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2021 Ford Ranger FX4 TRS-3 Project Build


Jim Oaks

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Location
Nocona, Texas
Vehicle Year
1996 / 2021
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 / 2.3 Ecoboost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6-inches
Tire Size
33x12.50x15
20220928_172122.jpg

Around 1992 I built up a 1983 Ford Ranger 4x4 as my first Ranger. This Ranger was nicknamed TRS-1. In 2004 I built up a 1996 Ford Ranger 4x4 as my second Ranger that became known as TRS-2. For several years people have asked if there would be a TRS-3.

In 2019 Ford loaned me a 2019 Ford Ranger FX-4 for 6-months to celebrate the return of the Ford Ranger to North America and The Ranger Station's 20th anniversary. I also used it to complete the Trans America Trail (TAT). That Ranger was nicknamed the 'Loan Ranger' but never received a TRS numbed since I didn't own it.

In September 2022 I traded my 2016 Ford F-150 for a silver 2021 Ford Ranger FX4. I got silver to celebrate The Ranger Station's 25th anniversary in 2024. The Ranger will be nicknamed 'TRS-3 The Vagabond'.

This vehicle will be built for the following purposes:

Daily driver
Adventure / survival / overland vehicle
The Ranger Station promotion vehicle
25th anniversary vehicle
Product test & demo vehicle

PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS:

3.5 suspension lift
33-inch or equivalent all-terrain tires
Rock sliders
Custom heavy duty wich bumper
9,500lb winch
Custom heavy duty rear bumper
Bed rack with roof top tent
12-volt fridge / cooler
LED off-road lights
GMRS radio
CB radio
Bed storage
Tremor upfitter switches
Leather seat covers
TRS livery graphics

UPDATES:

10/20/2022 -
Skyjacker Suspension will be sponsoring this build with one of their 3.5-inch suspension kits keeping the TRS Rangers on a Skyjacker Suspension.

Current:


  • Skyjacker 3.5-inch lift (sponsor)
  • Thunderer Trac Grip MT Tires 2T295/70/17 (sponsor)
  • ProComp Series 41 wheels
  • Nilight LED hradlights
  • Nilight LED offroad lights
  • Custom grill guard & winch mount
  • Smittybilt 9.5k winch
  • DeeZee tailgate assist
  • Redarc trailer brake controller
  • Midland GMRS
  • Bed rack with adventure basket
 
Last edited:


Robertmangrum.rm

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Age
49
Location
Tennessee
Vehicle Year
2020
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 EcoBoost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5 level kit with rear add a leaf appox. 1.5
Tire Size
305/70r17
My credo
Buy it, build it, and drive it like you stole it
From what I've read on ghe internet Kings or Fox have the best 3.5. I'm really fond of the BDS kits as well. That being said and knowing we are not made of money. Rough Country had a pretty inexpensive 3.5 kit. I would opt for the 3.5 longer front struts for the extra travel. The kit comes with the pucks that sit on top the housing. Also if you run the 3.5 and remove crash bars people are running 35s on Facebook. I've got a 2.5 and I'm gonna try and squeeze some 305 65 r 17s on it which is a 34.2 I think. I think the wheel offset is what's limiting the 285s. They sit real close to the knuckle. I'm running 1.5 wheel spacers which I think gets me pretty close to a 0 offset. This things come with a +55 offset on the wheels so the tuck up under. Just my 2 cents and I can't wait to see the progress
 

sgtsandman

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Location
Aliquippa, PA
Vehicle Year
2011/2019
Make / Model
Ranger XLT/FX4
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC/2.3 Ecoboost
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Pre-2008 lift/Stock
Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17
It sounds like you want to set the bed up similar to what you did with the Loan Ranger. I thought that layout was pretty well thought out.
 

Jim Oaks

Just some guy with a website
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Location
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Vehicle Year
1996 / 2021
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 / 2.3 Ecoboost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6-inches
Tire Size
33x12.50x15
I like the idea of a longer strut than a spacer. One of my big issues with these trucks is their lack of wheeltravel. I'd like to get some sway bar disconnects and see how that helps.
 
Last edited:

85_Ranger4x4

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5.0
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Manual
In Bronco land I have heard Icon lifts thrown around a lot.

No idea if they make anything for a ranger or how they compare.
 

sgtsandman

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Location
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Vehicle Year
2011/2019
Make / Model
Ranger XLT/FX4
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC/2.3 Ecoboost
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Pre-2008 lift/Stock
Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17
I like the idea of a longer strut than a spacer. One of my big issues with these trucks is their lack of wheeltravel. I'd like to get some sway bar disconnects and see how that helps.
That might be a suspension geometry issue with how Ford sets up the IFS. The 1998-2011 Rangers don’t look like they have that much travel either. That might be part of the reason that one company came out with their own system that went to coil overs and pretty much replaced the entire front suspension.
 

Jim Oaks

Just some guy with a website
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Location
Nocona, Texas
Vehicle Year
1996 / 2021
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 / 2.3 Ecoboost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6-inches
Tire Size
33x12.50x15
In Bronco land I have heard Icon lifts thrown around a lot.

No idea if they make anything for a ranger or how they compare.
They make Ranger kits, and they're really expensive.
 

Robertmangrum.rm

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Age
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Location
Tennessee
Vehicle Year
2020
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 EcoBoost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5 level kit with rear add a leaf appox. 1.5
Tire Size
305/70r17
My credo
Buy it, build it, and drive it like you stole it
They make Ranger kits, and they're really expensive.
Does yours have the cast or aluminum spindles? Seems like there are a lot more options for the aluminum. Plus most the 3.5 kits come with a front diff drop to compensate for the angles of the cvs. Plus upper control arms so you can get it back in line. If or when you get ready for your 12v system I run across inverters and stuff all the time second hand in my line of work. And if you want new I can get a discount on that stuff from my distributor so just hit me up. My whole 1000w inverter setup was salvaged out of old RVs and campers haha
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Jim Oaks

Just some guy with a website
Administrator
Founder / Site Owner
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TRS Banner 2010-2011
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Joined
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Location
Nocona, Texas
Vehicle Year
1996 / 2021
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 / 2.3 Ecoboost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6-inches
Tire Size
33x12.50x15

85_Ranger4x4

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Location
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Vehicle Year
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Ford
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
5.0
Transmission
Manual

bobbywalter

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Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
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Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
Skyjacker seems ok...


There is growth still happening for the platform so maybe get in on some development???


Anything on the fun-haver side of The platform?.... Too busy to keep up...




🤔






I am willing to put a 5 on it....Y










:huh:




























:unsure:














This.... has me wondering.


If maybe...it's time to retire the old ranger.....back to the earth....


And start over.... Then I will be forced to keep up...
 

Jim Oaks

Just some guy with a website
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TRS Banner 2010-2011
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Joined
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Messages
13,575
Reaction score
8,918
Points
113
Location
Nocona, Texas
Vehicle Year
1996 / 2021
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 / 2.3 Ecoboost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6-inches
Tire Size
33x12.50x15
One of the first things I need to do is get a lift on it. Not sure who's lift I want to use. It will most likely be whoever I can get to donate one.

When I ran in to Calmini at overland Expo in 2019 they wanted to do a build with me. Their Calmini Stage 2 Pre-Runner 3.5-inch Suspension System has new Upper Control Arms, Radflo Coil-Overs, 2-inch rear blocks, and Bilstein Rear Shocks.

But then I've always used Skyjacker components on my Ranger.

I need to get some numbers together so I can share our page views and membership. Then contact some companies and see if they'll sponsor the build. I know that Lonnie McCurry Jr from Skyjacker is currently out on Fourwheelers Ultimate Adventure.

I also need to come up with some ideas for funding parts of this project that I can't get sponsored.
 

SenorNoob

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Location
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Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
1.5" Front + 4" Rear
Tire Size
245-70-R16
... I also need to come up with some ideas for funding parts of this project that I can't get sponsored.
Do a little advertising with paid entry raffles? I see them on Facebook fairly often. Matter of fact there is one right now with a an 86 Ranger as the prize. HERE

Too many groups/companies doing them for there to not be money in it..
 

JohnnyO

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Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle Year
2020
Make / Model
Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 EcoBoost
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
1.5"
Tire Size
265/70-17
My credo
"220, 221, whatever it takes."
From what I've read on the internet Kings or Fox have the best 3.5. I'm really fond of the BDS kits as well. That being said and knowing we are not made of money. Rough Country had a pretty inexpensive 3.5 kit. I would opt for the 3.5 longer front struts for the extra travel. The kit comes with the pucks that sit on top the housing. Also if you run the 3.5 and remove crash bars people are running 35s on Facebook. I've got a 2.5 and I'm gonna try and squeeze some 305 65 r 17s on it which is a 34.2 I think. I think the wheel offset is what's limiting the 285s. They sit real close to the knuckle. I'm running 1.5 wheel spacers which I think gets me pretty close to a 0 offset. This things come with a +55 offset on the wheels so the tuck up under. Just my 2 cents and I can't wait to see the progress
I have a Truxxx level kit for mine, not installed yet. If a level is all someone wants I'd recommend it, I had their kit on my old Sport Trac. BDS also makes a 2" level with both upper and lower spacers.
Bilstein gets high marks as well and their struts are adjustable up to 2.5". I may get just their rear shocks. For 2.5" or more I'd get heavy-duty UCA's.
For a full suspension lift I'd go with BDS. They have several options and go up to 6". Second choice would be Old Man Emu if you decide you don't need a lot of lift. IMO the rear is high enough already.
ARB has a ton of stuff for late-model Rangers. Skidplates, bumpers, front and rear lockers, snorkel. A few companies make high-clearance crash bars and little skidplates for the rear shocks. A Jeep Gladiator rear diff skidplate will work on the Ranger.
IMO the wheels from RTR are the best looking on a Ranger. I already liked them, then the guy I bought my charcoal Sport wheels from had got the RTR's and in person they are definitely bad ass.
Shrockworks seems to be the shiznit for rock sliders.

Truxxx.com
 
Last edited:

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