Rescue Ranger


soldier390

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Location
Tyler Tx
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
My credo
I'd rather be at the house.
I haven't posted in a while but now that I'm mostly done modding and swapping things into my truck I figured I post up. I found a decent 1997 4x4 5 Speed, Reg cab step side on Craigslist a couple years ago for 1200 with supposedly a bad engine. It was listed as a 2.3 with no under hood pics which didn't really matter to me. My pops took my truck and trailer and picked it up for me. I work overseas so it sat for 6 months until I got home to see what I had. Overall the truck was just what I wanted, a truck that needed some love for a good price. It turns out that it was a 3.0 instead of a 2.3 which kinda bummed me out since I'm a fan of the weak 4 cylinder.

The first thing that I did to the truck was get it road ready. The brake system needed some love right off the bat as the master cylinder, right rear wheel cylinder and the steel lines from the MC to the frame were done for. The truck spent a couple years in PA when it was still new before it came to TX. Apparently that's long enough to set the brake line rust in motion. A new MC, wheel cyls. and some brake line and it stops like a champ.

The PO said the truck ran rough and would overheat. As I worked my way through some troubleshooting it didn't take long to figure out that the radiator had a huge crack down the middle of one tank spewing out coolant as soon as it warmed up. The hard miss it had was number 6 plug wire not even on the plug. I just put the wire on and it ran like a champ. #6 plug was covered in carbon so the plugs and wires were done very soon after.

While doing the wheel cylinder I came across a pretty good axle seal leak that got addressed at that time.

All that was done in the first few days of me being home. I put the Man TC during that time. I got a bonded title for it, got it registered and insured and just enjoyed driving the truck I've always wanted till it was time to go back to work.

Fast forward 8 months. My job leaves me with a lot of free time and money with nowhere to spend it on but online. The Ranger was next on my list to go full retard on. During my hitch I had purchased a 1997 4.0 4wd Xcab 5Speed that was an insurance total loss, silver cluster and HVAC controls, 2007 ranger stereo w/aux input since I like factory radios and wanted the aux function, a set of BFG A/Ts and borrowed the chrome three spokes off my brother's unused Eddie Bauer exp, all NOS parts for the front (grill, marker lights and HL's) and the stuff to put the factory cruise control in. I did the 4.0 swap and installed all the other stuff in about a week and the truck really woke up and looked great. I chose the older style grill that say 4X4 on it. It was all easy money except the cold weather slowing me down. I drove the truck without any fuss until I left for work again.

Six months later. It didn't take long for sitting out in the middle on nowhere to get me back on the Ranger spending spree. This time I wanted to make some interior changes starting with a console and bucket seats. I found a nice Willow Green exp center console for pretty cheap that was in really good shape. As far as things that I bought while I was gone, the list is small I guess. It was just the console and the parts to switch to the aluminum plenum. The real fun began when I got home on leave. This is the stuff I'm very proud of lol. Fortunatly there is a self serve junk yard down the road from me and this is where I obtained all the following parts: Power window regulators, power lock actuators, door latches, door harness, power mirrors and door pulls w/switches all from a 98 Xcab. The RAP, keyless entry keypad and their pigtails from a 2000 Explorer. The ignition and door lock cylinders w/a nice OEM key from a 2007 Ranger.(The key is a PATS key but that was of no concern to me). I also got a tilt column w/wheel that is equipped with HVAC and Radio controls. I got it as one unit since I would need the clockspring out of a 1998 Explorer. Lastly, a random 3 button remote that I found while I was walking around.

I swapped all of this in the truck minus the audio control steering wheel and the plenum. WOW, this was very tedious work but the end result is absolutely killer. Adding the wiring for the power windows and locks to the dash harness like the factory woud have was some serious brain work. I ended up making a Power lock module as I like to call that turned out very nice since adding the relays to the Relay Box 1 was going to take me more time and pins and connections. With this setup it's just All Lock and All Unlock which is fine with me. Along with the locks, the power windows needed all the wiring addition done to the dash harness. The mirrors however are plug and play once you install the door harness. If someone else had to troubleshoot this truck they could use the EVTM for 95% and the other stuff would be obvious. The remote keyless entry (RAP Module) and keypad was easy money other than the hole in the door. I chose to locate the RAP module in the left cab corner right under the back window. My harness runs in the factory channel up to the left kick panel and through the door grommet. I chose not to mount the module in the door because it's not water resistant and if something goes wrong with it I won't have to get into the door panel. After the whole mess I dont ever want to take the door panel off again if I can help it. The Always Hot for the RAP is tied to the appropriate Fuse in the interior fuse box. The Key Power wire is currently not hooked up but neatly stowed behind the kick panel. The reason being is that after programming the remotes (two required to program) they would only work with the key off. The keypad functioned fine regardless of key position. I have no doubt that I could have figured it out but I was ready to get it done. The stowed wire, for my purposes is only needed to program the remotes. Every connection, splice and tie-in that I made was done with solder. I'd love to say that I used dual wall heat shrink also but my lovely children used it all on nothing. The First thing I did as far as the keyless entry install was cut the hole and install the keypad. I had put in a lot of work on the truck and getting bunt out so that was my way of making sure I followed through with the install. The only part of the RKE that is hooked up as of now is the lock outputs and the keypad. I was running out of time and motivation so I left the wires in place but unhooked for the: Park Light relay (non RKE trucks dont have one so I'll have to add it), Horn Relay, Dome Light signal to GEM, and the Left and Right Alarm Disarm from the door lock cylinder switch. There are others but I'm not worried about someone opening my hood so those kinds got clipped. Having the the RKE is awesome and the Keypad is the greatest thing ever. When I got the locks done I locked myself out several times until the keypad was installed.

The tilt column was an easy install. Since I didn't end up using the redundant audio controls (clockspring was bad) I just removed the shifter assembly, shift cable mount, shift interlock solenoid, bad cocksping, and harness. I just swapped all the parts needed off my old column and reused my steering wheel. I will have steering wheel controls, it just wasn't a high enough priority to spend the time on. Plus the 2007 radio doesn't respond to the controls anyway. I did have to drill out the tilt column IGN cylinder so I could install my 07 IGN Cyl with matching door cyls. The IGN Cyl just dropped right in so now I have a nice Ford key that turns the truck on and unlocks the doors without having to hold my mouth just right.

I'm probably forgetting some stuff but the finishing touch for me was the bucket seat mod and installing the console. There aren't any holes for it in a single cab, at least they were not in mine. I spent a fair amount of time making sure it was centered and mounted sturdy. It's been a long time since I was 16 and that was the last time I was small enough to fit 3 deep in a single cab ranger. I do not miss the center seat AT ALL and having an actual console and armrest is so nice. Future plans are to add 110AC, USB and Line In jack sockets tp the inside of the console.

A note on the Manual Trasfer Case install. I have a big OCD issue with rando wires being run through the firewall or wherever else into the cab. There is no way I'll ever go back to the ESOF. It worked well in my truck but it just wasn't my style and unlike power windows if it doesn't work when I need it I'm probably screwed. Manual Transfer FTW. That being said, I just unpinned the the ESOF motor connector and the connector on the Man TC. I installed the ESOF connector onto the Man TC pins and out of the wires available on the truck harness I chose wires that went to the GEM. At the GEM connector I tied the wires from the TC Range switch (2 wires) to the GEM output wires to the cluster 4X4 & 4LOW (Ground Switch). Unless you really knew what you were looking at you'd think that factory just ran the wires for the ESOF on Man TC trucks.

There is still work to be done but all in all I'm pretty happy with the truck.
 
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DannyG

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TRS 20th Anniversary
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Aug 9, 2007
Messages
289
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Location
Grand Forks, ND
Vehicle Year
1992
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Looks killer!
 

soldier390

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Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
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Location
Tyler Tx
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
My credo
I'd rather be at the house.
Engine

The before and after 4.0 pics.
 

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fangotango306

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U.S. Military - Veteran
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Oct 26, 2008
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Location
sc michigan
Vehicle Year
1987
Make / Model
ford
Engine Size
None yet
Transmission
Automatic
Really nice man!
 

Ranger850

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TRS 20th Anniversary
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Location
Tallahassee Florida
Vehicle Year
2001
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
Born with a 3.0, looking for a donor V8
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
Stock 2"
Tire Size
Stock
My credo
Doing things wrong, until I get it right.
I've got those same bucket seats and console (gray) in my truck. What year explorer did those come from.
 

soldier390

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Tyler Tx
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
My credo
I'd rather be at the house.
Seats

They're the stock 60/40 seats. I cut the driver side down to a bucket. I plan on putting some power heated leather Ford Fusion seats at some point.
 

soldier390

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Location
Tyler Tx
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
My credo
I'd rather be at the house.
I've mostly finished up the Ranger. Got the Pioneer NAV 6200NEX installed, new black carpet, backup camera, 1999 Explorer steering wheel w/audio controls and the PAC Audio SWI-CP2 all installed. I added a relay for my reverse lights and cam/radio power since the plug and switch were melted down and I didn't want to deal with that again. The clockspring was easy to keep in an OEM condition. The pins are the same for the cruise control between the Exp and Ranger so I swapped the pins into the 6-way Ranger connector and left out the 2 signal wires for the audio and HVAC . I used a 2 pin deutsch connector on the signal wires so they can be unplugged easily and I'll never have to worry about a suspect connection. Getting the SWI-CP2 was kind of a pain but well worth it in the end. I used the HVAC buttons for Track skip and Preset skip so I have pretty much the most use out of all the buttons. I couldn't program the Long press button assignment, otherwise it would have been perfect. The backup camera is a Echomaster PCAM110 that is a throgh-hole mount type. I'm happy with way it turned out other than all the extra wire that the kit had. The backup camera led to fixing the reverse lights and ultimately installing the reverse relay. The carpet wasn't the most fun thing to do since it does require trimming and has no precut holes but it needed it and it looks great. Kinda bummed that Weathertech doesn't make custom mats for the Ranger. The interior is pretty much complete other than the headliner which I have and a right hand kick panel and right door sill plate. I still want to throw in some black power/heated leather seats in it but I'm content with it as is.
 

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soldier390

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Messages
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Location
Tyler Tx
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
My credo
I'd rather be at the house.
Picked up some lighted Explorer visors from the JY. I’ve only seen one willow green Exp and should have got everything out of it while it was there so the ones I have are dark grey. They look alright and they are way better than the busted ones in the truck. The headliner is a new ABS backed one that I got a while back. The install really helped the interior look.
 

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RobbieD

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Location
Georgia
Vehicle Year
1984,1990,1994
Make / Model
Ford
Transmission
Automatic
My credo
Toonces drives a Ranger . . . . just not very well.
Nice truck! Your workmanship is excellent, and it shows.
 

soldier390

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Messages
8
Reaction score
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Points
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Location
Tyler Tx
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
My credo
I'd rather be at the house.
Thanks RobbieD, I’ve spent a lot of time on it trying to do it right. I like to think it’s pretty unique.
 


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