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Old 11-02-2012, 08:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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97 Ranger aero project.

Short bed 5 speed code 84 (3.45 differential) with a .79 OD 5th gear, about 2k at 60 unless I put larger diameter tires on it. Picked it up for $1650 with just over 124k miles. Interior is decent (after a whole day of scrubbing). Only mechanical problem is it needs a blower motor resistor (only high speed). Drives fine and seems to roll pretty good, even though I have not even checked the tire prerssure. 195/70/14 tires, with plenty of tread left.

The exterior is fairly rough, no rust, just small dents and dings especially around the top of the bed with the biggest dent just in front of the left tail light. Bottom line is it's a perfect candidate for aero mods. Wore myself out yesterday cleaning out the interior, rubber floor mats are nice, but cloth interior, although comfortable, sure can hold a lot of dirt and this baby had a couple of pounds of it. even a foot under the rubber floor mats.

The perfect candidate for a Phil Knox tribute, with some Basjoos mixed in for a few more MPG. Since I can weld it will be mostly steel parts welded on. Not even going to try to get it paintworthy, grey urethane primer will be just fine, until I get everything sorted out.

Bed cap will be extended to the distance of the tailgate when it is down. Tailgate will be strutted in place, replaceing the cable stops with steel to keep it down, so I can make the cap latch to the existing latches in the tailgate. fender skirts at all 4 wheels, welded to the existing sheet metal, with a predetermined gap of about 1/8th inch so I can install a bead seal between the panels.

Cap will be hinged a few inches away from the cab roof so it can be sealed to the cab perfectly.

Dams in front of all 4 wheels, blocked off about 60% of the radiator inlet, contemplating loosing the clutch fan, maybe I can get an electric that is regulated by outlet hose temp instead of inlet andtest the theorey of coolant entrance temperature. The mirrors are already small, I think I may put a dam or deflector on the front of the mirror.

I'll post pics as I go along.


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Old 11-02-2012, 11:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Didn't see this coming. What's your motivation for the project?
Project MPGiata! Mods for getting 50+ MPG from a 1990 Miata
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Does it have the pinto engine (2.3L)?
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Didn't see this coming. What's your motivation for the project?
Methinks he wants to be the first person on this site with a truck showing "90 day: 40 MPG" under his avatar.

Go for it. I need some motivation to get off my dead butt and get back to working on my truck.
06 Canyon: The vacuum gauge plus wheel covers helped increase summer 2015 mileage to 38.5 MPG, while summer 2016 mileage was 38.6 MPG without the wheel covers. Drove 33,021 miles 2016-2018 at 35.00 MPG.

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Old 11-02-2012, 03:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Pics before you start? Hopefully you don't have the Cologne V6...not a big fan of those engines.

Fun project!
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am imagining a multi-piece fiberglass solar car style underbody with strakes.

Plans to lower it? Not sure about the front suspension setup but you should be able to do like 3" without much issue.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wrote a long post and the wife got home from work. By the time she quit talking the post timed out, so I need to write another.

2.3L dual plug 4 cylinder.

Metro, I like the convenience of having a truck, but I don't want to sacrifice the mileage like I had to with the F150. Also for trips to the Pick and Pull, and the county recycling center with yard debris. and auctions when I might pick up something for a good price.

Be back later. Thanks for the interest everyone.

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Old 11-03-2012, 12:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Here's a drawing I did a while back for another Ranger, the back is probably taller than you thought it'd be.

Here's a full size image for more detail. Same Pic Bigger
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I had a 94 ranger with the same engine and a dieing 5 speed manual trans. Rust seems to be a fairly large issue with them mainly cab corners, tail gate, and right above the rear wheels (normal for fords). Mine had the primary coil bad, so it was running on the secondary / waste burn coil, MPG was bad with no power lol. Floored aginst the wind max speed was 60mph on the express way, with the wind I could get 70-75mph. ~18mpg going to college and back. Also keep an eye on your rear leaf springs to frame, the back mounts let go from the frame on mine.

If you do all the mods you list, I'm going to guess 40-45mpg. I have heard of people getting 30mpg taking an easy on them. I assume yours is the 2 wheel drive model correct? I did like the manual trans, it seemed to be fairly high geared. My 4th gear was really messed up, so I had to shift from 3rd to 5th.

I would vote to remove the passenger mirror if legal, my car mirrors are smaller and I did gain mpg from it.

Good luck, I'll be watching this.. I always seem to use my car as a truck... lol.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Some pics. One shows the dent in front of the left tail light after I pushed it out and hammered and dollied it. Used an old gun barrel as a pry bar (and dolly) and went in through the tail light opening (light removed).

The interior pic does not show several cigarette burns, not terrible but there. Other than that it came out nice. I actually used a leaf blower yesterday to get some of the dust out of the cab and heater ducts, as well as the seats.

Tires need balancing, they are code dated early 2009 and probably have less than 10k miles total since installed, seem to roll decent with 44 PSI max sidewall.


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