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"Budget Dream Truck": manual 3.0L 95 Ford Ranger 4x4 (Sorry for newbie questions)


Lwhite97

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"Budget Dream Truck": manual 3.0L 95 Ford Ranger 4x4 (Sorry for newbie questions)

I recently picked up a dented up (body only) 95 ford ranger for cheap. My end (is there really ever an "end" though?) goal for now is to drop a 351W into it along with a M5OD-R2 transmission and an exploder 8.8.

My current plan is to first to get the brakes working (3/4 bleeder valves are snapped off, probably just going to replace the brakes unless otherwise advised), then I want fix up the large dent in the side (at least enough so that I can replace the fuel feeder hose without it being stressed). After that my plan is to go to the junkyard and pick up a engine, the transmission, the 8.8, and any extra parts I needed for installation. I have also read that lifting the truck a little (body lift) will make it slightly easier to fit everything in, so I am planning on doing that as well when I install the engine and trans.

Problems

My first problem is that right now I have installed new brake lines (had a broken one when I purchased it) but can't bleed any of the brakes as all but one of the bleeder valves crumbled away as soon as I sprayed them with WD40. I'm not sure if you can drill those out or if it would even be worth doing so I was planning on just replacing the entire brake system.

My second problem with that is that I am planning on replacing the rear axle at some point so I don't want to waste the money on new brakes (or waste the time pulling old ones from a junkyard) if they wont fit the new axle (currently I have drums in the back but iirc the 8.8 that is common in this swap has disc brakes).

Not really a problem, but my dad thinks it's already been lifted a little, I thought it's just on large tires but for some reason I remember a little snippet of something that the leaf springs are mounted "under" sometimes while mine are mounted "over," can't remember which one is stock though

All Ready Done

I have replaced all the brake lines, and I have pulled the dent out enough to fill the tank with relative ease.

Questions

What do you think of my transmission choice? I know they put it behind the 302 in f150's and stuff.

What year should I try for for the engine& trans?

Misc. advice is always welcome

full picture album w/additional pictures
If more info is needed/pictures are needed please let me know.
 


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JoshT

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Ouch... Personally I'd be looking for a different bed than trying to straighten that one, especially seeing the amount of rust around that wheel arch. I can't say I would have purchased a truck hit like that at all, and I definitely wouldn't be using it as basis for a "dream truck" or V8 swap unless I was planning a full body swap as well. Just my opinion there.

Lot of stuff there I can't help you with, they are just decisions you are going to have to make as you go. I will comment on what I can.

The 302 is a lot more common swap for these trucks. Since you are wanting a 351 which is both taller and wider, I think a 3" body lift would definitely help you with clearance in the engine bay. Being a 95 model the engine bay has a little more clearance for the V8 swap than earlier models thanks to the later style HVAC box, but it'll have same considerations as early models where the frame is concerned.

I personally haven't seen a bleeder crumble away, though I've come across several rounded off and can usually grab them with vice grips. You could try to use a bolt extractor to remove what's left of the bleeder. Only other option is to replace the calipers and wheel cylinders. In your position, if I couldn't remove the bleeder and knew for sure that I would be doing the V8 and axle swap, I'd probably just do the axle swap now. That said you have already done hard lines and wheel cylinders aren't that expensive so in interest of making truck road worthy I'd just replace them and ride.

FWIW WD-40 is no good for breaking loose stuck bolts. Something like PB Blaster is much better for that.

91-94 Explorer axles came with drum brakes (otherwise same as later disk axle) and are perfectly usable with the V8 swap. Not sure about brake parts being compatible with your current drums, that's something you would have to look up and cross reference part numbers. It is entirely possible that they are depending on your current axle and brake configuration.

Pictures shown of the rear suspension look all stock and no body lift installed. That spring and lift block are what would have come factory on a 4wd Ranger. It is possible that it has lift shackles installed, but you don't have a picture of them shown. Tires do appear to be slightly oversized, but can't read the size in those pictures.

I've seen that spring under deal mentioned several times around the internet, but it's wrong. All Rangers, even the factory lowered Splash, were spring over axle from the factory. Spring under configuration was just found on the Explorers and they were all spring under, this was done because the rear frame rails of the explorer were wider and located directly over the springs. Explorer 8.8 installation in a ranger will require new spring perches to be welded on if not lowering the truck.
 

Lwhite97

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I don't really mean "Dream Truck" meaning it's going to be amazing or anything, i just mean I've always wanted a little beater truck with a big engine in it. I also got it for basically scrap price so worst comes to worst and I sell it prior to v8 install I just lose time and whatever the brakes cost and the bed if I replace that.

As of right now, after talking to friends, family and others on the internet, my plan is to try using a bolt extractor kit to remove the bleeder valves and buy a new bed at the local pick your part place. And then after I get that squared away and have it road-worthy I will use it to haul all the needed parts for the swap back to my place and start tearing it down.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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You will enjoy a bodylift no matter what engine you have. Even a stock engine, it makes it much easier to work on the powertrain.

302 is the easiest because it fits the nicest and really makes ample power for a Ranger. Not really much to brag about vs today's vehicles but really they do pretty good. Being similar vintage to your truck I would pick on a 5.0 Explorer for the engine.

As far as the M5ODR2, they did put it behind the 5.4 in the F-250LD/F-150 7700 trucks (97-04). Not a really heavy duty trans but in a lightweight Ranger I don't think you would tie it up too bad.

You have the most stupid common bed out there, after trying to find a 7' box for a first gen those 93+ shortbeds must grow on trees. Easy to find and not really that expensive.
 
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