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Putting it all together, a suspension idot.


MichaelG

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Ok, here's the basics:

I'm mechanically minded. I do all my own maintenance and modifications to the motorcycles I own, my son races motocross and I'm the acting mechanic for his bikes as well. I've done a large number of electrical modifications to cars and trucks over the years and I'm handy enough to swap out OEM parts for aftermarket stuff with no problem.

I am not, however, knowledgeable about vehicle suspension. Terms like control arm, torsion bar and tie rod start flying around and I'm scrounging for a parts fiche to figure out what we're talking about.

That being said I have an 01 4x4 Ranger that the previous owner has lifted by using a 3" block on the rear (I understand how that works) and cranking the torsion bars on the front (I pretty much get how that works). The problem that I'm now running into is that the drivers side tire is wearing unevenly, it's almost totally bald on the inside of the tire and has tread left on the outside. From my reading I'm going to blame this on bad tie rods (even though I only have a basic understanding of what they are and what they do). Pictures I've seen of tires ruined by bad tie rods look exactly like my tire.

I have purchased the outer tie rods, watched a couple of videos on how to replace them and feel confident that if I can exert enough torque using a few adjustable wrenches while laying on my back I could swap them out. I understand the truck will need an alignment after this is complete.

The front end of the truck has NO suspension travel what so ever as the torsion bars are cranked as tight as they can get. This gives a great look to the truck but it rides like crap. I get the basic geometry of the how the stock ranger suspension works and with the torsion bars pushing the CV brackets all the way down there will never be any suspension travel. Here come the questions:

1. If I back off the torsion bars closer to a stock position and then replace the tie rods I can have a single alignment done and be finished correct?

2. Are there other components that I need to check for abnormal wear? I just did a complete overhaul on the front brakes (new calipers, caliper brackets, pads, complete fluid flush) and while poking around noticed that the grease on some of the suspension components seemed dry and old, some of the rubber boots are getting dry and cracking, and it's very apparent that the previous owner has buried this truck in dirt and mud. What should I be looking at?

3. The truck currently has Maxxis mud tires...265/75/16 I believe...stock for this year is 245/75/16 I think...if I go back to close to (or at) stock height will the 265's work without rubbing?

4. No one manufactures a suspension lift for this truck that I can find, but there appears to be a solution in switching to a coil over suspension...what is this and where can I find more information on doing this? Is it possible for a shade tree mechanic (ok...I own a garage) and hand tools to do this swap? Pros and cons?

5. What is the air speed velocity of an European swallow?

In answering these question please keep in mind the following:

1. I'm cheap...my wife is even cheaper and fully dictates all the money I spend (that she knows about). $3000 overhauls to the suspension are out of the question.

2. However, given number 1 I also plan on keeping this truck FOREVER. I've owned 3 Rangers over the years (this is number 4) and I hated getting rid of every one of them. I will never do this again. So if a little more $ needs to go into something that will last I'll consider it.

3. I have no air tools, nor do I have access to any. It is in my ability to lift this vehicle to have the wheels 6 inches off the ground and then beat away at it with hand tools, rocks, stick and the occasional small animal.

4. I'm a smartass and enjoy the occasional sarcasm, if I offend you it might possibly make my day. :D
 


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whissiswheelin

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I am no expert on a IFS system but wouldnt leaving the blocks in the back and bringing the front back to stock add rake to your ride and wear your tires on the outside edges as well from the wrong caster angle, also not sure but some vehicles can get ball joint adjustment bushings that will slightly change the camber. I am most familiar with TTB so hopefully someone with a full understanding of your system can give you a hand.
 

FritzTKatt

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Your camber problem is because of worn piston return springs.

Cranked torsion bars require an alignment.

IIRC superlift makes kit(s) for that generation ranger.

An rake ratio too far off stock will screw your caster angle.

Read the "tech library", effectively in its entirety. If you like me you'll enjoy it, even when most doesn't apply to your application.
 


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