Corey and Elise's 1983 V8 Ranger build - aka - Project Interceptor


CoreyTilton

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Hi guys!
my name is Corey, live with my girlfriend Elise about 17 miles south of Boston MA.
I'm big fan of older body styled boxy fords. I have a mildly done up street 93 F150, and an 82 econoline that has been custom converted to 4x4.

but ive always had a really big Crush on really small, mid 80s rangers with v8 swaps.
ive been searching for years for the perfect truck to do the swap in.
needed to be standard cab, short bed, gen1 body.
needed to either be cheap enough to nab and do my own swap, or already have a swap done.

looks weren't a concern, as I planned on the end result being a kind of haggard looking weekend rat-rod like something you'd see in Mad Max.
a sort of Pickup Truck version of the V8 interceptor as it is in the 2nd and 4th films. if anything, the more haggard the better. this was going to be a fun weekend project where staying stock and keeping things looking original didnt matter to me. cutting a whole in the hood for the engine to poke out, custom headlights and grill, and welding zoomies style side pipes - are all totally plausible things.

i had been slowing my search down to an occasion craigslist scan because of a handful of other projects i currently have going, with plans of actually trying to find something to start the project in the late summer or fall of 2016.

however 2 weeks ago i stumbled on a vehicle that fit the criteria.
it was about an hour and a half away, didnt run, and there wasnt alot of info on the listing.
i kind of said "yeah, that would be sweet." but brushed it off. however i couldnt get the truck off my mind. eventually i told Elise about it, and she was incredibly enthusiastic about it, and essentially said that if i didnt buy it that she probably would.
we ended up deciding that if we could talk the seller down in price, and figure out a way to get the ranger home without a $300 tow, we would split the truck 50/50, and it would be a weekend project for us to slowly pick away at.

so after a lot of phone calls back and forth with heated negotiations, and a race against other buyers with what had to be the Craziest Car trailering experience ive ever had (everything that could have gone wrong acquiring the car trailer did and the guy had this thing parked in the worst spot on the steepest hill imaginable) , we are now the owners of a 1983 Ford Ranger. standard cab, short bed.

The truck, as it stands right now, has a 5.0HO swap that supposed had had some sort of performance mods done to it before going in (looks like heads, maybe cam), a T5 manual transmission with hurst shifter, 8.8 posi rear end, A-link style traction bars, and 6" wide center line drag wheels up front and 12" wide center line drags in the rear.

currently it needs a new starter, a fuel pump, and a battery to run. breaks are pretty seized up, the interior is in pieces, the wiring looks like a nightmare, and the exterior lacks something to be desired.
but for $1,200 we are as happy as clams.

we will be posting pictures and updates as we go on this project.
things are going to be slow, as we have 4 other cars and numerous non-car projects in the works right now as well.


current goal
- get the ranger moving in the driveway under its own power by snowfall.



thanks for viewing
- Corey and Elise
 


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CoreyTilton

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http://www.therangerstation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=162800
first off,
Before Pictures.

pictures of the ranger after we got it home. before doing any cleaning or repairs of any kind.
already discovering lots of weird things. things cut out, things welded in places, lots of bondo and ugly looking stuff.










































 
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CoreyTilton

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ordered a new High Torque - Mini Starter motor with built in starter solenoid LMR.com
this is supposed to have a much lower fail rate than the stock starters/solenoids, be able to withstand higher temperatures (running beside headers), have a higher torque output, draw less power, have more header clearance, And be lighter and easier to install.
once this comes in i'll have to buy a new battery and do some wiring due to the new solenoid location on the starter.
eventually i plan on putting the battery in the bed.
does anybody have any experience with battery relocating?
curious because i have alot of positive wires currently binding off at the starter selenoid, and not sure if people typically just run a low gauge wire run from There all the way back to the new battery location, or if people typically move All the wiring to a new distribution block at the new battery location.



in the meantime while waiting the starter to arrive, this past weekend we started some Exploratory body work. sanding down surface rust and re-primering over it, and snading down areas that looked like possible bondo or weird old body work to see what is actually under there.





also got the grill attached by cutting away at a few sections where previous owner did some weird weld patches, and making new holes with self tapers.
also put in new hood pins that actually have retainer pins.
looking a little better already.

 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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You have a project! Good luck and keep the pics coming.

Richard
 

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Wow, some people shouldn't work on cars!

Glad to see you're restoring your Ranger! Off to a great start!
 

CoreyTilton

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Wow, some people shouldn't work on cars!

Glad to see you're restoring your Ranger! Off to a great start!
thanks Hagan! but don't get too stoked on us yet. we're really just learning as we're going at it. even more so with this things, that already has some very strange modifications done to it.

any idea what would possess somebody to cut out the windshield wiper cowl?
and cut a large hole into behind the steering column from there?
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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^^^ I noticed that. The only thing I could think of is he was trying to fix a rust hole. You may be better off finding a new cab to swap on.
 

CoreyTilton

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^^^ I noticed that. The only thing I could think of is he was trying to fix a rust hole. You may be better off finding a new cab to swap on.
Doesn't look like rust. The hole looks like a blow out or like he was trying to fit something through there. Even looks like he's tried to cover the home with some fiberglass patch.
The cab isn't horrible. No worse than the bed. If I replace the cab (which is way more work than we are looking to get into right now) might as well replace the bed. At which point might as well have found a mint condition ranger out if state and some all the work ourselves.
We live in massachusetts. The salt owns the roads. We are merely allowed to travel on it, in exchange for our metal.
 

CoreyTilton

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^^^ I noticed that. The only thing I could think of is he was trying to fix a rust hole. You may be better off finding a new cab to swap on.
So after a little digging on the forum, it sounds like for a short time, Ford was putting the windshield wiper motor inside the wiper cowl. (My 82 Econoline has the wiper motor up behind the fuse panel, kind of inside the dash/above the brake pedal/implanted into the firewall. So this oddball location doesn't surprise me)
These cowls were welded in place, so if your wiper motor ever failed, the only way to get to it was by cutting out the cowl. Which looks like that's what happened here. I Havn't found pictures, but I'd be willing to bet the original wiper motor mounting location was right where that hole into the cab where the fiberglass patch is. He probably pulled and bent and hacked at it trying to get the damn thing out.
The current location of the wiper motor does not look stock. And if you look at the picture of the arms and assembly, there is a piece of 3/8" threaded rod linking the two arms together, that is definitely not OEM.



This whole thing is like a really funny detective mystery. (Sarcasm)
So the question is now, what do I do to replace the wiper cowl? Do I try and buy a cowl off a junked ranger? Or go cut one off myself? And weld it in place? There parts of the original still left, so I'd need to cut the new one and weld it in. Or last it over flat on the top.
Or maybe just cut my own piece of sheet metal and weld it down over. But with the way the wipers look and all, custom jerry rigged, maybe I should make it so I can gain access to under there easily. So stainless sheet metal screws and a custom made sold cowl.

Are the vents in the cowls necessary if I have no heat or AC in this thing?
 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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That piece of metal is spot welded on. It is accessible of you pull the windshield. There are drill bits meant for drilling out spot welds. You could go that route. But when you take in the rust spot on the roof, I really think finding a whole good cab is the solution. You're going to be cutting parts from a good cab anyway and then have to weld them in, and if you have no experience with welding this will suck. Of course, if you are doing this for experience, this truck will give it to you.

PS; I believe the vents and defrost won't work properly without the cowl.

Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk
 
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CoreyTilton

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That piece of metal is spot welded on. It is accessible of you pull the windshield. There are drill bits meant for drilling out spot welds. You could go that route. But when you take in the rust spot on the roof, I really think finding a whole good cab is the solution. You're going to be cutting parts from a good cab anyway and then have to weld them in, and if you have no experience with welding this will suck. Of course, if you are doing this for experience, this truck will give it to you.

Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk
Ive been teaching myself welding. Been restoring an 82 Econoline 4x4 that's my daily driver in my spare time. Lots of welding thin sheet metal and making my own patches. Even been getting some decent results teaching myself paint and clear coating. Anyway. This is more of a, figure things out and work with what we have, project for me and Elise. She's learning body work.
Doing a full cab swap, especially with something else from new England, would more than likely just be trading one set of problems for another. And it's aLOT more work than the two us can really take on at once, and we don't really have room to put a spare cab. Hahaha.
We appreciate the concern and advice though. Thank you
 

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NP. Good luck.
 

CoreyTilton

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We're out of state on vacation, but before we left we got a cover for the ranger so it's not such a site on the eyes (we live on a main road, 2 buildings down from the police station)

I think it might actually look a little bit stranger now. Hahaha.
 
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Big project for sure. For the cowl, I can't really tell you how to repair it as I'm not a body man myself. I will recommend that you go with a cowl panel from an 89-92 Ranger. Those models used a cowl with punched holes instead of the slits that the earlier model used. They don't have near as large of a problem with trash building up in the cowl area. I don't think I've ever seen an 83-88 Ranger that didn't have the cowl drains packed with leaves and pine needles.
 


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