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Old 12-08-2010
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Buying a High Mileage 4.0

First post here - thanks in advance for the help!

I'm looking at a 2004 Ranger 4x4 4.0L with the 5 speed manual tranny. It's got 191,000 miles on it. How much confidence would you have in buying a Ranger with that many miles? (assuming when I go to drive it, I it drives normally)

How many miles can I expect to get out of a Ranger that has been maintained by the average Joe?

I plan to use the truck for periodic light hauling and commuting on days that I don't want to drive the Infiniti.

Thanks again!
Ryan
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Old 12-08-2010
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got any pics?
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Old 12-08-2010
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Welcome to R-F

That sounds just like my truck. They sure kept the road hot with that thing ... lol
They put almost 32,000 miles a year on the truck.
If they kept the maintenance up on the truck then you should be good to go.
I would be more concerned about how solid the clutch and transfer case is than anything else.
And don't be afraid to get under that bad boy and look for salt damage.

I wouldn't give over $6500 for it since it has so many miles. The same truck with low miles would run about $11,500
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Old 12-08-2010
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They are asking $4950 for it. It's located in the Pacific Northwest, so there shouldn't be any salt damage, assuming it's spent its whole life here.

I'm going to go drive it tomorrow.

I drove an 03 Sport Trac today that I really would have liked to buy, but the guy wanted too much for it given the condition it was in. It was a loan repo that had a lot of scratches and marks all over the interior.

Thanks for all the help, guys. Hopefully I can convert to being a contributing member in the near future.

Ryan
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Old 12-09-2010
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keep us updated. as posted, it's all in the maintenance. if the previous owners can give you a shoe box full of receipts for repairs and upkeep i'd say go for it.
if not, keep looking.
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Old 12-13-2010
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Ok, so I finally got a chance to look at and drive the truck. It's not in the greatest shape. Driver's seat and door sill fabric are ripped. Lots of dings and scratches. Driver's door is spring. Synchros are going out in the 5 speed (at least, it resists shifting from 1-2). The stick flops back and forth (left to right) while in gear. The guy who has owned it recently obviously doesn't know much about maintaining cars.

Now, all that said, I think the price could turn out to be worth the risk. I do most of my own car maintenance myself and am willing to tackle tougher jobs if I have time. The only thing that truly has me worried is the 1-2 shift. It made the shift every time, but sometimes I had to wait for it or give it a some extra force to make the shift. Other gears were fine. Shifts were smooth, in general, and the engine and transmission felt pretty solid.
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Old 12-13-2010
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well the shifting problem could be the infamous slave cylinder and the shifter isnt a big deal...there are bushings in there that wear out over time and that causes the shifter to get sloppy
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Old 12-13-2010
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My best advise would be not to make a hasty decision. I did with my ranger. But after a new trans AND a new engine I love it. I say just wait for something a little better. Trust me, you wont have to wait long.
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Old 12-13-2010
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$5k for 195k miles? Seriously? No thanks. That truck is going to be a money pit with those kind of miles, not worth it. Buy an older one with lower miles if anything.
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Old 12-14-2010
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Originally Posted by brianjwilson View Post
$5k for 195k miles? Seriously? No thanks. That truck is going to be a money pit with those kind of miles, not worth it. Buy an older one with lower miles if anything.
agreed very much so....
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Old 12-14-2010
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Well, I think I'm going to take the risk on it. He is willing to take $3700 for it, which is right at KBB trade in value for a 191k 2004 in "fair" condition. The engine ran really smooth and I'm not afraid of occasional transmission work. 4x4 was solid.

The trump card (if you'll excuse the ongoing metaphor) was that the owner was a really nice guy. To me, a lot of buying a used vehicle is like poker. I'm often buying a vehicle based on whether I think I can trust the previous owner as long as the vehicle appears to be in decent mechanical shape. The seller is a really honest guy and wasn't trying to hide anything about the vehicle. I talked to him for the full 20 minutes while test driving the truck and he definitely was the truthful type.

Thanks for all the advice (I promise I'm not ignoring it, even though it may appear so). Who knows, I will probably be on this forum in 3 days eating my words with a myriad of technical questions.
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Old 12-14-2010
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Also, I drove a 99 with the 3.0 and auto transmission last night. How did Ford even think that combo was a good idea? I couldn't believe how much weaker the 3.0 was, especially behind the auto. It drives like an engine that should get you 30mpg, but it most certainly doesn't!
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Old 12-14-2010
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post some pics of the 04 if you got them
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Old 12-14-2010
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Ryan, my '94 4.0 4x4 5spd delivered 156,000 miles before any serious problems. However, the pinion gear that started grinding 2 months ago is likely related to the truck sitting for 10 years (99 to 2009). I'll post some pics when I clean it again. Love your attitude about buying (a lot depends on your expectation), but I wouldn't do it.
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Old 12-14-2010
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Originally Posted by djfllmn View Post
well the shifting problem could be the infamous slave cylinder and the shifter isnt a big deal...there are bushings in there that wear out over time and that causes the shifter to get sloppy
LOL ... I learned the hard way about that infamous slave cylinder today when we put the thing back together and tried to get the air out of it.
Do you have very much experiece bleeding that thing? If so, how do you get all the air out?
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Old 12-14-2010
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Originally Posted by Shuck View Post
Also, I drove a 99 with the 3.0 and auto transmission last night. How did Ford even think that combo was a good idea? I couldn't believe how much weaker the 3.0 was, especially behind the auto. It drives like an engine that should get you 30mpg, but it most certainly doesn't!
X2 ... That's a very good question ... I just washed my hands clean of a 3.slow, and it's amazing. Ford should have their asses kicked for putting that 3.0 in the Ranger extended cab.
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Old 12-15-2010
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If you can get it for $3700 I would go for it since you said you can do most of the repairs yourself and since it is a stick shift, getting the syncros fixed should not be too bad of a deal. Whether you buy this pickup or not, do try to get the 4.0 as the 3.0 is alot weaker and will give you about the same mileage. I know that is alot of miles but most of it could be highway miles which is a good thing! Don't forget to look at the smaller stuff such as brakes and any leaks. I always crawl under what I am going to buy just so I can see for myself and I can tell if someone just cleaned the engine to hide a leak. For that price, if you like the pickup, go for it.
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Old 12-15-2010
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Yeah, for $3700 you could afford to but a low mileage engine and transmission in there.
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Old 12-15-2010
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post some pics of the 04 if you got them
X2
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Old 12-16-2010
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I'll try to get some pics up this weekend. I did end up buying it for 3700. I have to give it a pretty aggressive cleaning, though. The guy I bought it from really didn't believe in fixing or cleaning much of anything.

It does have the slave cylinder problem, but I actually think the synchros in the transmission are ok. As long as I give it time after I press the clutch, it will slide into gear pretty well, regardless of engine RPM.

The one other mechanical thing I want to fix in the near term is the wobbly stick. If it moves side to side like it's in neutral, I assume it's a bushing that might be out?

Some other little parts I'm looking for:
dome light cover
interior fuse panel cover
interior panel that goes around the radio (it's all marked up)

If you guys have any suggestions on those, that would be great! I might have some time this weekend, is the slave cylinder something I can tackle in my garage in a Saturday?
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Old 12-18-2010
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Update:

Spent about 5 hours cleaning the Ranger today. Will get pics this weekend if I manage to get 15 minutes where it's not raining.

I got one important fix taken care of - the wobbly stick (so to speak). As part of my cleaning (and investigating this problem) I pulled the shifter. The shifter was really hard to pull, had to use a hammer to remove the bolt. That explained why the shifter wobbled - the bolt had been forced into the shifter at an off angle and the cam had been damaged and was allowing the shifter to rotate atop its mount. I took a file to the cam and smoothed it all out and removed the burrs that had been created by aforementioned poor installation. Fortunately, the bolt is a lot softer than the stub going into the transmission, which was fine. Once I filed the cam to where it was smooth and flat in the right places, I carefully reinstalled the shifter, making sure the cam was lined up properly, and voila! The shifter is now really tight.

I shampooed the seats and seat backs and scrubbed the vinyl floor to try to get rid of a persistent dog odor. It remains to be seen if it's gone, right now it's covered by the smell of shampoo. The guy who I bought the truck from had sprinkled powered laundry detergent ALL over the interior to try to get rid of the odor. I've almost spent as much time cleaning detergent granules out of crevices as I have cleaning the rest of the truck. I also scrubbed all of the interior panels and took off a few layers of grime. It has the black/tan interior. I hate tan interiors because they show dirt so easily. That hate was renewed today as I tried to scrub the dash to make it look new.

The driver's seat is ripped in two places and has a couple holes, too. I found a matching one out of a 2006 for $100 at a junkyard about 200 miles from me. I'll probably pay the $50 to get it shipped - if I drove, it would break down to about $8 per hour.
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Old 12-18-2010
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I still have a list of repairs that it needs, but the shifter fix makes it a lot more drivable (as long as I remember to leave the clutch in at stop lights). It still needs the following:

1) Slave cylinder
2) A/C clutch
3) Dome light (what year explorer domes will fit my 04?) fixed
4) Driver door repaired (it's sprung very badly - will almost open 90 degrees) fixed
5) Instrument cluster backlights (at least half are burned out)
6) HVAC control backlights fixed
7) Stereo backlights (I may just buy a new stereo)
8) Armrest / console is loose and lid is broken (will be fixed with new driver's seat)
9) SES light - indicating low catalyst efficiency on bank 1
10) Top nut missing from back of headlight, so it points way too low
11) Right turn signal lens cracked

As for maintenance, I plan to change the fluids in just about everything - oil, gear box, transfer case, front and rear diffs - basically anything that turns when the truck is moving (given the high miles).

I noticed the clutch reservoir was low, so I filled it up with brake fluid. So, if my slave cylinder is leaking, does that mean it's leaking corrosive brake fluid into my transmission?

Last edited by Shuck; 12-20-2010 at 06:54 PM. Reason: items fixed
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Old 12-20-2010
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Pics, finally!

Sorry for the low quality. It gets dark so early here and my camera isn't exactly stellar in low light. It needs a good wash anyway, so the darkness hides the dirt.
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Buying a High Mileage 4.0-100_2941.jpg   Buying a High Mileage 4.0-100_2943.jpg  
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  #24  
Old 12-23-2010
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Nice looking truck man! it seems to be well within grasp to bring that ship back around and make a mechanically nice rig out of it. The clutch reservoir situation is usually a telltale sign your slave is going out, only other thing to do is check under the carpet on the drivers side to see if it is damp..which would indicate the master is going...but the slave is usually the culprit. The fluid leaking will most likely not enter your tranny, so no worries on that side, however the slave is located behind the clutch on our trucks, so it makes the most sense to get a new clutch and slave installed. I just got mine back from getting a new slave/clutch last week, so you wont be alone..haha
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Old 12-23-2010
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How much did it cost to have that done? I'm probably going to do it myself, but if time gets short, it may end up at the shop.

I've got the truck back into pretty good condition. It's still got the mechanical issues listed above, but it's now clean and in decent shape inside. I found an 04 Ranger at the U-pull-it that had been there for about 35 days, so it still had all the interior pieces in it. Got a new radio bezel, new driver door panel, new visors, new driver window seal, new fuse panel cover, new antenna, and even the owner's manual - all for about $50. Now if I could just find a good pair of black/tan seats, I'd be in business.
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