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Family Heirloom: The chronicles of Sarah's Ranger

Lefty

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If the Wikipedia production figures are correct, Ford sold over 2 million of the "square" Rangers through 1993 and nearly 4 million of the 1994–2011/2012 models. The entire production run over 30 years was way over 2 million.

Where I am, because of the relative lack of rust in this area, I can't walk down the street without tripping over Rangers, many of them in pretty good condition as I'm trying to keep mine. I don't know where Sarah is based, but that rusty original frame on her Ranger was horrible to see.
Yes it was. Sarah's Grandmom lived in New Hampshire. I'm sure she kept it because of the 4WD drive and the snow. So it rusted out from the bottom up. Sarah lives in Arizona now. That's where she pulled an old frame.

I live in Minnesota. The frame is surprisingly not bad. That's why I bought it. I'm pulling off the tub this summer and fixing it up. Instead of POR 15, I'm going to coat it with Synmast, a special epoxy that won't dissolve paint. That's as close as I can get to powder coating.

And here up north, Rangers are becoming increasingly rare.
 


Lefty

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I was amazed at how well Por-15 did too. I wonder how hard it dries. Can it fight stone chips from road trips?
this is a perfectly good product, but it is still a paint. It is prone to all the faults and foibles you would imagine. Powder coating is better. In between is an epoxy called Synmast made by Polygem. All epoxies set up hard, of course, will penetrate rust to some degree and seal it off from air and water damage. Polygem was made to work with fiberglass, but the solvents will not dissolve paint. So if there is still some paint is still on the metal substrate, then that's okay. Polygem will still adhere and seal everything it. It is more resistant to chipping, but unlike paint, water cannot work its way underneath, so it will not flake and peel.

I used this on an old truck many years ago. It worked.
 

Lefty

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Sarah clears the air about the Ranger before it goes off the rails.


And I am very impressed with how she inventoried every nut and bolt.
She is doing what many shops do. She ties together all the fasteners with floral wire so that none are lost. sometimes too we used corrugated cardboard and pushed the nuts and bolts through. the cardboard can be labeled of coarse, but it also protects the threads, masking them off and allowing the heads to be sprayed.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Sarah has spent most of her time on simple restoration techniques: removing dirt and rust, replacing worn and broken parts, repainting, replating, powder coating, cleaning the interior.

Sarah has made a few simple changes. I believe she installed new Bilstein shocks and a beefed up sway bar, but she has not done the upgrades that are so popular here on the The Ranger Station. She has not installed a high flow air filter or rear disk brakes. She hasn't lifted or lowered, added custom seats, or put in a new electric fan. She did no engine work at all. She merely pulled it and repainted it. She did put in ceramic coated headers and a few other things. Even the paint job is just the OEM Calypso green.

She has mostly focussed on restoration, rather than expensive customizing or upgrading, faithfully returning the Ranger to new condition. This is all boring work, but the results are stunning. A full fledged restoration, especially a rust free body and frame, is what makes the project special, and well worth the while. I'm sure her grand mom's truck could be a real crowd pleaser at a car show.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it might be, "Fix the rust first, make it new again. Add your favorite parts after you are done."
"new condition" by just spray painting a used engine?

Personal preference, I prefer to work out kinks without having to fuss over pretty paint. I am getting the list worked down to paint though (and I look forward to having paint behind me)

Dealt with it a lot when I was still in ag repair when people would get the cart ahead of the horse and hope that $5-10k of car show grade paint would keep powertrain issues and leaks at bay. And then we had to dance around the BS trying to do brain surgery without hurting the paint (and on a budget because they just spent all their money on paint) Worst was a guy that ended up needing an engine block due to cavitation erosion around the sleeves.

For me the cost to upgrade was minor. Ball joints, tie rod ends and u-joints cost about the same between a D28 and D35, for $75 why not upgrade to the bigger axle with more modern brakes? And it just went on down the line.

$75 - D35
$200 - 302
$150 - M5ODR2
$150 - NP205
$100 - Explorer 8.8, factory disk brakes w/ limited slip (included springs)

I couldn't have rebuilt my POS 2.8 for twice what I have in the upgrades lol. Everything I have put in it has had the bearings checked/replaced as needed and all seals/gaskets replaced as I go, which honestly everything I pulled out needed gone thru too. Only exception is the engine, I didn't tear it down to check the bearings but it was fully resealed before install, 11 years later it is still bone dry.
 

Lefty

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"new condition" by just spray painting a used engine?

Personal preference, I prefer to work out kinks without having to fuss over pretty paint. I am getting the list worked down to paint though (and I look forward to having paint behind me)

Dealt with it a lot when I was still in ag repair when people would get the cart ahead of the horse and hope that $5-10k of car show grade paint would keep powertrain issues and leaks at bay. And then we had to dance around the BS trying to do brain surgery without hurting the paint (and on a budget because they just spent all their money on paint) Worst was a guy that ended up needing an engine block due to cavitation erosion around the sleeves.

For me the cost to upgrade was minor. Ball joints, tie rod ends and u-joints cost about the same between a D28 and D35, for $75 why not upgrade to the bigger axle with more modern brakes? And it just went on down the line.

$75 - D35
$200 - 302
$150 - M5ODR2
$150 - NP205
$100 - Explorer 8.8, factory disk brakes w/ limited slip (included springs)

I couldn't have rebuilt my POS 2.8 for twice what I have in the upgrades lol. Everything I have put in it has had the bearings checked/replaced as needed and all seals/gaskets replaced as I go, which honestly everything I pulled out needed gone thru too. Only exception is the engine, I didn't tear it down to check the bearings but it was fully resealed before install, 11 years later it is still bone dry.
I had an old work truck which was rusted out when I bought it. I never gave it much love. I don't even remember washing it in 20 years. Then I bought an old Ranger. The engine had 145,000 miles,but ran nice and tight. I didn't see a need to rebuild it or improve it in any way,except for a high flow air filter, an e fan, and a chip for the computer. The 20 year old body was looking pretty bad, so that was what I had to fix.

Sarah is her very own special case. She wanted her Ranger to be the very same as what she remembered when it was new. So she tried to save every nut and bolt. That's the beauty of these old Rangers, you can do anything with them you want. They are easy to repair, easy to upgrade, and also easy to restore. Whatever floats your boat.
 

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Thats fine but if you are going to call something restored, you have to restore it.

I haven't actually watched the series but if she just puff canned a used motor... it is just a puff canned used motor. Tune in next month when the rear main starts seeping.
 

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Yeah, to me it makes little sense to remove a high-mileage engine just to give it a paint job. If you have it out, that's the best time to take apart some things, look at its internal condition, and do some preventive work such as valve cover gasket replacement. In the vehicle a lot of that same work is a PITA.

Do the pretty paint after the exam.
 

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Guys, don't forget that she drove the truck from the East coast to Arizona with Zero issues. The truck was literally a little old lady's. Nothing was wrong with the motor, so she saw no need to tear apart a perfectly running motor. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just in case it does fail or have issues, in the future, I think she's perfectly capable of fixing that issue.
 

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She also pulled the heads or valve covers to inspect things and found them to be in excellent shape.

That and the low mileage is what made her decide not to worry about the engine.

If you haven't, go back and watch the videos. You'll understand her reasoning for what she's doing.
 

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I haven't actually watched the series
I'm in that same boat... I've tried a couple times. It's just too hard to watch... but whatever floats everyone else's boat.
 

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The videos , to me , get better. Her videos are actually a lot better than most of her "competition" or similarly targeted videos.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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She also pulled the heads or valve covers to inspect things and found them to be in excellent shape.

That and the low mileage is what made her decide not to worry about the engine.

If you haven't, go back and watch the videos. You'll understand her reasoning for what she's doing.
That is a big difference than a "Craigslist rebuild"

No idea why but I just can't really get into rbv channels.
 

Ranger850

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That is a big difference than a "Craigslist rebuild"

No idea why but I just can't really get into rbv channels.
She also has a nice Bronco she's modding. An MR2, a Subaru, and a few other cars she's working on. She also does "Car reviews" that are (imo) better than most because they're not too technical.
 

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I like that it inspires me to do the little things like change the spark plugs and timing chain tensioners myself. Normally I'd have it done, but these are doable with hand tools and some enthusiasm.

Watching Sarah brings that.

Watching Tim Esterdahl at Pickup Truck + SUV Talk inspires my grumpy old man hate of tablets stuck to dashboards. 😁
 

Ranger850

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right, she describes and explains how to use almost every "special" tool she used. I don't recall her using anything really "special" except the Soda Blaster and needle scaler. If i had a clean shop and a lift like she has, I'd probably be doing all kinds of stuff.
 

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