Drag Truck - The Danger Ranger


ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Hey guys! New to TRS but not Rangers. Been DDing a 97 2.3 for 3 years now and love it. I started as a Mustang guy and had an 06 GT with a blower that I DD'd and raced but life took me places that I couldn't enjoy it anymore so I got rid of it.

After being project car-less for almost 2 years to the day, I finally got to a point where I have the time to tackle something new. I picked up an 86 Ranger XLT Long Bed with the 2.9 V6 and a 5 Speed this morning for $300. He was running straight water in it and forgot to change it out before the first freeze and claims that 2 of the freeze plugs let go. I got eyes on one of the front that looks like it leaked something out but the other one is hidden way back on the block. I reckon I'll have to pull the motor to get a good look at it.

Wouldn't start at the guy's place so I towed it home and got to work. After some troubleshooting, determined the tranny was in gear and that's what was preventing it from cranking. I can't explain why it wouldn't turn over out of gear, but found that that the clutch reservoir was empty. Filled it up and bled it. Also removed the AC belt to see if the compressor was frozen, and i was able to turn it by hand. Fired up and let it run for a couple seconds and called it a day.

Plans- working a V8 swap that I won't announce until I have that locked down. 8.8 swap in the back, strip the interior, shorten the bed





 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 173A8B749AB83C Expires: January 1, 2020

Enemy

New member
Joined
Mar 13, 2013
Messages
78
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
10 miles from YeeHaa!! Nebraska
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
2.3
Transmission
Manual
Wow! $300!!?? Clean steel!! Very rare around here.. That rust free box would go for good money.
Look forward to watching this build progress. You plan on keeping it a manual trans?
 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Wow! $300!!?? Clean steel!! Very rare around here.. That rust free box would go for good money.
Look forward to watching this build progress. You plan on keeping it a manual trans?
There's some surface rust in the bed itself but the truck was definitely painted at some point with that super light blue color so who knows what it is hiding. But yes I couldn't pass it up for $300. My budget was 500 and I just couldn't get anyone to come down that low for a 93-97 like I wanted. And no it is going to be an auto.

Not much happened today. Took the battery off the battery tender (it was dead when I picked up the truck) and torqued the old rusted bolts on the leads off and put on a pair from my random bolt bin. Truck fired right up. Then I went about looking for the freeze plug on the side of the block the guy claimed was blown out. Couldn't find it so I just dumped water into the radiator until it came gushing out the side of the block. Found it! Impossible to get to without yanking the motor so I made a run to harbor freight and bought their 2 ton engine hoist. Now I guess I have no excuse to do more swaps.... Next plan of attack is to start taking the front of the truck off and yanking the engine to fix those freeze plugs and clean everything up.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

Forum Staff Member
Forum Moderator
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
9,081
Reaction score
415
Points
83
Location
Red Deer, Canada
Vehicle Year
'91, '94, '80
Make / Model
Ford, GMC
Engine Size
4.0,4.0,350
Transmission
Manual
I've had good luck use the rubber expansion plugs to fix hard to get at frost plug holes. The one you need to get at is the one right beside the mount, isn't it?
 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
No it's below the spark plugs and under the headers. Can't get to it from underneath. I'm pulling the engine hopefully this weekend
 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Thursday- removed the bumper and started disconnecting hoses. Lucky me the A/C system wasn't charged. I'm going to leave the power steering hoses alone and just remove the pump so I can maybe take it out for a drive before getting rid of the drivetrain. Had my girl up on Skype so I had some company while I worked.

Friday- Made another run to HF and got a jack, jackstands, load leveler and various other knick knacks. That place is dangerous...

Today- removed the hood, grill, headlights, and both fenders. Ran out of daylight and I need a center punch to get the spot welds drilled out. Tomorrow I want to have the entire front end off and maybe even get the drivetrain pulled. I'll be happy if it is just prepped for pulling

I'll put a plug out there for this poor fellow who hasn't gotten any appreciation for his how to on removing the front end.
http://www.therangerstation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=152293



 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Progress for today. Got the front end off after about 2 hours. There's about 50 spot welds that need to be drilled out. I used the HF spot weld bit and it worked wonderfully. Seemed to like lots of pressure with a medium speed and that would get me through in about 30 seconds. I center punched each weld and then deepened the hole with a 5/32 bit and that helped keep the bit in place vs just centerpunching. Attached my shiny new engine hoist to the front and pulled it off the frame with ease. Definitely doable with 2 people lifting from either side but too big to do by yourself. The bed of the truck is proving to be a great place to store body parts.....hopefully no one steals them. Took a lunch break then got back at it.

The A/C compressor and PS pump are both located on the same bracket and I want to retain the power steering for now so I can take it for a test drive once I have everything fixed (primarily freeze plugs and brakes) and not deal with removing the fluid and subsequently filling it back up, only to turn around and part it out. It rests nicely off to the side out of the way. Finally, I tackled the wiring harness and removed every plug and connector and labeled them with tape. I managed to only snap 3 of the connectors. Just as I wrapped up disconnecting everything, thunderstorms started rolling in so I taped over exposed holes and then secured a tarp around the whole front of the truck with about 5 minutes to spare before the downpour started. All in all a solid half day's work and I figure about 2 more hours before the motor is ready to come out.





 

ford4thot

New member
Joined
Apr 16, 2013
Messages
331
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Vehicle Year
2011
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Automatic
Subbed. Great updates and pics
 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Update time. Tuesday, I spent an hour and a half removing 6 bellhousing bolts. I used about 3 feet of extensions and 2 u-joints to come at them from the back of the transmission. Those suckers were in there tight and made me wish I had an impact wrench. I decided to stop after that as my headache I'd been having on and off all day caught up to me.

Today- woo woo motor is pulled! Undid the exhaust flanges (difficult just like the bellhousing bolts, but used some WD40 to help loosen them up. PB blaster is on the list of stuff to get), removed the starter, disconnected the throttle body cable, unbolted the motor mounts, and loosened the transmission crossmember so it could lift a bit as the motor came off the mounts. Lucky for me the lifting brackets are still there so I just bolted up to those and starting lifting. Needed a pry bar to pull the motor off the dowels in the bellhousing. After that, disconnected a couple plugs I had missed and the 2 grounds that are on the back of the motor. From there it was smooth sailing on the pull. Unfortunately, the power steering pump got knocked from it's perch and the plastic nipple on the reservoir sheered off. I think it is the return line (I'll have to verify next time I work) so I should be able to clean it up and tap it and install a new nipple for the hose. So much for not disconnecting it to not deal with the fluid. Half of it ended up on my driveway and I was able to catch the rest.

Now I need to remove the one freeze plug that burst but didn't pop out. The other one came out completely. Going to hit the motor with some degreaser because it has 30 years of crap built up. After that, I'm probably going to put it back in the truck and get a baseline 1/4 mile for my own gratification. It's going to be about 6 months before I can start the actual swap so why not have some fun while I'm waiting?

Next update won't be until next week as I am going out of town for the long weekend. Happy 4th and don't forget about those overseas protecting our freedom.













 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
So it turns out the motor was missing 3 freeze plugs. Vatozone only had 1 brass in stock so I went with steel instead. Sealed them off with Permatex Indian head at the recommendation of a google search. Tried the whole big socket thing to tap them in and didn't work for me so I just gently tapped them in with a hammer and 3/8" extension. Worked great! That was this morning...

Friday evening I tackled cleaning up the motor a bit from the layers of crap that had been accumulating for the last 30 years. I highly recommend scraping off as much as you can with a flathead screwdriver before going at it with degreaser. I used 2 cans of Gunk and it did a pretty good job but some stuff was really stuck on there. Came back through this morning and scraped some leftovers off and went at it with a wire brush. Doesn't look too shabby now compared to before. Fair warning - all that crap in conjunction with the degreaser will stain your driveway.

While the freeze plugs were drying, I decided to flush/bleed the brakes since they didn't work. Lots of air bubbles. In retrospect, I wish I would have started at the master cylinder and then just emptied the system but I chose to bypass it thinking the fluid was just old and needed to be changed. Either the master cylinder has a huge pocket of air or the booster is broken because they work no better than before. That whole process was a bust.

Spent the afternoon putting the motor back in. Hardest part was getting the bellhousing flush with the back of the block. For some reason it didn't want to slide all the way in. Luckily I had an extra long bolt in my random bolt bin that I was able to use to pull it in close enough to get the stock bolts to catch. Hooked up all my labeled connections and put the front clip back on and got all the essential hoses and wires hooked back up. Filled the cooling system up with water and noticed a small leak from one of the heater core hoses so I really clamped that down and it stopped. Truck fired right up! Idle was a little rough and I found one of the vac lines had come off. That helped the idle a bit but it still shakes in the mounts. Looked underneath and there was a steady stream of water. It appears the main seal on the water pump is shot...but my freeze plugs were all good! It was about 615pm by this time so I called it a day and cleaned up.

I put the motor back in to 1- test it to make sure my freeze plugs were good and 2- I was hoping to get a baseline 1/4 mile time for my own edification. Between the brakes not working, the water pump needing to be replaced, and the PS reservoir needing to be replaced, I think I'm going to call that one a loss and move forward without the baseline time. At least that'll save me the embarrassment of a high teens pass at the strip.

In between cans of Gunk


Steady stream of air bubbles
 

1qaz

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
328
Reaction score
20
Points
18
Location
USA
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Watching this level of deconstruction makes me feel so inadequate. Loving the progress.
 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Watching this level of deconstruction makes me feel so inadequate. Loving the progress.
Thanks! I love taking a "lazy" day and just getting dirty in the garage.

Tried a trick I found in the brake section on here about pumping the e-brake til the pedal is stiff and seeing if there is pressure in the brake pedal. Couldn't get the e-brake stiff so I guess that confirms the master cylinder is bad.
 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Not much this week. I put the rear up on jackstands to do a test of the drivetrain. Ran well through all 5 gears and had it up to around 65mph with no problems noted. Speedo works and I kinda like the retro look so I'm contemplating leaving the dash in. While it was running I tested all the HVAC controls and those all seem to work as the puffs of dust and dry leaves would indicate.

The guy I bought it from didn't have time before the sale to take them out, but he wanted his radio and speakers back (aftermarket, most likely from walmart). I took the 20 minutes to take it all apart and whoa...this guy needs to keep his day job because wiring is not his specialty. To start, he didn't take the time to tuck the wires...they were just laying on the floor and running straight to the door. Then I pull the head unit out and BAM! wiring sadness. Everything was just twisted together and I'd say only about 2/3 of the twists were covered in electrical tape. Anyway, the previous owner was grateful he had his shitty audio equipment back and I was glad to have it gone. In retrospect, he wasn't super knowledgeable about the truck when I went to go look at it so this doesn't really surprise me at all. I wonder what other fun things I'll find?



 

alwaysFlOoReD

Forum Staff Member
Forum Moderator
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
9,081
Reaction score
415
Points
83
Location
Red Deer, Canada
Vehicle Year
'91, '94, '80
Make / Model
Ford, GMC
Engine Size
4.0,4.0,350
Transmission
Manual
Thanks! I love taking a "lazy" day and just getting dirty in the garage.

Tried a trick I found in the brake section on here about pumping the e-brake til the pedal is stiff and seeing if there is pressure in the brake pedal. Couldn't get the e-brake stiff so I guess that confirms the master cylinder is bad.
Got a link to that e-brake trick? I've never heard of that. I've always thought the e-brake is mechanical and don't know how that could possibly do anything to the master. Unless you're being a troll :D
 

ksack

Member
U.S. Military - Active
V8 Engine Swap
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
112
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
NM
Vehicle Year
1986
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
V8
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD


Top