87 XLT - Factory Optioned Restoration


1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
1987 Ford Ranger XLT - Factory Optioned Restoration

Bought this survivor out of Tucson, AZ in Jul 14. No rust, no rot but sun baked and mechanically neglected. The goal is simple: Return her to 1987 showroom quality using genuine Ford and Motorcraft parts as much as possible...some new old stock, most salvaged from junkyards across the midwest and south, all deliberately chosen with a single outcome in mind. With only a few exceptions, all parts would have been an option from Ford in 1987. I am not a mechanic but can fumble my way around under the hood and follow repair manual instructions. This is my first restoration. The projects start small. I will document in detail here (TRS) as long as there's not a similar post or my work appears more complete. Where appropriate, I will include where I got the parts and associated costs in hopes this quest benefits someone else.

Born on Date: 4 Feb 87 in Louisville, KY w/Pre-Inspection Delivery on 26 Feb 87 in Tucson, AZ





My Purchase Date: 10 Jul 14

















 
Last edited:


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 248EE46702D889 Expires: October 1, 2019

adsm08

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Ford Technician
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
31,638
Reaction score
1,018
Points
113
Location
Dillsburg PA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
31X10.50X15
Heh, she is just a few days younger than my girl. I think mine's B-day is 20 Feb 87.
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
First up was addressing the immediate mechanical needs. She started rough. She idled rough. She leaked at both the valve cover and oil pan. Shocks were shot. Exhaust system had more tape than metal. Fluids worn and nasty. Brakes shot. Power steering growled like a dog protecting a bone. Tires bald. Suspension ok but had more creaks than Alaska. I changed all the fluids minus the transmission and differential. Replaced the timing belt, water pump, valve cover gasket, shocks on all four corners, plugs, wires, rotor, cap, filters, wiper blades, removed and cleaned the throttle body, replaced the heater core, exhaust from the catalytic converter back, pads, rotors, and bearings up front, wheel cylinders and shoes in the back. I paid to have the timing belt and water pump replaced and the exhaust and front brakes installed due to time constraints and to get her back on the road reliably.

Total initial mechanical repair costs ~$1,200 parts and labor.

Brakes and rotors:



Exhaust:

 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Heh, she is just a few days younger than my girl. I think mine's B-day is 20 Feb 87.
I was surprised to see that under the hood when I got her. My first Ranger was a bone stock basic 1986 Ranger S that I drove off the lot brand new. I don't remember seeing the date it rolled off the line on it. It was raven black, though so maybe it was there just not as visible.

Next up was the tires and wheels. I first wanted to get Firestone white raised letter Firehawks like they had back in the day. Unfortunately, Firestone no longer makes 14" Firehawks with or without white raised letters. So I went to what was closest to original equipment...Goodyears. After much consternation I settled on the Viva 2s for the time being and they most certainly look and feel period correct.



Cost for 4 tires, install, and balance ~ $350

Also look at the center caps...sun roached! After several weeks of patience, I found four NOS caps on eBay for $80 delivered.

I put the new caps on the original steel wheels and it just looked like crap. So that became the new priority. I was fortunate to find four period correct 10-hole bullet hole style rims at a junkyard in Montgomery, AL. I paid $19.95 each but they needed a ton of attention. The true Ford enthusiast will say those wheels didn't come out until 1988. True. But that means the dealerships had them available in 1987 so their cleared to go on this truck.

Aluminum Wheel (Before):



I cleaned up as much crud and baked on brake dust that I could, stripped the clearcoat, sanded, etched, polished, and buffed. Each one took about 10 hours of work. There is still work left on them but I just couldn't take the steel wheels any longer.

Aluminum Wheel (After):



I'll do up a 'How To' and post the link here at a later date.

Here's the result:

Before w/original XLT style steel wheels and trim:



W/NOS Center Caps:



W/Aluminum Wheels and NOS Caps:



Total cost for aluminum wheels and caps = $159.80 plus cleaning supplies of about $20.

Now we're making some progress.
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
With the wheels and tires sorted for the time being I turned my attention to the paint and body. I saw three options: (1) Strip down to the metal and repaint (2) Clear coat and save the 'patina' (3) rescue the OEM paint from 28 years of Arizona sunbathing. Option 1 was not my first choice but financially planned into the rebuild. Option 2 was what I wanted to do until multiple body shops looked at me as if I had a third eye in the middle of my forehead and asked 'whatcha wanna do that fer?'. Further study revealed some of their hesitation was because today's clear coats don't always adhere properly to older paints and finishes. Regardless, they seemed confused as to why I wanted to spend that kind of time, effort, and scratch on an old Ranger. So Option (3) is now option #1.

I've never done serious auto detailing but there is a shitload of videos out there so I started educating myself. Everyone has their products of choice so I attempted to remain as brand agnostic as possible. During my crash course I boiled the process down to: wash, clay bar, cutting compound, polish, and wax with good, deliberate prep work (mask, tape, clean..) anchoring the entire effort. Without providing any product endorsement, this is what I ended up using.

For the clay bar:



Cost: $19 at Wal-Mart

The best part of this was the Showtime detailing spray...I used it liberally and had at least 2/3 of a bottle left. The clay bar was easy to use and did what it was intended...smooth as silk with a couple of passes over the entire truck. This is where deliberate preparation paid off. Time spent on this step pays off huge dividends and it's not hard. Just follow the directions on the box.

Next came the cut and polish. I didn't have any of the prerequisite equipment but received a Harbor Freight flyer in the mail with a ton of coupons so that's where I headed. I ended up getting these:





I chose the polisher because it had variable speed. The orange pad (8") for cutting. The blue pad (8") for polishing.

Total equipment cost using noted HF coupons = $30+$6+$6 = $42

After hours of reading and watching videos, I decided on Meguiar's 105 Cutting Compound and 205 Finishing Polish. They appeared to be capable of the intended results with the best chance of saving me from screwing up and having to resort to Option (1) above. I purchased the 32 oz bottles and still have 3/4 of them left.




Total cost cutting compound and polish = ~$52 after using those HF 20% off coupons.

Remember, this was the first time I have used a polisher. After priming the pad and choosing the lowest setting I slung that shit everywhere!! This is where the prep work truly paid off as most of the non-intended surfaces were masked and taped. I regrouped, took my time and spent the next 16 hours cutting, polishing, and waxing. I used some Meguiar's Cleaner Wax I already had on hand to finish everything off.

Total Overall Paint and Body Work Cost: $113 plus 16 hours of my time.

Here's the results:









If you look close you can see where those 8" pads reached out and buffed some of the tires and bumpers...those I did not tape and mask off. Next time I will use smaller pads, especially on the sides of the truck.

Note: I did not do either the bed of the truck or the tailgate as I have some work to do on them before they're ready for any type of finish work.

Paint is now sorted for under $120!
 

alwaysFlOoReD

Forum Staff Member
Forum Moderator
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
8,766
Reaction score
211
Points
63
Location
Red Deer, Canada
Vehicle Year
'91, '94, '80
Make / Model
Ford, GMC
Engine Size
4.0,4.0,350
Transmission
Manual
Really impressive! I wish I could easily find rust free like that up here. What was the purchase price?
 

adsm08

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Ford Technician
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
31,638
Reaction score
1,018
Points
113
Location
Dillsburg PA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
31X10.50X15
You know, your pics aren't showing up.
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
You know, your pics aren't showing up.
How about now? I've posted all source pics on this site so I don't inadvertently move or delete them and render this thread useless.
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD

XLTsplash

Member
Ford Technician
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Messages
700
Reaction score
13
Points
18
Location
CA
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
Nice work, adding factory options is a good way to go on such a clean original Ranger.
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Nice work, adding factory options is a good way to go on such a clean original Ranger.
Thank you! My wish list includes GT or STX style bucket seat and a NOS dash pad. Those two items will be hard to find but I enjoy the chase for parts as much as I do installing them. Most other parts are available for a price...some I'm not willing to spend.
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
With the exterior taking shape the smaller details grew into big distractions. Specifically, I had to address the tailgate trim, the front grille badge, the front spoiler, and the plastic trim on the bumpers. I've posted a 'How To' on replacing missing letters on the tailgate trim which can be found here:

http://www.therangerstation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=162092

Cost for a tailgate trim panel (aka applique) from the Pull A Part yard = $11.95.

I only salvaged the letter 'O'...if you're in need of an 'F', 'R', or 'D' PM me and we'll see what we can work out. I also have the panel but it it would need a little work and polishing. Shipping, a good home, and paying it forward is all I'm interested in.

Shifting attention to the front, the grille emblem badge faded from its original Ford cobalt blue into a cracked, sun bleached royal blue.



Another trip to the yard, a U-Pic-A-Part outside St Louis, pretty much solved that.

Cost for front grille emblem: FREE (cashier laughed when I tried to pay for it).

I then cleaned up the front spoiler and plastic trim on the bumpers with Mother's Back to Black. Cost = $8.



The final piece of the exterior work was covering up the bed to 'hide' (for the time being) the blemishes and work still left to do but won't get to until I yank the bed off the frame. I decided on the Truxedo Lo Pro QT and picked it up on eBay with a Make an Offer bid. Installation is easy, requires no drilling or adhesives, rolls up effortlessly, stays tight, and can be adjusted to tighten or loosen depending on weather conditions. This is the only accessory not from 1987 that has been added to the truck.

Cost of Truxedo Lo Pro QT tonneau cover = $450 delivered...they accepted the offer right away so I could of gotten it for less. If I had to do it over I'd have offered them $400 and waited for the counter offer. But it's brand new, has a lifetime warranty, and they threw in a tailgate seal for free.

Total cost to address the 'small' exterior details: $469.95

Results:





Now she's getting noticed driving through town. Still a ton of work left.
 

drsvox

Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
Messages
240
Reaction score
1
Points
18
Location
Prattville, AL
Vehicle Year
1983
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
V6 2.8L
Transmission
Automatic
Looking real good! Nice and clean; really like the tonneau and may consider that as a finishing touch on my resto...

if you haven't already been there, LMC Truck (lmctruck.com) has a lot of stuff, including molded dash caps and door panels...
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
15
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Looking real good! Nice and clean; really like the tonneau and may consider that as a finishing touch on my resto...

if you haven't already been there, LMC Truck (lmctruck.com) has a lot of stuff, including molded dash caps and door panels...
Thanks! I keep an LMC catalog along side the Chilton and Haynes repair manuals. Most times the LMC schematics are better illustrated. For the dash pad they have dash covers to glue over the top of the existing one. I'm really after a new one. The one currently in the truck is still in good shape...just darkened from the southwest sunshine and small cracks just in front of the cubby hole. A new one will really refresh the interior.

I just went through your '83 build...impressive! I'll be sure to sign the guest book.
 

rangerplus

New member
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
78
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Vehicle Year
97
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Manual
Wow, that is a clean truck! Nice buy and great job bringing it back to it's original beauty!
 


Top