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The Road Ranger. 1997 SEMI


Rick W

Lil Big Rig
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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
It rained here Friday night a little bit, soaking wet this morning, and it was over 80% humidity all day, Saturday, and it got up to 92°

I used the last of my free bed frame stock to try and make a kind of rack to hold the air tank behind the drivers door next to the toolbox. I don’t know if it went like crap because I’m incompetent, but I suspect it had something to do with the 85% humidity and 92°. Even with a fan blowing right on me, I was soaking wet and frustrated and I just couldn’t get it right.

I’m bolting it to the side of the truck frame, one bracket on either side of the spring mount. The driver side spring mount is also where the emergency brake cable splits into two to feed both sides of the truck. And that’s the gathering area for the 20 or 25 wires for all the toys I’ve added that work through the toolbox. Since I can’t get a nut on the backside of the frame because of the gas tank, I decided to drill and tap holes right in the truck frame. Thank God, I took a small dowel and checked behind the frame to see if anything was back there before I drilled the holes. Nothing important, just brake lines and fuel lines. After four or five hours, I was thinking it just wasn’t meant to happen.

Not to be defeated, after a break and cooling down, I took some scrap unistrut angle I had, and basically fabricated the pieces with the unistrut.

IMG_2274.jpeg


I’m tempted to leave it, but it’s just too flimsy, not strong enough. I’ll get some more free bedframe parts or angle and weld it up now that I have a template. Now that it’s done, it’s a little erector set, and it comes in and out pretty easy.

I also finally trimmed the diamond plate on the main deck of the step trailer, so it runs fairly straight down the sides now.

I have to check the list, but I think that leaves me with just paint and touchup and cosmetic stuff. I’m hoping to have it done by next Sunday and take it to Kennesaw for caffeine and octane. I’ll go either way, it would just be nice if it was sort of done.
 


Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
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Messages
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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
Well, any job worth doing is worth doing twice. Or something like that….

Lord knows I am the king of rigging anything with nothing, but I still like it to look good, and it has to be functional. I couldn’t stand the uni strut. Or the third thing I did. Or the fourth thing I did.

One of the biggest problems is the cables and wires in the spring bracket and all, are all crammed right in that spot, so I had to do something that would work around it without damaging anything and getting smashed by the spring.

Second, make me crazy thing is I didn’t want anything to be showing under the tank.

I finally dug up a couple of short pieces of steel angle that would fit between everything, that I could bolt to the frame. I welded on some substantial 1-1/2 in.² unistrut I had, not the flimsy stuff, basically making 6” x 12” and a 6” x 16” angle brackets.

The long one runs under the 2 feet of the tank. I cut it off at a 45° angle, so when you’re standing next to the truck, you can see the ear of the tank but you can’t see the bracket at all. The shorter one’s under the other end of the tank, and it deadends about the middle of the tank.

I’m going to use some half-inch banding that I bought on eBay, kind of like a giant hose clamp. I slotted the 2 x 2” tube that I used to make the truck bed frame, and I slotted the end of the short bracket. I’ll put a little ear off the other bracket, so the straps will hold it on top and the brackets to support the weight.

I’m still not sure I’m going to like it. I love the little tank in that spot, but I’m having a hell of a hard time with the stupid brackets.

I will not be defeated…

Pictures after I get it right, or I just may use the casket in a different way than I planned…
 

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
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Age
69
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
A little frustration in my earlier post, forgive me. I am convinced I have turned the corner with the latest brackets. It’s just a matter of buttoning it up now. That is the most time I spent on the smallest item during the whole project. And it’s still not finished, but it’s the last bigger thing before nationals.

I mentioned that I drilled and tapped the truck frame because it was so hard to get nuts on the backside. I took the practice brackets on and off so many times, that I was afraid I wore out the holes. So I re-tapped them to an M5, which is just a hair larger. I went into my metric box of bolts from the junkyard, and I cut off four flange head bolts to about 1 inch (probably grade 8 or close), beveled the end of the threads, and I cut a little notch in the tip so they’d thread smoothly. When I was finally satisfied with the brackets, I put E 6000 on the backside, covered the bolts with it, and torqued them in by hand. Strong as an oak!

Hopefully mounting the tank tomorrow. Air compressor is going to have to wait, as hot as it’s been, I think I’m going to focus on the air conditioner.
 
Last edited:

JoshT

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4WD
Hopefully mounting the tank tomorrow. Air compressor is going to have to wait, as hard as it’s been, I think I’m going to focus on the air conditioner.
Good idea! I'm currently having a mental debate if I'm going to drive the F-100 to work tomorrow for that very reason. No A/C, but I really need to get the front tires rebalanced since the weights fell off and it's currently my go-to truck. Alternatively, I'd quit being lazy and put the battery tender on the F-250.
 

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
2,737
Reaction score
4,579
Points
113
Age
69
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
Good idea! I'm currently having a mental debate if I'm going to drive the F-100 to work tomorrow for that very reason. No A/C, but I really need to get the front tires rebalanced since the weights fell off and it's currently my go-to truck. Alternatively, I'd quit being lazy and put the battery tender on the F-250.
I’ve been driving it for four years with no AC, and I have survived. Part of that is since I got Lincoln 2 1/2 years ago, he likes to ride with the windows open. all the Lincoln’s have cold AC, the good old technology that freezes your kneecaps off, but he doesn’t like them because when I step on the brakes, he slides off the leather seats. The F250 has ice cold air but I hardly do anything heavy duty anymore and I’m having a blast tooling around in these little Rangers. Today it wasn’t killer because the humidity was lower. Yesterday I was soaking wet all day.
 

JoshT

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4WD
I’ve been driving it for four years with no AC, and I have survived. Part of that is since I got Lincoln 2 1/2 years ago, he likes to ride with the windows open. all the Lincoln’s have cold AC, the good old technology that freezes your kneecaps off, but he doesn’t like them because when I step on the brakes, he slides off the leather seats. The F250 has ice cold air but I hardly do anything heavy duty anymore and I’m having a blast tooling around in these little Rangers. Today it wasn’t killer because the humidity was lower. Yesterday I was soaking wet all day.
Yeah that last part is the real issue. I park the truck in the shade at home and don't mind taking it for a drive on a hot day. Problem is that it'll be sitting in the parking lot at work, in the direct sunlight and closed up, all day. Leaving the windows down isn't really an option because we've had showers blow through around midday for the last few days. The trip home is an hour drive,with the windows up if it's raining, longer if I'm driving acrtoss town and stopping at the tire shop.
 

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
2,737
Reaction score
4,579
Points
113
Age
69
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
Yeah that last part is the real issue. I park the truck in the shade at home and don't mind taking it for a drive on a hot day. Problem is that it'll be sitting in the parking lot at work, in the direct sunlight and closed up, all day. Leaving the windows down isn't really an option because we've had showers blow through around midday for the last few days. The trip home is an hour drive,with the windows up if it's raining, longer if I'm driving acrtoss town and stopping at a local store Hmmmm the tire shop.
 

Attachments

JoshT

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Make / Model
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Engine Type
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Transmission
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2WD / 4WD
4WD
:icon_confused:

I should have said driving through town. Tire shop is between my house and work, actually on the more direct route, but it takes longer due to having to deal with crosstown traffic. ( Cue Jimmi Hendrix) Normal route is about 30 miles, but around a 45 minute trip.
 

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
2,737
Reaction score
4,579
Points
113
Age
69
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
:icon_confused:

I should have said driving through town. Tire shop is between my house and work, actually on the more direct route, but it takes longer due to having to deal with crosstown traffic. ( Cue Jimmi Hendrix) Normal route is about 30 miles, but around a 45 minute trip.
Haha, That last response last night wasn’t me, it was Mr. Ambien. I have no clue what that picture is. I’m usually out pretty quick. You should see some of the late night texts that he sends to sweet pea!
 
Last edited:

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
Joined
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2,737
Reaction score
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113
Age
69
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 double checked my brackets when I walked Lincoln at six this morning. I can stand on them, so I guess they’re going to be strong enough.
 

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
Joined
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Messages
2,737
Reaction score
4,579
Points
113
Age
69
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
Accomplish in days what used to take minutes…

I think I made the brackets for this air tank five different times. I’d make something I liked, but it wasn’t strong enough. I’d put on something strong enough, and even for me, it looked like something wrecked from outer space.

I finally took half of my free toolbox lid, which I was going to put over the tank, and I made a rectangular frame underneath it out of 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 unistrut, welded. I used two pieces of angle iron to bolt to the frame of the truck, and had two pieces of unistrut, sticking straight out from that angle, also welded. I bolted the toolbox lid and frame to those angle brackets,

I could stand on it easily. Part of the plan all along was to have some kind of a little step built into this thing so I could get up into the truck bed when the trailer was attached. The spare tire is in the way on the other side.

I cut the handle off the tank, and I redid the valving. I bolted the 2 feet through the toolbox lid and frame, and on the other end I just put a 2” x 3” piece of tire tread to level it out. When I put the two bolts through the legs, I drilled the holes for the back a little bit offset towards the center of the truck. That way, I bolted the front first, and when I tightened up the rear bolt, it’s not only pulled the tank down, it pulled it/wedged it under the 2 x 2 frame I made for the truck bed. It’s snug as a bug under an anvil.

IMG_2294.jpeg
IMG_2308.jpeg
IMG_2309.jpeg


I’m going to mount a fire extinguisher above those air fittings. I’m going to make a little fill in plate to cover the exhaust stack, even with the toolbox, and I’m debating whether I’m going to run a permanent airline from the compressor which will sit inside the toolbox. The fun never runs out…
 

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
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Age
69
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 was exhausted, and I napped after lunch after going to caffeine and octane. When I started to get some energy, the skies opened up, and we had heavy rain until midnight. So the Road Ranger just sat clogging up the driveway.

After work work, I waited until the temperature broke about 5:30, also high humidity today, to go out and take the trailer off the truck. For a few minutes I forgot how I did it so I could turn it around in the back.

AnyWho, it was the first time I used the pneumatic tires on the trailer legs. The jack legs are just regular trailer jacks that pivot 90° that I mounted with some angle iron, and an angle brace. The pneumatic tires worked like a dream, also facilitated by the fact that I figured out how to push the trailer around safely.

Although it sits level when it’s attached to the truck, when I jack it up the 5 or 6 inches it takes to take it loose, the jack legs are very extended and a little wobbly. Not a good thing with 1,000#, huh? One of my fears was those jack legs collapsing under the weight of the trailer while I tried to push the old hard wheels around on my bricks.

The swivel mount has a hole in both the top left and the top right when the leg is down. So the first thing I did was put a 3/8 inch bolt through the second hole to act like a “safety pin.“ The other thing I realized, after I pulled the truck out from underneath it, is to let the trailer down by pulling the wheels up a little bit so it better balance is on the two rear axles, and less leverage on the jack legs. I also made a lever contraption so I can turn the pneumatic tires in the direction I want to move before I start pushing.

I have to tell you I was a nervous Nellie until I did it today. It was actually quite easy to maneuver around with the pneumatic wheels. I was a very happy old man!

I finished the day by modifying a really nice heavy duty fire extinguisher mount that had come with the weatherguard box. It was designed to hold a 4 or 4 1/2 inch diameter cylinder, and my ancient CO2 cylinder was a little bit more than 5 1/2 inches. I had to bend the holding apparatus out a little bit, and then replace the 3/8 adjustment screw with a longer 3/8 carriage bolt. For the second time in the day, it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.

I’ll have pictures after I mount it.

I also experimented with polishing the diamond plate. The little air tank shelf was tarnished with age, and polished up very quickly. The discoloration spots on my diamond plate are from my own stupidity when I put a couple bags of concrete on top of them when they were sitting in the back of my F250. They sat there for a long time, and when moisture got in, the cement actually damaged the surface, and it didn’t polish up nearly as easily. I fooled around with a few different methods, and I think I have a path forward.

Three weeks to go until nationals, so I’m going to have to sharpen my pencil on my wish list….
 
Last edited:

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
Joined
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Messages
2,737
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4,579
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113
Age
69
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
If she’s too big to fit in the seat, she can sit on the box and hold onto these

IMG_2370.jpeg
IMG_2369.jpeg


Actually, I needed the one handle on the driver side so I can use the new air tank step to get up into the back of the truck when the trailer is attached. The one on the passenger side is just for show, but it also allows me to tie something on top of the box if I ever want to do that.

IMG_2371.jpeg


Does anybody recognize the handles? Yep, they’re from the doors down below a free gas grill I got (not the Jenn air for the ‘Raith). Guess where? Yep, Craigslist!

I positioned them so that when the box lid is up, they slide between the exhaust stack and the headache rack, so the lid will open all the way. On the inside, instead of just using a washer, I cut some very short pieces of aluminum angle and drilled them. They’re positioned so that when I pull on that handle to pull up my fat butt, it won’t bend the lid of the box.

& yeah, it wasn’t on the list. I started with like 35 items, I have done more than 40, and now I have 22 items. However, there’s only four or five things that will take a little time, and then there’s another six or seven that I really want to have done for the trip, and then there’s another six or seven that are just really on the wish list. I’m really glad I gave up the ‘Raith when I did, because now I’m not even going to get the whole list done…
 

Rick W

Lil Big Rig
Supporting Member
TRS Event Participant
TRS 25th Anniversary
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
2,737
Reaction score
4,579
Points
113
Age
69
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 called around to get the fire extinguisher filled today

@!”#%¥<€! Fire extinguishers services.

Although my tank was vessel tested and refilled in 2022, they no longer fill my style of tank with the flower pedal bottom.

IMG_2387.jpeg


That’s after I spent 15 minutes putting $.30 of Rustoleum on it, and taking another 15 minutes to modify the hanger bracket.

I have a line on another one, but it’s a little bigger, and I’m going to evaluate other ways to get it filled since it’s not really for fire fighting, it’s just eye candy on the Rig

I’ve had it forever, and it has had good service. It appeared at one bachelor party, it’s been a Halloween surprise three times, and it was the propulsion for a mock rocket ship for our city Christmas festival a few years ago. I’m
 
Last edited:

alwaysFlOoReD

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Fill it with Coca cola and have some Mentos attached on a string.
 

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