Right Coast 'Runna

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Junior Member
Apr 30, 2018
Long time lurker, first time build thread poster here. Hailing from North Carolina where we don't really have places to make use of a desert capable vehicle, but dammit I want to crawl the mall and get groceries with all the raptors and lifted jeeps.

Enter Mia, the 98 Ranger XLT 3.0 auto that I've driven for the better part of nearly 14 years since I started driving, minus a bit of detouring with a 95 miata and an 09 g37, both with the proper number of pedals (3). Yes it's the exact truck @Turboyota would've told me not to buy, but hell it was a free hand-me-down from my dad and I've developed some sentimental attachment over the years. Gonna run what I brung.

That is how she sat in April '17 right before bolting on the 06 explorer wheels with 245/75r16 Dueler AT Revo 2s that are in the bed there due to some jagoff at firestone failing its inspection for those lovely old tiger paws being "too worn". Got them lightly used because it was cheaper than a new set on the 14s and I wanted bigger wheels for future prerunner plans. Of course it failed to click in my head that they were neither the right bolt pattern nor center bore for better hubs and are a dumb diameter for tire selection, but whatevs.

The exploder wheels had more positive offset and combined with wider tires to stick something like 1.6" further inboard than the stock size combo and promptly rubbed the sidewall on the UCA. Enter 2" wheel spacers on each corner for a few bro points. I repeat, wheel spacers were in effect.

Once the duelers wore out, she went back to small shoes like above again in January '20 because 27x8.5r14 General A/TX were something like 200$ cheaper than in 245/75r16. The 16s and bald duelers got sold to some other ranger bro via the wonderful listo de craigo.

Acquired the first part to start a legitimate build last weekend on a 10% off day at pull-a-part. Exploder 8.8 with 4.10, limited slip, and discs. She's currently on a jackstand vacation awaiting cleanup, new fluids, and maybe new rotors and pads. I haven't yet acquired a metal glue gun or the requisite skills, but I can turn some wrenches, so doing things as bolt-in as possible for now, at least with the more safety critical things. To facilitate said bolting in, I need to go back to the yard for the shock brackets from two separate explor-eers to get them on the staggered sides of the axle like on the rangers (ran out of time for these on the last trip), and get an axle flip kit to turn the sprung under axle into spring over ranger setup without welding. Could get some deavers and rear drop hangers to keep it spring under while on little shoes, but wanting to keep the rear as cheap as possible before eventual links. Buy once, cry once?

Unlike turdblo, I checked the axle tag before acquisition to be certain it was indeed lsd.

3L73 and 10" drum 7.5 is pending eviction once the 8.8 is prepped.

Next major items will be M5od-r2 from 97+ F-150 and 99-01 explorer 5.0, run it with 5spd stick and v8 for a while until the little A/TXs wear out, then start monkeying around with suspension and a wider rear end.

Maybe will run a rallycross with the trailer park pro lite eventually.

Tl;dr it's another damn golden shower mobza. Bring on the shit talking
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Junior Member
Apr 30, 2018
All of you who said that organizing photos and writing out updates is annoying did not exaggerate at all. Got the 8.8 in about 2.5 weeks and 200 miles ago, but just now getting around to posting. Anyways, on to the good stuff:

Spent way too long wire wheeling the housing just because I wanted to practice something I'd never done before plus clean it up a bit. After that major timesuck, I'll have any future large items media blasted instead.
Got a lot of each tube down to shiny metal, then got so tired of doing it that the center section mostly just got the rust knocked off. My fiance helped with some of this monotony.


Wiped it all off with mineral spirits and sprayed several coats of self-etching primer. Didn't originally think I'd like the green the can claimed to be, so I picked up some galvanizing spray to go over that, but it dried closer to gray so was actually ready to run it with just the primer.

But some clumsy readjustments led to it scratching, probably due to not waiting for it to cure, so ended up throwing on a few coats of the galvanizing spray after all.

A buddy came over and helped exorcise the 7.5. We started with removing the bed and were glad we did, there was so much more room for activities with it gone. For most of the afternoon/evening the bedliner, bed, tailgate, and rear bumper were all just hanging out in my yard. All the Karen's in the neighborhood probably hated it, but I never caught any flak. Sent this pic to a buddy and his exact response was "now sawzall that bitch in half and force yourself to link it". Gotta love enablers. Once I have the skill set to do that, it'll certainly happen. In due time.

Had to slot the holes in the spring plates because I couldn't find any others at pull-a-part that matched the shock brackets from the exploder. Ground the ends of the spring plates that got slotted and sprayed them with the galvanizer to cover the newly exposed metal. Used 7/16"-14 7" grade 8 bolts to sandwich the axle and flip kit brackets in between the shock and spring plates. The shocks pulled the brackets inward on each side since there is no locating pin in the perches or brackets. Might tap the hole in the perch for a short bolt to locate the bracket, but the couple hundred miles driven worked well after the initial shift, so most likely just gonna let it ride. The second can of self-etching primer was DOA and just spewed flecks all over, a small section of the passenger side tube, let the ride too and just covered it with the galavanizer.

The locating hole in the flip kit brackets to accept the leaf pack bolt is not centered and MaxTrac says to put the hole forward. This is probably to correct driveline angle when using it for its intended purpose of lowering a ranger. Using it to convert spring under exploder 8.8 to spring over for ranger led to the bolts being angled due to the leaf spring plate not being centered on the tube when located on the leaf pack bolt. Might pull it all apart and re-drill the flip kit brackets to have a centered hole, but probably just gonna let it ride. Anybody starting to see a pattern?


Also the flip kit brackets were designed for the smaller diameter tube ranger axles so I had to shim them. This measured out to 7/16" so I grabbed some 1/16" thick 1" aluminum angle and cut to size. Each end of the perch has 4 such of these cuts with one left angled and backed up against the tube to hold the other 3 that were folded over on themselves from sliding out from underneath the flip kit.


Almost had an oh shit moment when the wheels wouldn't go onto the axle, because the inside diameter on the dumbass 14s gets too narrow closer to the mounting surface and it fouled on the calipers. The spare is apparently different enough that it test fit on just fine, adding to my surprise when the normal ones wouldn't go on. Luckily I still had the 2" spacers on hand and the addition of those put the wheels out far enough for the larger diameter portion to be over the calipers and clear. Got some bro points back.

Once we bled the brakes, we took it for a short rip around the neighborhood sans bed. The little bit of weight of the removed body panels is obviously pretty necessary because the ride was noticeably harsher.

This is the first time the spacers have ever been on in conjunction with the stock wheels. The tire stick out is much more noticeable than with the previous spacer combo, but not too much to be obnoxious. I dig it.


Didn't realize until after the spacers being needed that I now have larger discs in the rear than the front. Oh well, it's still much improved over the 10" drums

Took her back to pull-a-part on a sale weekend to try to snag an m5od-r2 at 20% off. Their site claimed to have just gotten 3 of the right year and 4.2 f-150s on the yard in the week prior but didn't list trans. Assumed they were all autos, but went to see anyways. Assumption ended up correct and we left empty handed. Might give it another try if they get more on the yard before I get impatient and pay more at one of the yards that already has pulled parts inventoried.

Also need to order some explorer parking brake cables at some point. Being auto right now, running without those isn't too much of a concern.

Probably won't be any updates until a trans/engine are sourced, but maybe I'll finally get fed up with the stock seats before then and throw in some true buckets in place of the 60/40 splits. Right now thinking Corbeau Baja RS if I want to keep recline, Sparco Pro 2000 otherwise. Any recommendations on some good seats that are at least somewhat dailyable while keeping things in place when getting rowdy? Not against spending more for better/higher quality.

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