Greetings! My Project Outline


King 1

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Hello all. Been lurking a while, figured it was time to make an account and say hi.

I don't currently own a vehicle relevant to this site but I hope to in the near future. Here's my plan:

I want to compete in the 24 Hours of Lemons (low budget endurance racing. look it up, it's cool) using a 1st gen Ranger. I'm hoping to buy a short bed, regular cab, 2.3L manual, pre-facelift. Preferably with a carburetor but doesn't matter too much because I eventually want to swap the engine.

Step one is getting the ranger and stripping the interior.
Step two is to get a 96-01 Explorer with a 8.8" 3.73 locking differential and a 5.0L V8.
I want to swap the whole axle AND the leafs and use the explorer SUA setup. This also gains me rear disc brakes (I don't intend to make any other changes to the factory ranger braking system unless I need to?) It's my understanding that the only welding required here would be a shock mount in the proper location on one side. The 5.0L (and its radiator) will be kept and set aside for rebuilding. The remaining carcass of the Explorer will be sold as parts and scrap.
Step three is to get a 7th, 8th, or 9th gen F150 and remove the front springs for use in the Ranger. They will be cut to achieve a level ride with the new SUA setup in the rear. Hoping for basically a '2/4' drop overall and dramatic increase in suspension stiffness. Brand new shocks at all four corners. The stock ranger front beams will be used and I'm aiming for between 2 & 3 degrees negative camber. Hopefully this is achievable without any other parts or modification. The rest of the F150 will also be sold off, perhaps keeping that radiator as well.

Some possible problems I foresee: For one, the Exp axle is about 3 inches wider from the information I've found. I intend to run 225/50r16s on 16x8 with +12mm offset at all four wheels. Between the axle and the rims, the outside edge of the rear tires will move outwards about 2 to 2.25 inches on each side. This seems like it will be outside the sheet metal by about 1/4" on each side. I may add fender flares or some such but I'm more concerned that the top of the stock wheel opening is going to hit the tires, so I may need to employ the sawzall here.
My other concern is the driveshaft. Am I going to need to have one custom fabricated, or is there some junkyard solution? Will the stock ranger driveshaft work with the stock engine/transmission and the explorer axle? Budget is critical in order to stay within the rules of the race series, BUT if I buy a complete donor car and take parts from it, the resale of the donor car can be deducted, making the part essentially free, so if there is some other vehicle model/trim out there that can donate a usable driveshaft that would be the preferred route.

The 5.0L V8 from the Explorer will eventually be rebuilt and converted to carb and put into the ranger, but this will probably be much further down the line after we've raced a season with the stock ranger engine and the mods listed above. I haven't figured out the best solution for a transmission to go with the V8 because it needs to be a stick and those years Explorers didn't have it. A mustang T5 would probably be best but that seems unlikely in the budget I'm working with. A T-18 from an F-150 seems like the next best thing. The track I'll be racing probably won't see me exceed 120mph so I think the gears in the T-18 will be sufficient. One of the extra radiators mentioned above will be mounted in the bed of the ranger, replacing the factory one up front and freeing up space in the front of the engine bay for air ducting to the front brakes.

So what am I missing? Are there any major flaws in this plan? I'm on a very long timeline here so I have plenty of time to find the perfect donor vehicles. The main limitation is cost so I hope to avoid buying anything new or having anything custom made if there's another way to do it.

Thanks all!
 


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Ranger850

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Welcome to TRS, we have recently had a conversation about the 24 hr lemons Race. I'll let the pros respond to the rest of your post.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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Personally I would stay away from tib/TTB front suspension for that type racing.

I seem to remember something about the rear shocks mount to the spring plate, so finding an extra spring plate solves the shock mount situation. Can't remember which side tho.

You can stretch the fender out on the box. Basically cut the inner fender, pull on the opening and weld/bolt/screw in some inner fender extensions.

I can't help in your other questions.
 

King 1

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Yeah the TIB front end is definitely not ideal. I briefly considered some sort of body swap voodoo to put a 80s body on a 98+ (is that the right year?) frame so I could get the front suspension and still have a lightweight truck but I decided it's not worth it.

The reason I settled on the 1st gen Ranger as my race car in the first place was because it met my criteria the best:
Must be RWD
Must be available with factory manual trans
Must be cheap
Must be plentiful on craigslist/FB/etc (so I can buy two or three for spares)

If the TIB were a deal breaker I'd be looking at the runner-up vehicle which was the Volvo 200-series. I've pretty well talked myself into the ranger though.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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Ok then, I would also look for a front sway bar from a Bronco 2 or a Ranger STX Hi Rider. They have the thickest stock front bar at approximately 1.125". Then if you can find a 1" rear bar from a b2 you would be in the ballpark for neutral grip...no under or over steer. I was able to use a rear bar from a f150 by bending the legs in slightly to fit my ranger race truck.

The problem you can have with the tib front is "jacking". As you go thru s-curves the front end jacks up and gives a higher COG and you will roll easier. Look at what happened to me in my avatar picture.
 

King 1

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That's good advice about the sway bars. I hadn't really thought about those. Bronco 2s are kinda hard to come by compared to the other vehicles I'm shopping for. Are rear bars on F-150s common? What other vehicles come with a usable rear bar standard? Don't the 91-94 Explorers all have them? Clearly I haven't done enough homework yet. Good thing I dont have any money until tax time :dntknw:
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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You don't necessarily need the heaviest bars front and back. You just need to make them work together. The ranger, b2, and explorer swaybars should all work.

Swaybars actually make the end of the vehicle they are attached to "looser". So the bigger the sway bar the less traction. Add a bigger bar to the front and you get more understeer. Add bigger to the rear and get more oversteer. Best situation is to have neutral balance. You will probably have to play around with different sizes front and rear to find what works best for your setup. And when you change motors you will need to adjust again because the weight bias has changed.
 


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