Part 3: Wrap up And Roll Out
The third and final installment of the Ultimate Danger Ranger is finally upon us. What started out as a mild '97 Ford Ranger, has been transformed into an adventure-ready truck that was built in just under five weeks. Using Rock Krawler's YJ coilover conversion up front along with a set of All Pro Off-Road Toyota leaf springs in the rear ("Ultimate Danger Ranger, Part I," Nov. '07), we were able to get our truck clearing the 35-inch BFGoodrich M-Ts without a problem. Once the lift was in place we beefed up the drivetrain with a 5.0:1 Atlas II and stuffed our Ford 8.8 and Dana 30 axles with lunchbox lockers and 4.88 gears ("Ultimate Danger Ranger, Part II," Dec. '07).
Preparing for a 1,600-mile road trip with a truck that has zilch in the way of shakedown time is quite the experience. And with 136k on the old 3.0L engine we decided to give our slow Ranger a little boost with a JET Performance programmer. This not only gave us a little pep in the power department, but allowed us to check and clear any trouble codes that might pop up along the way.
With our Warn 9.5 XP winch bolted down and the Optima red-top battery securely in place, we loaded the truck. If you've ever owned a regular cab truck you know how space can fill up fast, leaving you hunched over the steering wheel in order to stuff that last bag of clothes behind the seat. To combat this problem we tossed on a no-drill bedcover from Stylin' Concepts to keep our junk high and dry. This would keep our two-man team of Feature Editor Ali Mansour and Art Director Alan Huber from feeling like sardines and even gave us a little room to enjoy the A/C when nobody was looking.
With only a few days to go we managed to wrap up all the loose ends, and, other than a little welding mishap on the last day, we would call this trip a success.
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Although most downloaders are as easy as plug and play, our Ranger's PCM needed to be sent off to JET Performance so that they could update our factory data into their system to allow the programmer to upload the proper settings. While JET's Ranger programmers cover a wide spectrum of PCM data, it is still possible that they might need to do the same for yours. Don't sweat it since removing the PCM takes less time than lacing your shoes, and turn-around time is relatively short.