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2002 Ford Ranger - The Spicy Pickle

Posted in Features on September 9, 2014
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Trying to build one vehicle that does everything well can be a fool’s errand. Big tires can sap power and are noisy on the road, and supple suspensions can be a handful at speed. Samco Fabrication has a reputation for building vehicles with minimal compromises, and Nick Czeczulin’s Ford Ranger is the latest example.

Nick was generous enough to let us drive his truck. From behind the wheel it feels just like a stock Ranger on the pavement. The only clue that the truck has been modified is when you look in the side mirror and all you see is the bulged McNeil Racing fiberglass bedside. Hit the dirt though, and all bets are off. The front Fox coilovers and rear Deaver leaf springs and Fox bypass shocks have been dialed in to perfection. At slow speeds the ARB Air Lockers in the solid axles and the 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2s allow Nick’s Ranger to tackle trails most prerunners fear to tread.

The key to safety while retaining interior space is the low-profile roof rack that Reed Lair at Samco Fabrication built out of 15⁄8x0.120-wall DOM tubing and expanded metal. The cage goes down the A-pillar and then behind the front fenders to keep it from looking like a jungle gym.

Tech Specs
2002 Ford Ranger
Engine: 4.0L V-6
Transmission: 5R55E 5-speed automatic
Transfer case: BW1354
Front Axle: High-pinion Dana 44 with 5.13 gears and ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Big-bearing Ford 9-inch with 5.13 gears and ARB Air Locker

Springs & Such: Samco Fabrication radius arms and Fox coilovers (front); Deaver leaf springs and Fox bypass shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 315/75R16BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2s on 16x8 Ultra steel rims
Steering: Tom Lee–built Saginaw steering box, 11⁄2x0.250-wall DOM tie rod with 3⁄4-inch FK JMX 12T rod ends
Other Stuff: Rigid Industries LED lights, Exocage roof rack, Samco Fabrication tubular front bumper, Powertank PT10, Samco Fabrication tubular rear bumper, ARB air compressor, Uniden CB radio, Odyssey RedTop battery

The stock 4.0L V-6 engine was retained for reliability and sits under a custom engine cage from Samco Fabrication that ties the shock towers together. The engine cage bolts in for easy access should repairs or maintenance be necessary.
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