Most of the time, we're busy showing you how to install new parts on your truck. This time, we're removing a poorly installed body lift to the mutual benefit of the truck and its owner.
In our first installment (OR Jan. '05 issue), we performed low-tech fender trimming to prepare for the body's 3-inch drop back to stock height. With the fenders trimmed to clear the larger-than-stock 31-inch tires, we're now ready to break out the jack and get the sheetmetal back where it belongs.
We've got big plans for our Ranger. OR's Kevin Blumer has decided to plunge headlong into a transformation that will change our mild-mannered stocker into a desert weapon. Baja flier and suspension fabricator Chad McNeil, seen hovering over Baja dirt during the 2003 Baja 1000, offers a range of suspension kits for I-beam and A-arm Ford Rangers. Chad's front suspension kit for our Ranger offers 20 (yes, 20) inches of four-wheel-drive travel. McNeil Off-Road also offers a bolt-on three-link kit for the Ranger's tail section. Travel is around 30 inches. After Project TrailRunner has longer legs, Kevin will burn some midnight oil fabricating a rollcage from front to back through the cab. We'll follow along, cameras at the ready, during the process. We'll show the correct way to design and build a rollcage. We'll tackle the finer points of TIG-welding, tube-bending, tube-notching, and overall 'cage design.When Project TrailRunner is ready for prime time, we'll put it through the wringer at an MDR race. Stay tuned. This should be fun.