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Project RangerX: This 2019 Ford Is Business Up Front With a Party Out Back

Project RangerX

Jered KorfhageWriterDerek BooherPhotographer

BDS Suspension is no stranger to show-stopping truck builds. A past example is Project SD126, a fiery-orange ’17 Ford F-250 Super Duty shortbed single-cab conversion that was one of the most talked about 4x4s at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. In 2018, the imaginative minds at BDS were inspired by the upcoming release of the all-new ’19 Ford Ranger. Napkin sketches led to digital renderings, and it wasn’t long before the team dreamt up an adventure-themed off-road truck based on the Ranger platform.

Before the truck arrived at the BDS compound, the team carefully studied Ford’s CAD files in order to tailor a BDS 6-inch suspension system specifically for the new truck. A dose of engineering also went into the truck’s length. The ’19 Ranger came outfitted with a SuperCrew cab capable of hauling a team of adventurers into the bush for extended periods of playtime, but what it lacked was a big enough box. Hence, plans for the Ranger included mounting a Knapheide Service Box onto the rear framerails. However, the box comes built for 6-foot beds—not the ’19 Ranger’s 5-foot bed. With some precision cutting and welding, the team added 10 inches to the framerails, leaving plenty of room for the cavernous gear-toting box.

Even though the Knapheide box is made of aluminum, it still added far more weight to the truck’s rear than a stock box, forcing BDS to design suspension upgrades capable of handling the box, as well as the payload of adventure gear. A combination of Fox 2.5 DSC piggyback shocks, a modified BDS GM 1500 leaf-spring kit, and Air Lift airbags gave the truck enough load-carrying capacity while still allowing the 35-inch tires to move and flex over obstacles.

In the span of five weeks, BDS was able to strip down a stock ’19 Ford Ranger, stretch its wheelbase to 136 inches, and turn it into what the team affectionately called “a mullet”—with all the business in the front and the party in the back. Read on to see the details of Project RangerX, a rig you can expect to see attending Four Wheeler’s Overland Adventure in mid-2019.

Adding 35-inch tires to Project RangerX required some custom suspension work. The 6-inch BDS high-clearance IFS kit uses new upper control arms, lower control arm crossmembers, ductile iron steering knuckles, and a set of differential relocation brackets to give the truck enough space for the bigger tires. Fox 2.5 coilovers with DSC remote reservoirs handle damping duties while the differential skidplate protects the diff from trail damage.

With enough backspacing to clear the new knuckles, the 17x9 KMC XD Series Grenade OR wheels look sharp and host the truck’s rolling rubber—a set of 35x12.50R17 BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrains. Custom work in the form of Fury Orange–painted rings accent the wheels and complement the truck’s paintjob. Bushwacker Pocket Style Fender Flares keep space between rubber and sheetmetal while adding to the truck’s rugged demeanor.

Built into the custom rear bumper is a 2-inch receiver and a set of flush-mounted Rigid Radiance pods.

The Knapheide Aluminum Service Box was painted Magnetic Charcoal to match the truck’s paintjob, and it was the reason for RangerX’s wheelbase extension. Designed for a 6-foot bed, the truck’s wheelbase was stretched to 136 inches to accommodate the extra toy-hauling capacity. The latching doors keep gear organized for playtime away from the pavement, and safe for the trip to and from the fun. As a result of the longer wheelbase, Spicer built a custom extended-length rear driveshaft to keep Project RangerX moving.

To extend the utility of Project RangerX, BDS built a rack system from 1.75-inch, 0.120-inch-wall steel tubing, which served as a mounting point for the Maxtrax recovery gear, RotopaX spare fuel containers, a James Baroud retractable awning, a Rigid 40-inch lightbar, and Rigid SR-M flood lights.

As an audio bonus, Kicker coaxial tower speakers live on the bed rack and are controlled via the bed-mounted Kicker Bluetooth head unit.

At a Glance

Vehicle: ’19 Ford Ranger XLT
Owner: BDS Suspension
Stomping grounds: Coldwater, Michigan
Build time: Five weeks

Engine: 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 Turbo
Transmission: 10R80 SelectShift 10-spd automatic
Transfer case: Univance 3300
Low range ratio (:1): 2.72
Crawl ratio (:1): 47.7
Front axle/differential: Dana AdvanTEK 7.5-in, 3.73:1 gears/open
Rear axle/differential: Dana AdvanTEK 8.7-in, 3.73:1 gears/open

Front: BDS 6-in high-clearance IFS system, Fox 2.5 Factory Race Series coilovers w/remote DSC reservoirs, BDS Performance Upper Control Arm kit
Rear: BDS Glide-Ride leaf springs, BDS extended shackles, Fox 2.5 Factory Race Series shocks w/piggyback DSC reservoir, BDS Upper Control Arm kit, Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 airbags

Tires: 37x12.50R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3
Wheels: 17x9 KMC XD Series Grenade OR wheels w/custom Fury Orange painted rings

Longbed conversion w/10-in framerail extension for 136-in wheelbase; custom Charcoal paintjob from Butler Body Shop in Coldwater, Michigan; fiery orange and matte black vinyl decals

Lighting: Amber Rigid Radiance LED pods in front bumper, 40-in Rigid Radiance roof-mounted lightbar, Rigid SR-M rack-mounted flood lights, in-bed scene lighting, red rear bumper-mounted Rigid Radiance pods

Armor: Warn Ascent Series front winch bumper w/custom full-width BDS skidplate; custom rock sliders made from 1.75-in, 0.120-in-wall steel tubing; custom-built steel rear bumper w/integrated hitch

Cool stuff: Knapheide Aluminum Service Box; Warn Zeon 10-S Platinum 10,000-lb winch w/Factor55 FlatLink E; custom bed rack made with 1.75-in, 0.120-in-wall steel tubing; Amp Research Aluminum Fuel Door; Line-X spray-in bedliner in bed and storage boxes; fullsize bed-mounted spare tire; Bushwacker Pocket Style Front Fender Flares; Kicker Audio KMC10 Bluetooth bed-mounted head unit; Kicker Audio KMTC coaxial rack-mounted speakers; sPod 8-switch relay; Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 airbags; Ford Performance finned differential cover and pinion skidplate; Warn Epic Recovery Kit; Maxtrax MKII Recovery Devices; rack-mounted 2.5-gal RotopaXFuelpaX containers; James Baroud USA 52x95-in retractable rack-mounted awning; Air Lift QuickShot 2-gal Air Pressure System; Dometic CFX-40W electric fridge on Dometic bed-mounted slide kit; Risk Racing Lock-N-Load Moto Transport System w/125cc dirt bike