87 XLT - Factory Optioned Restoration


1qaz

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Currently stockpiling parts to address the front suspension and the interior. OEM coil springs and upper ball joints for a first gen Ranger are more scarce than anticipated. They're on hand now and I have a couple of reasonable NOS suppliers to keep this project original and on budget. More to follow as I find the time to tear out and replace/refurbish my little front end noise maker.

In the interior, the top priority is to clean up the dash and instrument cluster. The original ammeter and coolant temp gauges either don't work or only work intermittently. I've already replaced the temperature sensor and sending unit so it's time to replace the temp gauge. I picked up an instrument cluster at the Pull A Part to practice before I ripped into mine. I could have gone NOS on the gauge but for the cost of one gauge and a little needle paint I can get all four plus a speedometer (but have no need for it).

Cost of instrument cluster = $34.95

Before pic of oil pressure and ammeter gauges:





After a bit of cleaning and needle paint (picked up from eBay):



Final product:



Gauges now sorted. Total cost = $41.90 ($34.95 cluster + $6.95 needle paint)


Next up is the complete overhaul of the front suspension and more interior work.

As a test of progress I took it to a local cruise in. When you pull up there's an attendant that directs traffic...cruisers one direction, spectators another. I pulled up trying not to tip my intentions. He waived me in and this is where he parked me. Not sure this is the right league, but it is what it is.



BTW as many people checked out the Ranger as they did the rest of that line up...quite surprising. A ton of people have owned these gems!
 


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RockRanger

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Clean. It is nice to see someone spending the time to restore a ranger.
 

1qaz

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After a few months of finding and stockpiling genuine Ford and Motorcraft parts for the front suspension and steering linkage, I finally found time to tear into it. I ended up taking out both axles and radius arms and cleaned and repainted them. I replaced all the ball joints, bushings, insulators, coil springs, tie rods and drag link.

Christmas in July, August, September...



Left Side Before: 28 Years and 86K miles of grime, grit, and grease.



Left Axle and Spindle Removed:



Left Axle cleaned with ball joints and pivot bushing pressed out...what a PITA that was...



New ball joints ready to go in:



Left Axle cleaned and painted with new ball joints and pivot bushing pressed in:



Left Radius Arm cleaned and painted with new bushing set:



Using only genuine Ford parts:



New Coil Spring, insulator, seat, and upper bracket ready to go in (springs were the hardest to find):



I wonder if some of the squeaks and creaks were coming from this.



Left Side Tie Rods prepped and ready:



Drag Link (inner right tie rod):



Left Side After:



Right Side Before:



Right Outer tie rod: shown with old one for comparison...



Right Side after but prior to pressing in ball joints and reattaching spindle and brakes:



Pressing in the ball joints with the axle, radius arm, coil spring, and shock attached is so much easier than with them removed.

Also pulled off the front shield and cleaned and painted it.



After reinstalling everything I took it in for an alignment. I was within all tolerances and the tech only had to tweak the toe and steer ahead. Not bad for my first suspension job.

Here's the carnage in parts after all was said and done. Not shown are the radius arm bushings that I saved because they were still in good shape.



Front Suspension now sorted.

Cost: $575 in parts, $60 alignment, 3.5 days labor
Total: $635

Next up: Interior
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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1TUFF92

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That is one beautiful 1st gen.
 

1qaz

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Nice job.
Thank you! It wasn't as difficult as I had expected but took longer than anticipated. I think I have a PhD in ball joint and bushing pressing now. :)

That is one beautiful 1st gen.
Thank you! She's taking shape but still lots of work left ahead. I just wished I had more time to work on her.
 

1qaz

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My daughter took some pics of the new suspension from underneath...they're too good not to post. Her Nikon is far superior to my phone.

Left Side:



Right Side:

 

1qaz

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One final pic of the front suspension from the front with both axles in view.



Now, turning attention to the interior. The condition of the interior was one of the selling points of the truck for me. As stated before, the dash pad is in great shape with only a few small cracks in front of the cubby hole. The seat, carpet, and headliner are well preserved as are the door panels and trim pieces. The problem areas were the instrument cluster, bezel, and high use plastic pieces (such as the hood latch handle) that were brittle with age and the oven-like temperatures courtesy of the Tucson sunshine and Ford windshield greenhouse effect. PO installed an aftermarket radio which, of course, was replaced. The bezel buckled under the intense temperatures. The hood latch handle came off in my hand with only a few pulls. Though not covered here, to replace it you must replace the entire hood latch cable assembly.

First up is the audio.

Before:



Found a factory AM/FM/Cassette player at the Pull-A-Part. Cost = $14.95



Of course, the backlight bulb was burned. Here is how I replaced it:

http://www.therangerstation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=163776

After: Back to stock!



Next was the bezel.

Before: Heat altered.



If heat bent it, heat should help bend it back. I used a heat gun and some clamps to get it back in shape. If you try this, heat the bezel slowly...just to the point it's pliable. Any more and what ever you use to flatten it back out will leave an impression.



After a couple rounds of heat and reshaping:



After:



Now to the instrument cluster. I replaced the ammeter and temperature gauges and refreshed all the fluorescent orange needles and markings. Associated costs already covered in previous post.

Before: (face in the reflection is the salesman I bought her from)



After: With repaired bezel and refreshed gauges:





And finally, some views of the overall interior. Key components to restoration: Elbow Grease and patience.















Costs to Sort Interior:
Gauges (previously covered): $41.90
Hood Release Cable Assembly: $8.95
Ford Factory AM/FM/Cassette Radio: $14.95
New Brake, Clutch, and Parking Brake pedal pads = $16
Various Cleaning Products: $10

Total = $91.80

Next up: Transmission. My intent is to remanufacture her original legs.
 
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XLTsplash

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Your Ranger just keeps getting better, nice work.
 

RockRanger

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Making me miss my 86 I lost to a wild fire. Nice work.
 

1qaz

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Your Ranger just keeps getting better, nice work.
Thanks! Yours is looking as good as ever, too. I'm still looking for the right folks to remanufacture my transmission. I can buy a remanufactured transmission and send my back as a core. But I want to keep the numbers matching equipment so it's a little more challenging. I do enjoy the chase, though.

Making me miss my 86 I lost to a wild fire. Nice work.
Thanks! I had an '86, too...bought brand new. I hate you lost yours to a wild fire. That's certainly not a way I would think to lose one.
 

1qaz

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My Ranger is 29-years-young today! Winter has interrupted the garage time and larger projects but still chipping away at the little ones. Recently replaced the passenger side fold away mirror which had a huge scuff mark and lugnuts all the way around...both are NOS. Planning the spring thaw projects that include removing the bed to get after the drive shaft, u-joint, leaf springs, rear axle and differential, gas tank and fuel pump in addition to remanufacturing the transmission, replacing the clutch assembly and rear main seal. Again, using only genuine Ford parts. Parts are stockpiling.

Latest costs:
NOS fold away mirror: $50
Lugnuts: $37 (20 @ $1.85 ea)

NOS Lugnuts:


NOS Fold Away Mirror:
 

85_Ranger4x4

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After: Back to stock!

Now that is dedication right there. :icon_thumby:

I have thought about taking one of those apart and making a dummy removable face to make it look "correct" at shows but haven't got around to it and am not sure I will. My Alpine has kind of a retro early 90's look to it. I still have my stock radio, it was just an AM/FM.

I am making mine a "restomod" I want it to look fairly stock with some kinda period upgrades, I need to do a lot more bodywork than a polish though...

I never knew "needle paint" existed, that is cool.

Mine turned 31 years old exactly a week ago. :icon_thumby:

If you want you can email Ford and they can look up your exact build date and what options it shipped with originally. It took me a couple weeks but it was free.
 
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Closetcanibal

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This is beautiful. Following for sure


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Truck looks amazing. Great score!
 


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