First Ranger, probably not my last


Mdarius

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Hello! I'm a long time Land Cruiser owner, but I'm not a bigot! ;) I just picked up a 2000 Ranger for my son in college and I'm trying to learn about it's very different engineering.
32841

I do a lot of wrenching myself. I'd say I can take stuff apart and put it back together decently, and I usually break something, but in the end it's better than it started.

My buddy in college had a Ranger from the 80's that we beat the tar out of and it went everywhere. We loved that truck. I'm looking forward to my son making some bad decisions of his own in this one. He's learning to wrench, but still doesn't know the basics of knowing there's something wrong before it outright breaks.

This is a 3.0 Manual. The top end was just rebuilt. There's a funny whistle during acceleration (Intake?) and a terrible shake at 70MPH. The blower fan only works on high (I think I found the thread about this one. Thanks to the forum already!) and the AC doesn't blow cold. Otherwise, it seems to be in pretty good condition for a $2,600 vehicle with 156,000 miles.

My kids were raised in Land Cruisers. We put a lot of back country miles on our vehicles and do some pretty stupid fun stuff off road. My kids and wife don't know how to drive a vehicle with less than 8 inches of clearance, so a truck is the only option here. (Note the bumper on the Honda Accord that is falling off and bashed in the corner.)

Future plans:
1. Take care of any outstanding mechanical issues and prep it for college life in Logan, UT.
2. Baseline fluids for a fresh start
3. Small, cheap lift. Hopefully fit 33's under it. It currently has 245/75/16 Hercules mild AT's on it. I'm used to under $1,000 for 3.5 inches on the Land Cruisers with just springs and shocks. I'd be happy with about 2" on this one. I've been reading but I'm not sure what I can get without changing the geometry significantly and adding wear to critical components. It sounds like maybe a slight torsion bar twist and 2" drop shackles? I've never twisted a torsion bar before.
4. My approach is to drive it where I want to go. If something doesn't work well, that's my next upgrade. I anticipate skid plates, rock sliders, and lift should just about do it. If it doesn't, he can ride shotgun in my Cruiser.

I'll be lurking around trying to learn about these trucks. I'm particularly interested in learning about the suspension design, maintenance, and repair. Anything else that is "regular" or known maintenance/wear issues that may not be in the owner's manual, etc.

If things go well I may just become a Ranger guy as well as a Land Cruiser guy. So far, so good! I'm looking forward to being a part of the forum.
 


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Mdarius

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This is my son's current vehicle: a '92 Land Cruiser. At 12MPG vs. 18MPG plus, the Ranger is a real upgrade for his lifestyle.
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Mdarius

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This is the family daily driver and adventure rig. 3X locked, 3" lift on 33's, ARB bumper.234,000 miles.
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Mdarius

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This is what I sold to get the Ranger. (We kept the dog.) It's an '84 FJ60 Land Cruiser. We added a winch after we got stuck in this mud pit. 3 of the 4 vehicles in the picture were stuck. Lockers are great!
32844
 

Oxxon

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Hello and welcome to TRS!!
 

Biggfoot44

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Welcome !


The 3.0 L engine has its virtues , but is the opposite of a torque monster . Switching from 245/ 75 to 33's is a big change in rolling radius, and hence effective overall gear ratio . It will give a noticeable apparent loss of power unless you re-gear . How far do you want to leap down the slippery slope ? ( Plan B would be comparatively more aggressive tires of 29-30 inches with stock gears .)
 

Mdarius

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Well, it turns out the tires that were on it were scalloped so bad I had to get new tires. I went with 265/70R16 (30.6 inches I think) Toyo AT2's. So, no slippery slope for now. Based on Biggfoot44's comment and some other threads I've been reading, I think the best future for this truck is make it mechanically the best it can be and go the "it is what it is" route.

I did take it on a slippery slope up the mountain from my house after getting the new tires and it did miserably. The 4WD light comes on and it went into low gear, but I'm pretty sure the front end didn't engage. I've read about some common issues with that, so I'll start the diagnostic processes this weekend. Hopefully it's just a dirty/aged connector. It looks like the truck had sat unused for quite some time .
 

Josh B

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This is what I sold to get the Ranger. (We kept the dog.) It's an '84 FJ60 Land Cruiser. We added a winch after we got stuck in this mud pit. 3 of the 4 vehicles in the picture were stuck. Lockers are great!
View attachment 32844
I couldn't get em take my dog either ;)
Welcome to TRS man, best of luck with your project, and I hope you son enjoys it
 

projectRanger93

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I did take it on a slippery slope up the mountain from my house after getting the new tires and it did miserably. The 4WD light comes on and it went into low gear, but I'm pretty sure the front end didn't engage. I've read about some common issues with that, so I'll start the diagnostic processes this weekend. Hopefully it's just a dirty/aged connector. It looks like the truck had sat unused for quite some time .
I'm assuming it's auto 4x4? Either the electric motor for the transfer case isn't working, or there's an issue with the auto hubs. Seems like there's always issues with those automatics.
 

Josh B

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I'm assuming it's auto 4x4? Either the electric motor for the transfer case isn't working, or there's an issue with the auto hubs. Seems like there's always issues with those automatics.
I've never had any, although I rarely use it, it's always been there when I did.
I also just got a 96 Explorer with the same options, although it has some tranny issues I'm looking to resolve. After I bought it and backed it out the driveway to load it on a trailer, as it started to climb the rather steep ramp I switched in motion into 4, and 4 low and it pulled right on up, no high engine revs, slipping traction or anything.
The auto may not be as rugged for every day use and rock climbing, but for those of us who just appreciate its usefulness in the occasional mudhole, hunting/fishing trails, and snow/ice we encounter.

I also use mercon in them, after packing the wheel bearings and going back together simply drip a bit down the side of the barrel and manually spin it around a few times to coat it well, then put it on the axle(read something about that in a forum maybe 10 years ago)
 

Josh B

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I did take it on a slippery slope up the mountain from my house after getting the new tires and it did miserably. The 4WD light comes on and it went into low gear, but I'm pretty sure the front end didn't engage. I've read about some common issues with that, so I'll start the diagnostic processes this weekend. Hopefully it's just a dirty/aged connector. It looks like the truck had sat unused for quite some time .
Did you hear it "clicking" or anything like that? It may just need to be greased/oiled inside. The auto aren't really that complicated, but when you go to re-install it make sure the tab inside is aligned with the key-way on the axle. I expect that's where a lot of them get busted and cussed and replaced with the much less expensive manual locks
 

projectRanger93

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I've never had any, although I rarely use it, it's always been there when I did.
I also just got a 96 Explorer with the same options, although it has some tranny issues I'm looking to resolve. After I bought it and backed it out the driveway to load it on a trailer, as it started to climb the rather steep ramp I switched in motion into 4, and 4 low and it pulled right on up, no high engine revs, slipping traction or anything.
The auto may not be as rugged for every day use and rock climbing, but for those of us who just appreciate its usefulness in the occasional mudhole, hunting/fishing trails, and snow/ice we encounter.

I also use mercon in them, after packing the wheel bearings and going back together simply drip a bit down the side of the barrel and manually spin it around a few times to coat it well, then put it on the axle(read something about that in a forum maybe 10 years ago)
Then you're one of the lucky ones on here with no issues. Seems like the majority of the threads in this forum revolve around people having issues with their auto, and it's either electric shifting doesn't work, or their auto hubs don't lock. Either way, it's recommended to switch it on once in a while to keep the moving parts lubricated.
 
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Josh B

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That's true too, and I did used to do that simply for that reason. Then there were years I didn't even do that hahah :)
 

Josh B

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They seem to have changed after 93/94 into a slightly different assembly also. Even the 96 has it different, but I haven't been into that one yet
 

Mdarius

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I have a dial on the dash next to the stereo. 2Hi, 4Hi, 4Lo. When I put it in 4Hi I thought I heard it click over and I felt like I had a little better traction...could have just been hope. I put it in 4Lo and certainly got more power. The clutch was slipping terribly and I just had spinning in the rear. With an open diff and a light back end I just figured that since the rear was slipping I just wasn't getting any power to the front end. I've not really wheeled a pickup, mostly my Land Cruisers and they are much heavier.

I'm thinking I'll take it back up today with a better spotter (or a decent driver and I can get out and see what's happening) and reevaluate. I believe it sat for a long time before I bought it based on the caked dirt and build up of dead leaves in a few spots. I'm hoping that I can check the connection, shift it manually back and forth a few times to exercise it, and get it going.

Does anybody ever change these from electronic shift motors to manual levers through the floor? If you can shift it manually from underneath, it seems like I could just put a hole in the floor, a shift lever, and a boot and have less drama. I haven't crawled under it yet though, so I don't know.
 


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