USCGC130’s 1997 Ford Ranger Adventure Truck

Two things I really love are older Ford Rangers and adventure travel. When I saw this 1997 Ford Ranger 4×4 being built by forum member ‘USCGC130’ it quickly captured my attention. After following the build for a while, I sent him a message and asked if he could send me some photos and a list of modifications so I could featured it here on the front page.

Below is the information that he sent me;

“When I decided I wanted to build a little adventure truck I started looking at older Toyotas like most, after realizing they are apparently made of gold I switched over to looking at more budget friendly options, in the meantime I did a 3 week off-road motorcycle trip down the Baja peninsula and kept seeing rangers and explorers EVERYWHERE and that’s when it hit me to start looking at rangers. Low and behold a bit of research showed me how capable these little trucks can be plus there are parts all over for them including even the rugged and secluded depths of Baja! So I started looking for a ’95-’97 supercab ranger with the 4.0L and of course 4×4. I am living in California but originally from Washington so I looked in both places, I ended up finding a pretty clean ’97 with the 4.0L and automatic in Seattle. It drove fine but like many 5R55E transmissions, reverse was GONE and I hoped I could fix it, but if not I would just replace the transmission. I had my dad check it out and snag it for me and I flew up and drove it back down to California. After digging into the reverse issue I found the broken reverse band and knew it was a full tranny replacement, so I ordered an upgraded remanufactured one and replaced it myself. Now that it was drivable in all directions it was time to start modifying! So since then I have completed the following…”


  • 1997 Ford Ranger Supercab 4×4
  • 4.0L V6 & 5R55E Automatic
  • Dana 35 TTB Front
  • Ford 8.8-Inch Rear


  • Remanufactured transmission
  • Built a custom center console with retractable chargers and a powered Garmin mount
  • Put in a Sport Trac vinyl floor and ditched the old nasty carpet
  • Also robbed the 1-piece drive shaft from the Sport Trac
  • Added a 10″ woofer in a custom box where the driver side jump seat went
  • Built a custom bed rack for my CVT rooftop tent which now mounts a mini light bar, kayak paddles, MAXTRAX and a shovel and axe
  • Skyjacker 6-inch lift (got 4.5-inches of lift on the supercab. I added washer spacers but took them out because it squatted when loaded down)
  • Skyjacker extreme drop pitman arm
  • Skyjacker extended radius arms
  • Skyjacker soft ride 6-inch lift rear springs with Kartek rear hanger flip and drop hangers to make up for the lift I loss doing the flip
  • Camburg shackles
  • Upgraded my rear U-bolts to 5/8″
  • Skyjacker M95 shocks
  • Longer brake lines
  • Front Dana 35 differential got an Aussie locker (rear has stock limited slip)
  • WARN manual hubs
  • Upgraded every U-joint on the truck and did the full C-clip mod on the front axle joints
  • C-clip eliminator mod with lawn mower spring
  • ALL new front brakes
  • New wheel bearings
  • Painted all the trim black and the wheels gold
  • Wired in a hidden kill switch for some extra security
  • 33×10.5×15 BFGoodrich K02’s
  • Made a spare tire carrier to hold it vertically which maximizes bed space
  • Had to modify a hitch receiver to fit because of the rear hangers being drop hangers
  • Added front tow hooks
  • Mounted a big storage tote in the back seat area with a top platform for storage and my dogs
  • Very soon to be ordered it the new ruffstuff DIY rock slider kit

Seeing this Ranger makes me want to throw my camping gear in my truck and ‘social distance’ for a while. I can’t wait to see what other modifications and adventures are in store for this Ranger.


Check out USCGC130’s 1997 Ford Ranger 4×4 Trail Truck Build Thread for even more photos and details!

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As a Ford Ranger enthusiast who enjoys modifying my Ford Rangers for off-road use, I quickly discovered that there wasn’t any websites dedicated to the subject. So in 1999, I created What started as my own personal desire to help other Ford Ranger owners, has grown into a wealth of online information from numerous contributors. 20-years later, my commitment to the Ford Ranger, and the Ford Ranger community, is as strong as ever.

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