2019 Ranger build

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#1
My back story, I cut my off highway teeth in the rock crawling world. I had a '91 YJ that went from a street Jeep to beat to hell in a short period of time. I like to think that I got in to the rock crawling game near the birth of the genre. I had some old school mentors that thought 31" tires were huge when they started. It was a steep and expensive learning curve. My wife and I have both challenged and beat the original "Hammer's Trails" when 35 tires were the norm for a built Jeep, 37's were the next big step. I split the difference and ran 36" TSL bias plys. Some of the story on that rig can be found here...

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https://americanadventurist.com/forum/threads/it-lives.4020/

Life went along and I had a desire to build a CJ-6, I liked the extra wheel base and the short overhangs when compared to a CJ-8 Scrambler. I had a carcass lined up when Jeep came along with the original TJ long wheel base/LJ model. I worked at a Jeep dealership at the time, held my breath until the Rubicon version came out and BAM...I had my CJ-6 dimensions, with a warranty...of course I did my best to void most of the warranty as quickly as possible...Rubicon Express 4.5" long arm kit, 5.13 gears, welded in roll cage, Brad Kilby engine driven OnBoardAir system (makes ANY electric pump seem silly), Warn 9.5Ti winch, etc...pics of it around here somewhere. That rig was my wife Machelle's daily driver, and our "adventure vehicle". I cut my teeth on the "built not bought" theory with the rock crawler. I was a little older, a little lazier, and couldn't afford a rock buggy to keep up with the rock crawling world when we got the LJ. My interest started shifting towards what I refer to as "adventure travel". I built that vehicle with (aftermarket) off the shelf parts, it was set up to get us out of trouble rather than to go looking for it...not that it didn't get tested against what most would consider a "hardcore obstacle" on at least one occasion:rolleyes:. That rig served us well, it took us across the Rubicon trail, the Dusy Ershim trail, Death Valley travels, Baja travels and not once did it leave us stranded. I'm going to miss that rig.

Fast forward to today...well 3 days ago. I'm now a service advisor (the guy EVERYONE loves to hate:cool:) at a Ford dealership. I'm 14 years older than I was when we bought the LJ, and it's time to move on again. Our dealership had this Ranger put together and it caught my eye. I sent Machelle a picture of it and she didn't think much of it, I had her come down to the store and see it in person. She like it a little more when she saw it in person. I drove it home that night, let her take it for a spin and she was sold.

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Essentially an XLT Ranger with a 3.5" Fab Tech Lift, and Method wheels with metric 31's on it.

Back to the lazy side of me, I started a thread here to give some initial impressions, not going to repeat it on this one...

https://americanadventurist.com/forum/threads/yikes-2019-ranger.6908/

I'm still less than thrilled with the shudder on take off, it feels like I dumped the clutch or started off in the wrong gear with a manual transmission. I talked to one of our sales guys that has 1000 miles or so on his truck...his overall fuel economy number is about where mine is at 15MPG (not a fair assessment with only 250 miles on the clock). I'll get back to you on that one in a couple thousand miles.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#2
Took a ride out to the desert today to do some shooting and light trail work.

We had a great time truck did surprisingly well with the tires at street pressure, 4 adults in the cab, weapons crate that had to be close to 100 pounds along with a cooler, chairs, folding table, etc. 595FCBE0-74E4-48B8-9376-54E4CF60EF34.jpeg
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#3
First impressions...I'm a pretty happy camper...that wants a selectable rear locker...it's an option that I don't have.

Once I got over the fact that I left the keys at home for the locks for both of my Henry rifles that I had planned to shoot today and ended up with just the .357 wheel gun to play with at the shooting area, we had a great day.

I'm fairly well impressed with the Ranger's travelling manners. It has more than adequate power with four adults along for the ride for gobbling up the miles, the turbo is somewhat of a bonus as there is no/minimal power loss when at altitude (sea level-4000'-sea level). I was pleasantly surprised at how well the transmission performed, I did run it in Tow/Haul mode, I prefer that shift pattern when in this type terrain.

After shooting we did some cross country travel to get from Hwy 78-S22 for locals, probably 30-40 miles of dirt, a few sand banks (think snow drift, but sand) along the way. I did bog down one time, had to use 4L to get backed out of the sand/silt bed (scared the bejeezus out of my buddies girl), started crabbing down the sand bank while backing down, she just knew I was going to roll it...not even close! My right ear is completely clear, possibly cleared the hole all the way to my left ear, after she screamed.:rolleyes:

Not a fan of the 4WD selector switch, old school manual shift handles are exactly that, old school...and unobtainable these days.

I saw a high of 18.5 MPG after filling up/resetting for the trip, ended up at 15.2 including the off highway travel when we got home.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#6
That was us in the LJ that I traded in, the Ranger has a 7500# tow rating for all models. I happen to think that rating is ridiculous, I guess it looks good in the ads for the pick up wars.
 
#7
I am/was a Ranger guy going back to 1993. I put a 5.0L in that one.

Even though I switched to Toyota, I still have soft spot in my heart for Rangers. I plan to watch your build very closely...:coffeesmile
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#8
I've decided that I'm not a fan of electric power steering either. I haven't driven any other vehicle extensively with anything except a conventional steering box/hydraulic power steering so it's a getting used to it thing for me. Nothing in particular wrong with the electric steering, my issue is it is completely numb, other than tire/suspension noise, there is no feedback to the actual road condition felt through the steering. Maybe that's what the masses desire, I prefer to have a sense of how things are going under the tires, if that make any sense.

This truck also has the pre-collision warning...I forgot that I had it turned on, went to make a pass on a two lane road, just as I got up behind the car in front to make the pass the collision warning alarm went off, scared the bejeezus out of me for a split second, at my age skipping a beat with the old ticker can be terminal! :rolleyes:

I must say that I have been more than happy with the power from the 2.3L Turbo. Doing some interweb dreaming, Hennessy makes a 'VelociRaptor" that is Ranger based...410HP out of that little engine...sounds fun, but a little high strung.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#9
Lesson's learned...if you want a Ranger, get the rear locker, it's available even on a 2wd truck, $460 option (I goofed on that one), the FX4 package is a hit/miss thing, if you're going to modify the suspension, do your own thing with skid plates, etc, probably not worth it, Sport 4x4 version will work for you (with the locker option). If you want something out of the box that is as trail ready as the factory offers, the FX4 package (with the locker option) will probably fit your needs.

I elected to put an FX4 front skid plate on our truck (employee discount in full effect), along with the FX4 tcase protection, which kind of, sort of, protects the low point of the tcase, but for my price it is better than the lack of any type of protection that I currently have.

I'm still open to suggestions for anyone that has a lead on rock rails.
 
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