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What did you do to your Ranger today? (Part Deux!)


lil_Blue_Ford

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Oh wise ones, how do you….

97 Ranger 4.0 2WD.Radius arm bushing

A: I looked at the videos on line, and a guy in a professional mechanics uniform, in a very nice commercial looking shop, had great detail on how to change the bushing by completely removing the radius arm.

B: Then there was a shorter video, with a guy who looked like me in a grassy worn out T shirt, who let the pressure off the spring, removed the shock at the bottom, and then used a ratchet strap to pull the whole assembly forward so the radius arm would clear the hole.

I’m a pretty good turn wrench, but I’ve never done this before, but I’m not above cutting a corner or two (as long as I don’t scratch my Rustoleum).

Am I OK doing procedure B?

I’m good at turning wrenches, but please fill me in on the pros and cons on what to do and not to do so the spring doesn’t knock my feeble head off.

Please also let me know how this might affect my alignment…
So, option B can technically be done. I have done it. However it’s a little sketchy and often you end up having to loosen the bolt for spring and to be really honest, not only is option A safer, it’s actually easier. Also gives you the opportunity to check and/or replace the axle pivot bushings when you do that.

I don’t particularly like doing it either way. I’m lazy. Fortunately for me, supposedly ride quality on the TIB/TTB suspension, as well as articulation (suspension flex, and this is the well known and proven part, ride quality I’m not entirely sure on if it’s in stock form), can be improved by doing extended radius arms. I like using Ballistic Fab‘s Ballistic Joints and some 2”x2”x.250” tube for building them. Greaseable, adjustable, rebuildable joints. Much easier to deal with.

Alignment shouldn’t be significantly tweaked unless everything was in really bad shape when it was last aligned, but if that was the case, the shop should have told you about needing to fix that stuff before it gets aligned.
 


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
So, option B can technically be done. I have done it. However it’s a little sketchy and often you end up having to loosen the bolt for spring and to be really honest, not only is option A safer, it’s actually easier. Also gives you the opportunity to check and/or replace the axle pivot bushings when you do that.

I don’t particularly like doing it either way. I’m lazy. Fortunately for me, supposedly ride quality on the TIB/TTB suspension, as well as articulation (suspension flex, and this is the well known and proven part, ride quality I’m not entirely sure on if it’s in stock form), can be improved by doing extended radius arms. I like using Ballistic Fab‘s Ballistic Joints and some 2”x2”x.250” tube for building them. Greaseable, adjustable, rebuildable joints. Much easier to deal with.

Alignment shouldn’t be significantly tweaked unless everything was in really bad shape when it was last aligned, but if that was the case, the shop should have told you about needing to fix that stuff before it gets aligned.
THANK YOU! And thank you twice for the quick response.

The least expensive set of bushings is at Napa for $15. I ordered them and I’ll pick them up in the morning. As regards the longer arms and such, I don’t really like to alter my vehicles from original…

I’ll probably jack it up and pull the wheel and decide which method I’m using as I go…
 

Rick W

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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
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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
And, BTW, after 69 years, I have grown attached all 10 of my fingers and the part of my head above the ears. I’ll go slow, and the second I don’t like it, I’ll pack it all up and take it to the shop.

Thanks again
 

scotts90ranger

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And just FYI, I took the wheel bearings apart on the passenger side of the Road Ranger floating axle. While thete were no leaks, and everything looked pretty good, my suspicion was it was all at the last minute of its life.

When I inspected the spindle (remember this was a salvaged axle), it looked like there was surface rust where the seal would sit. No doubt that’s what killed the other side last year.

I used the oscillating sander and a drill drum sander to remove the rust, I did it until I could not feel anything catch on my fingernail if I lightly scraped it along where the seal would sit. Then I wire brushed it and used the emery paper and checked it again.

The new seal has a double lip, and is spring loaded on the inner lip (inner to the bearing housing), and both lips ride in a different place than the old seal.

I used a new bearing I found for the inside, and went in my junk pile and cleaned up three of the outside bearings and used the best one. Driver side, like 8 1/2 hours. Lessons learned and no damage, passenger side, 45 minutes.

I checked the right front wheel bearing, all was good there, driver side was new from last year

When I got this piece of junk, the transmission crossmember bushings were completely gone. No new crossmember was available. I had a 93 donors truck, rubber bushings were bad, but it wasn’t worn out and banged up like the one that came with the truck. I got some big rubber bushings and basically fabricated my own assembly a year ago, maybe two, and there was nothing wrong with that when I pulled it down today.

Here’s a question: the holes that the bolt goes through on each side were oblong, but it didn’t look like wear, it looked like they were made that way. On the passenger side, the oblong hole was a little bit hollowed out from wear. Are they supposed to be oblong holes or is that from 316,000 miles?

My options were to drill the holes bigger, but then I would’ve had to redo the entire bushing assembly and each end of the crossmember. I cut a piece of 1/8 inch flat stock in a rectangle that would cover the entire oblong whole after drilling a hole in it the exact size of the mounting bolt, so you actually had to thread the mounting bolt through that Aluminum shim. Then I used a 24 inch breaker bar to tighten the bolts, so the aluminum would extrude into the oblong hall.

BTW, this aluminum shim trick has been used before on other machinery, and while I was inspecting the crossmember is when I realized the knock I have is the radius arm bushing.

I’m going to drive it and see if that is the solution for the crossmember. After I do the radius arm bushings, if it starts rattling again, I’ll drill out the mounting flanges bigger, and use a bigger bolt, with different bushings, and a bushing sleeve.

As always, please tell me where I’m going nuts (on this item).

I also finally painted the inside of the double fenders over the rear axles.

Three things off the list, one added.
I would do a combo of both myself, while at ride height take a sway bar bolt out on the side you're working on, either end of the link at the axle, take the bottom shock bolt off, jack by the frame until the load is off the spring (maybe take a long extension on your 1 1/8" socket to loosen that from the top first... you can just take that nut off at this time), when you jack it up at that point there is zero risk of the spring hurting you as the suspension has enough travel to get the spring out. Once the spring is out get a jack stand under that side frame rail somewhere for safety, get the rear nut off the radius arm, if you're lucky the geometry is good enough to weasel the radius arm stud out of the stock bracket but you're probably not that lucky. If you aren't that lucky the easy thing to do is just pull out the pivot bolt then the axle will be floppy enough to change the bushing and reassemble... The suspension is really simple, the problem is they rivet the radius arm crossmember to the frame (but bolt it together in the middle for whatever reason), if it's ever been changed it would be bolted in and then just take off that side of the crossmember...
 

scotts90ranger

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Tire Size
35"
And, BTW, after 69 years, I have grown attached all 10 of my fingers and the part of my head above the ears. I’ll go slow, and the second I don’t like it, I’ll pack it all up and take it to the shop.

Thanks again
Conveniently with the beam suspension there is very little danger compared to the chevy suspension that has preload on the springs, or even struts, the springs on TIB suspension just falls out once the bottom nut is removed
 

superj

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Cj and yj, just fyi. Not And xj. Otherwise your search might not find it
 

Rick W

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Make / Model
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Engine Size
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2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
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N/A
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235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
Why didn’t anybody warn me about the hazards of the workstation when you’re pulling on that 1-1/8 inch wrench with all your might?

IMG_2179.jpeg


Job is done, but I haven’t gone on a test drive yet. I used option B. After unbolting the sway bar and the shock, I tried to commit suicide while I was taking the spring nut off. Fortunately, I just tumbled and didn’t get hurt. That was an almost brand new folding chair. I got one of the beat up ones that I’ve had for 30 years, and I used an 18 inch pipe wrench at the end of the box wrench to crack the nut lose.

With the spring out, I used two 500 pound ratchet straps to pull the assembly forward enough to get it out of the bushing hole. I had to push it all the way down, and then use granddaddy’s crowbar to finally pop the radius arm free.

IMG_2178.jpeg


You almost can’t tell which one is the new one and which one is the old one, huh?

Actually, getting it back together was harder than taking it apart. I actually had to use a third ratchet strap to pull the assembly towards the rear enough to get the pieces together and put the nut on. It was a piece of cake after that.

The first two ratchet straps were casualties along with the chair. I was using a pair of channel locks to crank them. One bent so bad that I actually had to cut the strap on the ratchet side to get it off. I was able to get the other one off, but the ratchet is ruined.

And the dryer for the AC came in today, so that may be the next step.
 

Rick W

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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
No test drive tonight.

Does anyone know where I can get this style wheel weight?

IMG_2172.jpeg
 

JoshT

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@Rick W Ya got it done, that's what matters. Personally I think I would have gone route A, and installed a set of dream beams at the same time. That's just my thing though.

As for the wheel weight, I think ACE, Lowes, and Home Depot all carry those. You might even get lucky and find some at Walmart, or on your local FBMP.


Today I got the suspension buttoned back up for now. In the last coupl eof weeks I've installed drop torsion keys and new lower ball joints. Removed the Explorer springs, and extended shackles in favor of stock Ranger leafs and shackles W/O lift block. Installed 1" BII rear anti-sway bar, and Explorer 1 3/8" front anti-sway bar. Stock bars were about 5/8" on the rear and 1 1/16 on the front. I'm sure they are actually metric, but I don't have a metric tape measure and wasn't looking for the calipers.

IMG_20240616_175231202.jpg


Headed in the right direction, but not entirely satisfied with the outcome. Close to what I want but not quite there. I like the front height and wouldn't mind being a little lower, but the camber is excessive. With the adjusters moved as much as possible I think I've still got about -4° of camber. With that front height I'd like to drop the rear down a little more to match, but I might have to lift the front back up to get the camber manageable. It's on a 29" tire there, I'd like to drop to a 27 or 28 eventually without a big fender gap. Height might even be right for that now, but the excessive camber is throwing off how it looks IMO.

Still need to pull and change joints in the upper arms and I'm going to try another trick to help with camber and ball joint angle when I do. Unfortunately, I can't remove the passenger side upper arm with the engine in due to the camber bolts hitting the shock tower and exhaust header. So when the engine comes out (hopefully only a few weeks off) I'll do that work and see what happens. If necessary I'll crank the front end back up some and maybe run a taller tire until custom parts become available.

Need to get an eraser wheel and get rid of that 4x4 sticker before I get it back out on the road too much.
 

Rick W

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Make / Model
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Engine Type
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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
@Rick W Ya got it done, that's what matters. Personally I think I would have gone route A, and installed a set of dream beams at the same time. That's just my thing though.

As for the wheel weight, I think ACE, Lowes, and Home Depot all carry those. You might even get lucky and find some at Walmart, or on your local FBMP.


Today I got the suspension buttoned back up for now. In the last coupl eof weeks I've installed drop torsion keys and new lower ball joints. Removed the Explorer springs, and extended shackles in favor of stock Ranger leafs and shackles W/O lift block. Installed 1" BII rear anti-sway bar, and Explorer 1 3/8" front anti-sway bar. Stock bars were about 5/8" on the rear and 1 1/16 on the front. I'm sure they are actually metric, but I don't have a metric tape measure and wasn't looking for the calipers.

View attachment 112297

Headed in the right direction, but not entirely satisfied with the outcome. Close to what I want but not quite there. I like the front height and wouldn't mind being a little lower, but the camber is excessive. With the adjusters moved as much as possible I think I've still got about -4° of camber. With that front height I'd like to drop the rear down a little more to match, but I might have to lift the front back up to get the camber manageable. It's on a 29" tire there, I'd like to drop to a 27 or 28 eventually without a big fender gap. Height might even be right for that now, but the excessive camber is throwing off how it looks IMO.

Still need to pull and change joints in the upper arms and I'm going to try another trick to help with camber and ball joint angle when I do. Unfortunately, I can't remove the passenger side upper arm with the engine in due to the camber bolts hitting the shock tower and exhaust header. So when the engine comes out (hopefully only a few weeks off) I'll do that work and see what happens. If necessary I'll crank the front end back up some and maybe run a taller tire until custom parts become available.

Need to get an eraser wheel and get rid of that 4x4 sticker before I get it back out on the road too much.
No worries, I have plenty in the shed of miracles!

On your project, something I know too well, they are never done. I actually like the “doing” more than I like the “owning.”

And keep this in mind, nobody is ever going to look at it as close as you do when you’re doing something. 4 degrees? I think some of my stuff is out by inches…

It’s looking good to me!
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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Rick W

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97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
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My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
That's not a wheel weight, that's the warning ticker for worn out tires...
They actually have a lot of tread left. I hesitated to post the picture because it looks like they’re worn out, camera angle/optics.
 

Ramcharger90

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lil_Blue_Ford

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@Rick W Ya got it done, that's what matters. Personally I think I would have gone route A, and installed a set of dream beams at the same time. That's just my thing though.

As for the wheel weight, I think ACE, Lowes, and Home Depot all carry those. You might even get lucky and find some at Walmart, or on your local FBMP.


Today I got the suspension buttoned back up for now. In the last coupl eof weeks I've installed drop torsion keys and new lower ball joints. Removed the Explorer springs, and extended shackles in favor of stock Ranger leafs and shackles W/O lift block. Installed 1" BII rear anti-sway bar, and Explorer 1 3/8" front anti-sway bar. Stock bars were about 5/8" on the rear and 1 1/16 on the front. I'm sure they are actually metric, but I don't have a metric tape measure and wasn't looking for the calipers.

View attachment 112297

Headed in the right direction, but not entirely satisfied with the outcome. Close to what I want but not quite there. I like the front height and wouldn't mind being a little lower, but the camber is excessive. With the adjusters moved as much as possible I think I've still got about -4° of camber. With that front height I'd like to drop the rear down a little more to match, but I might have to lift the front back up to get the camber manageable. It's on a 29" tire there, I'd like to drop to a 27 or 28 eventually without a big fender gap. Height might even be right for that now, but the excessive camber is throwing off how it looks IMO.

Still need to pull and change joints in the upper arms and I'm going to try another trick to help with camber and ball joint angle when I do. Unfortunately, I can't remove the passenger side upper arm with the engine in due to the camber bolts hitting the shock tower and exhaust header. So when the engine comes out (hopefully only a few weeks off) I'll do that work and see what happens. If necessary I'll crank the front end back up some and maybe run a taller tire until custom parts become available.

Need to get an eraser wheel and get rid of that 4x4 sticker before I get it back out on the road too much.
Keep me posted on how things go. I’ve been forced to just drive my Ranger as is for now because everything else is currently broke. I left the 4x4 sticker on mine for now, but I’m straight up trolling with the aluminum cap and all so it looks like a worn out Ranger instead of a sleeper. My plan is to run a wider 29” tire at this point, I need some ground clearance, lol
 

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