Project Eco-Mod rat, sleeper, 4-banger, thing


Isk Stark

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Used to have one these back in the day. Sold it to Ryan Tuerek of Drift Alliance in 2010. He used it as his missile car until its demise. Sad. That thing was fully built. Stitch welded, caged, suspensioned, swapped, riced, etc.




Recently started this Ranger that I originally got as a work truck. 2002 XLT, 2wd, 2.3L, 109K miles. Bought in 2012 with 80K.




So, now it's getting modded, slowly. It's mostly just bolt-ons. This is my DD.
The frame isn't so bad. I live on the bottom end of the rust-belt. It's a lot of surface rust with nothing too deep. Ordered a quart of Rust-Bullet for the worst spots. The rest could be wire brushed with rust inhibitor, and painted.



Replaced a lot of front-end parts in March 2017. Sitting pretty now.

-Moog upper and lower control arms
-Duralast tie rod ends
-brake pads
-Rancho shocks, all four
-hangers and shackles




I need to get rid of the Reese hitch kit. That's at least 70lbs of weight in the back.

Have some parts at home waiting to go on. I want a 3/5 drop with 15x8s.

-DJM flip kit
-ES body mounts
-Belltech springs

Debating whether I should go up for the exhaust to 2.5" or 2.25"

Engine is stock except for an eBay cone filter. Most of my eco-mods are weight reduction, and tune-up. A lot of the weight reduction could be done inside, like replacing the the seats with FRP buckets, and racing steering wheel. Need to research into seat brackets, steering wheel hubs a little more.



Nothing too crazy going on...yet.
 
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Isk Stark

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It's good from far, but far from good. I really hate wet-sanding the headlights. I think it looks cool. I have a new upper bumper at home. Replacing it is a chore I don't want to tackle just yet.

 

stmitch

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That tool box in the bed is probably weighing you down more than you'd save with fancy seats or a different steering wheel.

Once the flip kit and springs are installed, the truck will probably sit lower in the rear than the front. Just an FYI. You may want to either drop it more in the front (control arms), or raise the rear back up a bit with some lift shackles.

Are we shooting for max fuel economy with this build? If so, the easiest and cheapest way to improve fuel economy is to improve aerodynamics. Rangers have a huge Coefficient of Drag. Lowering will help reduce frontal area which is good. Something like a smooth bellypan or an air dam/sideskirt combo would help quite a bit as well.
 
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Isk Stark

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That tool box in the bed is probably weighing you down more than you'd save with fancy seats or a different steering wheel.
But, I love that toolbox... I have to admit, new seat and wheel are wants, not needs.

Once the flip kit and springs are installed, the truck will probably sit lower in the rear than the front. Just an FYI. You may want to either drop it more in the front (control arms), or raise the rear back up a bit with some lift shackles.
I've got the DJM shackles, too. The question is: Do I like how 3/3 looks, or should I spend another $238 for the DJM arms for a 5/5? As I used to say with the 240, "Needs moar low."

This guy is at 2/2 which doesn't look too bad. Still needs to be lower...

http://ecomodder.com/forum/emgarage.php?do=details&vehicleid=289

Are we shooting for max fuel economy with this build? If so, the easiest and cheapest way to improve fuel economy is to improve aerodynamics. Rangers have a huge Coefficient of Drag. Lowering will help reduce frontal area which is good. Something like a smooth bellypan or an air dam/sideskirt combo would help quite a bit as well.
Thank you for this info. I'll look into messing with the aero. Know of anything that would fit (from a different car)? What's available in the aftermarket for the Ranger is dismal.
 
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stmitch

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You've already discovered ecomodders. Reading over there is the best advice I can give for fuel economy and aero upgrades. There's a ton of general knowledge there, and a handful of Ranger guys.

I'm not aware of aero mods from other vehicles that would work on a Ranger. It seems like most guys make their own. You're trying to reduce drag, so things like grille blocks, air dams, or bell pans will clean up the most important areas and give you the largest improvement. Using a material like coroplast seems to be most common since its dirt cheap, easy to work with, weather resistant, easily paintable, etc.
 

ksack

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Anyone have any data on covering the bed? I did a cross country trek with about 500lbs in the bed covered in a tarp and I averaged 27 MPG with my 2.3L 5 speed.
 

Isk Stark

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Nothing major. Wire brushed the frame/under body and hit the front end with Rust bullet, did the rear with inhibitor spray. Some of the moving parts will need replaced (upgraded) because of the rust. Leafs, sway bar/endlinks/bushings, etc. Otherwise, she is a great, solid truck.



Chased a hard-start issue to a bad battery. Did everything else to solve it and the problem was sitting right in front of me. Time for an upgrade. Went with the Optima 25. Added some rice under the hood good for 10 horses.



The roof leaks. It's gotta be the window seals because the third brake light is brand new, and Goop'd.
 

Isk Stark

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Inspiration:






I used to think it would look cool with a drift style bumper, but I'm having second thoughts...


I like the traditional Japanese style: Slammed on 14s & 15s.
Not-Rangers:





 

Isk Stark

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Finally got around to swapping out the headlights.









Can't wait to try these out tonight. :D
 

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Inspiration:






I used to think it would look cool with a drift style bumper, but I'm having second thoughts...


I like the traditional Japanese style: Slammed on 14s & 15s.
Not-Rangers:





That black truck was the inspiration for me wanting to drop my truck. Love the flat black paint.
 

Isk Stark

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That black truck was the inspiration for me wanting to drop my truck. Love the flat black paint.
Yeah, it does look sweet.

Add some nice pinstriping to it!
 

Isk Stark

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Finally got around to replacing the front body mounts. I only did the fronts because the four in the rear look fine. I think it's because I have mudflaps?

The front body mounts: Driver side had lost its nut. Passenger side nut backed off the bolt, then seized. The front end was held to the frame with hopes and dreams and rust. Went through a couple 18 tpi blades.



Did the rust inhibitor and painted before install.



It was pretty nasty looking and soft.



All done. May have to back the nut off a bit. Think I'm squeezing it too hard?

The front end still has a clunk. Next up: Sway bar bushings and endlinks, although they don't feel bad at all?
 

Isk Stark

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Even after all this..


...the clunk is still there.

Spring insulator maybe?
 

Isk Stark

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Labor day weekend with new wheels/tires.


Should have got the springs and flip kit installed, but was stalled by a lack of tie-rod fork...
 


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