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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
 
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Couple random things about the newer Rangers I've learned..

Just got back in from an epic 2 week roadtrip, circling the entire of southern end of BC including 1000 km of logging roads and 4wd traverses (I'll post a link to pics and a write up when I get it done). 2500 km total and I hit pretty much every inland ferry and most every highway and main logging system between Langley and Cranbrook. I learned a couple things about my truck this trip that I thought I should share.

1) It is SUPER easy to make your foglights turn on with your highbeams, and still retain their OEM function without cutting wires and adding relays in the cab. I got tired of driving around offroad in the dark with only highbeams so I thought I'd do something about it. Needed: 1 relay, 16ga wire, female connectors, tape. As most of you are probably aware, the foglight relay is switched by a ground source from the dash switch and a positive feed from the ignition (so your fogs will only come on when the key's on), so all you need to do it wire up a standard relay with a switched source from your highbeams, ground in for both the relay and source ground for the main relay, and strip back about 1/2" of wire and plug it in to the main relay socket's ground under the OEM relay (I bared the wire and bent it at a 90* and tucked it in to the socket under the relay). Basically, all the secondary relay does is switch a ground source, so that when you turn on your highbeams it provides a ground for the main relay, effectively turning on the fogs. Very simple, and your fogs still work normally on your low beams/DRLs (no backfeeding or harmful worries). The only difference is that they automatically come on with the highbeams (useful for folks who don't want to install driving lights but need a little more light to fill in with their highbeams). It was a simple 15 min job I did in the Cranbrook CT parking lot. There a screw under each foglamp, crank them tight and it turns them up to they shine out further.


2) If you're serious about 4x4ing your Ranger, ditch the stupid front sway bar. It weighs a monstrous 42 lbs according to a buddy's bathroom scale, and limits your front suspension MASSIVELY. However.. there is a word of caution to be made with this: your truck will still drive fine with the addition of more body roll, but then again its a truck and not a car - drive accordingly. Real men don't want their trucks driving like sports cars anyways. The caution is that the sway bar apparently does do something else besides control body roll, it limits your suspension travel, and for two reasons: your OEM shocks are about 2-3" too short to handle the travel, and according to rumour your CVs can come apart at full droop as well. Your suspension will literally keep dropping until your upper A arm contacts the frame, I shiit you not there's at least a good 10" of travel in the stock suspension!

My CVs are fine, but I found out about the shock issue this afternoon up on an ATV shortcut trail on Park Mtn cutting between Sugar Lake and Mabel Lake in BC's Okanagan. I started hearing a heavy clunking while climbing up a steep, rocky trail and was worried that I blew a balljoint.. I was wrong, a quick look in the wheel well and I saw oil everywhere and the shock crooked at a 45* angle It ripped the shock apart, and when I unbolted it it came out in two pieces (stupid Ranchos.. that makes 3 now for me, I had two others do the same thing years ago with my '86 Toy 4x4). I now have a set of Monroe Sensa-tracs in there with some custom spacers I made so they have an extra inch of down travel, but I'm going to have to make some limiting straps tomorrow to keep those ones alive. I think an extra two inches of down travel would be ideal, enough to get more travel with some longer shocks but it should also be limited enough to keep the CVs alive. Even now at an extra inch travel, its amazing the difference on logging roads and 4x4ing compared to stock with the sway bar - the front suspension actually moves and articulates offroad. LR

Matt T.

'09 Ford Ranger FX4 with a mean owner

Last edited by Lone Ranger; 08-12-2010 at 02:18 PM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 09:54 PM
 
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Sounds like an excellent trip. Interesting about the sway bar, too. I've wondered about making some sway bar disconnects. As far as I know, there aren't any aftermarket ones.

Oh yeah, need pics!

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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PICS..PICS..PICS..PICS.. travelling and off-roading kick azz...

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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http://www.overlandcanada.com/forum/...read.php?t=910

You don't need to be signed in, full write up on the trip.

Disconnects might be a little 'interesting' only because Ford built them a little different than most sway bars. Its physically bolted in, not joints like most others. The sway bar comes around, and a long 5/16"-ish bolt goes through a plastic housing and there's a nut on the underside of the A arm. Like I mentioned, its second role is to act as a limiting strap for the suspension because the suspension will literally drop until the upper A arm bottoms against the frame and the balljoints and maxed right out. I'd love to swap in a set of coilovers in to mine and do some good limiting straps, I personally think there's a fair bit of potential in the stock suspension. Maybe not race race quality, but there's potential. LR

Matt T.

'09 Ford Ranger FX4 with a mean owner
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Got digging around on Monroe's website and found a few shocks that should work well with a home brew lift/swaybar removal setup. These ones will bolt in stock (according to the mounting specs, tube diameter may or may not be an issue but I doubt it). I listed a few to choose from, and the severe duty ones apparently have an extra built in bump stop. From recommendations I've heard, the Reflex shocks are supposed to be a good on/offroad shock cause they're a little stiffer. Airshocks sound like they're a Reflex shock with an air chamber inside.

Here's a link to their online catalogue: http://www.monroe.com/catalog/docume...engthSheet.pdf


Part# Comp. Ext. Travel

Stock/OEM
37122 13.625 18.000 4.375

Sensa-trac
37081 13.000 20.750 7.750
37161 13.000 20.750 7.750

Severe Duty
550016 12.625 20.375 7.750

Reflex
911081 13.000 20.750 7.75

Air shocks - lower mounting slightly different, will require minor drilling of mounting holes.
MA763 12.125 20.125 8.00

The air shocks caught my attention as I thought they'd be a nice addition to my rear airbags. The mounting holes on the bottom are 1/8" wider so a minor adjustment with a drillbit would be in order, but that's nothing major. They also 1/2" shorter in length but that's ok, they're still over 2" longer that stock. I will be making a set of limiting straps to keep from ripping another set apart. LR

Matt T.

'09 Ford Ranger FX4 with a mean owner

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2010, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
 
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...or you can just do it properly and install a proper lift kit. Just more of a suggestion for the budget-minded folks out there who 'wheel stock-ish trucks (like myself) but want a little more out of the OEM setup.

Edit: just got off the phone with Lordco Auto Parts Aldergrove and got a quick quote (no account/discount) on the price of the reflex ($92/pc) and the maxair air shocks ($127/pc). The reason I mention this is because apparently the air shocks are darn near impossible to find or get up here. I'm awaiting a call back from the counter guy to see if they have anything available in Canada. My pass side torsion bar won't crank as high as the drivers side, so besides the benefit of having the extra load capacity of the air shocks (up to 1000 lbs, I do use my truck..) I can level the front end out a bit too. Ideally I should be looking for a set of #1 t-bars to replace my b's, plus prekeys, but I'm too lazy right now to go to that extent. LR

Matt T.

'09 Ford Ranger FX4 with a mean owner

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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Great info on the front suspension mods. That's the kind of thing I'd be interested in, since I can't see blowing thousands on a suspension lift. By that point, I think I'd just buy a used Jeep for a dedicated off-roader. Not a Chrysler fan, but there's just so many more aftermarket parts available, and old Jeeps are cheap like borscht.

Read your trip report on the other site. You just took one of my dream roadtrips. Well done! As one commenter said, I'd like to follow you on one of your trips. Pretty soon, I think you'll be leading a convoy, good buddy.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 01:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Ranger View Post
Disconnects might be a little 'interesting' only because Ford built them a little different than most sway bars. Its physically bolted in, not joints like most others. The sway bar comes around, and a long 5/16"-ish bolt goes through a plastic housing and there's a nut on the underside of the A arm. Like I mentioned, its second role is to act as a limiting strap for the suspension because the suspension will literally drop until the upper A arm bottoms against the frame and the balljoints and maxed right out.
Lookee here:
http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...d.php?t=266066

Note a few posts down, they've added a limiter strap made out of what looks like tailgate cables.

It's fancier than what I originally came up with, which would have just been to use a peice of 1.5" electrical conduit, some clevis pins and rubber bushings (maybe from the original sway bar connector).

In any case, you'd just disconnect the ends and rotate the swaybar up toward the frame, and strap it on with cable ties. I don't think it would interfere with anything in that position.

Another way I thought of would be to cut the sway bar in the middle and weld a collar on one side. A hole would be drilled through the collar, which would match up with a hole drilled through the opposite half of the sway bar. They would be connected with a heavy clevis pin.

When disconnected, the two halves of the sway bar would swivel independently. The weakness would be where they connect. I'm not sure the clevis pin would be strong enough, and drilling a hole through the diameter of the sway bar would probably weaken it at that point. Some sort of a splined connection might work better. Also, I can't remember if there is enough clearance between the sway bar and frame in the middle to accomodate a collar. Might require a standoff on the frame bushing mounts.

Just random ideas ...

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Those would be nice for sure. My swaybar's sitting 3 hrs away in Tulameen waiting to go under a '95 Burb on 40s. His gets MASSIVE body roll (read: suburban rock crawler..) so we figured it would work well in his being that they're so heavy.

As long as the links are strong you'd be fine. I'd personally use the first one so you can remove the pin, would be the strongest IMO if you do it properly. It'd definitely be simple enough to strap it up in place when its not in use, even a run of bailing wire that you can reuse. Better yet, if any of your buddies does the mod as well, you could offer to climb under and reconnect them. Throw a zapstrap around his CV shaft and watch it drive him nuts as he drives away too

This truck's seen hell and back multiple times. I've never been convinced that I need to big truck to go where I want. I don't do the heavy rock crawls (if I don't have to), I also avoid mud because I hate the consequent mess. I do like to play and run FSRs and side roads though, and a lot of those areas require a very low CoG to keep from getting creepy [4" lift on the ATV scree side hill trail and I probably would have rolled, I was already on a solid 45* side angle]. I just need more suspension travel to keep my tires hooked up. Eventually a Detroit rear locker will take care of a lot of my traction issues. LR

Matt T.

'09 Ford Ranger FX4 with a mean owner
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