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A not so simple ranger

MattrickSwayzee

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Hello, I was wondering if any of you have might have any advice on this 83 Ford ranger dolphin camper, someone offered me a pretty good deal on taking it off their hands and it’s got 61k original miles, the 2.8 v6, and automatic transmission, it’s pretty cheap, plus there’s lots of motor swap options when it burns up. Is there anything I should be weary of? I’m not sure what they did for axles but they have 8 lugs so they’re probably not the factory ones. Other than that I should get at least another 40k on that 2.8 if I go easy on her right? I tried searching the dolphin forms but for some reason I can only find the Toyota version, nothing on the internet anywhere for the ranger. Thanks for any replies,
Matt
 

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RobbieD

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Welcome. That's a real nice rig, but I'm confused. The dash looks more like a Ford F-truck than a Ranger, but the 2.8L is a Ranger engine.
 

MattrickSwayzee

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Welcome. That's a real nice rig, but I'm confused. The dash looks more like a Ford F-truck than a Ranger, but the 2.8L is a Ranger engine.
You are right, I didn’t even notice that, but it has to be a ranger cab on that thing. I’m meeting the owner Friday so weather I buy it or not I’ll get some better pictures, my only thought would be I’m wrong and it’s not a ranger cab, but that would explain the eight lugs on the front and rear axles
 

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That is a F series cab. I would imagine that it would have a V8 and not a V6. So be leery of the truck if the images are similar.

Just remember, the F series trucks had a "Ranger" trim package like the XLT and Custom packages.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Yeah, that is a bullnose Ford F-series, 80-86. 8 lug hints at a F-250 or F-350.

The cab profiles are similar, a easy way to tell the difference at a distance/with a fuzzy picture is a first gen Ranger (83-88) has a vertical side marker light, a bullnose has a horizontal side marker, the camper body on the truck you are looking at is WAY too big for a Ranger.

Here is a Ranger camper conversion, not many companies delved into it:



 

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Yes, that's an F-series but they could get a "Ranger" trim package

F-series option trims 1980/81
Ranger: Intermediate trim that added a color-keyed floor mat, chrome trim on the door panels, and Rosewood dash and horn pad trim.

Ranger XLT: A step up from the Ranger that added a unique seat trim, a color-keyed headliner, color-keyed carpeting, aluminum tailgate trim and full floor to roof trim moldings behind the seat. Also included pinstriping if ordered, synthetic wood, cloth seats and various other interior options.

Ranger Lariat: A step above the Ranger XLT that added a plusher interior, and Rosewood Trim on the door panels that matched the Rosewood trim on the dash. Ranger Lariats also featured special "Lariat" emblems on the cab, as well as special Ranger Lariat script above the radio

But these ended in 1981/82 because Ford used the name "Ranger" for the debut of the smaller truck Rangers we have at this forum, in 1983

So if it has "Ranger" trim then its not a 1983 F-series, but might be a 1983 Camper conversion, the model year is the year it was registered(new VIN assigned) and first offered for sale

But in any case it looks like a nice clean unit
I don't see a 2.8l V6 engine being offered in F-series so are you sure thats what it has, I thought only 6cyl was inline, 4.9l

Check the water lines/tanks, fresh and grey, some forget these and they freeze and break over a winter
 
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85_Ranger4x4

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Yes, that's an F-series but they could get a "Ranger" trim package

Ranger: Intermediate trim that added a color-keyed floor mat, chrome trim on the door panels, and Rosewood dash and horn pad trim.

Ranger XLT: A step up from the Ranger that added a unique seat trim, a color-keyed headliner, color-keyed carpeting, aluminum tailgate trim and full floor to roof trim moldings behind the seat. Also included pinstriping if ordered, synthetic wood, cloth seats and various other interior options.

Ranger Lariat: A step above the Ranger XLT that added a plusher interior, and Rosewood Trim on the door panels that matched the Rosewood trim on the dash. Ranger Lariats also featured special "Lariat" emblems on the cab, as well as special Ranger Lariat script above the radio

But these ended in 1981/82 because Ford used "Ranger" for the debut of the smaller Ranger we have at this forum, in 1983

So if it has "Ranger" trim then its not a 1983 F-series, but might be a 1983 Camper conversion, the model year is the year it was registered and first offered for sale

But in any case it looks like a nice clean unit
Check the water lines/tanks, some forget these and they freeze a break over a winter
Door locks look later, also doesn't say "Ranger" above the radio. Looks like something was there and fell off but I don't remember the lettering on dad's '80 being seperate.
 

MattrickSwayzee

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Yep I was totally wrong, thanks for helping me figure it out. When I talked to the lady she said it had a v6 so my mind didn’t question it I just figured it was a ranger because the only thing I could find that was even close online was the Toyota version, and the rangers had the v6. Maybe she threw in the v to confuse me. I know you guys love your rangers but I do feel a little better about getting a 4.9 to push it around, I did find a picture of a ranger with a dolphin camper on it but the cab does look a lot smaller and it has the vertical marker light (the photo is just for example)
 

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Most people who aren't car folks instinctively put V in front of the engine. Probably an honest mistake on her part.
 

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Hey, whether it’s a little Ranger or an F150 Ranger, get it as cheap as you can and add $1500 to the price and sell it to @Uncle Gump. He’s stressed and desperate and about to be homeless.
 

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I definitely wouldn’t shy away from it if it has a 4.9 for the engine, that motor will outlast the truck. Definitely looks like a full-size, probably just got confused on what they had, seems like a lot of non-gearheads get confused easily with vehicles. Still pretty cool though. I’m sort of looking for something similar. As I get older, I have less of a desire to camp in a tent, lol
 

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I agree. The 300ci I6 would be great for that rig. Looks nice!
 

MattrickSwayzee

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I’m going to check it out today, she said she can’t meet until 5:30 so I hope she remembers to go to a notary before or we’ll be stuck without a title till Monday. I’m just hoping she doesn’t back out because she promised it to some adult kid or something weird, we are in Montana, so campers like that, chainsaws, and guns could be their own form of currency here. Whatever happens I’ll fill you guys in on what I see.
 

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The thing looks definitely like an F-Series truck, 8 lugs definitely would be a 3/4 or 1 ton...that in no way is a Ranger based RV LOL. That poor little 2.8L V6 wouldn't do so well trying to lug that heavy thing around. Definitely either the I6, or a V8 in it...could be a 302, or 351....possibly an old carbureted 460 in it, who knows till you open the hood and look. Its definitely not a Ranger though.
 

MattrickSwayzee

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Well I saw it, it’s beautiful, F250 cab and chassis. The 300 inline 6. Dolphin camper on the back, engineered for love, all the appliances worked it’s got a built in kolher generator that runs off the gas tank, pretty cool rig. So I bought it yesterday, purred great in the driveway, even more softly than the Subaru I drove to check it out, and then... it stalled about a quarter mile out of the driveway, so I went to turn it over and the battery was dead, probably because it sat for a few years, so I got a new battery she started and purred again got her to the Highway and she let me down again, so I tried starting it again and it turned over real weak and the solenoid got super hot, so I found some jumper cables and skipped the solenoid but no dice, then I found a passerby and tried giving the juice right to the starter but it was shot. So I made it to the parts store again and got a starter and solenoid and worked that out. I was thinking it was just old gas so I got a fuel filter when I was there, and when I pulled off the fuel line sure enough orange gas. By this time my old lady’s patience was gone and I had to leave her at a friends house nearby. So I guess I’ll pull the gas tank and dump the orange stuff somewhere safe and try again. Any advice on cleaning the tanks, or I should just buy new ones they’re about 80 bucks a piece online.
 

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