Part 2: Drivetrain
Last month we showed you how to convert a TTB ( twin traction beam) series Rangerto a solid axle and revealed our goal of transforming this mild '97 Ford Ranger into a full-on Ultimate Adventure-ready rig that would have to stand up to some of the toughest trails that Texas has to offer. Although you've probably noticed by now that the Ultimate Danger Ranger made the trip, we wanted to show you the steps it took to get it there.
Most 3.0L-equipped Rangers are fitted with a 25-spline output shaft on the transmission, creating extremely limited options in terms of swapping transfer cases. The factory Borg-Warner 1354 isn't necessarily a weak case, but there simply isn't aftermarket demand for lower gears for that particular case. This left us with two options.
Option one would be to find another BW 1354 and create a homemade doubler. Option two would be to go with the only direct replacement transfer case available on the market at the time of print, an Advance Adapters Atlas II. Once we compared the two in terms of price, time, and feasibility, we decided that Atlas was the only logical way to go.
Knowing how gutless our Ranger was in stock form, we figured that lower gears would be needed in the differentials as well as the transfer case. After crunching a few numbers we determined that with 35-inch tires, the 4.88 gears in the differential in addition to the Atlas 5.0:1 low would offer us all the gear selection we needed given the benefit of the factory five-speed transmission. With the truck still taking up space at Diesel Tech, we hammered down and began the complete drivetrain removal.
For the gear installation we called on our friend Dale Langdon, a certified technician with more than a decade's worth of gearing knowledge-and lucky for us, a true enthusiast that does gear installation on the side. Although we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the what's what of your differential, a gear install can be a bit overwhelming if you're not equipped with the right tools. If a dial indicator and crush sleeves sound foreign to you, it's probably best to leave the gear installation to the professionals. Be sure to check out next month's issue for our Ranger wrap-up and the ultimate fate of our little Danger Ranger.