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Old Yesterday, 10:40 AM   #21
85_Ranger4x4
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Originally Posted by adsm08 View Post
85's description of the work involved is incomplete, and most people consider it too much trouble, but it is MUCH less involved than what you are proposing because at least the frame rails are the same and all the correct holes are there already. That can't be said of the SLA frames.
What did I miss for future reference?

You ought to make a tech article on this so we could just drop the link and let it explain itself.
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Old Yesterday, 10:53 AM   #22
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First off let me thank everyone for their advice!
Especially this time around.

I knew that my last post would not sit great with everyone. Like, I guess it seems I am just complaining about the answers I get. But no one replied in a bad way to it and I appreciate the input.

Now I have decided I want to do a frame swap. I will look around for one that works well.
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Old Yesterday, 11:49 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by 85_Ranger4x4 View Post
What did I miss for future reference?

You ought to make a tech article on this so we could just drop the link and let it explain itself.
The engine must be removed. The front axle should be removed, but probably isn't 100% needed. Same with the cab, or at least the front clip (I've done removed the cross member both ways, guess which I prefer).

Now we get into the fun stuff.

The engine cross member is not only riveted to the frame, it is welded inside the channel as well. There are 6 welds and, IIRC 8 rivets, holding it in. There is a weld at the fore, top and aft of each side that must be cut out. There are rivets top and bottom as well, the bottom ones being shared with the coil buckets, which do no need to be removed, but if you have a hole behind one, which is common on the passenger side, this is the time to fix it.

But the best part is on the driver's side. The Rangers have a reinforcing bracket that I never noticed on an F-series, but then I never noticed this one either until I had to take it off. It sits on the in-board side of the frame and goes around the outside of the rails, and is welded on, about 18" long welds top and bottom. It must be removed because it blocks access to two of the welds that hold the engine cross member to the driver's side rail.



Now I know I said most people consider this to be more work than it is worth, and it is a lot of work, but I think I first saw that characterization from from AllanD. With my tool set (air grinder, torch, and pry-bar with striking cap), having already tore down my 2wd donor frame for sanding and painting, I was able to go from driving the 4x4 truck into the garage under it's own power to having that cross member out and the husk of the truck (because that's what it is by that point) back out next to the garage in a little under 3.5 hours.
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Old Yesterday, 11:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Byronator View Post
First off let me thank everyone for their advice!
Especially this time around.

I knew that my last post would not sit great with everyone. Like, I guess it seems I am just complaining about the answers I get. But no one replied in a bad way to it and I appreciate the input.

Now I have decided I want to do a frame swap. I will look around for one that works well.
I'm glad you've seen the light. Like I said, I did an enourmous amount of work, pouring many more many hours than it was worth into restoring a truck that had a lot of sentimental value, that is now less than 90% the same truck I started with, so I know how this goes, and I want to see you succeed.

You will a 98 or up frame with the same cab configuration as your current truck. Matching bed length is less important as in 98 the rear of the frame became modular and so if you end up with the wrong bed length you can cut out a few rivets from both frames and use the rear portion of your existing one to get the correct bed length/wheel base.
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Old Yesterday, 11:58 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by adsm08 View Post
The engine must be removed. The front axle should be removed, but probably isn't 100% needed. Same with the cab, or at least the front clip (I've done removed the cross member both ways, guess which I prefer).

Now we get into the fun stuff.

The engine cross member is not only riveted to the frame, it is welded inside the channel as well. There are 6 welds and, IIRC 8 rivets, holding it in. There is a weld at the fore, top and aft of each side that must be cut out. There are rivets top and bottom as well, the bottom ones being shared with the coil buckets, which do no need to be removed, but if you have a hole behind one, which is common on the passenger side, this is the time to fix it.

But the best part is on the driver's side. The Rangers have a reinforcing bracket that I never noticed on an F-series, but then I never noticed this one either until I had to take it off. It sits on the in-board side of the frame and goes around the outside of the rails, and is welded on, about 18" long welds top and bottom. It must be removed because it blocks access to two of the welds that hold the engine cross member to the driver's side rail.



Now I know I said most people consider this to be more work than it is worth, and it is a lot of work, but I think I first saw that characterization from from AllanD. With my tool set (air grinder, torch, and pry-bar with striking cap), having already tore down my 2wd donor frame for sanding and painting, I was able to go from driving the 4x4 truck into the garage under it's own power to having that cross member out and the husk of the truck (because that's what it is by that point) back out next to the garage in a little under 3.5 hours.
I'm glad I found a similar '97 donor for mine. I only had to patch a small hole by the gas tank where a brake line had rotted out and ate away at the bottom rail. I just cleaned mine up (the rest was hardly rusty at all) sealed the rust and bedlined it. I intend on driving mine, maybe in however many years I'll "restore" it, as it will be a classic at that point. But really being in the heart of the rust belt, no matter what you do, it'll return from whence it came.

I was just thinking a couple weeks ago I should start a thread on it. I'll hopefully have a 4wd related Tech Article to add shortly here too if everything goes back together like I think it will.
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Old Yesterday, 12:20 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Captain Ledd View Post
I'm glad I found a similar '97 donor for mine. I only had to patch a small hole by the gas tank where a brake line had rotted out and ate away at the bottom rail. I just cleaned mine up (the rest was hardly rusty at all) sealed the rust and bedlined it. I intend on driving mine, maybe in however many years I'll "restore" it, as it will be a classic at that point. But really being in the heart of the rust belt, no matter what you do, it'll return from whence it came.

I was just thinking a couple weeks ago I should start a thread on it. I'll hopefully have a 4wd related Tech Article to add shortly here too if everything goes back together like I think it will.
I looked long and hard, for two years. Looked here, looked there, looked in Georgia, and all I found in supercabs was either too expensive, too new, too rotten, or two wheel drive. I eventually settled on a very nice, nearly rust free 2wd in my home town, that I bought, towed 45 home to where I was living, got running, drove for a month, and then ended up moving back and now live less than 3 miles from the guy I bought it from.
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Old Yesterday, 02:26 PM   #27
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So anything after 98? I was going to look for 98-01.
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Old Yesterday, 02:43 PM   #28
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So anything after 98? I was going to look for 98-01.
Pretty much. 98 to 01 is going to be the easiest. Going later may or may not require using the front bumper that matches that frame, which in turn may or may not result in a slight mismatch between bumper and body.
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Old Yesterday, 06:15 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Byronator View Post
First off let me thank everyone for their advice!
Especially this time around.

Now I have decided I want to do a frame swap. I will look around for one that works well.
You're not the 1st and won't be the last not to like bad news.

So, some assistance in your search:

Terms RC - Regular Cab, SC - SuperCab, SB -short bed and LB - Long Bed

Frame:
The '98+ frame is modular; it split front and rear just behind the cab. There are 16 rivets holding the 2 pieces together.

Ford made 6 front sections - 3 coil sprung (RCSB, RCLB and SCSB), and 3 torsion bar (RCSB, RCLB and SCSB). The difference between the RCSB and RCSB is the frame rails are 6" longer on the LB frame. The difference between an Edge (2wd with Torsion bars and 4WD), is a bracket to mount the front axle to. The LB front frame can easily be shortened to SB length (few minutes with sawzall, drill) Then you would need 8 - 1/2" bolts and 8 - 7/16" bolts to reconnect a SB rear section. Getting the bracket from a 4wd and welding into Edge frame is next level more involve (no longer strictly bolt up). Extending a SC or SB frame for a LB is more involved - you need to weld on a 6" extension (and some "fish plates" to ensure strength).

and 2 rear sections: LB and SB. The LB being 6" longer behind the rear wheels.

Short answer: Any year from 1998-2011 Ranger 4x4 or Edge RC frame can be used as starting point for 4x4. Technically, you only need the front 1/2. If you get an Edge, you will need front spindles.

Front Axle:
Ideally, you get one with same ratio as the rear, otherwise, you need a matching rear.
'98 - mid '00 have vacuum hubs for which you would either a. have to plumb in all the associated vacuum controls or b. convert to manual locking.
mid' '00 - '11 and Explorer '96-'01 have full time hubs.

Aside: Edge + V-8 Explorer = all parts to make 5.0 Ranger 4x4.

Note: '04+ and Explorer spindles have larger brakes. (12.0" vs 11.26")

Rear Axle:
9 chances out of 10 your will want the lift blocks and u-bolts off a 4x4. You can lower the front to run without, but rarely do people do that.

Transmission/Transfer Case:
I'm a wimp, getting transmission/transfer case out of 4x4 as combination is the easy solution. Ideally you are matching manual with manual or auto with Auto.

You can pull the rear housing/output shaft from an existing 4x4 transmission to mate up with transfer case, but for an automatic I would only do that if I was rebuilding the transmission as you start from the front to get to the output shafts.

Transfer case - >90% of what you find will be electronic shift. A manual shift is sooo much easier. Get the wiring in either case.

Cab:
If you get electronic shift transfer case and want it to shift from dash, you will need to rewire the dash to install the 4x4 GEMS. At this point you basically HAVE 2 HAVE a '99-'00 dash to work from, with same engine, same transmission, same drive, same options - e.g. a/c, power window, etc.

I've probably missed a couple, but those are the highlights.

I've restored 10 damaged '98 -'00 Rangers to working condition (out of 12 + 2 Explorers); 6 are still in extended family hands. Closest to what you are doing that I have done is the Edge to 4x4 + V-8.

I've assisted with SAS of coil Ranger - but that truck wound up lifted 8"+ to get clearance/larger tires, and wasn't exactly as daily driver after - fun truck though.
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