Starting 1997 ranger 4x4 trail truck build!


USCGC130

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trying for 5.5-6
Hey guys!

i just bought a 1997 extra cab ranger 4.0 liter 4x4, which probably needs a new transmission, it has no reverse and no engine breaking in manual 1st. So when i get it ill investigate more to see if its the servo or seals or band, but i cant check until i get it down here from seattle, and yes i plan to drive it down!!. I had my dad good look at it and and its pretty close to what i want to build up

It is a:
*1997 ranger 4.0L 4x4
*Automatic /wish it was a manual but oh well
*TTB front end obviously
*only 121K miles
*got it for 2000 $

My plan is to throw on a Skyjacker 4" lift class 2 (top of the line one for them) with a steering stabilizer, on the skyjacker kit go with either their top of the line M95 shocks or buy it with out the shocks and go with bilsteins 5100, really i would like some foxes, but money wont allow. then replace the 31's with 33's (Probably need to re-gear since im only at 3.73) then replace all the body mounts and if i think it needs it ill add a 1.5 inch body lift while in doing the mounts.

The reason i am not going with a 6" suspension lift if because of the notorious steering issues with going that high, i want reliability and am willing to make up the extra room with a body lift since i am planning on replacing the body mounts any how.

possibly ass a snorkel for dust mitigation and water crossing of course

Then get a bumper or build one and winch 8k-10k, and since i have a welder i am planning on building a bed rack to put my rooftop tent on for camping, and then beat the hell out of it!

other things i plan to do are
* Full size spare
* Possibly a swing out rear bumper
* Manual locking hubs for reliability
* Swap the 2 piece drive shaft for a single
* Build a platform box in the back of the cab for my dogs to hang out on and with storage underneath
* I might move my dual battery set up with 800 watt inverter over from my avalanche since this will be my main wheeling/camping rig

Im welcome to hear any input or anything else people would recommend doing to make this a killer off-road rig (besides SAS, im keeping TTB), im hoping to keep it under 8K... but lets all be honest we know how that goes.
 

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alwaysFlOoReD

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Welcome to TRS.
Looks like a great start.
Don't forget to check out the tech section at the top of every page, and the magazine has lots of tips too.
 

bobbywalter

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sawzall?
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check the valve body gaskets first...



like the color
 

USCGC130

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trying for 5.5-6
Thanks guys! this forum has some awesome how to pages that ive been scoping out, and im really hoping this transmission this ing an easy fix, but this seems to be the mileage that lot of people lose or have to rebuild their transmissions, i might get this one completely rebuilt even if i can get it fixed, just for the peace of mind on the trail.

so as i said im hoping to keep this trail truck around the 8k mark

* so far i have 2k in the truck
* transmission rebuilt or remanufactured 1500$? and ill remove and install
* Looking at about 2500 for the sky jacker lift and i think ill just give their M95 shocks a try with 6" coils since i have the 4.0 and super-cab, also plan on winch and bumper up from and their steering stabilizer
* Then new 33" tires im hoping to keep my eyes open and get a steal on some for 600-800 dollars

or should i spend extra and go with something better than sky jacker? ( even though that kit does come highly recommended from what i see

what should i do next with the remaining 1300$?
re-gear? since i have 3.73? and go to 4.56?
bumper and winch?
manual hubs?

so many possibilities! but only so much money! but im leaning toward re-gearing and hoping to save enough during the build to still be able to afford a winch now. but oh well im sure it will come down the road.
 

bobbywalter

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this transmission....




i could never have piece of mind with one. best you can do is what your thinking. full reman. not reclutch and seal...new planets and drums...converter and valve body...and pump. all upgraded.


that said building an adapter plate and running a 4r70w looks cost effective.
 

bobbywalter

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sawzall?
Tire Size
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My credo
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winch and lockers are the key ingredients to a good trail truck.


with the ttb, some 3 over coils(2-3 in), raised shock mounts for longer shocks, and extended radius arms with opened up fenders combined with lockers and winch go a long ways.

with 3 degree camber bushings you can usually run on the stock pivots and running a e series or f series arm gets you a little more articulation.

modifying your arms or those 150 style 8-10 inches can save pretty big on cost and keep stock steering and relative handling and cost reasonable.


that leaves budget for 456 gears and 35's to really round it out.

with the wheels wells opened up you can run 38's and get your b.o.a. to around 24-25 degrees easy enough with 3-4 in suspension lift..pretty good for a fairly low ext cab 125in wheelbase...


when you want or think you need to exceed 4 in of lift, aftermarket brackets definitely will be needed, and i would say the sky or duff setups would be my first choice.

over 4 and k link steering is advisable.
 

Jimmyspy14

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Thanks guys! this forum has some awesome how to pages that ive been scoping out, and im really hoping this transmission this ing an easy fix, but this seems to be the mileage that lot of people lose or have to rebuild their transmissions, i might get this one completely rebuilt even if i can get it fixed, just for the peace of mind on the trail.



so as i said im hoping to keep this trail truck around the 8k mark



* so far i have 2k in the truck

* transmission rebuilt or remanufactured 1500$? and ill remove and install

* Looking at about 2500 for the sky jacker lift and i think ill just give their M95 shocks a try with 6" coils since i have the 4.0 and super-cab, also plan on winch and bumper up from and their steering stabilizer

* Then new 33" tires im hoping to keep my eyes open and get a steal on some for 600-800 dollars



or should i spend extra and go with something better than sky jacker? ( even though that kit does come highly recommended from what i see



what should i do next with the remaining 1300$?

re-gear? since i have 3.73? and go to 4.56?

bumper and winch?

manual hubs?



so many possibilities! but only so much money! but im leaning toward re-gearing and hoping to save enough during the build to still be able to afford a winch now. but oh well im sure it will come down the road.


Sounds like a fun project!

I think re-gearing is definitely worth the money. I run 33x12.50s on 4.10 gears with the 4.0 SOHC and its a complete dog on the highway, I couldn’t imagine running 3.73s with this setup. Re-gearing is a good excuse to throw in a rear locker as well

The badlands series of winches from harbor freight are a great budget friendly alternative. I’ve been running their 6k winch for years now without any major problems. I put new 3/8” steel cable on mine, but you can also fit them with synthetic line.


I also love my swing out tire carrier. I was a little nervous about it getting in the way, but that hasn’t been an issue and having an accessible full size spare is incredibly convenient.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ericbphoto

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I'm very happy with the way my mods turned out. Full-blown Skyjacker 6" kit, 4.56 gears, Aussie lockers, etc. I don't have a winch yet and wish I had a better engine than my 3.0l. but everything else is good.

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Craig0320

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I'm very happy with the way my mods turned out. Full-blown Skyjacker 6" kit, 4.56 gears, Aussie lockers, etc. I don't have a winch yet and wish I had a better engine than my 3.0l. but everything else is good.

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Have you looked at the badland winches at harbor freight. I have heard really good about them.
 

USCGC130

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trying for 5.5-6
I'm very happy with the way my mods turned out. Full-blown Skyjacker 6" kit, 4.56 gears, Aussie lockers, etc. I don't have a winch yet and wish I had a better engine than my 3.0l. but everything else is good.

This message composed solely of recycled electrons. Go green!

i really want to go with the skyjacker 6” but the steering and alignment issues having me leaning toward the 4”, have you had any issues with the 6”? these trucks just look soooooo good at 6” with 33’s or 35’s!! i was a thinking 4” lift with small body lift but if the 6” lift is easy to to run the the superlift steering set up (slightly modified) i would do that, but all the steering and alignment stories i read convinced me to go with the 4”.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Have you looked at the badland winches at harbor freight. I have heard really good about them.
No experience with them but I think the biggest problem I have heard with the lower end winches is they are slower. Switches might not be as durable either.

I was poking at a brand X one at TSC last night and it had a big cheap looking plastic shield that didn't look like it would last long.

I would like to get a winch on mine, probably just with a receiver and have it wired to use on either end.
 

USCGC130

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Well sorry its been awhile, but i finally got the truck down to california where i am after the new year and after looking at it, the front end has 2" spacers in stalled on it, and since i was planing for a 4 " lift from where it sits now, the 4" lift would really only give me 2" over where im at, so i said F it and am going with the 6" top of the line kit, with the 6" leaf springs so i can toss my rear blocks out. then ill go with 33" tires on it after the lift. also the body mounts are in good shape so ill leave them alone and not do a body lift.

Also i found a 2003 sport trac at the junk yard and was able to grab the 1 piece drive shaft out of it and ive already replaced the U joints with moog super strength ones but havent installed the shaft yet. I also got the rubber floor, the floor isnt a perfect fit but ill make it work! I got some other odds and ends, and was able to get a new recline mechanism for the driver seat so ill just end up keeping my stock bucket seats for now with a hand made custom full length console ( reusing the stock arm rest with a storage compartment under it like the stock one) but i plan to mount my phone and GPS on ram mounts up on the forward sloped area. A maglite will go on the passenger side and my Garmin Inreach will have a spot to clip to on the driver side. So far its just mocked up out of cardboard but i will made it out of 1/2 MDF and wrap it in vinyl then use aluminum for the top.

Its really coming together, but this whole no paycheck for the coastguard is slowing my progress, especially since i need a new transmission lol.
 
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USCGC130

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2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
trying for 5.5-6
After about 2 weeks of off and on working on the rangers new center console, it’s done!! I now have 2 powered RAM mounts one for phones and one for my garmin with the cords all stashed away inside, and a place to mount my maglite and radio when i get it, plus i think it just looks cooler than the old stock one. Also i ditches the old nasty carpet and put in a vinyl floor from a sport trac.


with that sport trac i took the driveshaft to replace my old 2 piece one with a worn out carrier bearing. i haven’t done anything with the transmission yet but after reading a bit i think the 1997 5r55e had an extra sensor so i may have to just get it fully rebuilt, anyone know anything about 1997’s being special?
 

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alwaysFlOoReD

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Nice job on the console.
 

1996xlt

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Always wanted to get the vinyl floor out of a sport trac and put it in my truck, looks good! Any significant trimming to get it to fit?
 


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