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1999 Ford Ranger XLT - Project 4x4link

Left Side View
Jason Gonderman
| Contributor
Posted November 1, 2006
Photographers: Nick Van Dragt

Part 1 40 Days And 40 Nights

Take one perfectly good truck, cut it in half, and completely re-engineer it. That is exactly what the plan was when we started on this project. And as if that wasn't enough, we had only nights and weekends to do it - and in only three weeks.

The project started off innocently enough several months back when the idea to link the truck was born while sitting in traffic leaving the sand dunes of Glamis, California, after a long weekend of wheeling. It seemed simple really: build some trailing arms, a couple of upper links, grab a Ford 9-inch axle from the junkyard, and - voil! - I would have a linked truck. Yeah, it didn't happen quite like that.

With the truck backed in, we began the build by first removing all of the old parts such as the bedsides, shocks, shock hoops, limit straps, dust lights, Hi-Lift jack, and everything else that stood in our way of pulling off the bed.

The HistoryBefore we get too deep into this latest project, we should probably introduce you to the truck. The truck we are working on is a '99 Ford Ranger XLT 4x4. In the spring of 2005, the truck was equipped with a Dixon Bros. Racing long-travel kit in the front and Deaver long-travel leaf springs in the rear with a single 2.5-inch Sway-A-Way shock at each corner and 2-inch hydraulic bumpstops in the front. In this state, the truck was a daily driver and weekend warrior and it did very well at both, but it was time for something more. We were looking for more travel and better performance than leaf springs can deliver. The logical answer: a conversion to a linked rear suspension.

The PlanWith simplicity in mind (along with cost), we decided it would be best to go with a four-link, specifically the Weld It Yourself four-link kit from Giant Motorsports. The plan was to do all of our own labor, so the Weld It Yourself kit would the perfect fit. The rear axle would be a Ford 9-inch out of a late-'70s Ranchero. In stock form, these axles only have 28-spline axleshafts, but they do have the big bearing ends and are the exact width to match the Dixon Bros. kit on the front of the truck. We happened to get lucky and find one at the local pick-a-part. After a couple of quick phone calls to West Coast Differentials and Currie Enterprises, we had all the parts needed to build the axle on their way.

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Sources

Currie Enterprises
714-528-6957
www.currieenterprises.com
Dixon Bros. Racing
Lompoc, CA 93436
805-570-3685
West Coast Differentials
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
800-510-0950
www.differentials.com
Eaton/Detroit Locker
www.eatonperformance.com
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