I have a project I want to start working on as soon as the weather warms around here. It is sentimental, because this truck was my dad's until he passed away last summer. I've been driving it daily since, and for it's age it has been kept in great shape. It's a 95 4.0 Ranger XLT, Extended cab 4x4 automatic. It means a lot to me to drive my old man's truck, and I figure I will probably keep it forever.
Here is what I have to work with. Sitting right next to it in my driveway is a 97 Mark VIII that I bought to bomb around in. Of course it has the 32v 4.6 motor in strong running condition. It has some body damage and needs a cleanup and repaint if I were to keep it. Plus the interior shows a fair amount of wear. In all honesty, the Ranger is in much better shape inside and out.
I am thinking of combining the two vehicles into one monster Ranger in honor of dear old dad. He was a car guy, and over the years we have built everything from a 67 GTO to a 84 Dodge Shelby Charger together. Since he passed, I haven't picked up a tool. Building this truck is my way of moving on and getting back to doing the things I used to love.
I want to keep the 4x4 (no AWD) as well as the A/C functional. However, I would like to convert from automatic to a 5 or 6 speed just because I like to row my own gears. The truck has the factory off-road suspension, so it already sits high, and I am thinking the extra clearance may help me.
I have read through hours of forum posts, and seen a few examples of people putting mod motors in Rangers. However most have been 2wd trucks. Is anyone aware of a 4x4 32v 4.6 conversion that I could reference?
And the main point of the post, to keep the 4x4 fully functional, dare I try to use the Ranger's existing transfer case, or will it blow up behind a 300+hp mod motor? If not, what transmission/transfer case combo would be best? I want to drive this truck daily when it's done, so drivability is a key conern as well as mileage. (The existing 4.0 has only been getting 16mpg, and I expect the V8 will actually improve that)
Once the motor is in and running, I may even look at transplanting the aluminum Independent Rear Suspension from the Mark VIII under the Ranger.
It would be icing on the cake if I could get this truck to ride and handle half as good as the Lincoln!
Looking forward to hearing from the masses on this project.