Kirbys 1991 Ranger Build Up and Solid Axle Swap


Kirby N.

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Location
Monument, CO
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
I got a delivery from California a few weeks ago:





They are from Mcneil- front and rear. I think the fronts are 3" and the rear are 4". I got the fronts on. They didn't fit great, but they fit. I started working on the rears. They need paint. I hope to do that really soon.







I started on the rear tonight:





I am going to be running around without a bed for a few days. I am trying to decide how to mount the bedsides. I plan to have the bed rhino lined after paint. Anyone had any thoughts? Maybe big rivets? Maybe grade 8 bolts with washers?

I also want to build some nice hooks and weld them to the stake pockets. I use the bed to haul stuff ALOT. The new besides have no stake pockets. I have to have something to hook up my dirt bike tie downs to, and ratchet straps down when I am hauling stuff.
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 173A8B749AB83C Expires: January 1, 2020

Bird76Mojo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2009
Messages
2,380
Reaction score
929
Points
113
Location
nunya
Last edited:

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
19,159
Reaction score
526
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
i would build rail caps and beef the inner with tube that ties it all up if you want to do truck bed stuff still.
 

Bird76Mojo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2009
Messages
2,380
Reaction score
929
Points
113
Location
nunya
^^ now that I think about it, that's a solid suggestion for sure ^^


Those inner bed panels will be easy to warp/bend, especially using tiedowns on the inside without the support of the outer steel bedsides..




GB :)
 

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
19,159
Reaction score
526
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
jim was wanting to freshen up the trs with a similar system of some sort and i have been doing some measuring trying to keep it overland-able.

not easy to pull off from what i have looked at.
 

Kirby N.

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Location
Monument, CO
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
Thanks guys. I think I found the solution I am going to go for.

I like that idea Bobby. I was trying to figure out how I can beef them up- I could tie all 3 of the plate together on each side I guess. I don't know if it is necessary- this might hold good enough.

I made some progress and got some pictures. I think I am going to put 6 of these on the bed.

Plates with 4 bolts and washers on the back. The center bolt has a hollow core and a loop screws into it. I will weld that stud to the plate. All grade 8. Then it will be rhino lined over the top.








I like the idea that the loops will come off. When I haul the UTV in the bed, I need every inch of space. So I may need to unscrew them to load that thing.

I am leaning against welding the plate to the bed. I can do it, but I think the bed might crack around the welds. Any thoughts?
 

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
19,159
Reaction score
526
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"





angleiron across the top under the glass.
 

Bird76Mojo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2009
Messages
2,380
Reaction score
929
Points
113
Location
nunya
Your main battle isn't going to be no strength around the tie downs, as much as it's going to be the entire interior bed panels will want to flex now that they have lost the strength of being "boxed in" by the exterior bedsides. The fiberglass bedsides will add no appreciable strength either. You'll definitely want to add some sort of steel framework structure between the two panels..



GB :)
 

Kirby N.

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Location
Monument, CO
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
I have made some progress, but it has been really slow. I have been working on it like 4 days all day now. The side braces are all in and turned out nice. They are going to be really handy and I think they will stiffen up the bed. The back holes are still getting a hook and a backing plate but I ran out of mig gas.



It’s hard to see but the backing plates are attached to the strap via 1x1 square tubing. The backing plate for each hook is made of 3/8 plate. The strap is 1.5” wide by 3/16” thick. I welded it in about 12 places.






The rear section of the bed gets removed for the bed sides. However, the rear lower corners of the bed get removed and that really weakened the lower corner and the tailgate mounts are there. So I tried my hand at some body work. I made these little braces and spot welded them in.




Then I used some brackets from the front fenders and doubled up on the brace. I did this on both sides.



Then I had to trim the back corner so the bedside would fit on each side. So I tried my hand at cutting out a section and then re welding it back together. I think it turned out good for my first shot at body work. I also had some cracks on the front from where I took out the spot welds. I fixed those up too.





Bed sides are ready to go on now and Ill have to figure out how to mount up the taillights. This was a lot of work. I am considering putting undercoating in the underside of the bed. Also considering making a metal brace between the inner fender and the fender.
 
Last edited:

Kirby N.

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Location
Monument, CO
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
I finished up the last of the tie downs. These are thicker sections of the bed frame so I am not going to tie it to the others.




The tail lights fit pretty good. The tail gate not so much. The bed sides are much thicker, so the tailgate fits tighter. My body guy said it was best if I had him order me one instead of getting my own. I trimmed the stock tailgate some- will need to trim the new one too.





Then I got it mounted up. It looks pretty good- except the drivers side is really close on the from of the rear tire. The other clears fine. I clearance the bumper so I could get the bed as far forward as possible but it wasn't enough. I may have to move the rear axle back. I dont want anymore wheel base, but I don't know what else I can do. The passenger side is fine. I was hoping there would be room for 37s, but without moving the axle there isn't even room for 35s. It needs to go back 1-2".





I like the sweeping rear end and the tire coverage a lot. I could have gone wider, but I actually wanted the tires to hang out a little to protect the body still.





The fuel filler lined up great. I ordered some tabs from ballistic to build the braces for the bottom corners of the wheel wells, but I haven't heard anything about shipping or when they will be here. So I just cut the stock ones and welded some square 1/2" tube in the pieces. the I take the fenders off I'll build some new ones.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
64
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Indiana
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
3.0
Transmission
Manual
This thing looks awesome. I wanna build one of this body style with solid axles, similar height, but a regular cab short bed. Just try and get the shortest wheelbase possible ya know?

I’d do a 5.0 in mine though and I’d play with it on rocks and in mud.

How much you have in it so far roughly if you don’t mind my asking
 

bobbywalter

TRS Technical Staff
TRS Technical Advisor
TRS Banner 2012-2015
TRS 20th Anniversary
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
19,159
Reaction score
526
Points
113
Location
woodhaven mi
Vehicle Year
1988
Make / Model
FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
excellent work:icon_thumby:


i assume your chassis is straight?


if your chassis is straight you should send that bedside back.


looks great, which is the point of formed glass... but that differential in opening is unacceptable...if you wanted cut fenders it would have been easier and extraordinarily cheaper to just use stock cut and pulled sheetmetal.



i generally make due..but this .. not so sure.
 

Kirby N.

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Location
Monument, CO
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
I talked to McNeil. Its obvious one side has a wheel well that is about 1" smaller than the other. They said they would make another and send it to me- so waiting for that.


Tried to make a coyote dead last week at my parents place. I didn't succeed, but I did get the ranger stuck a couple times and had to put the winch to work. It was a good time.







Its supposed to snow tonight so I will probably get to get out in it tomorrow.

Also, The ranger had a starter issue in November after hunting.

I replaced the starter with a ford reman because they didn't have any new ones. FOTZ-11002-ARM.

The remanufactured starter lasted until the end of January and took a dump. The old/ original one I could beat on and get to work. This one just stopped working.

So I returned it to ford and told them I have to have a new one. They didn't like that, and didn't have a new one.

So I had a part # for a new one from Rockauto. G2MZ-110002-B. Ford said the didn't have it in the interchange, but ordered one and gave it to me on a warranty- even though there was a few small issues like a different electrical fitting. It fit great and even had a little adapter for the electrical fitting.

I also found some NOS motorcraft battery cables and swapped them out while I was in there. Back to daily duty again!
 

Kirby N.

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Location
Monument, CO
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
McNeil refunded me $200 to repair the fender. They have been really cool.

I currently have the bed off to install the new fender



While it was off, I fixed my fuel pump ordeal. Remember I replaced the pump and it got like 100 miles less per tank? and it ran out when the gauge said I still had 1/8th of a tank?

Well, I figured it out. The extended cab pump is 11" deep. The regular cab pump is 12" deep. My tank has 12" of depth. So I put in a regular cab pump and it sucks off the bottom. I ordered a delphi pump off rock auto because I read they were good ones. I thought carter pumps were good, but I read a bunch about good brands of pumps and found that delphi was the best option- so I ordered one for RA. I am so sick of parts houses re boxing all the brands so you dont know what the brand is for anything. Ticks me off.

While the bed is off, I fixed some rust in the back corner of the cab.






I have never repaired panels before. I am glad it is in an inconspicuous place.

I also made a highlight mount.


It is a piece of 1.5" strap welded to the back of the cab with 3 bolts through the cab.

I also used a piece of 1.25" dom on each stud. I cut a hole the size of the DOM OD in the second inner wall of the cab, then welded that to the inner wall.



Its really stout so I hope it won't ever need anything else. Lastly, I used wing nuts and autofab fender grommet Polyurathane mounts so I can tighten it down and not rattle. It fits tight and utilizes otherwise wasted space. The jump seats can still be used no problem, the jack is a little in the way of the shoulders with them- but they aren't really built for comfort anyway. I can ride back there with it.



I also added some metal to the rear bumper. The plate behind the license plate was a spot to catch water and mud, so I added some little fillers to fix that.



I also added a filler on tip of the top tube. Mostly for looks but it is 1/2" so it can't hurt strength.



I also warrantied my warn hub and when I installed it, I noticed the passenger was full of dirt and water. getting stuck in my dads creek was hard on stuff. When I had it apart I decided to go ahead and do new wheel bearings on the front and seals and such. I also installed my Yukon Zip in the front. That was a pretty big job, but it is done. I also added a ruffstuff 3/8" cover.




I still have the ARB twin compressor. Doesn't look like it will fit nicely under the fender. I hate to put it any lower than that because I don't want it to intake water and I just dont want it in the dirt.
 

Kirby N.

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Points
18
Location
Monument, CO
Vehicle Year
1991
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Size
4.0
Transmission
Manual
I cycled the suspension to see how it clears the fenders and if it has enough space to do 37s.










You can see the driver fender clearance in the pics. Unfortunately, 37s won't clear. I researched through this thread, and I only used 6" BC Broncos springs. I could use 7" springs and get some more clearance and I could drop the leaf mounts and get another inch in the rear. I am still trying to decide if that would be worth it.


SOS- I am looking for some Dana 44 spindle shims for 1.5 degree correction. My driver is perfect. My passenger has a 1.25 degree shim and needs a 1.5. I can see it in the tire wear. Before I put on 2 new tires I would love to have it perfect. They are no longer being manufactured so it has been a pain in the butt. Let me know if you have one or a source on one.

Lastly, I am thinking about a M5OD-R1HD. I have been doing a bunch of research, and from what I can tell- all m5od-r1s (hd or not) have the same gear ratio behind a 4.0ohv or 4.0SOHC.

3.40 : 1
2.05 : 1
1.31 : 1
1.00 : 1
0.79 : 1
3.40 : 1

But, the 3.0 and 2.9 and 4 cylinder M5s have a lower 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

3.72 : 1
2.20 : 1
1.50 : 1
1.00 : 1
0.79 : 1
3.40 : 1

But the HD have some upgrades to synchro and stuff. My M5 is in good shape but it leaks like a sieve. So I am thinking about seeing if my local manual tranny guy would put a little motor m5 together with an hd and make me a slick tranny. Might just make my first low enough that I could get by without another tcase or an atlas. 3.72 to 3.40 is a big jump.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
 


Top