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The Road Ranger. 1997 SEMI


sgtsandman

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Make / Model
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Pre-2008 lift/Stock
Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17
The judges have voted, and Rick W and Lincoln are in third and second place, respectively, and the highest award, the blue ribbon goes to

@sgtsandman !!!!!!

View attachment 106794


for outstanding achievement, in assisting the design of the brake controller bracket!

View attachment 106791View attachment 106792View attachment 106793

I still have to adjust it a little bit. I want to make it just clear the shift boot when I’m in second, fourth or reverse, but it’s exactly what I wanted. I have to bend it a hair, and paint it black, otherwise a done deal.

THANK YOU SIR!!

EDIT: and I got the driver seat put back in, and I probably 90% done with the carpet. I already cut the holes for the passenger seat.

I was pretty disappointed in the carpet, it’s about four or 5 inches short in the back, but I’ll do something
Not quite what I meant but that'll do.
 


Rick W

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1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely

sgtsandman

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Make / Model
Ranger XLT/FX4
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC/2.3 Ecoboost
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Pre-2008 lift/Stock
Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17

Rick W

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Age
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Location
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Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Under the ash tray, forward of the shifter.
I actually looked all around there, I was even considering cutting a hole in the dash. When you made your suggestion, I remembered you made some kind of frame to hold your laptop or something right there by the shifter. What I showed you above, I thought was an adaption of what you had done. Per my interchange with @ericbphoto , sometimes a suggestion to go left, will inspire you to go right.

I remember that little frame you made basically took advantage of the space in mid air between the seat and the dashboard. I really wanted it at my fingertips, and not behind the stick shift or too low, or too high, nor having to take my other hand off the steering wheel or bend over, etc. etc.. if I ever have to use those brakes manually, I want them “right there!”

I’m not really excited about putting a piece sheet metal bolted to the floor right in front of where I sit, but if something happens, the trailer is going to kill me anyway…

Anyway, your suggestions spurred a great solution (I think)…
 

Rick W

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Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
When I got back from sweet pea duty, I took a gamble and didn’t change out of my good clothes, pulled that bracket out and put some flat Rustoleum on it, so it’ll be ready to go when I get back to it
 

sgtsandman

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Location
Aliquippa, PA
Vehicle Year
2011/2019
Make / Model
Ranger XLT/FX4
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC/2.3 Ecoboost
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Pre-2008 lift/Stock
Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17
I actually looked all around there, I was even considering cutting a hole in the dash. When you made your suggestion, I remembered you made some kind of frame to hold your laptop or something right there by the shifter. What I showed you above, I thought was an adaption of what you had done. Per my interchange with @ericbphoto , sometimes a suggestion to go left, will inspire you to go right.

I remember that little frame you made basically took advantage of the space in mid air between the seat and the dashboard. I really wanted it at my fingertips, and not behind the stick shift or too low, or too high, nor having to take my other hand off the steering wheel or bend over, etc. etc.. if I ever have to use those brakes manually, I want them “right there!”

I’m not really excited about putting a piece sheet metal bolted to the floor right in front of where I sit, but if something happens, the trailer is going to kill me anyway…

Anyway, your suggestions spurred a great solution (I think)…
I think the approach you took is fine. You may need to stiffen up that piece of sheet metal, depending what it is made of. Driving around with it for a bit will tell you if it's stiff enough or not. That's what I had to do with the tablet mount. Then I made the modifications I needed and still leave a place for a passenger to sit. I do have the benefit of seeing what has been done on aircraft to brace and stiffen things in them. It doesn't take much to make a huge difference. Even piece of small angle fastened to the back side could be all that is needed, if anything.
 

Rick W

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Age
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Location
Atlanta
Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
I think the approach you took is fine. You may need to stiffen up that piece of sheet metal, depending what it is made of. Driving around with it for a bit will tell you if it's stiff enough or not. That's what I had to do with the tablet mount. Then I made the modifications I needed and still leave a place for a passenger to sit. I do have the benefit of seeing what has been done on aircraft to brace and stiffen things in them. It doesn't take much to make a huge difference. Even piece of small angle fastened to the back side could be all that is needed, if anything.
Amen. But…

Did you just drop out of the sky from Venus? What do you think I used? I’m still working on that $80 of eight sheets of diamond plate! This piece actually came from the scrap pile of the scrap pile!

It’s 1/8” aluminum diamond plate. BTW, I truly appreciate everything you just said. I was thinking of doing a crease down the middle length-wise to make it stiffer, and I also thought of doing a rib down the back with a light angle, with a leg that would come out towards the back of the truck. But when I bent it and tested it, it’s plenty strong, a nice balance with being stiff enough, but also having a little bit of flexibility. Reminded me of my college girlfriend…

I’m poking fun, but it’s a prime example of “blue-sky-ing” that creates inspiration, and leads to educated results. That’s why I post some crazy stuff, more warped minds are better than one warped mind (or something like that). I thank you again!

Backing up a step, after I angled the piece, if I had to do over again, I would’ve angled the piece so the diamonds were facing down. But my ability to be cheap far outweighs my desire for perfection. I cleaned it with some alcohol, and then I cut half inch long pieces of 3/8 inch 3M body molding tape, and I double layered it so it would stick to the back of the controller and stick to the aluminum between the diamonds.

I didn’t want anybody to think that I was so incredibly cheap, that I was going to leave the zip ties on it that showed in the pictures.

But I was concerned about wasting those 11 inch zip ties, two of them. I’ll tell father HECTOR in confession.

EDIT: As regards the passenger, the angle bracket is centered under the left screw that holds down the drink holder around the stick shift, so it’s more on my side. I’m planning on bending it just under where the controller is attached, which is about halfway down the length, but I will bend it at a slight angle, so it not only leans out/back, it will lean towards me, the driver.

(I would never want to put Sweet Pea at risk when we go to pick up some very important thing for the grandkids with that rig…)
 
Last edited:

Rick W

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Age
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Location
Atlanta
Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Little brake controller is kicking my butt! But I’m making progress….

For some reason, the flat Rustoleum I’ve had for 30 years wasn’t drying properly. Heat gun fixed that.

Then got my bracket in, but it took forever. The bracket is pinched between the drink holder around the shift and floor, with one screw actually running through it all. I bet it took an hour to get that screw back in the hole. My fat worn out old body just doesn’t twist upside down and backwards the way it used to.

I had to take the knee panel off the dash to run the wires, but I got it wired, but ran out of patience, so I’ll have to button up the dash tomorrow.

I temped the hot wire to check operation. I want to run the power supply straight from the battery with a self setting 20amp circuit breaker (as recommended). Just happen to have some in the shed of miracles from a Town Car window motor.

Best news is with all that done, I can finish up the carpet and put all the trim back on, and get the sweet pea seat back in.

Next steps are running the brake wire and strobe wires between the cab and the hitch, with a few more strobes to put in that area too.

Then level the upper deck of the trailer, permanently bolt down my Diamond plate, make and install under bed racks for my ramps, install my air tank, and fab and install side step rails.

And I thought I was almost done….
 

Rick W

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Location
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Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Oh, and add a winch to the front of the trailer….
 

Rick W

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1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Monsoons the last two days in Atlanta, rain stopped a few hours ago, everything is soaking wet, and it’s supposed to go up from 45 now to 65 later, but overcast all day.

My desire was to finish up the carpet and put the cab back together, and do the remaining wiring back to the hitch. But that involves kneeling and laying on my brick driveway, so I may give that a rest for today. I think somebody was just talking about upside down and backwards, and the PhD version is to do it on bricks with bad knees when the ground is soaking wet. I still might tackle a little bit.

If you get in the way-back machine, when I was throwing the trailer together, literally working till 5pm the evening the day before the Truck Nationals started. The frame, axles, goose neck and the lower deck are all fine, just needed a little cleaning up. On the other hand, the upper deck ended up crooked with some temp pressure treated supports.

I’ve been thinking about the ‘Raith trailer and the converter dolly a lot, doing the sketches and measurements and such, and realized I have plenty of those 4 x 6 x 22’ channel beams to do all that, with probably half to spare. So today, I’m going to use some of that, and redo the deck over the gooseneck. So here’s something I’d like some input on. Here are two of the beams

IMG_0582.jpeg


They are 4” x 2” channel, open sides facing outward, with several things spacing them 2 inches apart for a total cross-section of 4” x 6”. My plan is to cut the channels off and use them for the trailer frames, and use the spacer things for corner brackets and such.

IMG_1247.jpeg


Yellow circle: On each end, there are aluminum blocks top and bottom that are about 1” x 2” x 4”. Those aluminum blocks are welded to both channels on one end, and welded to only one channel on the other end, which I suspect had something to do with expansion and contraction.

The item in the blue circle is about a 2 inch piece of a 6 x 6 x 1/2“ angle iron. There are three or four in between the channels on each beam, and they are welded in at different angles. I suspect that, in addition to supporting the channels, these served as some kind of anchor point for threaded rods or turnbuckles holes in the bigger assembly together.

Again, my plan would be to cut these items out of the middle, and end up with a clean 4 inch channel, but also preserving these heavy duty pieces for my erector set build

Here’s my question: how do I cut these off straight so I don’t damage the 4 inch channel, and I preserve as much of the blocks and angles as possible.

The beams are too long to put on my tablesaw without some help. I was thinking of firmly clamping a piece of half-inch plywood on the face, and then using a Skil saw with carbide teeth to cut through the welds. If I screw a guide onto the piece of plywood, I’m thinking I could do it and stay a 16th of an inch off the face of the channel, to be ground down afterwards. I could do it on one side, and then flip it over and do the other side to cut all the way through.

Another option is to use my saws all, but I don’t know how I would brace it to get a straight cut. And again, I want to save as much of the small pieces as possible.

AnyWho, that’s what I’m going to tackle today. Since I decided to put a light duty winch on the nose of that upper deck, it need to have a little more strength. And the plan all along was to get rid of the pressure treated anyway.

As always, all comments and criticism totally welcome.

Afterthought, this not only gives me the aluminum I need to fix the Road Ranger trailer, it also ends up being the guinea pig for the other two trailer projects. Everything on the Road Ranger will be covered, but almost everything on the other two will be exposed.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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I like the idea of using the skill saw. A metal cutting blade is ideal, but a regular carbide, high tooth count, wood blade will work too. Use wd-40 on the blade while cutting will prevent galling (aluminum deposits) of the blade. I've cut up to 3/4" thick aluminum on a table saw, and up to 1/2" with a skilsaw. Cut slow and don't jam the blade...
 

Rick W

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Age
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Location
Atlanta
Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
I like the idea of using the skill saw. A metal cutting blade is ideal, but a regular carbide, high tooth count, wood blade will work too. Use wd-40 on the blade while cutting will prevent galling (aluminum deposits) of the blade. I've cut up to 3/4" thick aluminum on a table saw, and up to 1/2" with a skilsaw. Cut slow and don't jam the blade...
Good tip on the WD-40.

As regards @RobbieD, I consider the source. but, really, I’d nothing sacred!!!
 

RobbieD

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I used to know a mechanic that used WD-40 for deodorant.

It would have been a real bummer if he got his WD-40 mixed up with his Rustoleum.
 

sgtsandman

Aircraft Fuel Tank Diver
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U.S. Military - Active
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Messages
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Location
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Vehicle Year
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Make / Model
Ranger XLT/FX4
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC/2.3 Ecoboost
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
Pre-2008 lift/Stock
Tire Size
31X10.5R15/265/65R17
Aluminum likes to clog saw blade teeth and cut off wheels tend to heat the aluminum up too much and bind the blade. I had resort to using a hand operated hack saw for cutting. The metal blade on the skill saw might be the best option as long as you keep it cool, lubricated, and go slow.
 

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