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4/30/19 2:04 a.m.

I've been lurking for a while and have some other somewhat interesting stuff on the go but figure this will be a good start for me.

I was daily driving this truck for the past 4 months. I bought it with intentions to use it for work but plans fell through and I was left with a very thirsty truck. It was a blast to drive but too much for back and forth. 


I was really torn on whether I should hold onto it or not because it was in great mechanical shape... but I paid $3300CDN, put around 15,000km on it and sold for $3000 so all is well. The sense of relief after it was gone told me it was the right decision. This left me without a daily driver, so I took to Facebook Marketplace to see what I could dig up.


I found this puppy, a 1997 Ford Ranger, took a quick look and made a deal for $600. This is a photo from the original ad, where it was listed for $800 with a very brief description and mention of a minor engine knocking noise. It has a Vulcan 3.0 engine, 4 speed auto trans, is a rear wheel drive model and has 263,000km. A few hours after selling the Sierra I was into this truck and on my way home.. and pretty happy about it! I have a soft spot for rangers so pretty well anything that ran and drove for under $1000 was coming home with me. I have a pretty big stash of Ranger related parts from another project that aren't really hot sellers so this is also a good way to put some of that stuff to use.

Now, this truck has a handful of issues that i'll get into in the next post.. but to start I did a quick coat of paint on the bumper, buffed the paint in a few spots and got the tonneau cover open finally to reveal some surprises!


Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/30/19 9:09 a.m.

in for tonneau cover surprises

dclafleur Reader
4/30/19 9:23 a.m.

I'm in too, I love old but not real old trucks.  Something awesome about work vehicles being pushed to 20 years and a couple hundred thousand miles still having more life in them.

Professor_Brap GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/30/19 9:26 a.m.

I have a soft spot for rangers also, watching. 

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
4/30/19 9:36 a.m.

My soft spot for 90s minitrucks and step sides has you attention. 

Please slam it.

Crackers Dork
4/30/19 9:55 a.m.

Is the surprise a rusted out bed floor? LOL

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/30/19 10:03 a.m.

In reply to Crackers :

Surprise!  You can read the DOT code on your inner sidewalls!

Crackers Dork
4/30/19 10:10 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

It's a convenience feature. Better than laying on the ground. 

Plus you don't have to jack it up to bleed the brakes!

jds519 New Reader
4/30/19 8:05 p.m.

I knew i'd reel a few of you guys in with the tonneau cover surprises haha. I won't keep you waiting any longer...!


jds519 New Reader
4/30/19 8:10 p.m.

Also in the truck bed, but not pictured..

50lbs of gravel

2 bundles of shingles

2 new winter snow brushes

a few cans of bed liner

a large jerry can

various hand tools


The subwoofer and amplifier combo is worth $1000 new. It's a 1000 watt JL audio monoblock amp and a 10" JL basswedge sub and enclosure combo. The adidas unfortunately are a size small but i'll gladly donate them. The tonneau cover is up for sale as well... hoping to recoup my purchase price out of all of it! There is also a bluetooth pioneer deck that came in the truck, about $15 in change, a flashlight, a few lighters!! This is like storage wars haha.. I love it!

jds519 New Reader
4/30/19 8:28 p.m.


I had this 01-03 powerdome hood laying around so I put it on expecting it to be a simple bolt-on affair. It bolted up fine but the latches were different between the two generations so I rigged something up that I figured would be "good enough" until I sorted something else out.



I was wrong.. but luckily only the hood itself was damaged, and I was able to safely get off the road and tie it down til I got back home. I have the silver hood back on now, and to be honest the powerdome looked great but did not line up properly with the 97s fenders. 

I'll try to get another post in later on tonight going over the trucks issues(lots of em!) and my game plan at this point. 


Duster, i'm going a different route with this truck but I do have another project I have been working on for a few years!


gumby GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/30/19 8:52 p.m.

In for Ranger goodness! The bonus Splash wheels and Roman candle are worth the price of admission smiley

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/1/19 5:36 a.m.

In reply to jds519 :

Im gonna need a lot more on that black truck .....

STM317 UltraDork
5/1/19 7:09 a.m.
jds519 said: Duster, i'm going a different route with this truck but I do have another project I have been working on for a few years!


Long term project gets my approval! But I may be a bit biased towards lowered 98-00 Rangers with powerdome hoods:

jds519 New Reader
5/1/19 11:31 a.m.


The engine bay is pretty gross on this thing! About 1/4" of sludge on both valve covers. Here's a fun one.. I popped the hood when I got home and took a closer look in the bay with the engine running. The knocking noise seemed to follow the RPMs. I noticed the belt tensioner was on a bit of a tilt and causing the serpentine belt to tap against the pulleys. Pulling the codes also pointed to a cam synchronizer and sensor issue. I picked up a new cam sync and sensor, and stopped by the junkyard to see what I could find for a cheap tune up. I got myself 6 new plugs, newer plug wires, a decent looking coil, new air filter, tensioner and serpentine belt for $50!! Got home, dropped it all in and its running beautifully now.. The plugs were in very rough shape and possibly original at 260k~!!

I had some codes come back, EGR and passenger o2 related but overall its running pretty good!

Now the CATCH is that the auto trans is missing the fun gear... it has no first gear but if you start in manual 2nd and shift up to drive at speed it putts around as normal. It's also in need of some front end components and an alignment. The drivers cab corner needs to be replaced and the bedside also has a fairly big hole near the taillight.. some good projects to learn some new skills. 

So far i'm thinking:

- find a junkyard auto to swap in

- 31" all terrain tires

- new front end and alignment


I just moved out into the country and there is nothing but gravel roads around, and will also be using this truck to drive into work typically on gravel roads as well. I'm thinking it could be a pretty fun setup and fairly easy to pull something cool off. I do also have one of these I picked up during a 50% off weekend sale at the junkyard. 3.73 Limited slip Ford 8.8 31 spline axles!


jds519 New Reader
5/1/19 12:02 p.m.

The 1998 is kind of a long story but heres the basic rundown. 5" drop in front with DJM control arms and belltech coils, explorer 8.8 in the rear with a 1.5" lift shackle(I was using this thing to haul pretty often lol). Expo sway bar in the rear, some poly bushings here and there all around the truck. It is actually a Mazda B2500 but the body was rough and hard to find parts for. I also prefer the look of the ranger and the stepside bed! The truck was on those Explorer limited wheels but I sold them off and its sitting on a set of studded winters for now. I've been trying to figure out what I want to run for a wheel setup.

I have a turbo setup on the stock 2.5 engine that I slapped together and tuned with quarterhorse but its leaking oil out of just about everywhere. I have a complete engine I just finished building with the turbocoupe internals that i'll be dropping in shortly and a few more pieces of the puzzle to hopefully have a solid truck.

Basic run down on that is 

- e6 manifold, t3/t4 ebay 50 trim

-volvo 740 intercooler

-2.5" downpipe 

-42lb injectors

-80s f150 external fuel pump


I need to make my new catch can setup but aside from that im pretty well ready to try again with the engine I built. I think the stock PCV setup that I added a few check valves to is the root of my leaks but there was quite a few questionable things I did that I dont care to talk about :P! It does boost 6psi nicely but I can't keep oil in the thing for the life of me and I don't want to throw any more time or effort into it because its likely hurt already.

gumby GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/1/19 12:20 p.m.

Turbo Lima project and a 3.0 Vulcan daily. Did we just become best friends??

STM317 UltraDork
5/1/19 12:25 p.m.
gumby said:

Turbo Lima project and a 3.0 Vulcan daily. Did we just become best friends??

It's a little eerie.

jds519 New Reader
5/1/19 7:09 p.m.
STM317 said:
gumby said:

Turbo Lima project and a 3.0 Vulcan daily. Did we just become best friends??

It's a little eerie.

Sorry all friended up. On a serious note, I'm also a lurker on turboford, TRF, the fb groups.. I'm familiar with you guys and your trucks and you definitely had an influence on my 98! 


I'm thinking that shackle lift on the 98 is going to end up on the 97 eventually. I have a set of stock shackles laying around brand new for that truck. Someone's interested in the 8.8 axle I have but I can pick up another. I actually pull these and sell them on a regular basis, I must have sold 30 explorer axles in the last 8 months. 4.10s might be a better choice.. what do you guys think? If I'm going to do a front end on this truck I better decide if I want to do a lift before I get it aligned. I was considering the 2" skyjacker coils and the shackle lift in the rear(either stock, .75 or 1.5" lift on those iirc).. I might be able to stuff 32s at that point. 


I do need to sort out the transmission before I get too far ahead of myself. Theres a 5.0 4R70W I can't seem to sell sitting in the shed.. I already sold the 5.0 off unfortunately before this truck came along. I like the idea of keeping this engine though it seems to run well now. Valve cover gaskets and intake gaskets and call it a day.. doesnt need to be fast. It's getting about 20mpg right now, nice change from the Sierra. 

chandler PowerDork
5/2/19 9:17 a.m.

I’ve had a few of those; all of mine had broken leaf spring perches though lol. I got really good at swapping those things out.


in for updates.

jds519 New Reader
5/6/19 7:37 p.m.

In reply to chandler :

Luckily where I'm at isnt too bad for rust I have yet to see the shackle issue myself.

jds519 New Reader
5/6/19 7:56 p.m.

I have way too many projects on the go right now.. trying to find a balance has been tough. Almost done patching up the exterior on the house.. ready for eavestrough. That was a big one.. my turbo truck needs an engine swap and this truck is needing a transmission sooner rather than later.


I knocked a few things off my list today. The "DPFE" sensor which is EGR related and a typical source of an EGR code got switched out. I also cleaned the MAF and throttle body. Test fit some new wheels I found at the yard.. they are 255/70R16 if I'm remembering right. I'd like to go with one size larger, 265/70R16 I think.. looks good though!

I have an old roll pan I never could seem to install properly on my black truck. It almost got given to my buddy for target practice..  but I've had some time to calm down and I'll likely try to modify it to work properly on this one.

I have my eyes on a transmission at the scrap yard and that is a priority before I do anything too serious. Another truck there has a 4.10 limited slip ranger axle which is plenty for this truck vs the explorer axle. 

Plans are coming together... engine is running great, no more check engine lights... idles beautifully! More to come..!

"Dpfe" sensor.. something EGR related don't quite understand it fully. 

jds519 New Reader
5/8/19 10:14 p.m.

Ohhhh man. So I picked up a transmission in questionable/unknown condition off an acquaintance earlier for cheap. Figure it's worth a shot and i'll learn something if anything!  In a really weird turn of events... I got offered a C4 corvette just up the street from the 4r44e guy for very cheap. I don't think I can pass it up... its well within my reach but I will have to pull some strings. It needs quite a bit... but it's complete and overall decent or.. im telling myself that anyways. Currently running but needs a clutch master cylinder I believe he said. It's a '87 model medium blue metallic coupe w/ the L98 engine and Doug Nash 4+3.. for damn near challenge money. A quick once over tells me it needs tires($$$) every rubber seal around the body and a bit of body work. I need to come up with the money and get atleast this truck sorted first before I can even consider bringing it home. Wish me luck!

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
5/8/19 11:10 p.m.

I love rangers. Sweet little trucks that really have potential. I lost my last one to a girl who fell asleep in front of my house and destroyed it. Had plans for an interesting engine build.

Things I don't like about the 90's rangers is the fuel mileage. Never could get decent V6 or I4 fuel mileage. My last I4 would slide like a drift car, but only get 18 mpg. I know the 3.0 is known for some oil leakage, so give it a good once-over. The transmission swaps are super easy. I changed out the transmission (well, clutch, so I removed the transmission for the hell of it anyway) and engine on my last one. Hella easy to work with, so you should have no issue there. Have fun with it. I'm watching.

jds519 New Reader
5/10/19 2:29 p.m.

In reply to N Sperlo :

I'm considering pulling the engine and trans. I can see its clearly leaking up top and the other day I was underneath and noticed the front main seal was seeping a bit. Makes sense to just get it all in one shot and have a solid leak free truck hopefully. 

On the mileage front... I'm getting damn near 23mpg now with this 3.0. I felt guilty putting a turbo on the 2.5 ranger.. damn thing got near 30mpg and ran like a clock. I paid 1300$ for it and did 0 engine work besides a $50 fan clutch.. drove the hell out of it for 45000km.. is it any wonder I'm on my 10th ranger??

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