Fixing up an older pickup truck, part 1

in #car-repair2 years ago

Hello, and welcome to my page, eh!

In the middle of August, I bought a 1994 Ford Ranger extended cab pickup truck. The plan was to use it for pulling my trailer wherever I might want to go with it. My current vehicle, a 1993 Ford Explorer has about 190 thousand miles on it and lots of rust from the salt that's used on the roads in the winter around here. It runs well, but I don't know how far I'd be willing to trust it on a long drive, plus the rust is going to just keep getting worse over time until the thing falls apart.

The reason that I chose to buy a Ranger pickup truck is because I've seen a lot fewer of them that were rusted out than the Chevy S-10 and the Dodge Dakota. Toyota trucks are too expensive, even when they're 25 years old, and they have a history of having their frames rust out and break.

The engine in my Ranger is the 4 liter V-6, from what I've read, they have a good record of reliability, and the truck has a manual transmission, so I don't have to worry about the problems that the Ford automatic transmission is prone to. This truck has 160 thousand miles on it, which is a lot, but with proper maintenance, it still has a lot of life left in it.

This is the truck.

The body is in really good condition. It apparently was in an accident, probably a deer strike, and the front driver's side fender, light assemblies, and the grill were replaced.
This truck is a 4 wheel drive, but that's not really important to me, I'll be using it to pull my camper trailer.

When I bought it, I looked it over pretty well, and I could see that the frame was sound, but rusty, no paint left on it. Kind of what you would expect for a 25 year old pickup truck. I knew when I bought the truck that I would have to put in a new exhaust system, the thing had no muffler, and cobbled together pipes to the back.

I decided that one of the first things that I need to do was to replace the shock absorbers. I decided that as long as I was going to replace them, I might as well put coil over shocks in the back to help with carrying loads. I bought a set of Monroe Load Leveler shocks with the coil springs and installed them. Here are the pictures of the install, I always seem to forget to take a picture before I start...

Here, I have both of the old shocks out, and 1 new shock installed. I had previously cleaned up the bolt threads as best I could with a wire brush and sprayed on penetrating oil in preparation for doing the job. On the day that I did the work, I did that again before I started trying to get the nuts loose on the bolts. Considering how old the truck is, I feel like I was perhaps a bit lucky that I didn't break any bolts trying to the the old shocks off.

A look from a different angle. The reason that I used the jack was to lift the frame to extend the truck springs as far as they would go to help with getting the new shocks on. Trying to compress these shocks to put them on would be a real pain in the butt.

Here, I have both new shocks installed.

While I was under the truck, I also got the spare tire carrier to work again. That was mostly a matter of applying penetrating oil and working it into the moving parts. There was no spare with the truck when I bought it, so that will have to be taken care of at some point. Also, as you may have noticed in the pictures, the rear break lines had been replaced on the truck, but whoever did the job didn't think much about securing the lines so they won't get snagged on stuff while driving in the woods. I have to take care of that also.

While I was under the truck working on the shocks, I was looking at the frame and trying to decide on the best way to clean it up and paint it. I noticed that the rear cross member on the frame was almost rusted through on the driver's side, so I decided that the best way to deal with cleaning up the frame for painting, and to fix the crossmember was to take the box off the truck. The frame is a lot cleaner under the cab than it is under the box, especially toward the back end. So now I have a big project ahead of me.

After I got the rear shocks installed, I found the bolts holding on the back bumper and the box and cleaned the threads as best I could with my wire brush, and then sprayed them with penetrating oil. Since I wanted to give the penetrating oil some time to work, I didn't do anything else on the truck that day. This was last week.

In my next post on this project, I'll be talking about removing the back bumper and the box from the truck.
That's all I have for this post, thanks for stopping by to check it out!

amber banner.pngbanner palnet.pngcreative banner.pngbanner_helpienaut.pngbanner2.png


Yep, that looks like an MI truck from the undercarriage. It is amazing how much of a toll the Winter can take on our vehicles. I just got a new truck to pull our trailer with this Summer too. I had a dead cylinder on my old one and there were enough other issues that it wasn't worth fixing.

I'm hoping I don't find any other hidden issues with this truck. As long as the drive train is still good, I can deal with the rest of the problems.

hands amber a huge can of WD-40 and some rust-relief

Right? :-)

These are great old trucks, I've got a 93 that runs like a champ. I've got the 3liter engine though so it's a little too gutless for pulling trailers.

Well, I suppose it depends on the size of the trailer. I know my truck won't pull a big trailer very well, but a smaller camper shouldn't be a problem even for a 3 liter engine.

On level ground I could tow a small camper but if I have to go up any hills I'd be lucky to hit 45mph, and stopping would not be very stable. Little truck with little brakes.

Yeah, stopping is rather important, isn't it...


This post has been manually curated, resteemed
and gifted with some virtually delicious cake
from the @helpiecake curation team!

Much love to you from all of us at @helpie!
Keep up the great work!


Manually curated by @torico.

@helpie is a Community Witness.
For more information about our project,
please visit this month’s UPDATE post.

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.
@c-squared runs a community witness. Please consider using one of your witness votes on us here