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89 Ranger 4.0 Swap and Hunting Rig, the Houndruner

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Location
Squaw Valley, Ca
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
302
Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
For the front, I’ll be running jeep springs, extending the RA’s to match the front DS length, reinforcing them and putting Heim joints on them. I’ll be cutting and turning the beams and then reinforcing them. I’ll have to do some research on which shocks to run. I’m thinking about an adjustable shock, all the way around.
For the rear, I’ll be putting 64” leafs in. This will be a slightly long term build. I’m not so gungho on it as I was with my green ranger.
 


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BlackBII

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4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
5
Tire Size
33
Sounds like a good plan! With extended radius arms and cut and turned beams you should be able to get a good amount of travel. Bilstein is always a good choice on dampeners.
 

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
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Engine Size
302
Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
BlackBII, that’s what I was thinkin too!

So my dream was right! I checked the plug wires, 5,6 were swapped. She idles great now! She still has a random exhaust tick. I think there’s a broken or missing manifold bolt IIRC so that’d explain that. But I don’t remember for sure. It’s low 30’s and 30-40mph winds today so I’m not gonna go back out to check lol.
I need to pull the clutch MS out and try to get all the air out, to make sure it’s actually bad. I get no pressure from it and I tried bleeding it already. I didn’t pull it and stretch it out yet though. Once I get that fixed, I’ll pull it in the garage and finish the wiring. Then it should be ready to test drive!
 

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Location
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Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
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Engine Size
302
Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
So the cad picture is of the superrunner system, I suppose I could go with that style and it would work.
This question is for those who are smarter than me. What if I were to extend the drag link’s center mounting points to match up with the pivot point of the axle? Would that be of any benefit since the tie rod would be equal length of each axle beam? Or would it be more work than benefit?

Excuse my 2nd grade quality art...
 

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BlackBII

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Total Lift
5
Tire Size
33
For the master cylinder, it helps if you pull it and tilt the push rod downwards, and then bleed it by hand. It's difficult to push the rod in, but if you wrap a towel or something around the end to cushion it it can be done and doing it like that allows any trapped air to get pushed out.


For your steering, having the tie rods the same length and at the same angle as your beams would be the ideal way to set it up. The issue with the setup you've sketched there is getting them to travel without hitting stuff. The swing or cross over style is better suited for that route. You could also build a super runner style setup like I did, where the tie rods are shorter but at the same angle. You'll get some toe change at the top and bottom of travel, but it's a decent compromise. Really it depends on what you'll be using the truck for.
 

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
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Engine Size
302
Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
Thank you, that is exactly what I thought. If I build a custom setup, I plan on building the drag link mounting brackets offset so they clear each other and I believe I have enough room to build them to clear if I use a TRE and a thick enough plate to accept a 1 ton TRE.

The superunner system looks fairly simple and probably the easiest to build. How do you like it and what do you use your truck for?

I drive a lot of BLM and Forest Service roads while lion hunting out here in Nevada. So that’s why I want to eliminate as much as the bump steer as I can. I’m currently driving my daily driver F350 and I don’t want to keep beating it up.
 

BlackBII

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I like my setup, it's been working well for a couple years now without any issues. I use my truck for street driving and some occasional off roading, none of it at high speed really so bump steer hasn't been a concern of mine. For what you are doing, it sounds like getting rid of all the bump steer is the way to go!
 

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Engine Size
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Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
Yeah I won’t be driving fast like prerunners, but if I can improve the ride and stop most of the bump steer, I’ll be a happy camper. My hounds will appreciate it too. I’ll be putting ratcheting lockers in it too. A stock rig just won’t get into the places I go, following my hounds and looking for lions.
 

cmwright14

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I did the same exact swap in my 89 Ranger about 8 years ago. 89 Ranger 2.9l 5speed, and installed a 4.0 w/auto A4ld trans from a donor 91 Explorer (y)
 

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Location
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Vehicle Year
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Make / Model
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Engine Type
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Engine Size
302
Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
Do you still have the truck? What did you do for the two plugs on the driver fender, for the tail lights and what not?
 

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Location
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Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
302
Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
I think I’ve just about finished up the wiring today. I ordered new pigtails for the alternator and I still have to hook up the temp and oil gauges. Other than that I think everything is wired up.

I pulled the master cylinder and I can’t get the thing to budge when I try to push the rod. I put all my weight on it and it’s solid. I’m really hoping it’s not the slave cylinder that’s bad. It had almost no resistance when in the truck. I really don’t feel like pulling the trans...
But I did look over my parts explorer and I have everything to swap over the D-35 and 8.8 axles.
The PS pump is leaking around the housing so I have to replace that too. So, I have probably 2 full days worth of work left to do.
 

Rowdy Fitzgerald

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Location
Squaw Valley, Ca
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
302
Transmission
Manual
Total Lift
6”
Tire Size
35
Gaz: Thanks! The wiring is what really slows me down. It confuses me pretty easily lol. The rest of it, the mechanical parts, I understand better and I can get it done much faster.
 

BlackBII

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Total Lift
5
Tire Size
33
D35 and 8.8 will be nice to have. The power steering pump can be rebuilt, you probably just need to replace one o-ring and the shaft seal. The rod is hard to push, but it can be done. What you can try instead, if you have someone to help you, is loosen the bleeder valve, push the rod in, then close the bleeder, then let the rod back out. That could push any air out. When I was trying to bleed the clutch in my Mercedes, it was even worse than a Ranger. I ended up getting a large syringe, filling it with brake fluid, attaching some hose to the end and pushing the fluid up through the valve on the slave into the master. That worked really well and could work on your truck.
 

Shran

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Do you still have the truck? What did you do for the two plugs on the driver fender, for the tail lights and what not?
I did a 4.0 swap on my old '89 and used a '94 Explorer harness. Basically what I did for the tail lights was to figure out which wires went where on both parts, clipped the plugs off the old Ranger harness and soldered them onto the appropriate wires on the Explorer harness so that they would plug in. 4x4 dash lights and speed sensor were also part of that. It was pretty easy once you get past the mindset of "omg spaghetti mess"... or at least that's how it was for me.
 

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