOP. I do have what i belive to be a driver side front axle ujoint that clicks when turning or a weight shift from front to rear and rear to front, so i have to look into that, but i dont think its detrimental right now since its brand new. Another thing ive noticed is my front hubs get really hot, pretty quickly, is this normal? I think its brake heat being transferred, I tested it after a long freway run with hardly any braking and they were only warm, but if i use the brakes much they get screaming hot.

Also I made a 90 degree hitch reciever for my motorcycle carrier so if i get into a situation where i cant or dont want the bike hanging way off the back i can put the carrier up flat against the tail gate and not have any departure angle issues or the bike bouncing out of the carrier, this proved very useful on the tough day i just parked the bike and took off in the truck and didnt have to leave the carrier behind. you can see in some pictures below but i did wheel in to camp with the bike on the back and i think it did fantastic, it only got a little scetchy in one spot so i decided for the way out to let me wife drive the truck while i rode the bike.

So all in all i got a great drive completed with the truck. i made a youtube video of our trip and campsite and some of the trails we were on. so please enjoy. i had hoped the quality would be better but somewhere along the line it dropped a bit, but its still not too bad. it really help if you click the setting button next to the full screen button on the video and select 720 instead of 1080

Youtube link

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Last edited:

Naddanme

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Awesome, you really loaded her down. But sounds like it went well.
 

Uncle Gump

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Good stuff... Looking forward to a trip out west someday.

Glad the Ranger passed the test.
 

ericbphoto

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Finally watched the video.

wow!
 

USCGC130

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ford
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4.0 V6
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Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
5.5"
I forgot i made this hitch flag pole right before the 4th! It turned out great and was good welding practice before i buy the new ruffstuff DIY rock slider kit, and give it a go, ill feel much more comfortable wheeling harder with out the risk of permanently jamming a door closed, at $300 it seems like a great bargain, plus i live 30 mins away so i can skip the shipping cost.

i think the saying is true, "if you dont stop and look back at your truck after you park it.... you bought the wrong truck!"



IMG_2774.jpg
 


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