• Welcome Visitor! Please take a few seconds and Register for our forum. Even if you don't want to post, you can still 'Like' and react to posts.

Cheap 2" lift on 1987 4x4 ford ranger

RustyDusty

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Points
8
Location
California
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
Hey I've got a 1987 4x4 ranger with the 2.9 and a4ld auto transmission. It's due for some new tires soon and I'm considering adding a bit of lift to it along with some larger tires. I've read I should be able to fit 31" tires after a 2" lift but curious to hear what anyone here has to say about that. This is not a truck I'm trying to dump money into and it seems like the cheapest and safest way to add a little height would be some 2" front coil spacers and a 2" add-a-leaf kit for the rear. I've seen a kit that comes with everything necessary for just under $100. With only 2" of lift I should still be able to get a proper alignment and avoid getting any new parts like longer brake lines, shocks, drop arms etc.. I'm wondering if anyone could tell if my rear suspension is stock based on a photo. The leaf springs are already sitting on blocks and I want to confirm they're stock and that I won't run into any compatibility issues when I have my rear axle on the ground trying to throw a new leaf in the pack. This will be my first time adding a leaf. Thanks!
Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 2.09.59 PM.png
 


ericbphoto

Overlander in development
Forum Moderator
Supporting Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
TRS 20th Anniversary
TRS Event Participant
GMRS Radio License
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
12,212
Reaction score
10,392
Points
113
Age
58
Location
Wellford, SC
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3.0L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
Those are the stock Ford blocks under those leaf springs. 2” coil spacers on the front would be absolute max and you may or may not be able to get camber adjusted far enough. I’ve read of people doing it. But that’s no guarantee. You will need different adjustment bushings. Depending on what you want to use the truck for, a body lift may be a suitable option. Or, do 1” spacers and 1” body lift.
 

RustyDusty

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Points
8
Location
California
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
Those are the stock Ford blocks under those leaf springs. 2” coil spacers on the front would be absolute max and you may or may not be able to get camber adjusted far enough. I’ve read of people doing it. But that’s no guarantee. You will need different adjustment bushings. Depending on what you want to use the truck for, a body lift may be a suitable option. Or, do 1” spacers and 1” body lift.
I would need different adjustment bushings for even a 2" lift? From what I read in the suspension lift section on this website they say 2" is the most you can lift this generation of ranger and still be able to get the camber correct. You're saying that is only with different adjustment bushings? With a 1" lift you can use the stock bushings? Thanks for the response!
 

franklin2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2019
Messages
2,201
Reaction score
850
Points
113
Location
Virginia
Vehicle Year
1984
Make / Model
Bronco II
Transmission
Manual
I was going to say, on the full size trucks with this suspension, 1.5 inches lift is about the max you can go and still get it in alignment. I don't have any experience with the rangers but 2 inches sounds borderline to me. And you would definitely need aftermarket bushings turned to the max.

You could always do the dreaded body lift. I just put new body bushings on my Bronco II. What a job that turned out to be. Rusted bolts, rusted out frame brackets that needed repair, etc. But it corners like a slot car now with those harder plastic bushings. I do get a bit more road noise though.
 

ericbphoto

Overlander in development
Forum Moderator
Supporting Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
TRS 20th Anniversary
TRS Event Participant
GMRS Radio License
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
12,212
Reaction score
10,392
Points
113
Age
58
Location
Wellford, SC
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3.0L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
I would need different adjustment bushings for even a 2" lift? From what I read in the suspension lift section on this website they say 2" is the most you can lift this generation of ranger and still be able to get the camber correct. You're saying that is only with different adjustment bushings? With a 1" lift you can use the stock bushings? Thanks for the response!
You would definitely need different adjustment bushings. I’m not sure stock bushings are adequate for 1”. I don’t think they are.
 

RustyDusty

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Points
8
Location
California
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
Alright thanks for the input, it sounds like I might have to rethink a lift all together at this point. 1" might not be worth the hassle and I don't really want to get stuck with bad camber. Curious to hear from more people if anyone has done a 2" lift with a ranger of this generation and had success with an alignment afterwards.
 

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
V8 Engine Swap
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
TRS Event Participant
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
22,321
Reaction score
2,856
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
2.5 to 3 inches of lift is the general ceiling if you are starting with zero and 1/4 bushing's..

The 2plus deg d 28 bushing's have some play if you upgrade arms..... You use 150 arms and slide the radius arm brackets back...you have to drill some new holes...

I ran 150 coils and arms for many years when I tough trucked and sled pulled
 

RustyDusty

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Points
8
Location
California
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
2.5 to 3 inches of lift is the general ceiling if you are starting with zero and 1/4 bushing's..

The 2plus deg d 28 bushing's have some play if you upgrade arms..... You use 150 arms and slide the radius arm brackets back...you have to drill some new holes...

I ran 150 coils and arms for many years when I tough trucked and sled pulled
So in your opinion if I just stuck with a 2" lift (coiler spacer in front, add a leaf in rear) and kept everything else stock I could get proper camber with an adjustable camber bushing?
 

Shran

Junk Collector
Forum Moderator
Supporting Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Solid Axle Swap
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
7,620
Reaction score
3,082
Points
113
Location
Rapid City SD
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
5.0
I have the Daystar 2" spacers in the front of my '88 and was able to align it. I do have a D35 front axle in it though, I don't know if or how that affects the selection of available bushings vs the D28 you have. I think you will be able to align it with 2" spacers.

Body lift is another option if you are just looking for cheap tire clearance and don't want to deal with a $250 alignment.
 

gaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2007
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
355
Points
83
Location
Wa, Bremerton 98310
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
Ranger 2.9l, BII 4.0l
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Ranger 6", BII 4"
Total Drop
Ranger 5sp, BII A4LD
Tire Size
Ranger 32", BII 28.5"
@RustyDusty ,
Yes, a 2" body lift is an option; when I first put 29.5's on my four wheel drive 1987 Ranger a 4" body lift was the ticket.

A factory Ford Hi-Rider suspension lift is worth considering. While they are not the most common setup, I've spotted a few in wrecking yards, that is where I grabbed mine
 

RustyDusty

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Points
8
Location
California
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
I have the Daystar 2" spacers in the front of my '88 and was able to align it. I do have a D35 front axle in it though, I don't know if or how that affects the selection of available bushings vs the D28 you have. I think you will be able to align it with 2" spacers.

Body lift is another option if you are just looking for cheap tire clearance and don't want to deal with a $250 alignment.
Thanks that is helpful. This pair of adjustable bushings are for a d28 axle and the description mentions they're needed for 1" and 2" coil spacers.

https://shop.broncograveyard.com/Dana-28-Adjustable-Alignment-Bushings-Pair/productinfo/93530/

I'm feeling more confident now with going forward with the 2" lift and some adjustable camber bushings similar to the ones listed. All the bushings on my rear leaf springs are shot to hell and my truck creaks every which way it moves. Looking forward to replacing those when I do the add-a-leaf. I have a spot where I usually get my alignments done that's less than $100 but I'm guessing I'll have to take the truck into a shop thats focused more on 4x4 vehicles to make sure they know how to handle the new camber bushings. Should I install the new bushings and try to set the camber best I can or would it be better to just bring the new bushings into the shop and have them install?
 

RustyDusty

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Points
8
Location
California
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
@RustyDusty ,
Yes, a 2" body lift is an option; when I first put 29.5's on my four wheel drive 1987 Ranger a 4" body lift was the ticket.

A factory Ford Hi-Rider suspension lift is worth considering. While they are not the most common setup, I've spotted a few in wrecking yards, that is where I grabbed mine
How much did you end up paying for it at the junkyard? I feel like adding up all the pieces I'd end up paying most of what the kit would cost new at the junkyards here in California haha.
 

Shran

Junk Collector
Forum Moderator
Supporting Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Solid Axle Swap
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
7,620
Reaction score
3,082
Points
113
Location
Rapid City SD
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
5.0
I have always let the shop drop the bushings in but that has just been my preference. They have always been able to use fixed degree bushings on my trucks.

You are not going to find a High Rider lift easily - they're out there but pretty rare. I have only ever seen two in the wild. If you do run across one, it should be pretty cheap, because they probably will not know what they have... nor will most other people. The unique components for that are the rear springs, front springs, radius arm drop brackets, axle drop brackets, pitman arm, and the front sway bar if you care to have it. It is good for about 2" of lift in the back and exactly 1.5" in the front.

If you want to pony up some cash, James Duff sells a 3" lift that is very similar for $900. Way better quality than any other brand on the market.
 

RustyDusty

Member
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
66
Reaction score
7
Points
8
Location
California
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
I have always let the shop drop the bushings in but that has just been my preference. They have always been able to use fixed degree bushings on my trucks.

You are not going to find a High Rider lift easily - they're out there but pretty rare. I have only ever seen two in the wild. If you do run across one, it should be pretty cheap, because they probably will not know what they have... nor will most other people. The unique components for that are the rear springs, front springs, radius arm drop brackets, axle drop brackets, pitman arm, and the front sway bar if you care to have it. It is good for about 2" of lift in the back and exactly 1.5" in the front.

If you want to pony up some cash, James Duff sells a 3" lift that is very similar for $900. Way better quality than any other brand on the market.
There is an interesting looking ranger on the website of a junkyard out here, I'm curious if there's a chance its a high rider.
Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 1.44.29 PM.png
 

Shran

Junk Collector
Forum Moderator
Supporting Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Solid Axle Swap
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
7,620
Reaction score
3,082
Points
113
Location
Rapid City SD
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
5.0
There is an interesting looking ranger on the website of a junkyard out here, I'm curious if there's a chance its a high rider.
View attachment 83298
They were only present on STX trucks and only a small percentage of those had the lift components.

If you click on the link in my signature (1988 Ranger High Rider - info thread here) you can view some pictures of what to look for... I took one apart and took pictures of everything compared to a normal truck.
 

Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Top