Nearly five years ago I began my stint here as feature editor. Like many of you I was a longtime reader and never could imagine that I would actually land what I truly considered to be my dream job. It wasn’t long after getting my position at the magazine that I got the opportunity to transform my completely stock ’97 Ford Ranger 4x4 into a truck capable of surviving our Ultimate Adventure. With little money and limited time I managed to convert my TTB (twin traction beam) Ranger into a solid-axle crawler in just five weeks. Though the truck did survive the 2007 Ultimate Adventure with hardly any issues, it did have quite a few items that I wanted to improve. As I’ve learned over the years this career is fast-paced and projects often get put on the back burner. Before I knew it two years had gone by and I still hadn’t checked a single item off of my to-do list. Looking for motivation, I decided to take my Danger Ranger project up to the mountains for a wheeling trip. Unfortunately, a couple of hours into the outing I found myself upside-down in the truck, as an interesting line choice combined with a dusty rock ledge sent my Ranger on a roll. After the flop the Ranger was taken back to my place in North Carolina and continued its life as a yard tractor of sorts, crushed panels and all. So here we are nearly two years after I rolled it (I’ve been busy!) and the Ranger is finally going back under the knife. Over the next few months the crew at Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina, and I will tear down, reconfigure, and improve upon my ’97 Ford Ranger 4x4. While the majority of the must-repair sheetmetal has been replaced, the 3.0L truck is still very much a bruised and used trail truck. Be sure to check back next month as we dive into the nuts and bolts of our Ranger Rehash. The high-pinion Dana 30 front and 8.8-inch rear axle have served the Ranger well. While the axle combo was plenty strong for our original 35-inch tire setup, our new suspension design along with the bigger tire goals has made it so we’re leaving the junkyard jewels behind.The high-pinion Dana 30 front and 8.8-inch rear axle have served the Ranger well. While th When we originally built the Ranger we used a Rock Krawler Suspension YJ coilover conversion kit up front. This setup required limited fabrication, but a fair amount of welding. Our new straight-axle setup will again take advantage of the tremendous Jeep aftermarket, but this time with a fresh approach.When we originally built the Ranger we used a Rock Krawler Suspension YJ coilover conversi One item that will be staying in the Ranger is the geardriven Advance Adapters two-speed Atlas transfer case. Fitted with a 5.0:1 gearset, the superlow crawler case allows the gutless 3.0L to easily crawl over obstacles. Combined with the factory five-speed manual transmission, the Ranger might not be the fastest truck on the trail, but it can crawl along.One item that will be staying in the Ranger is the geardriven Advance Adapters two-speed A To freshen up the rear suspension we’ve swapped in a 6-inch Ranger leaf pack from Skyjacker Suspensions. We like the simplicity and durability of the leaf spring rear, and Skyjacker’s replacement spring pack will give us the lift height we need without running a lift block or longer shackle.To freshen up the rear suspension we’ve swapped in a 6-inch Ranger leaf pack from Skyjacke 1997 marked the last year of the twin traction beam Ranger. The TTB trucks are one of the easier generations to convert to solid axle since the coil buckets accept a variety of Jeep and early Bronco front coils. Since the factory coil buckets are long gone and we’ve torched off the coilover towers, our framerails are a virtual clean slate. The goal for our new solid-axle conversion is to simplify the conversion process and lend some tips that all generation Rangers can use.1997 marked the last year of the twin traction beam Ranger. The TTB trucks are one of the Next month we’ll be working on fitting our new axles in place, along with dialing in the beginning stages of our suspension system. We have a mix of cheap, pricey, and junkyard components that will all be learning to get along under the belly of our battered Ford pickup. Be sure to visit us on the web at 4wheeloffroad.com for sneak peeks on the Ranger’s progress and web exclusive photos.Next month we’ll be working on fitting our new axles in place, along with dialing in the b SOURCES Advance Adapters 4320 Aerotech Center Way Paso Robles CA 93446 800-771-6171 www.advanceadapters.com Low Range 4x4 105 Portwatch Way Unit F Wilimington NC 28412 910-392-3204 www.lowrange4x4.com Rock Krawler Suspensions n/a 518-270-9822 www.rockkrawler.com Skyjacker Suspensions P.O. Box 1678 West Monroe LA 71294 318-338-0816 www.skyjacker.com By Ali Mansour Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!