“Red Rocket” 88 ranger leftover parts build

Welcome to DezertRangers
Join the community. Register today for all the benefits of membership.


Senior Member
Jul 13, 2014
I think this will be my 3rd or 4th build thread on here but I think this one might actually be seen through to completion! I’ve tried a to build trucks for myself of a higher caliber and it seems every time I don’t end up having the time to put into the truck that it needs to be completed.

I’m sure others on here can relate, but I hoard parts in hopes of using them on a “some day” project. I decided I was tired of storing parts in my garage, room, and shop and that it was time to make that “someday” project happen. We planned a Mojave trail trip for the beginning of April and a couple friends offered to help out building the truck so I could have something to drive

So naturally last weekend myself and Mikey @President cruises down to beautiful East Los Angeles to pick up this gem we dubbed “the red rocket”

This beauty is a 1988 ranger with a fire breathing 2.0 and 5 speed trans (a motor option I didn’t know existed until after I bought the truck. Oh well). The truck seemed to run pretty damn good, went through all the gears, clutch felt good, and most importantly had current registration.

Got the truck back to the shop and wasted no time getting it torn down. My shop is overflowing with customer projects so this will be an outside fab job.

Got all the old suspension torn off, old rear end out of it, and super sweet red bench seat and interior removed

Had a unequal length beam kit laying around so I had it sand blasted and then sprayed it with steel it. Nothing fancy just cut and extended forged beams but I have a fully fabricated spindle that converts it to d35 with wilwood brakes.

Mikey got the f23 Deavers wire wheeled and sprayed em with some rust oleum. They look good enough to say their off a fresh prep from deaver!

This truck was supposed to be a kinda half assed thrown together build but we’ve been getting kind of carried away trying to make it look nice.

Today was our first official day starting to build the truck and here is our progress....

I drew up a simple set of radius arm mount and glued them together.

Ran out of mild steel plate so I had to bust out a new sheet of 4130 to build these. Kinda hurts to waste chromoly on a shit truck but oh well...

Got the beams bolted on and radius arm tacked up

Bolted up the spindles and steering then did a bit of cycling checking for clearances.

Joey got the bedsides bolted on the bed and we put the bed back on. We threw an 8.8 under the truck and got the Deaver pack broken down and ready to cycle. At this point we had to throw the wheels tires up next to it for motivation

Decided to call it a day here. Going to try and get an engine cage built for it tomorrow and get started on a bed cage. I’ll try to keep this thread updated every day we work on it but it is a weekend only project so I’m hoping to have it back up and driving by the 22nd of March.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Senior Member
Jul 13, 2014
Made pretty good progress today. Mikey knocked out a trans crossmember while I got started on a bed cage.

I’ll most likely end up playing in the front side and will eventually add tubing splicers when the time comes to remove the trans but for now it’s supporting the transmission.

Joey and Luke got the Deaver main leaf all bolted up and the axle bumped out so I could work on some shock mounts for the rear. I had absolutely no plan for this bedcage and kinda just started throwing tubes at it. My bender is set up with the 2” die right now since I’m doing a cab cage for a customer and changing the die on my bender is a pain in the ass and would take too much time so the only thing I knew was there was going to be no bends!

This isn’t a style of bedcage I would typically do but I think it came out alright and has a unique look. To go along with the “budget build/ junk truck” theme the bedcage was constructed with all 4130 tubing and 4130 plate steel shock mounts. And of course sprayed with steel it! Because shit truck!!! Main tubes are 1.75 .120 and the stringers are all 1.25 .120. And before an “that’s not strong enough, that’s gunna break” comments, the a pillar down tubes from the cage will land right on top of the shock mounts making it plenty strong.

Everyone got the leaf packs back together and bolted up under the truck while I welded up the bedcage and painted it.

Had to throw the shocks in there to see how it looked completed.

Pretty happy with the amount of bed space this setup left me with. Should have room for a cooler to mount in front of that spares and could probably fit 2 dirt bikes in there if I wanted to.

Rear cycles a clean 15” of travel. Not sure if that’s a decent number for an f-23 pack but it will work for now. I could probably go to a longer shackle and get a bit more droop out of it but for the sake of time this will work great.

Had to toss the wheels up next to it again with the bedcage and shocks on it to get the full effect and stay motivated!

That’s probably going to be it for updates until next weekend. We’re still looking pretty good on time I hope to knock out an engine cage and shock mounts next Saturday and get a good chunk of the cab cage done Sunday. Then it will just be all the little shit like brake line plumbing, rebuilding shocks, bleeding brakes, topping off fluids, and time permitting some aesthetics.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Latest posts

Today's birthdays

New Threads

New Classifieds

latest desert trips

Member Builds