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My 1997 Ranger 3.0 4x4


Uncle Gump

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My credo
Lead, Follow or get out of my way
I know @85_Ranger4x4 learned a couple new swear words during his park brake adventures...

Pretty nice truck... don't see many like that.
 


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85_Ranger4x4

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I know @85_Ranger4x4 learned a couple new swear words during his park brake adventures...

Pretty nice truck... don't see many like that.
And I gotta redo it now because the hole I used for the bracket is needed for the sway bar I am adding... :annoyed:
 

97Ranger3.0

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I know @85_Ranger4x4 learned a couple new swear words during his park brake adventures...

Pretty nice truck... don't see many like that.
I actually recently was going through his build thread and saw that haha. I'm glad I'm not alone in my frustrations with this parking brake setup. And thank you!

And I gotta redo it now because the hole I used for the bracket is needed for the sway bar I am adding... :annoyed:
Well at least if you got yours to work once, you know you can get it to work again. I've now got to figure out how I can replace the main cable and basically start all over :rolleyes:
 

97Ranger3.0

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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Finally got my parking brake to work! (y)

I took the pedal assembly back out of the truck, replaced the cable and the switch for the dash light as mine was broken. I forgot to document it at the time, but at one point my e brake pedal broke and the teeth got all chewed up on it so it would just skip to the floor and not work at all. I tried to find a replacement pedal but they're not available new so I searched junkyards, and 95-97 Rangers were scarce around me at the time. I did find one junkyard that had a 93, and I had them pull the pedal for me assuming it would be the same... and it wasn't. Why Ford decided to spend the time/money engineering new parking brake pedals in these trucks so often is beyond me. :icon_confused: But anyway, I was able to use the actual foot pedal and ratcheting release mechanism from the 93 pedal on my 97 assembly, with only a few minor modifications needed. I cut all the rivets holding it together to replace the damaged parts, bolted it back together and tack welded the ends as well. I also cut the stopper off that limits the pedal travel so I have a little more travel out of it.

Anyways, after doing some research I found that the front cables are still available to buy from a parts store. The front cables for a 97 are all different lengths based on the wheelbase. According to the measurements, one from an extended cab would probably have been perfect in my case and eliminated the need for the intermediate cable I made. However, the only cable that was readily available was for a regular cab short bed, and it was only about 5-6" shorter than the cable mine originally had. I didn't want to wait about a week to special order one for a long bed or extended cab truck so I just got the short bed one.

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So I installed that back in the truck, and made another slightly longer intermediate cable (good thing I still had leftover cable stops and cable lol). I don't believe my DIY intermediate cable will cause an issue, but if it does at least I know I can probably use an ext cab front cable and eliminate it.

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I went back and adjusted the parking brake shoes one more time - this time in a different way. Before when I adjusted them, I followed the directions in my Chilton's service manual - which was to tighten the adjuster until you can't turn the rotor by hand any more, then back it off 8 clicks. Well, I personally think 8 clicks was too loose because it took a lot of pedal travel to barely get any response from the pedal. What I did instead is adjusted them more like regular drum brakes - tighten them until the rotor can't turn by hand, and then back them off just enough that there's still just very slight interference/drag from the shoes. Now with everything solid - the chevy leaf spring swap bracket no longer flexes under cable tension, all of the cables are new, the shoes are adjusted well, and with my new setup utilizing that Grand Cherokee equalizer bracket - it works well!

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It's hard to picture the incline here, but last time I tested the parking brake in this spot (before bracing that flex-y bracket), it wouldn't hold. But now it held perfect there, the truck was running in neutral in this pic. I even tried letting the clutch out slowly in reverse to see if it could overcome the parking brake easily, but instead it bogged down and didn't budge. Problem solved! :yahoo:
 
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97Ranger3.0

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2WD / 4WD
4WD
I've really been wanting to get some headers for the truck, but the only ones available are for a 98+ 3.0 Ranger. I did a bit of research and couldn't find any info on whether or not they fit older trucks. So, I decided to just buy a set and see if they fit as a christmas gift to myself lol.

And they do fit :yahoo:

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The pictures make it look like the clearance is a lot tighter than it is, both sides fit well with plenty of clearance. Also, I wanted to keep my EGR, so I had to make a custom EGR tube to adapt to these headers. It was a simple task though, just cutting up the original and one for a 98, mating them up and welding it.

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While I was installing these headers, I also decided to ditch the dual exhaust in favor of a single 2.5" exhaust with a thrush welded muffler. I got a deal on one at the Advance Auto I was working at (it was on clearance for $12 and I had a $10 coupon, so with tax it was like $3 lol). The dual exhaust I had sounded nice but it droned too much, especially at highway speeds, so it was time to go. I don't currently have any pics of the new set up but I will post them up later on when I do.
 

97Ranger3.0

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SCORE!

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I've been looking to upgrade from these 60/40 seats forever. Every time a nice set of Ranger or Explorer buckets popped up, they were always gone by the time I messaged the person. Not this time! And this is one of the nicest sets I've seen. These were from a 96 ext cab. I found these on craigslist just under an hour away for a fair price including the shorty console. The drivers side is fully power, the passenger side just has power lumbar. I don't think I'm going to retain the power functions, but more on that later.

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I did the passenger side first because I knew it'd be a little simpler. In this picture you can see that my regular cab brackets used a different hole than the ext cab brackets did. No big deal though since the hole was already there. I just had to tap them out on both sides, I believe the bolts are M8x1.25.

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And with that done, I installed it and worked on the driver's side. The drivers side track bolted right on, I didn't have to tap any of the other holes.

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At this point I realized I couldn't use the original seat belt brackets because they were in the way for where the console was going to be. I just took the seatbelt brackets off of the ext cab brackets and bolted them right to the seats, again using an existing hole.

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I did have to drill it out larger first, then I tapped it to M12x1.75 I believe.

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Thanks for all the extra holes Ford (y) it was meant to be!

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Next up I started on the console. I got excited when I saw those dimples in the floor thinking they might line up with the bracket holes, but they didn't quite line up and it would've been too far forward for my liking. Instead I pushed it back as far as I could and just used some sheet metal screws to bolt it down.

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And the (almost) finished product! The only thing left is to fasten down the front of the console. Unfortunately I didn't realize the guy didn't give me the front bracket, but that's no big deal because I don't think it would've worked with how I pushed the console back anyway. I'm just going to run two sheet metal screws in the front to hold it down, they'll be hidden under the cupholders so I think that'll be just fine.

I'll knock that out tomorrow, and then I plan on pulling the seats back out and giving them a deep clean as well as cleaning up underneath the seats, it's pretty gnarly under there. I didn't want to do all of this first because I needed to have the seats in by the end of the weekend and I wasn't sure how difficult it would be or how many issues I would run into. But that ended up being a super simple swap!

Whether or not to use the power functions -
with my manual tracks on these seats, obviously the power sliding function no longer exists on the drivers side. Also, since these were from a 2dr ext cab, they have a manual lever to tilt the seats forward for access to the back. This works perfectly because I can use them for the tilt function of the seat. So, the only thing I'd really gain out of powering these up would be the lumbar adjustment, and I guess more fine tuning of the driver's side tilt. But, I'm not sure that's really worth the effort at least for me because I rarely move the seats and don't mind having to do it manually when I do. I'll give it some time and think on it, if I decide against using the power I'll probably strip everything out of them and find a way to cover the holes for the power switches because I think having them there on a manual seat looks like crap lol.
 
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I love or like your project. I have a similar truck as yours, that I am thinking in modifying too.
But my truck is a 1995 3.0l automatic transmission.
1. Could you show the rear lights you modified please?
2. How do you always know that the rear differential are 4.10 or so you talked about from explorers? Is it any explorer that has that number?
3. The Ford logos you painted black was awesome, including the valve covers.
4. What sizes of tires did you upgrade to finally, without any problems?
5. The seats you got, were from which vehicle pls?

Sorry if I asked silly questions though.


PS: just imagine if this truck has a 5.0l engine swapped in it, and also a bed cover. It'd be a beast!
 

97Ranger3.0

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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
I love or like your project. I have a similar truck as yours, that I am thinking in modifying too.
But my truck is a 1995 3.0l automatic transmission.
1. Could you show the rear lights you modified please?
2. How do you always know that the rear differential are 4.10 or so you talked about from explorers? Is it any explorer that has that number?
3. The Ford logos you painted black was awesome, including the valve covers.
4. What sizes of tires did you upgrade to finally, without any problems?
5. The seats you got, were from which vehicle pls?

Sorry if I asked silly questions though.


PS: just imagine if this truck has a 5.0l engine swapped in it, and also a bed cover. It'd be a beast!
Thank you!

1 - I don't have any pictures specifically of the tail light swap. However, all tail lights from 1993 to 2011 models are interchangeable in the sense that they will all bolt in. Some years only use 2 bulbs, some use 3 though. So you have to do some rewiring to do the conversion, or modify the tail lights. In my case, I just relocated the reverse lights down to the bumper and use the reverse light spot in the 01-05 tail lights as my turn signal instead. Hopefully that makes sense.

There are a lot of great articles in the tech section of this website though that should give you more info on this as well as some of your other questions.

2 - There are a few ways. One is if the axle still has the original tag on it. Another way is to check the door sticker and find the axle code, then reference this article. That is what I used to find the 4:10 limited slip axle in that junkyard. There are other ways too but those are usually the fastest.

3 - Thanks! If you want to do it yourself check this out.

4 - I'm running 265/75R15 right now, close to a 31" tire. I do get some occasional rubbing when backing up and turning, but that's about it. Keep in mind your lift height, wheel width and offset all affect what tires will fit with no issues. Here's a guide that gives a general idea of what tires fit with what lift.

5 - The seats were from a 96 extended cab Ranger.
 
Joined
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Location
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1998
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Ford Ranger
Transmission
Automatic
Thank you!

1 - I don't have any pictures specifically of the tail light swap. However, all tail lights from 1993 to 2011 models are interchangeable in the sense that they will all bolt in. Some years only use 2 bulbs, some use 3 though. So you have to do some rewiring to do the conversion, or modify the tail lights. In my case, I just relocated the reverse lights down to the bumper and use the reverse light spot in the 01-05 tail lights as my turn signal instead. Hopefully that makes sense.

There are a lot of great articles in the tech section of this website though that should give you more info on this as well as some of your other questions.

2 - There are a few ways. One is if the axle still has the original tag on it. Another way is to check the door sticker and find the axle code, then reference this article. That is what I used to find the 4:10 limited slip axle in that junkyard. There are other ways too but those are usually the fastest.

3 - Thanks! If you want to do it yourself check this out.

4 - I'm running 265/75R15 right now, close to a 31" tire. I do get some occasional rubbing when backing up and turning, but that's about it. Keep in mind your lift height, wheel width and offset all affect what tires will fit with no issues. Here's a guide that gives a general idea of what tires fit with what lift.

5 - The seats were from a 96 extended cab Ranger.
Thanks so much for the replies. So helpful.
 

97Ranger3.0

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Engine Size
3.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Back in January I accidentally backed into the garage at my parent's house lol... :pissedoff: It left the right bedside pretty messed up. The tail light in these pics was the replacement because obviously the original was smashed up. The bumper got all bent up too.

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I took some more shots of it when I started repairing it, you can see how messed up it was by looking at the tailgate gap and how the tail light wouldn't sit in all the way.

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At first I tried using a stud welder and a slide hammer to try and pull the damage out but there was no way in hell that was going to work. A buddy of mine let me take the truck to his place to use his welder, so we welded on metal tabs and a come-along on the hitch of my friend's Expedition to pull the damage out lol. I wish I took pictures at the time but of course I didn't. Then I used bondo fiberglass filler to build most of the shape first, then regular filler and glaze to finish it off before primer.

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Another friend of mine's brother-in-law owns a body shop and he was nice enough to let me use his paint booth to spray the bedside which was awesome. Also, I got another bumper from a local salvage yard, but for some reason they only had chrome bumpers that were in useable shape. So I scuffed it up and painted it with bedliner and added some reverse lights into it.

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And after a few days I put it all back together. It looks pretty good, way better than it was for sure. It's definitely not perfect but I'm happy with it and proud of it, especially for being a parking lot fix (for the most part) lol. The color match is pretty good, it just outshines the rest of the truck right now with that fresh clear coat. I think if I buffed the tailgate it would be a dead match, or at least way less noticeable than it is now.

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Good as new!

Also I don't think I'd mentioned it before but I got the cap for this truck for real cheap just to have more useable bed space for when I moved recently. At first I wasn't sure I'd keep it, I'm not really a fan of the look of caps on trucks. But it's hard to beat how practical they are so I think I'm going to keep it. The paint color almost matches, and having the roof racks is nice too. I put new struts and locks in it, so it's been pretty useful. Maybe one day I'll repaint it too so it doesn't look as crappy 🤔
 


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