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Lof8
Lof8 Dork
6/24/15 10:11 p.m.

So, the lil Ranger has been getting all of the attention lately. After lowering the rear, I still wasn't happy with the stance, so off to ebay for some aluminum spacers to go under the front springs. These can be had for $40 with the necessary bolt extender for securing the bottom of the spring to the I-beam. After the lift, longer shocks are needed to maximize the down travel. The old ones were worn anyway, so some F-150 shocks went on at the same time. They fit perfect after drilling out the lower mounting eye slightly.

What that gives you is a 2" lift, but a front end that is severly out of alignment. The I-beam suspension is a bit tricky to align, some aftermarket camber bushings are needed to make it work and you have to find an alignment shop willing to fuss with them.

With the alignment this far out of wack, I could feel the poor 2.3 struggling to push the plowing front tires. But I found a shop through the local Facebook car-guy group that was willing to get me straight for $60! She rides much better now!

I removed the rear bumper, trimmed the lower rear corners of the bed, and poured in some fresh synthetic fluids. She seems pretty happy and I like the slightly nose-high stance.

I plan to put some spacers behind the front wheels and probably trim the front fenders a bit for a taller wheel well. I'd love to do some fiberglass fenders and a tube prerunner front bumper, but I don't think those items are very budget-friendly unless I can find a deal on some used ones. Trimming fenders and "pulling" the bed for a flared look are free though. I'm hoping to get her out in the woods for some trails, dirt, and mud this weekend! I'll probably throw the Rebel and mini bike in the bed too! :)

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
6/28/15 6:17 p.m.

The ranger took a beating in the dirt all day today without complaint at all. I let each of my buddies take it for a spin too...until the 10 minutes into the drive home. Turning into the highway on ramp, I couldn't pull the shifter out of 4th. It's stuck good. Limped her home another 30 miles stuck in 4th. What do you think? Possible easy fix? Or am I craigslisting for a new trans?

Suspension at full droop over the "jump"

Lof8
Lof8 Reader
6/29/15 8:57 p.m.

So heres where I'm at. I took the shift lever off and the round cover that gets you access to the "shift ball". I pulled that out and it gives a small window down into the trans. Everything looked ok and I easily popped it out of 4th into neutral. I thought to myself, "berkeley yeah, I'm a badass." I reassembled and moved it through the gears. stuck in 4th again, "berkeley."

I pulled it back apart and popped it out of 4th again. It seems to not like 4th. I assume this means a bent or worn shift fork. I guess I'll just keep slingin dirt and steer clear of 4th gear and keep my eyes open for a cheap trans.

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
7/2/15 7:59 p.m.

I pulled apart and rebuilt the shift ball part of the transmission with $12 in bushings and she is back in action! Whew! Glad I didn't have to mess with swapping a Bruce Jenner!

chiodos
chiodos HalfDork
7/5/15 8:51 p.m.

I come back to this thread to show my girlfriend your radass rebel and you one up yourself with your ranger, that thing is awesome! Never heard of bro-lite but that looks like your having way too much fun in the dirt your going to have to tone down the awesomeness haha

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
7/14/15 9:53 p.m.

So the Ranger has only had one real outing to this point. The open 3.45 differential left a lot to be desired. Trying to accelerate through the slick dirt to the lil jump really felt embarrassing. So I went to the local pick and pull in search of a limited slip with a better ratio. Out of about 35 Rangers between 2 different yards, I found not a single limited slip. The best ratio I found was a 4.10 and there were only 2 of those. So I took the better looking one home and found a local drifter dude who has some experience welding open diffs. He charged me $40 for his work. The truck should perform a lot better after I get this axle in. I'm also pumped to get it out to a rallycross event.

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
7/28/15 2:12 p.m.

I've got a few new photos to show. I went to Savannah for a work trip and checked out a couple of local tracks. The Hutchinson Island track is on public roads and is apparently used once a year for an event by HSR, but is otherwise left to rot the rest of the year. I also stopped by Roebling Road and saw a new Camaro doing some tire testing for Goodyear. The track was pretty neat and nestled right into a neighborhood.

We also made some chumpcar progress - got the seat mounted and cleaned up the wiring. "Cleaned up" just means we coiled up and zip tied all the excess length and unused connectors.

I also got the Ranger out in the dirt again. I'll be looking to swap in the welded 4.10 diff in the next week or so.

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
8/14/15 8:29 p.m.

We've made a lot of progress on the chumpcar lately and just got done loading it up for our first shakedown tomorrow. The event is an "Endurocross", same as an autocross, but each run consists of 4 laps of the course. Each driver gets 2 runs. All 4 of our chump drivers are going, so it should be a reasonable test. We still need fire suppression and a few small items to be chump legal but we're optimistic about the September race at Sebring!

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
8/20/15 2:29 p.m.

The autocross test run was mostly a success. We've determined our seat needs to go lower to keep our heads from resting on the roll bar. And one of our "monster miata" serviceable ball joints came free from of its home in the A arm and damaged itself. We should have had these welded in. We're going to replace them both with fresh stock units. Otherwise, quite successful. We're all excited and scrambling to finish things up for Sebring in September.

I got the welded 4.10 diff installed in the ranger with a paint job on the "pumpkin" :) the gear ratio is much better and the locked diff feels much more capable off road. I expected to be chirping and grinding tires on every turn but it's really only noticeable on real tight turns. Another success (so far)!

Also, drum brakes are a major pain in the ass with all the springs, cables, clips and crap to try to get in. These are the first I've dealt with.

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
8/30/15 6:48 p.m.

1 month to Sebring! We're signed up, no turning back now! Fire system and kill switch still to install, but my buddy's brewery sponsorship is locked in :) Fat Point Brewing. Check it out if you're ever in the Punta Gorda, FL area - delicious!

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
9/4/15 3:57 p.m.

Added a spare carrier and full sized spare to the truck.

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
9/5/15 2:57 p.m.

What ya doin? Miata stuff.

Pretty nicely balanced!

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
9/7/15 2:48 p.m.

Ranger slingin dirt!

Lof8
Lof8 HalfDork
9/7/15 9:30 p.m.

I've got the last 10 posts. Come on dudes. Say something good or bad!

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
9/21/15 11:18 a.m.

I did some rallycrossing in the Ranger over the weekend. So much fun! I don't have to slow for any dips, puddles, or other surface imperfections. Usually, at the FIRM events, the course is routed to use a very soft dirt area that becomes rutted and also a good sized jump. I was hoping to hit those areas full throttle in the Ranger but the course stayed mostly on the smooth gravel for this event. Toward the end of the day, I was having a real hard time finding 3rd gear. This thing may be in need of a trans rebuild or junkyard swap after all :(

The truck accelerates pretty slowly compared to my miata and most other rallycrossers, but the fun happens when not lifting for rough transitions, bumps, and puddles etc. I loved it! Tom and the GRM guys were out there in their Focus too but it looked like they were struggling with mechanical problems for most of the day.

dropstep
dropstep HalfDork
9/21/15 2:03 p.m.

4X4 rangers or exploders with the 8.8 is the only way to find a trac lok. Otherwise best use of a ranger ive seen in a while.

edizzle89
edizzle89 HalfDork
9/21/15 2:35 p.m.

so much win in one thread, keep on keepin' on my friend

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
9/22/15 5:35 p.m.
Lof8 wrote: I've got the last 10 posts. Come on dudes. Say something good or bad!

lol, I've been following but don't have much knowledge of most of your rides to add any comments to, lol (other than the e30, which you need no suggestions on!)

but I always wonder if anyone is reading my threads too....seems like I'm talking to myself a lot :)

Petrolburner
Petrolburner HalfDork
9/22/15 10:33 p.m.
Lof8 wrote: I've got the last 10 posts. Come on dudes. Say something good or bad!

Same thing in my build threads, I guess I need more photos of my Corvette pulling my camper through the snow.

1, I love the pumpkin, 2, the Ranger looks awesome, 3, the Rebel looks awesome, I'd love to race my Cub at the Woodsman cup but I live on the other coast, 4, that boat looks perfect for Florida. I used to live in Vero Beach and the first thing I did after getting a job and a place to live was buy a 14 ft center console flats boat. Didn't catch as many fish as I would have liked but I always caught a buzz.

Lof8
Lof8 HalfDork
9/23/15 7:49 a.m.

Thanks for the support Irish and Petrol! :) I follow both of your threads also. The boat really is a ton of fun! Its quite simple with minimal systems to try to maintain. However, i just had to order a new set of marine speakers to replace the crumbling units on the boat. Gotta have some tunes, man!

obrut
obrut None
9/23/15 7:58 a.m.

Wow, wtf I need to move to FL looks like fun

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Editorial Assistant
9/23/15 9:26 a.m.

Found a couple photos of the Ranger at the FIRM rallycross last weekend.

Lof8
Lof8 HalfDork
9/23/15 10:37 a.m.

Thanks Ed! Look at that body roll, lol! The front sway bar is removed to help with smoother suspension travel and absorbing large bumps, but the body roll is the obvious drawback.

java230
java230 Reader
9/23/15 10:55 a.m.

Makes me want to go rallycross my truck!

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
9/23/15 9:40 p.m.

We are getting close! The excitement level is getting high!

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