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The "Donkey" build/rebuild


bobbywalter

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woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
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Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
I guess power and tire size scenarios and road time are important.

Brake bias is free and external if it is already on your truck. Few minutes of wiring to get maximum traction.

Shimming side gears with open diffs only exploded spiders sooner or the pin.

Short term it is what it is.


I tend to leave the c clip. Need a strong spring for the eliminators. And good collar.
 


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Bracket racer

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Socialist republic of Nova Scotia Canadastan
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
I'm not a fan of using the brakes, as kids we'd use two levers on the park brakes to spin the dune buggies around each way and that was fun, but my 2011 f150 has the traction control that uses brake bias and one winter destroyed the back brakes. Not a fan at all.

I've never blown up a rear ended from shimming, I found they just wear and then you have a regular open diff again. Not saying it doesn't happen, I've seen guys break a vice in a sandbox with bare hands!
The old "if it don't fit, force it, if it breaks, you needed a new one anyway" mentality, lol!
 

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Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Donkeys out of the garage (again)
Did the inner spring mod to eliminate the c clip. I didn't like the explanation though so I did some measuring. At full drop, the axle had 5mm of end play with the spindle attached. When I raised the axle so the it was level, it was 7mm or between 3/16 and 1/4".
Gotta go more later.
 

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1991
Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Left at 7pm last night, got home at 4:19 am this morning. Put on 46kms in low range 1st/2nd gear and everything is working perfect. Well, except for the valve covers leaking and the squeak in the front end. Pulled a 1/2 ton dodge out that ventured into swamp, he was so deep water was pouring in the doors and covered the gas peddle. Took about 7-8 full throttle 15ft runs with a tow strap to jerk it out. Apparently my welds had good penetration! I have to lower the front of the trailing arms as it does chatter a bit when spinning in reverse. I have the new(er) 35x12.5x15's on the front and they are apparently an inch or two bigger in dia than the worn ones. But man does it pull through the mud! I went around a lot of rocks that the 1/2 tons had to crash and smash over. Love the narrower track of the ranger and am thinking of taller/thinner tires as the 12.5's add 2-3" to each side on the aftermarket 8" rims.

Anyway, good time was had by all and its in the driveway now ready to go again.;)
 

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4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Donkeys out of the garage (again)
Did the inner spring mod to eliminate the c clip. I didn't like the explanation though so I did some measuring. At full drop, the axle had 5mm of end play with the spindle attached. When I raised the axle so the it was level, it was 7mm or between 3/16 and 1/4".
Gotta go more later.
So, to finish what I started;
Before I bolted the diff back in, I finished grinding out a half circle in the radius arm for that miserable 3" vertical bolt on the left side. Now that that is done, the front diff will be simple to pull next time if I ever do. But yes, the simplest and quickest way to pull the diff is to grind out the arm and pull the bolt. I tried the "pivot on the bolt" and all the rest, it's not worth the hassle, just grind the arm and also pull the drivers I beam pivot bolt. I used a long prybar to hold the end of the I beam about 6" lower than the pivot point. This gave lots of room for the diff to pull out of the beam.

Next, I was putting the brakes on and noticed the pads were almost falling out of the caliper mount. Then I noticed two things, one, the bottom mount is bent (how the heck did I do THAT??) and two, I got a replacement caliper from the junk yard of a 98 or 2000 ranger, bolted it on and never thought about it. However, there is a difference! I noticed the abs ring when I bolted it on but whatever. However, the biggest difference is that the rotor is quite a bit thicker and more importantly, it sits farther out. I should of took pictures but I was in a hurry to go for a run. The rotor sits on the spindle in the exact same spot, however, the disk is actually1/2" farther out that the '91. I swapped rotors from side to side and it's exact same, now the drivers side is out 1/2" and the right is normal. Everything was fine when the pads were new, but now that they are worn half way, the inner pad was ready to fall out. (the outer has the clamping tangs on it to hold it to the caliper)

So, I did what every normal person would do...I welded a 3/4" block on the ends of the inner pad and shaped it to fit/slide in the caliper mount. Works great but it's something I shouldn't of had to do. This is obviously why I have to go to the 1/2 ton outer knuckles. (at least that's what I told the wife ,lol)

Anyway, that was the front end adventure and all the other crap that goes with it. The take away from all of this for anyone who has to pull the front end apart and fix the right axle;
1) grind the drivers side radius arm to remove the bolt, don't waste time trying to come up with an alternative plan.
2) When doing the c clip delete, I used a spring from a 4" extension garden hose from Canadian Tire (or any hardware store) it was about $7.99 plus I have a short hose for my pressure washer connection now. (1" dia x 4" long before I started cutting it) and continually installed/disassembled/cut until I got 3/16's or 1/4" end play in the axle when the axle was level.

Hope this helps the next guy ;)
 

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Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Out wheeling, trucks working great, did a once over before heading back out and...two of the snap rings on the axle u-joint have moved and are lifting out of the groove. Looks like I didn't take enough off the yoke. So, it's got to come apart again. (so glad I did the c clip eliminator mod lol)

And...
1) it's still eating coolant. About a litre for every 3-4hr's of running. (I normally go out for a cruise on the trails/powerline and it ends up being 3-9hr's before I get home) So, I'm carrying two 4L jugs of coolant with me but that will have to be addressed as well.

2) exhaust...still needs to be fixed properly after chopping it up putting the trailing arms on.

3) Lights, the 48" LED light I put on is beyond excellent, makes night day. But...whenever it's on it messes up the radio. So, I have to research and find a cure as mama gets mad with no music and 80% of my wheeling is at night.


Since I'm pretty much getting back to work full time though, there is less time to work on it, dang it!!!

Here's a picture of how much I welded/grinded on the yoke. Thought it was enough, apparently not.
 

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1991
Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Had a few minutes tonight so I decided to tear the axle back out. Pulled it apart and used the burr to clearance the snap ring. Got it all back together and was about to put the spindle on. Huh! Rangers have roller bearings in the spindle! (Not mine mind you....sigh) who knew? So, knocked the bearing and the remaining 6-7 rollers that were left, out and called it a night. Now I'm wondering what the other side is like since I've never cleaned or greased it.

Crap, the list won't get shorter!!!
 

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Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Got a new bearing, reassembled, went for a rip, everything is great!

Friends came over....went for another rip....yeah, you know the rest....

4th gear at 3500rpm is the perfect speed to jump from one mogul to the next like a dirt bike, up one side, jump 15ft and land on the down side of the second mogul. Doing that and hill climbing (the donkey is crazy at climbing, goes vertical and still doesn't go over backwards!

Now, the problem...apparently, jumping moguls is hard on the frame...the only place it was single thickness was the top of the frame in the back where I bolted the suspension on. And of course upon one landing there was a crash and the arse sagged on the drivers side. Ripped the top of the frame completely off on the drivers side and tore 3/4 way through on the right.

43572




Well, that's not right.... ok, I have a winch on the rear so I pulled up to a couple of small trees, put the winch up high and jacked the ass off the ground dropping the suspension back into place.

43573



43574


and then used cargo straps to hold it all in place.

43575


and then proceeded to hill climb some more. (but no moguls)
Since we were about 20km's from home in the woods, it was quite the drive getting home over the rocks on the powerline. By the time we got home, one cargo strap was cut and snapped but the second one still held.

Everybody says "man you beat on that poor thing like a rented mule" Well, yeah but it always gets home!

When in doubt, throttle out!!

Found another picture;


43579


I see a cargo strap on the tire...and have no idea who did that or why. I'm guessing they were trying to pull the strap through the handle and used the tire as a pull point?? Don't know and just saw it now. The track bar (panhard rod) kept the rearend in place, it just squatted on the left.

Just leaving the shop now, welded heavy angle on top, boxing the frame completely and reinstalled my skidplate, relocated the axle position of the track bar, fixed the crushed brake line, got the broken console out right now to fix it (has been broke since I rolled it in Dec) welded the drivers seat in better and still have to install a radio noise (RF) suppressor so we can run the big LED lightbar and still have a radio. Been busy the last two days.

Once it's finished its back home again and try a little "putt putt" instead of the "zoom zoom" which tends to break parts, lol!
 

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Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Sorry I haven't posted in a while guys, been a little busy.
So, added a 150watt stereo and added a 150 speaker to go with the factory speakers. Didn't do it for the power, did it because the new stereo has aux and usb ports so the wife can plug in her phone. After building the frame up again, changed the shock mounts and installed new 2007 Malibu shocks. With bmw springs, Malibu shocks on the trailing arm suspension, I can scoot along over rough terrain like a rally truck now. Total of 13" of rear travel.

Was out driving around and the wife asked "why do you always drive"? I said because I built it. After the third or fourth time I asked if she wanted her own truck. "YES please!"
So...I found a 2002 explorer and got that. She wanted seats for friends and it holds 7! A woman owned it and parked it 5months ago when the ps line blew and was quoted $1200 to fix! Brought it home and fixed the line in about 15minutes. Need to do a couple brake lines and that's it. Could be shafted and put back on the road.

The big news though and why I've been so busy, I retire 30 July after 35 years and 11 months in the army! This Thursday I turn in my id and I'm done!
 

Bracket racer

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Vehicle Year
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Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Just realised something else, in those pictures above you can see the battery and jerry can (gas tank) behind the cab. I got a volvo gas tank and put in the back of the cab but the wife kept complaining of the fumes so I built a cage over the battery behind the cab and located it there. The only issue is, volvo goes from 0-50ohms empty to full and ford goes 60-120ohms empty to full. So, the gauge is constantly reading full. I made a "dip stick" from a piece of 1/4" dowel for now.

Had "Dora" out for its first test run last night, worked very well, it's slow shifting from auto to 4x4 high and 4x4 low, but other than that I was impressed. Wheeling in a heavy long wheelbase, smooth driving truck is weird after the donkey! LOL! Really have to watch breakover angle and rock clearance.
 

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4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Donkeys running great now. Exh all done, it's quiet and doesn't smell in the cab now. Stereos good, drivetrain is good, stopped throwing oil after I stopped revving it to 3k or more for long duration...just eating coolant still.

However...Dora....I took the donkey, a buddy took his truck and the wife and a couple girls took Dora on a run. Found out the rear left lower control arm was rusty when it snapped off . Used jacks and cargo straps to recover home. Wife said it's too low and wants bigger tires. I tried the 35's off the donkey.

So, now I'm looking for 33's and will clearance (zip cut, lol) to fit.
 

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Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Been a while, thought i'd update.
Still eating coolant but much less, I added two cans of "headgasket sealer" so there's that...

Dont like how low the frontend is sitting so I'm putting in 3" lift pucks for the front tomorrow. Tightened up the steering box today, (tightened the sector shaft) wanders a LOT less. got a little over 1200km's on it all in low range 1st or 2nd since the build started.

I'll get some pictures tomorrow after its lifted.
 

Bracket racer

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1991
Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
All right, never got pictures as I lost my phone for 4 days, but...
Broke the front right axle again. Inner and outer. Also broke my brand new 20,000# 3" strap. Ran over my winch controller.
Yes I was getting a 25ft run on trying to pull a 1/2 ton on its belly in the lake. Yes I had the truck strapped to two trees and and with one wrap on the drum still stalled the new 10,000# winch. Yes I abuse it.
However, that's what I do, that won't change, so now I have to build it to handle what I do. I put 1/2 ton front springs in it to jack it up and am thinking of putting the 93 1/2 ton front axles/arms etc in now. But, are they any stronger? Is a D44 axle worth swapping in place of a D35? I have it already but I'm tired of breaking stuff, I want indestructible. No I'm not ordering a $15000 custom billet front axle/blah, blah, blah.

So, is it worth it to put in a 44? Should I jump to a 50 or whatever is in a 3/4 ton? Go right to 60 from a one ton?
4L doesn't have much power but it's enough to break stuff.
And how come my hub locks aren't breaking? I thought they were the "fuse"??? That was the reason I was to put the 44 outer hubs on! Obviously that's not required!

Add to this, my buddies 1/2 ton dodge blew another front diff and the wife's explorer blew out the cover for the overdrive servo!!! Never saw that before, broke away the metal of the transmission case and blew the snap ring, piece of metal and servo cover out, landing on the ground under the truck and dumping all the fluid.
One step ahead, two steps back...


Edit: forgot to add, front axles have the 760 joints and snap rings instead of the c clips. Tore the ears off the outer stub and the outer axle that connects to the stub. Damn it...
 
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Bracket racer

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Socialist republic of Nova Scotia Canadastan
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1991
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Ranger supercab
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4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
Just realized there is an axle specific forum, I’ll go there.
 

Bracket racer

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Socialist republic of Nova Scotia Canadastan
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ranger supercab
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
35X12.5 (bald so I don't break parts)
So, replaced the right axle and welded the caps. Went for a run and made some bad crunching noises.( detailed in my axle thread)
Pulled the left axle and welded the caps then kept going as the door was sagging due to rust.

Another shot of it tore apart and me putting more time into it....

52313
 


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