4x4 Conversion - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 10-06-2015
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4x4 Conversion

Hello all I'm new here and glad to be a member of this site. So I have a 1985 ford ranger I would like to build up to do mild offroading and still drive daily. Now I am not new to off-roading however I am petty new to rangers. I know it's a long process to convert to 4x4 but I am willing to do it as I plan to swap axles anyway and will be looking at doing a ford 9" and dana 44. What I am looking for is basically a list of parts I will need. I have a brother that is a mechanic/fabricator and another brother who is an ex mechanic so I have the help. I plan to start buying the parts over winter and build it during the spring.
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Old 10-07-2015
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You won't need those beefier axles with a 4cyl engine.

You do want a Borg Warner 1350 MANUAL shift transfer case, electric shift requires wiring and control module which is just not needed when converting.

You need a 4x4 2.3l transmission, it has a different tail shaft than 4x2, 2.3l engines also have a unique bell housing pattern, so trans must be from, 2.0l/2.3l/2.5l Lima engine

Last edited by RonD; 10-07-2015 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 10-07-2015
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Yea I've read about those parts. What else will I need? Ad I was doing some thinking this morning and I will probably be running only 31" or 33" so I will probably use dana 30s from a cherokee. Wha gearing seems right? I've heard 4.56, 4.88 and several others. I want solid axles and treated because I want it to be reliable yet capable. If that makes sense lol
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Old 10-07-2015
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I would stick with 31" for less weight.
Axle Gearing depends on your needs, i.e. if you need to go 70mph on the highway for any length of time you want RPMs in 5th gear to be about 2,200-2,400 with a 4cyl

4.10 ratio
31" tires
in 5th gear(.75 ratio)
At 70mph
Should have engine at 2,300 rpms

3.78 ratio would have engine at 2,150 rpms, so slightly better MPG for distance driving but may not be able to stay in 5th gear on even a smaller hill because you are out of torque band for 4cyl

4.56 ratio would have engine at 2,600 rpms, so lower MPG at speed, but better low end power for starting off
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Old 10-07-2015
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Will 4.10 do decent offroad as well? Any idea why the approximate gas mileage would be?
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Old 10-07-2015
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And what about the crossmember?
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Old 10-07-2015
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MPG is a moot point when running 31" tires and adding 4WD, lol.
And you will probably need a bit of a lift as well, cutting into MPG.
3" lift according to this guide: http://www.therangerstation.com/tech...eFitment.shtml

18mpg to 20mpg maybe

Ford made 4x4 Rangers with 4cyl engines from 1983 until 1996 I believe, most are regular cab, extended cab would be rare but not unheard of.
Cross member shouldn't be a problem because of this but never done that conversion so can't say for sure.
But best bet would be to find a rolled or beat up 2.3l 4x4 and get it for parts
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Old 10-07-2015
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Coming from the jeep crowd, that's better gas mileage than what I'm used to lol. I would much rather just collect parts over the next few months that's why I was wanting a list. So transfer case, 4x4 tranny, drive shaft, solid axle swap, anything else?
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Old 10-09-2015
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There's been a couple guys who've used a d30 front. One I know of is running a 302 with some mild work. He hasn't had any issues. If you're keeping the 4 banger that axle will be plenty. I agree with the ratios as mentioned but the mileage might be off. My 08 had 3.73's and 31's. Granted I had a 4.0 and didn't notice the lack of acceleration. Off road I did. My mileage at first was 17/18mpg in the city and I got as much as 25mpg on the highway a couple of times. When I traded it in, the best I could do city was 15.5/16mpg. I would recommend the 4.56 gears with the 2.3 or 2.5.

I'd go with 33's if it was mine, I'd also do a v8 but to each their own.
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Old 10-10-2015
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Yes, I was conservative on MPG.

You will need the front suspension from 1st generation 4WD Ranger, '83-'88, but up to '96 should work as well.
Good read here on that: The Ford Ranger Front Suspension

Solid axle swap here: Ford Ranger Solid Axle Swap (SAS)
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Old 10-10-2015
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if you are dead set on a dana 30 front axle , then you will have to buy and weld on inner / upper "C" coil over shock mounts .

as the dana 30 is too narrow for front coil springs too mount properly

a better front axle is the front axle off of a 69 to 73 original ford bronco high pinion dana 44

that axle is the proper width for the ranger to mount coil springs
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Old 10-12-2015
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They're also not common anymore. This project no matter how you approach it isn't a "bolt on kit".

The reason one member went with a d30 is because of all the jeeps with them and all the jeep guys giving them away to run larger wheels.
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Old 10-12-2015
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that is true the jeep dana 30 is not any stronger than the ranger dana 35
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  #14  
Old 10-17-2015
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Hey all, don't think I forgot about you. I'm still focused on this build but still planning. Only things I've bought so far is a 50" light bar and tube bumper. Also swapped in a bench seat and removable door pins to go doorless. My brother that will be helping me is a lifelong mechanic and fabricator and has a big wrangler he built. I will he swapping the front end with a dana 30 and switching the front end to run leaf springs
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