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1999 Ranger "Gold Dust" - Part II
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 Posted: Sun Dec 1st, 2019 09:06 pm
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TheArcticWolf1911
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It's been a while since I've posted here, but with the upcoming plans I felt it necessary to do so.

If you're not already familiar with Gold Dust, let me catch you up briefly with just the high points.
She's a 1999 Ranger XLT painted Harvest Gold. Under the hood, she has a 3.0 V6 w/ automatic transmission and 4x4 vacuum hubs, which of course have failed and have been converted to a more manual setup.

On the inside, there's a pair of black converted seats from an 03 Ranger Edge, donated courtesy of mhoward, with black carpet; although originally prairie tan. A mustang dome, overhead console, 02+ expo center console, silverface cluster w/ blue LEDs, and more all live happily inside.

I love this truck, but I'm not entirely happy with it still. I've never liked tan interiors, she needs new leafspring bushings, new upper and lower control arms, tie rod ends, and a few other pieces to compliment parts to come. More on that in a bit.

Here's a few photos as she sits right now. The interior is pretty much unchanged since I last posted, but a bit grimier. Daily driving to a factory job and back has a tendency to do that, unfortunately. The outside recently got some changes, however. I've got an Aries brush guard and a pair of Hella 500FF spot lights now added, soon to be fitted with Hella's 130 watt H3 bulbs. On the rear, I swapped out my amber LED reverse lights to the smaller, halogen, type you see now. These are also fitted with Hella 130w H3s. They make a big difference over stock 55 watt bulbs. 
















Otherwise, she's pretty much the same, front to back.

Now, I wouldn't make a part 2 just for a brush guard and a couple lights. So, what am I planning, exactly? Well, let me tell you.

The powertrain in this 99 has never been impressive. Sounds nice, but beyond that, it's a slug. Reliable, but a slug. The 3.0 has earned the name 3.slow in spades. So, what's a guy to do? Upgrade it? Nah. 4.0? Could. But, if I'm going to go that far, why not go all the way? 

I'm talking a 5.0 Windsor V8 out of an Explorer. 

As commitment to this plan, here's a couple shots of another truck I bought to drive while Gold Dust is apart. It\s a 1998 F-150 XL w/ 4.2L V6 & M5OD stick shift. Picked it up for $1000, and for my purposes seems to be just fine. Just for transparency, these photos are after I pulled out the interior and cleaned the hell out of it. Previous owner was a smoker and didn't seem to be one for cleaning much, suffice it to say. It also has a hitch, so that may come in handy for later.









But, back to the plans. 

OK, so how am I planning to get that 302? According to what I've read on a tech article, for my 99 4x4 Ranger, a 99 to 01 Expo/Mountaineer should make things the absolute easiest, as it pertains to fuel system setup, pats, and other things. I do have a junk yard nearby with several of these vehicles, so I could pull the parts I need and call it a day. That said, my intention is to purchase a complete donor and sell the rest to that same yard, assuming a friend of mine (who owns a similar year explorer) doesn't want it for parts. 

So, that's the engine/trans and other major components sorted, except one. My Ranger came with a 7.5 inch rear end, and we all know that won't do for the new 5.0. I could take out the rear end from the donor and plunk it under the Ranger with some necessary modification, but I'm not going to bother with all of that, mostly because I don't know anyone with the welding skills to make that happen. Instead, I'm going to take a more OEM approach. It seems that 2011 Rangers came with the rear end that I want/need.

I can get an 8.8 rear end w/ 4:10 gears, limited slip and rear disk brakes ready to roll underneath in one complete package off such a Ranger and call it a day. I like this method more for many reasons, so this is what I'll go with. 

On that same note, I know there's an axle code for this rear end (R7), but I can't seem to find any reference that says it was actually used. I can find 2011 8.8 disk brake 4:10 rear ends all day long with an open diff (97), but not one with limited, not even a burnt up one someone is trying to get rid of. Makes me wonder if it ever truly came to fruition, and R7 was left as an unrealized provision. 

OK, rear axel, drivetrain & parts sorted. What else? Going back to the engine for a minute, we all know the headers from the factory are INSANELY restrictive. From my time on google it seems there's really only one option other than factory. Torque Monster headers. May be pricey, but I can't see myself leaving the factory ones on when I'm going for more power. Oh, spoiler alert, I'm not doing any serious mods to the motor itself. The most it may get (depending on condition/mileage) Is a full tear down and refresh/rebuild. 

Out the block, through the headers and down the..... what, now? Reuse the factory exhaust? Nah. True duals out the back and poking out the rear bumper. I considered dumping before the rear tires, but decided against it for a few reasons that I may go into later. 

Other than the aforementioned suspension components that will also be replaced, there's two other things on my list. First up, a new set of doors. Mine are rusting at the bottom, and appear to be beyond what can be fixed without a cutter and welder. This presents a perfect opportunity to add power locks, windows, and mirrors, so I'm going to take that opportunity. The truck is prewired for it, sans a small harness on the driver's side, so I'm going to do it up that way. Oh, and I'll be sticking with textured 06 mirrors. 

So, what about that tan interior I don't like? Swap for grey parts? Nah. I'm going to dye it jet black with SEM. That carpet is also going to go away. It still looks OK, but the vinyl floor is so much easier to clean and keep looking nice, so I'll be swapping for that instead. 

Now I haven't decided, but I'm considering a set of power seats. We have a set of expo power seats in the attic whose upholstery is shot, but the rest is in good, working, condition. I'd have to get them reupholstered, and for that I'd go with cloth. Not only by reason of cost, but because I've found that you tend to slide around more on leather and vinyl seats, as well as them not being to comfortable when it's really hot or really cold. So, black cloth it is. Maybe splurge on some custom embroidery at the head rest. Maybe.

New window tint will also get put in. Mine is looking worse for wear. 

While we're talking about dying/painting, I left you hanging at the doors. Unless I get lucky and find harvest gold doors, they won\'t match, obviously. Just repaint the doors? Nah. The whole truck is going to get repainted, and the dings repaired. Sticking with the same color? 

That\'s up for debate. I really want to go with a Ford metallic black, but that will increase the cost because the door jambs will need to be repainted as well. Unlike if I go with the same color, where the jambs can be ignored. Painting will be last on the list of things to do, because I don't want to damage the new paint while working on it. Doesn't make much sense to me to paint it first and then do everything to it.

So, bullet points, in no particular order. 

5.0 swap
8.8 Rear end swap w/ disk brakes
OEM manual to power swap w/ new doors 
Dye interior black
Carpet to vinyl swap
Power seats?
Suspension parts replacement
New window tint
Repaint

If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to ask/post as you please. I can't promise scheduled updates, as this will be slow to start given I don't have the donor as of yet and I'm limited by how fast I get paid, of course. That said, when progress happens there will be information to be shared, even if it isn't particularly exciting.



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 Posted: Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 02:00 am
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Eddie Money
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I like where this is going!!

From the videos I've watched it appears relatively simple to remove the seat coverings. If you find a explorer cloth pair in good condition you could restore the power ones in the attic a lot cheaper than an upholsterer 



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 Posted: Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 05:29 am
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TheArcticWolf1911
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I absolutely could, however I don't think expo seatsin 96 to 01s ever came in black. Although I could dye them..... Grey would stick out a good bit in an otherwise soon-to-be all black interior.

That said, I don't mind the cost. Nothing here is going to be cheap, lol.

Slight ammendum to the rear disk brakes. It had not previously occurred to me to retro fit disk brakes on pre  2011 8.8 Ranger rear ends. After finding out that in my area, drum brake R7s are quite common I decided I'm going to grab a drum brake 4:10 limited slip and put on disk brake hardware instead. Not sure why that didn't occur to me prior.

94-04 Mustangs are also easy findings in my local junk yards. So, that said, seems like the easiest way to accomplish my desires is to use mustang brake parts. The backing plate and antimoan bracket will be JY finds. The calipers, pads, rotors, and lines will be bought new. Aside from the pads, I could in all likelyhood just go with used parts and be OK, but I like the peace of mind of having new parts for some things.

Last edited on Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 05:30 am by TheArcticWolf1911



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I like it, I like it very much!

Some things you said that really make sense:
buy the entire donor = smart! You will want to have all the parts from the explorer available to you for the conversion.

Headers, torque monster headers are a great way to go! There are two options for a bolt in header using explorer gt40p drivetrain in a IFS ranger, OBX and TMH. The TMH are far superior they have a jet hot coating and construction quality that make the extra $$$ worth it. However the OBX headers can sometimes be had for under $400 something to consider.

Rear axle
There is not a ton of welding / fabrication required to put an Explorer 31 spline 8.8 in the back of a ranger, but there is some grinding welding and fab required.
The Explorer, explorer sport, explorer sport trac and mercury mountaineer all had the 31 spline 8.8 with disc brakes (95-01). Some of the v6 trucks did have 4.10 gears and limited slip. The Ranger axle in question is even better if you can find it the FX2 had a torsen traction device which we all love. But they are RARE and worth lots of $$$. So sometimes fitting the Explorer axle in is a cheaper option. If you were close to my shop I can do the fab and welding required to mod an explorer axle to fit your ranger for like $3-500.

true duals is nice if thats what you want. Many of these conversions we stick with a single pipe over the axle and back, for a mild v8 the single exhaust makes nice back pressure and keeps some torque. Plus with a spare tire, side mounted fuel tank and 4x4 drivetrain a single exhaust just makes sense.

Explorer engine is anemic. Although they put a cobra mustang gt40 engine into the explorer the explorer was never designed for this addition and a few "setbacks" were required to make it work. The first is the exhaust manifolds, they are choking the power we can make. Robert of TMH showed us that just by bolting on a set of TMH we gain 24 horsies to a stock explorer. Thats alot of HP vs $$$ spent for the torque monster headers.
The stock explorer camshaft is blah, its a HO cam, weak sauce. Again there is power here waiting to be unleashed.
Comp Cams makes a nice truck based emissions friendly cam grind for us.
The explorer for whatever reason was only made in RWD or AWD, a full time borg warner viscous clutch AWD t case was created for the soccer mom 96-01 5.0 Explorer. Ditch it. Unless you are in love with bad MPG, additional heat under your truck, loss of power, and tons of accelerated front end wear, ditch the AWD t case. This is the first thing to go on one of my builds. The stock AWD is a power sucker. Although it is nice on the road and in the snow, the wear and tear on front end parts and the power loss just makes this 70/30 full time split t case not worth it. There are several other t cases to chose from, our favorite is the 4406e or 4406m. Adapters are also available so you can use a Ranger case like the 1354, but adapters are pricey so we generally avoid those too.

Research is key when doing this conversion on your own, it sounds like you have done your share and are ready to take the plunge.
Next step decide what T case you want and find a donor!!
98-01 Explorer or mountaineer 5.0 AWD with as low miles as possible, buy the whole truck and get started wrenching!
I have lots more input but this is a good start. There are several threads right here on Ford-rangers.com that discuss ALL of this stuff

I love the gold truck, I even like the two tone black and tan interior you have going on but I can see the desire to have all black is nice!
You will love the truck with a V8, the 3.0 is a boat anchor in comparison. The GT40 cobra 302 mated to teh 4r70w automatic is about the most reliable and toughest drivertain you can bolt into a Ranger it will transform your truck into a real beast, reliable, tough, dependable and over built...that is how we roll



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 Posted: Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 03:34 pm
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@TheArcticWolf1911: I told you 410 would be a great source of knowledge and info! :)

Speaking of power seats, have you considered just swapping the power seat track to the black cloth seats you have now? Not sure it will work, but may be something to look at. -- Dad



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2003 Ranger Edge / Extended Cab / Flareside / 3.0L FLEX / Auto / 2WD / 8.8 Open 4:10 / Sonic Blue Pearl

So many mods... so little time...



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TheArcticWolf1911
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@410Customs: Lots of information to consider, here. I'd like to keep my Ranger as a 4x4, not an AWD. As far as which case I choose, as long as it grants me the 4x4 option, I can't say I have much preference. The closest this will see to offroading is a gravel road, and hopefully not another ditch.

Truck (and myself) was unharmed in that. Downhill on an icy road has a tendency to put you places you didn't intend to be.

That cam you mentioned, is that something you custom order from them, or is it listed on their site?

@Mhoward: 410 absolutely is knowledgeable on the subject.  No doubt about that.

If we can make the seats I have now, powered, I would absolutely go for that. I hadn't considered that, but I don't see why I wouldn't work. May require a small amount of tweaking, but it should work. What I have now is plenty comfortable.

Last edited on Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 05:58 pm by TheArcticWolf1911



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Yes, those seats are more comfortable than my pleather Expo seats.  I hadn't thought about the possibility of just installing power tracks on them at the time, or I would have tried it then.



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So many mods... so little time...



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TheArcticWolf1911
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Well, I discovered that facebook is actually useful for something after all.

On the marketplace, as clunky as it is to use, it is ripe with explorers. The ones I've found thus far are either too far away or are rags, but that said there are plenty of 'em to pick from.



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It is really a stretch to say that facebook is useful, but I suppose there are lots of losers selling Explorers! LMAO JK



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Check out copart for doner vehicles



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I have been looking at Mercury Mountaineer's.



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I love mountaineers
I had a 2001 Premier Edition 302 AWD that thing was soooo clean and drove soooo nice


Last edited on Thu Dec 5th, 2019 02:32 pm by 410customs



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My '03 Edge has several Mountaineer parts, such as complete EATC, premium Pioneer stereo and lighted/mirrored visors with HomeLink w/voice record. For a while, I had Mountaineer power leather seats, but one got cut (probably with a screwdriver in the back pocket). So I agree, Mountaineers were great vehicles and they make excellent donor subjects for us!



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THAT is one sweet Mountaineer!



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Had to sell it to support other habits
We did get another premier and crushed it, so I have a OEM premier badge



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Selling that beauty HAD to hurt...



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So many mods... so little time...



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I am negotiating on a 2001 AWD loaded v8 Mountaineer that has 78 K miles that is owned by a 84 year old man. His children want him to stop driving. I just want his truck.



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Oh man, that would be a really nice truck to get with that low mileage. Work hard to buy that one, Tony!



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I learned recently, thanks to 410, that the M5OD (same trans that's in my F150) happens to bolt up to, and work with, the 5.0 Windsor.

I also learned, again thanks to 410, that there are transfer cases which will bolt straight up to both the manual M50D and 4r70w automatic. One of those cases happens to be a manual stick style shift, and I love the way a manual T case looks.

A new transfer case is definately going to happen, since no adapters will be necessary then. The more OEM parts that bolt together without any fuss, the better.

All that having been said, I'm tossing around some ideas.

If I go with an auto transfer case, I won't have to mess with my console at all and I won't have to figure out what to do with that 4x4 knob on the dash. I may need to swap plugs around to make it work, but it's the least invasive to the interior.

If I go with a manual transfer case, there ought not be any wires to worry about, but then I'll have a lone 4x4 switch which does absolutely nothing, lest I swap the radio bezel. Not that it's difficult to do.

As far as transmissions go, the auto is hands down the easiest to put in my particular Ranger, since mine is already an automatic and the computer is already programmed correctly.

If I went with the M5OD, I'd of course have to find one which means more $$$ and more left over parts.

I'd also have to sort out the computer's programming. It will absolutely freak out if there's no transmission for it to control. I could either have it re-flashed, or if a vehicle came with a 5.0 and M5OD, use the computer from it instead.

After that though, to go stick shift, I'd need to install the necessary hardware, including the clutch pedal assembly, clutch hydraulics, then remove the auto shifter + linkage, then find a way to route that stick up through my console, which means losing that space for putting things.

About the only bonus I can come up with for going manual is that it's cheaper to fix when it breaks, and if paired with a manual T case, you get twin sticks. I must admit, i love twin shifters coming up out of the floor.

Given how much extra work it'll be to go manual, I'll probably stick with an auto.



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Jesus, I'm looking at people who tried to swap the M5OD into their 5.0 explorers.....

There's a lot more to it. Eh, I'm not feeling the added complications of making this a stick shift. I'm going to stick with the auto that the expo comes with and call it good.



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You have no idea how relieved I was to read your last post (#20)! All I could envision in my mind was my garage full of leftover Ranger parts! LOL I have to agree, the twin sticks would look great, but the reality of what it would take to get there is overwhelming.



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2003 Ranger Edge / Extended Cab / Flareside / 3.0L FLEX / Auto / 2WD / 8.8 Open 4:10 / Sonic Blue Pearl

So many mods... so little time...



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 Posted: Fri Dec 6th, 2019 02:53 pm
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410customs
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:)

M5od is not THAT hard LOL LOL you just have to know your stuff...........and the explorer computer needs a tune to get rid of the auto trans functions. This is something that used to be like $500 plus, now days it can be done for like $100-200

You can use a clutch pedal assembly that bolts in, the clutch hydraulics bolt in and with the correct M5OD R2 the shifter is in the correct spot.


All of the 302/351 (SBF) 4x4 transmissions use a 30 spline output shaft with 6 bolt pattern. The t cases in question that fit this this pattern and our ranger based vehicle frames are the NP205 and BW4406


the 302 with 4r70w and 4406 t case IS the easiest setup and uses all stock parts available at parts stores to go together....Of course, being a conversion, will have some custom bits like exhaust pipes and rear driveshaft....otherwise ALL Ford

ALL 302 Explorers were either RWD or AWD, never 4x4...so their dash bezels have no switch

I like where this is going "KISS" keep it simple......
research is KEY to getting what you want, I researched my v8 conversion for like 5 years collecting info before I bought one part...... you are already well into this with your backup RWD 4.2 F150

Just FYI right now I have a M5OD r2 and manual 4406 t case downstairs, came from a 4x4 2002 F150 with 140K miles, my stepson found it at local yard and pulled it, he has the trans posted for $800 right now and $400 would take the t case. I hope it doesn't sell so I can barter for them and use them in one of my projects, like a 2001 sport trac build that is coming up :) shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......

Last edited on Fri Dec 6th, 2019 02:57 pm by 410customs



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 Posted: Fri Dec 6th, 2019 03:53 pm
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mhoward
Hey look ↓ they ↓ bounce!


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410, you are truly a wealth of information on this subject! Problem for ArcticWolf (he's my son) is that we live in suburbia... a 2-car attached garage in a subdivision with no place to store donor vehicles or large parts, not to mention no room to do a project like this (laterally or vertically). Just having a 4th vehicle here is proving to be a slight challenge when getting in and out of the garage. He has an off-site option, but it is 35 miles away, so that makes it impossible to just put in an hour or two when its available. The downside to the M5OD, as he is finding out now with the F150, is we live in "stoplight city" (Evansville, Indiana)... a pathetic, scandal of a town with no regard to smooth traffic flow. The traffic lights almost appear to be perfectly timed to disrupt traffic flow. Yes, it will teach him a better command of a manual trans vehicle, but shifting constantly isn't as much fun as he thought it would be. His 3.0L, as all of us on the forum know, is a slug. Its most salient feature is its slowness, with a rate of acceleration you can measure with a calendar and would be at a severe disadvantage in any drag race involving farm equipment. He is dedicated to this project though, and determined to own a V-8 Ranger!



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-- Michael

2003 Ranger Edge / Extended Cab / Flareside / 3.0L FLEX / Auto / 2WD / 8.8 Open 4:10 / Sonic Blue Pearl

So many mods... so little time...



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 Posted: Sat Dec 7th, 2019 04:04 am
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Eddie Money
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Mhoward, I couldnt help it. It reminded me of sheriff Buford T Justice talking politely with clenched teeth to the bandit while summoning all his patience for his son. 

Theres no substitute for cubic inches. V8 baby!!! Whooo.....

Last edited on Sat Dec 7th, 2019 09:36 am by Eddie Money



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2007 Sport 4door 4x4 4.0L SOHC V6 Ranger
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 Posted: Sat Dec 7th, 2019 05:22 am
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TheArcticWolf1911
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I called my local salvage yard, and sometime early next week I should have an R7 rear end and two power doors, preferably off the same vehicle.

The R7 will have drum brakes when I get it, but before it goes under the truck, it's going to get a little TLC. Cleaned and painted for one thing, then a dose of mustang disk brakes, new bearings, new clutches, and a fluid change of course. The truck that's donating it's R7 rear end has around 140K on it.

The doors should be completely ready to bolt on and plug in, although I was told they would not come with the mirrors. That's OK for me though, because I would be ditching those for power 06 mirrors anyway.

The guy said I should get a call sometime monday afternoon, and since I'm a 2nd shifter, I'll pick 'em up tuesday before work.



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1999 Ford Ranger XLT - 3.0 V6 4x4 - Loaded
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