All the military axle mega trucks that we feature in each issue of Mud Life are extremely badass in their own individual styles. Some are 2½-ton, some are 5-ton. Heck, we’ve even seen a 20-ton mega truck out at mud events. These monster-sized rigs are extremely fun to watch or ride in, but the question remains: Does it really need to be that big? Sure it does if you want to go through the deepest mud hole in the park, but what if you just want to have a good time slingin’ muck all afternoon? That’s exactly what Rick Briggs from Ft. Pierce, Florida, wanted to do. After he explained it to his wife Lori, she was all for it!
You may remember a few issues back when we featured Rick’s old Ford Bronco named Caution. The old Bronco was Rick’s first time building a mud rig ,so he knew exactly what needed to be accomplished the second time around. The only thing that stopped him from building a newer, better mud rig was the cash for the parts. This is a problem that a lot of enthusiasts have, but luckily for Rick, his wife was saving for a rainy day. Over the last few years Rick and Lori have spent nearly every weekend playing in the mud or doing something off-road. Lori knew how much he loved wheeling, so she made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. She would buy the parts if he would build the truck. That’s all Rick needed to hear. Soon after that, new parts starting arriving at their door and Rick cleared out the garage. The plan was to build a truck that could fit in the garage with the wheels off, and after it was all said and done he had about a half an inch of height to spare. The process took a little over six months, an unknown amount of cold beers, and even some extremely late nights with helpful friends. It’s a job that couldn’t have been done alone, and Rick is extremely grateful for the support.
Rick’s 1995 Ford Ranger is his new toy, and it’s powered by a 393ci Ford big-block engine that was factory built in 1999. Bobby’s Machine out of Ft. Pierce helped rebuild the block, installing horsepower adders like J&E pistons, Crowler connection rods, AFR heads, and a Comp Cams camshaft. Headers through the hood give the exhaust zero restriction when leaving the engine, and the sound they make is intense. An ’89 Ford C-6 transmission with a DK shift kit and a Pro Torque converter transfer the power through the factory-installed M50D gearbox to the 1-ton Dana axles. A Dana 60 up front and a Dana 70 in the back are installed using a triangulated four-link suspension setup, and both axles have 4.56 gears. FOA shocks take the impact up front while a set of shocks and springs from an ’01 F-250 are in the rear. The 24x12 wheels fabricated by Custom Truck Shop in Ft. Pierce are wrapped in 14.9x24 BKT tires, which have a 49-inch overall diameter. Other than some Auto Meter gauges and a Cheetah SCS shifter, the 1995 Ford Ranger interior is essentially stock.
The final modification Rick and Lori decided on for the 1995 Ford Ranger was a full color change. They wanted something extremely loud and dramatic that the mud would contrast with, so a ton of metalflake was added to the PPG green paint. Every panel shines in the sun, but that doesn’t stop Rick from covering it with thick Florida mud.
This is a rig that anyone can accomplish in a matter of months if you put your mind to it. So if you are ready to start building your own mud truck but you need a little extra cash, Rick has one solid piece of advice for ya: Just ask your wife for the money!
1995 Ford Ranger
Owner: Rick and Lori Briggs
Engine: 393ci Ford V-8
Transmission: ’89 Ford C-6
Transfer case: Factory Ford M50D-R1
Suspension: Subframe with triangulated 4-link
Axles: Front Dana 60, rear Dana 70; both have 4.56 gears
Shocks: 16-inch FOA coilovers
Wheels: 24x12 rims by Custom Truck Shop
Tires: 14.9x24 BKT tractor tires