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New Member, asking for affirmation & help

Booty.B.Bouncin

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Oregon
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97/00
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Ford Ranger XLT
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4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
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None yet
Total Drop
Never!
Tire Size
30"
My credo
Do better. Love more. Judge less.
Greetings! Let me start by saying I'm sorry if this isn't the right place to post, I'm not really sure where my issue/struggle fits in. Please give me a chance to move the text to the appropriate thread before I get deleted. I joined because every other search I've done while working on my current project directed me here, so I thought I'd join the community!

I am a new owner of 2 totaled rangers that I took on as a project to build one solid working vehicle. Seemed simple enough, but boy was I under-estimating the work that I was about to undertake (3 months ago now), along side working full time, and hunting! I'll back up and explain where I started, the assistance I've had, and where I'm stuck at now, in that order.

I was hoping, a year ago, that I could offer to take on all the maintenance costs, and labor for my dad's '97, 4.0L manual, in exchange for use of the truck whenever I needed it. Shortly after I started having the thought, but before I had a chance to talk to him about it, he got t-boned on the driver's side door. The frame is fortunately still straight, and just about everything else in the truck was working and running just fine. I allowed some time, brought up my initial thought to him, and offered to buy it from him cheap, if I could do the work there and get a donor vehicle parked next to it. He agreed, and later decided not to charge me, instead gifting the truck as a birthday present! Fantastic! So far, so good.

I watched used car sales, largely on craigslist, watching for another vehicle with the same body, but differing damage to pop up for cheap. After a while of watching, I found one that had rear-ended someone and damaged the frame. That seemed fine, because all I needed was the body, and I know a guy who works at a ford dealership body shop, does his own body work, and was willing to help me out when the time came! I did some quick research before buying the truck (at asking price, for I didn't have a way to tow it, but they would deliver for full price). I find out later there may not be much difference in bodies and mounting brackets, but my issues are with electrical, as the truck I bought was a 2000 3.0L automatic.

I'm using the '97 frame, engine, manual transmission, and everything else, but replacing the body with the '00 donor.

My work was definitely cut out for me. I started almost immediately scrapping all the broken stuff on the new truck, and promptly called my mechanic to come by assure me that I hadn't made a huge mistake. He swung by, looked it over and assured that the work could be done, but noted that I had a BIG PROJECT on my hands. Later that week, I called my body shop guy to come confirm that the body wasn't completely toast, and he assured that he's got the tools needed, and the work can be done fairly easily (my father was also a fabricator/welder/sheet metal worker for all of my childhood, and has a plethora of specialty tools to work out metal shaping issues).

I spent the next month and a half (between work, hunting, and sanity breaks involving disc golf) gutting both vehicles, and reducing as much weight from the body as possible, so I could gather some muscle to move the bodies off and around. I'm working in my Father's backyard for this project, and we don't have any kind of lift, aside from an engine hoist, so I had to enlist the help of some friends for a couple hours to move things aside. Since then I've lost a lot of daylight after work to be able to see what I'm doing, and have had to not be there as often, or long. The biggest difference I noticed between the 2 body styles was the wiring connection to the body from the chassis harness. I did a quick search, which led me here, and that thread as well as another forum I saw said I needed to use the wiring harness from the donor vehicle. So I buckled down again, stripping both wiring harnesses (labeling everything), and started laying them out to see what connectors I needed to clip and replace so everything worked proper.

I decided that I needed to swap the fuel tanks, and take the emission controls and filters from the newer vehicle, so I could just use all the wiring from the donor. I pulled the tanks today, and they are different sizes, and fit slightly differently in the slightly different cross members of the chassis'! *Expletives!!!* I all but broke down crying today, 3 months later and I'm still only about halfway through this project. I'm ready to stop spending all this extra time and have the truck driving and on the road already!!

I really don't want to have to strip down both wiring harnesses and rebuild my own, but I'm prepared for that possibility. I'm way out of my league with wiring, and I've got a million ideas on what could work, but wanted to "ask the experts" before I go cutting stuff up. I'm really hoping some of you all can confirm my suspicion that I can just swap the body connection from the new truck on to the older trucks wiring, and use all the old stuff otherwise? Do I use the newer truck's wiring for the engine but splice the transmission controls/sensors for the manual, and use the old truck chassis wiring but replace the body connection?? Do I go ahead with what I was thinking and replace all the mismatched components from the new truck on to the old truck? What's the best way to find wiring schematics and diagrams, websites or books?

HELP!! I'm trying my best not to have to buy anything but tools for this project, and hopefully only end up a few hundred in costs, after parting out and scrapping what I don't use.

Thanks for reading, and again please direct me to a proper sub forum if this is an inappropriate location for this! I'd hate to have to re-type all this detail out, but I'm happy to copy/paste it in the correct location. Also happy to divulge more information, and upload some pictures in the near future! Please, and thank you!

Sincerely,
- Novice Oregon Builder at Wit's End
 


Dirtman

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You cannot use the 2000's wiring for the 97. The ECMs are very different and the 3.0 computer won't run the 4.0. Plus the 2000 system has PATS security. (Chipped keys) which will be a headache even if it could.

Essentially you just need to painstakingly remove all the wiring, and ECM from the 97 and graft it into the 2000 body not the other way around.
 

snoranger

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The 2000 cab is 3” longer than the 97 cab.

Edit: like 97Ranger said below only on the regular cab, not the supercab.
 
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97RangerXLT

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Oh man... I feel for you...

Since your 97 is mechanically and electrically sound i would leave all if that alone. Do not touch. Make the new body work around your drivetrain.

And if you got this far, I hope that you have an extended cab because the regular cab and frame was extended 3 inches in 98+. If you have read this far and do have two extended cabs, your job is going to be a pain but not insurmountable. If you have a regular cab, sell the 2000 and get a 97 or older...preferably 95-97 as those will match what you got much closer.

Now if you do have a supercab. Is the dash salvageable in your 97? If not, put a junkyard 97 dash on your parts list. Or look to see if you can swap your cluster and innards of the 97 into the new one, along with the wiring harness that goes to the ecm and engine. You will probably need the steering column and ignition out of the 97. Not sure when PATS went in, but the 2000 might have it, and you don't want to deal with that. Also consider auto vs manual transmission. If the new truck is auto, you will need the pedals and associated hardware out of the 97.

Engine and drivetrain...the 3.0 has nothing you can use with your 4.0, including the computer, transmission, and I even think that the radiator is different (bigger for the 4.0)

You are also going to have bumper fitment issues as the front frame rails are different...you might be able to make an adapter for it fairly easy though..


Good luck, take pictures and keep us posted

AJ
 

Booty.B.Bouncin

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Oregon
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97/00
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Ford Ranger XLT
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
None yet
Total Drop
Never!
Tire Size
30"
My credo
Do better. Love more. Judge less.
You cannot use the 2000's wiring for the 97. The ECMs are very different and the 3.0 computer won't run the 4.0. Plus the 2000 system has PATS security. (Chipped keys) which will be a headache even if it could.

Essentially you just need to painstakingly remove all the wiring, and ECM from the 97 and graft it into the 2000 body not the other way around.
Can I not just swap the computers on the engine wiring harness?
 

Booty.B.Bouncin

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Location
Oregon
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97/00
Make / Model
Ford Ranger XLT
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
None yet
Total Drop
Never!
Tire Size
30"
My credo
Do better. Love more. Judge less.
You’re not going to be happy with me...


The 2000 cab is 3” longer than the 97 cab.

Edit: like 97Ranger said below only on the regular cab, not the supercab.
Thankfully both are super cab!
 

Booty.B.Bouncin

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97/00
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Ford Ranger XLT
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
None yet
Total Drop
Never!
Tire Size
30"
My credo
Do better. Love more. Judge less.
Oh man... I feel for you...

Since your 97 is mechanically and electrically sound i would leave all if that alone. Do not touch. Make the new body work around your drivetrain.

And if you got this far, I hope that you have an extended cab because the regular cab and frame was extended 3 inches in 98+. If you have read this far and do have two extended cabs, your job is going to be a pain but not insurmountable. If you have a regular cab, sell the 2000 and get a 97 or older...preferably 95-97 as those will match what you got much closer.

Now if you do have a supercab. Is the dash salvageable in your 97? If not, put a junkyard 97 dash on your parts list. Or look to see if you can swap your cluster and innards of the 97 into the new one, along with the wiring harness that goes to the ecm and engine. You will probably need the steering column and ignition out of the 97. Not sure when PATS went in, but the 2000 might have it, and you don't want to deal with that. Also consider auto vs manual transmission. If the new truck is auto, you will need the pedals and associated hardware out of the 97.

Engine and drivetrain...the 3.0 has nothing you can use with your 4.0, including the computer, transmission, and I even think that the radiator is different (bigger for the 4.0)

You are also going to have bumper fitment issues as the front frame rails are different...you might be able to make an adapter for it fairly easy though..


Good luck, take pictures and keep us posted

AJ
Extended cab on both, thankfully! I did take body measurements on the exterior before purchase.

Dash is salvageable, but I'd given up on taking the dashes apart in the tear-down process. I'll look back in to that. I was already thinking of swapping the cluster, for the sake of my own sanity of seeing the shift indicator from the automatic trans, lol. I did come across something saying I would need the pedals from the 97, fortunately I haven't scrapped anything that wasn't already broken.

On the PATS (new terminology yay!), the '00 already needs the doors re-keyed, as the driver door was clearly picked at before purchase, and the other door is extremely stiff. Thought I'd just get it all re-keyed, but if chipped keys are that much of an issue, perhaps I'll have bigger problems with that.
 

MikeG

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Stuff everything from the old truck, into the new cab. All you want the new cab for is a box to hold all the 'stuff.' If you have to fab up something for the gas tank and bumpers, so be it.

There might be some things that interchange but it will be mostly simple mechanical things like seats, window cranks, and so on. Not electrical things, except bulbs. If you starting mixing and matching ANYTHING that connects to a wire, best have the wiring book .... and some knowledge of electricity. Guessing headlights / taillights at least somewhat interchangeable, if the connectors are the same.

Good luck.
 

scotts90ranger

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Yeah, keep everything electrical from the '97, you'll have to have the dash out to get the pedal brackets out anyway, so just go that route...

For the door keys, those are easy to swap between doors, there's a little clip by the door latch, pull that out and the lock will come out, do that on both sets of doors and you can use the '97 parts on the '00... Unfortunately for me I didn't get the original door for my '97 and someone already swapped doors (a white one on a red truck...), so I went and found a red door at a junkyard with a door panel and rekeyed the '94 donors lock to fit the key... I'm only using 3 of the detents but close enough...
 

Booty.B.Bouncin

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97/00
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Ford Ranger XLT
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4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
None yet
Total Drop
Never!
Tire Size
30"
My credo
Do better. Love more. Judge less.
Stuff everything from the old truck, into the new cab. All you want the new cab for is a box to hold all the 'stuff.' If you have to fab up something for the gas tank and bumpers, so be it.

There might be some things that interchange but it will be mostly simple mechanical things like seats, window cranks, and so on. Not electrical things, except bulbs. If you starting mixing and matching ANYTHING that connects to a wire, best have the wiring book .... and some knowledge of electricity. Guessing headlights / taillights at least somewhat interchangeable, if the connectors are the same.

Good luck.
For sure! Only electrical things I'm worried about as far as this goes is; the cab connection to the chassis harness, I might have to fab something up to make that hole in the floor fit the same as in the 97 cab, also the 00 has power windows, the 97 didn't. Any thoughts on that? I imagine power windows was an option, so maybe the connections are already there?

I would love to go ahead and pick up the wiring book, any suggestions?
 

Booty.B.Bouncin

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4WD
Total Lift
None yet
Total Drop
Never!
Tire Size
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My credo
Do better. Love more. Judge less.
Yeah, keep everything electrical from the '97, you'll have to have the dash out to get the pedal brackets out anyway, so just go that route...

For the door keys, those are easy to swap between doors, there's a little clip by the door latch, pull that out and the lock will come out, do that on both sets of doors and you can use the '97 parts on the '00... Unfortunately for me I didn't get the original door for my '97 and someone already swapped doors (a white one on a red truck...), so I went and found a red door at a junkyard with a door panel and rekeyed the '94 donors lock to fit the key... I'm only using 3 of the detents but close enough...
Unfortunately the keys to the 97 were also messed up in other ways, I think my best option would be to go ahead and order new locks?
 

scotts90ranger

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I imagine the tumbler from the '00 would fit on the '97 steering column (or some combination of that), but I'm not sure
 

Dirtman

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New lock cylinders and keys for the 97 shouldn't be expensive. There just normal ole keys, nothing to program.
 

Booty.B.Bouncin

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Alright, I've got another question, and I don't know how far it will go with this thread other than the guys who had already responded.

I've been slowly pulling, labeling, and swapping things. I'm getting to the point of putting things back together, and I ran into another snafu. The wiring within the cab, that runs from the dash down the driver's side floor, and powers the speakers, brake light above the window, seat belt sensors, dome light, etc, runs up the wall of the 2 door right behind the driver door. This isn't going to work with the 2+2, as I'd really like to have the door operable. all the connections are the same, so should I just splice the wiring, and add the connecting piece to the older harness? Or am I going to have to have a custom loom built for the dash...? I'll post pictures in a few, relevant to this question. I'm saving my archive to start a build thread whenever I'm finished (don't want to use up a bunch of build time crafting a build thread, haha!).
 

Booty.B.Bouncin

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Location
Oregon
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97/00
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Ford Ranger XLT
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4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
None yet
Total Drop
Never!
Tire Size
30"
My credo
Do better. Love more. Judge less.
This is the existing connection, leading to the rear of the cab. Speakers, break light, dome light, seat belts, etc.
20210205_170056.jpg
 

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