4wd conversion endeavor


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I have done a lot of looking, here mostly, on how the 4wd system works in a ranger like mine. I have a 2wd ranger which I'd like to be 4wd. I have done a lot to it so I don't want to part with my ranger and get another one just to get 4wd. I am willing to do all the work to convert it to 4wd, I know it will be hard! So here is what I want to know...
Is there anything major that would have to be done in order to put a 4wd system in other than mounting all the stuff? Looking at diagrams, to me, it looks like all the major parts will mount the same way the 2wd parts do. I want to use the dana 35 system with short arm long arm cv.
 


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don4331

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Byronator:

Does your Ranger have coil springs or torsion bars for front suspension?

If it has torsion bars, its possible to install 4wd from another Ranger of same vintage.

If it has coils - you might as well do as SAS.
 

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@don4331

Ah. Yeah that'd be the best approach. But I do not want to do a SAS. I dont' have torsion bars, I have coil springs. Couldn't I add torsion bars to the frame though?
 

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Ah. Yeah that'd be the best approach. But I do not want to do a SAS. I dont' have torsion bars, I have coil springs. Couldn't I add torsion bars to the frame though?
No. There are other differences in the frame.

If you do not have torsion bars, your functional options are SAS or find a 4x4 frame.
 

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or




build a real a-arm system that functions better then the oem abortion. long arms.


or a ttb....still winning over oem sla off road....


if you want to pound on it off road, way worth it...




a solid axle make it super easy though. stupid easy. not hard.
 

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or




build a real a-arm system that functions better then the oem abortion. long arms.


or a ttb....still winning over oem sla off road....


if you want to pound on it off road, way worth it...




a solid axle make it super easy though. stupid easy. not hard.
So a TTB is better than the SLA, how so? It's a lot bulkier. And with a SAS it's just with all showing under the front. I don't like that look as much as the SLA. I would just do the SAS bc I need 4wd for functionality more than anything. I don't really want to use it for off-roading anyway. But where I live, you need 4wd. I'd be down to build an a-arm system but I don't really know how it works.
 

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Also, couldn't I just weld some torsion bar mounts to my frame. Like, even if the frame I have doesn't really have a spot for oem bars. I could do in a custom location on frame and all.
 

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Even though frames may appear similar, or be from similar vehicles, they're different, and that difference means that much more work. By the time you're done adapting, drilling, cutting, modifying, or just making new from scratch, you'd be way ahead just doing a full custom install.

I opted for a frame swap on mine, though I happened to find another 1997 Ranger SC/SB with all the options I wanted and more with a dead engine. This is probably the easiest swap next to a solid axle swap, and it's still work. I specifically wanted to keep mine near factory for parts availability, I have a FSM for it, and reliability (see Ford engineers comment below)

You'll either need a 4wd trans/t-case combo that's identical to your 2wd transmission, or you'll need to take it all apart and swap the rear output shaft and tail-housing/extension-housing. Option 2, is a divorced case of older vintage, be sure you'll have room for it if you go that route, usually those are huge cases as well.

Honestly, if functional 4wd is what you're going for, SAS it.

Go for a low pinion Dana 30, yes they are weaker, but it'll give you more room due to the pinion being lower and if not beat on with big tires are plenty serviceable in a 4wd application.

Remove the large crossmembers under the engine bay that are in the way and build new ones with more clearance around the axle, be sure they're beef as it's an important structural member. A group of Ford engineers with a crap load of testing resources designed it and as much as we sometimes like to rip on them, they are still WAY smarter than the vast majority of us. You may need to "C" the frame like the low riders do if you're not trying to go for a huge lift.

No matter which way you slice it, it's a ton of work, and aside from a frame swap, is not a particularly amateur project to tackle if you want to put a bunch of miles on it.
 

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low pinion? why?


if you just need it to get around sell it and buy a 4x4.
 

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new plan?

after looking at little more at the ttb system. I wouldn't mind using it.
The dana 35 ttb I guess. Now how will this fit with my frame?
 
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low pinion? why?


if you just need it to get around sell it and buy a 4x4.
Clearance, if you're not going for a huge lift. Not always necessary, but it makes it easier.

Plenty of vehicles use it, and unless you're really putting stress on it they work fine. In certain instances, it can work better. When reversing it's now on the strong side of the gear, which can help when yanking trucks/stuff out backwards.
 

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Now how will this fit with my frame?
Ehhh... That's one of those kinds of things where if you have to ask, it's well beyond your skill level.

Short answer: It won't. You're going to have to do a LOT of chopping and modifying.
 

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after looking at little more at the ttb system. I wouldn't mind using it.
The dana 35 ttb I guess. Now how will this fit with my frame?
And now we are back to swapping frames.
 

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People are rarely talked out of something they want to do, no matter how expensive or difficult it may be. Keep it or sell it get another one same vintage four-wheel drive make the best out of the two, but it is a lot of work when you can get something for peanuts, there are just so many Rangers out there for sale for almost nothing.. we were going to swap out an automatic for a manual in my other truck, finally I just sold it, and actually came out ahead,
 

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Originally Posted by Byronator
Now how will this (TTB) fit with my frame?

Ehhh... That's one of those kinds of things where if you have to ask, it's well beyond your skill level.

Short answer: It won't. You're going to have to do a LOT of chopping and modifying.
Well, the illustrious Jim Oaks asked the same question (although his technically was has anyone done it).

As Adms08 says - for TTB, it is probably easier to swap a pre-'98 frame, front axle & steering than to adapt the '98+ frame. You would just need to do something about the 3" wheelbase difference, assuming this is the regular cab you have in your signature.

Course for just needing 4wd for occasional bad weather day, SLA is the way to go, IMHO. And for that, I would find another '98+ Ranger 4x4 (with same engine) and work from there. This assume you have to much invested in body/engine/sentimental value to walk away from your current truck.

As Denise says, the only reason to modify is when Ford didn't offer it:

Ford didn't offer 5.0 which is why I did the swap myself.
Ford didn't offer long bed on SuperCab, which is again, why I did the mod myself.
And I might do the TTB frame under my truck, because, I want to keep the 4dr cab, and 4dr SuperCab long box was never offered by Ford. (My daughter wants me to restore a '51 F-1 off the farm for her, which might take precedence..)

Note:
I have the tools and like to think I have the skill, but in hip pocket, I have a running 2nd vehicle. :D
 


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