Nearly five years ago I began my stint here as feature editor. Like many of you I was a longtime reader and never could imagine that I would actually land what I truly considered to be my dream job. It wasn’t long after getting my position at the magazine that I got the opportunity to transform my completely stock ’97 Ford Ranger 4x4 into a truck capable of surviving our Ultimate Adventure. With little money and limited time I managed to convert my TTB (twin traction beam) Ranger into a solid-axle crawler in just five weeks.
Though the truck did survive the 2007 Ultimate Adventure with hardly any issues, it did have quite a few items that I wanted to improve. As I’ve learned over the years this career is fast-paced and projects often get put on the back burner. Before I knew it two years had gone by and I still hadn’t checked a single item off of my to-do list.
Looking for motivation, I decided to take my Danger Ranger project up to the mountains for a wheeling trip. Unfortunately, a couple of hours into the outing I found myself upside-down in the truck, as an interesting line choice combined with a dusty rock ledge sent my Ranger on a roll. After the flop the Ranger was taken back to my place in North Carolina and continued its life as a yard tractor of sorts, crushed panels and all.
So here we are nearly two years after I rolled it (I’ve been busy!) and the Ranger is finally going back under the knife. Over the next few months the crew at Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina, and I will tear down, reconfigure, and improve upon my ’97 Ford Ranger 4x4. While the majority of the must-repair sheetmetal has been replaced, the 3.0L truck is still very much a bruised and used trail truck. Be sure to check back next month as we dive into the nuts and bolts of our Ranger Rehash.