Whether it’s that one bracket that fits perfectly in place or a wild idea that turns out to be the right one, small victories can make working on a project vehicle much more enjoyable. Likely one of the most rewarding moments on any project vehicle is the first drive. This month we focused on getting our ’97 Ford Ranger project vehicle moving under its own power. This meant finishing up the solid-axle conversion we started on last month and getting our new drivelines bolted in place. To transmit the power from our 5:1 Atlas transfer case we ordered a set of heavy-duty 0.120-wall drivelines from Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts. Wood’s builds custom drivelines for everything from monster mudders to mall cruisers. For a little show-and-go element we opted for Wood’s polished and clearcoated driveline treatment, which gives our Ranger’s underbelly a touch of bling.To transmit the power from our 5:1 Atlas transfer case we ordered a set of heavy-duty 0.12 If you’ve followed our Ranger Rehash then you’ve likely noticed that we’re using a collection of parts from multiple manufacturers. This was no accident, but rather a well devised plan that we laid out with the build shop, Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Using a medley of aftermarket companies and parts may seem like sensory overload, but when you’re working with a custom project such as our Ford Ranger, it’s simply part of the process. From the beginning one of our goals for the project was to create something that was easily replicable. Both Tom Wood’s drivelines are fitted with 1310 CV (constant velocity) joints at the transfer case and long-travel slip shafts. Though our G2 Dana 44 front axle is fitted with a low-pinion differential, we had no issues with the driveshaft binding at full droop.Both Tom Wood’s drivelines are fitted with 1310 CV (constant velocity) joints at the trans While building a custom suspension and steering setup is easy for our host shop, Low Range 4x4, it takes away from the simplicity of being able to pick up the phone and purchase readily available aftermarket parts. That being said, we do have some custom fabrication in the works for the next issue. This will involve body protection (truck and driver) along with a custom winch mount and a few other trick upgrades. For those looking for more Ranger photos and sneak peeks at what’s coming up next, head over to 4wheeloffroad.com. The AEV Way Wheels are a big part of any project. Each of the Ranger’s 37x12.50 Mickey Thompson MTZs is bolted onto a 17-inch American Expedition Vehicles beadlock. What’s unique about the AEV wheels is that they are equipped with 3.6-inch backspacing and a Ranger-correct 5-on-41⁄2 wheel bolt pattern. The 3.6-inch backspacing sets the rims out enough to provide the truck with better footing and prevents steering and suspension interference. Another bonus is the total tire and wheel combo is relatively light, which is good news for our 3.0L V-6 engine. We tied our modified transmission crossmember in by welding it between the Low Range 4x4 control arm brackets. This kept the fabrication time down and allowed us to reuse the factory transmission mount.We tied our modified transmission crossmember in by welding it between the Low Range 4x4 c The TeraFlex track bar bracket that’s part of the company’s Jeep Wrangler TJ high-steer combo kit took a little modification to work on our Ranger’s frame. After a little grinding and welding we had the new mount in place and bolted in the TeraFlex track bar without issues.The TeraFlex track bar bracket that’s part of the company’s Jeep Wrangler TJ high-steer co The TeraFlex high-steer kit comes with an aluminum draglink and tie rod bar. We’re using the ’97 Rangers stock pitman arm, which required us to cut roughly an inch of length from the TeraFlex draglink bar. The long links and high mount system increase steering control and reduce axle shift as the suspension travels.The TeraFlex high-steer kit comes with an aluminum draglink and tie rod bar. We’re using t To control the Ranger’s front suspension, we went with a set of Pro Comp’s MX-6 shocks with remote reservoirs.To control the Ranger’s front suspension, we went with a set of Pro Comp’s MX-6 shocks wit This series of MX-6 shocks is fitted with compression adjusters that will let us easily soften or firm the compression stroke (upward movement) of the shock with a twist of a knob.This series of MX-6 shocks is fitted with compression adjusters that will let us easily so Pro Comp offers the MX-6 line in multiple shock lengths. For our Ranger we went with an 11-inch-travel shock. At ride height the truck nets a little more than 4 inches of uptravel, with the remainder down. That’s plenty of vertical wheel travel to help our Ranger ride smooth and stay planted on the trail.Pro Comp offers the MX-6 line in multiple shock lengths. For our Ranger we went with an 11 Since our new G2 60 rear axle is fitted with disc brakes, the original e-brake cables would not work. On a stroll through our local salvage yard we found that e-brake cables from a ’95 and newer Ford Explorer equipped with the 8.8-inch disc brake rear axle would work.Since our new G2 60 rear axle is fitted with disc brakes, the original e-brake cables woul There is no shortage of sheetmetal trimming on the Ranger. Since we pushed the front axle forward a few inches we needed to cut out much of the factory front bumper and inner portions of the fenderwell. We are partial to the factory front bumper but ultimately may end up ditching it for something more heavy-duty.There is no shortage of sheetmetal trimming on the Ranger. Since we pushed the front axle A few inches of excess sheetmetal doesn’t seem like much, but off-road every inch of clearance helps. From the back of the front fender to the forward portion of the rear fender we increased the lower bodyline of the Ranger by 3 inches. This high-clearance mod also helped to make room for the sliders we will be fitting on next month. A body saw, cutoff wheel, or Sawzall all cut easily through the thin factory sheetmetal.A few inches of excess sheetmetal doesn’t seem like much, but off-road every inch of clear SOURCES Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels 4600 Prosper Drive Stow OH 44224 330-928-9092 www.mickeythompsontires.com Tom Wood's Custom Driveshafts 2147 N. Rulon White Boulevard Suite #103 Ogden UT 84404 801-737-0757 www.4xshaft.com American Expedition Vehicles 28025 Oakland Oaks Ct Wixom MI 48393 248-926-0256 www.aev-conversions.com Pro Comp 400 W. Artesia Boulevard Compton CA 90220 866-232-0665 www.procomptires.com 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 TeraFlex 5241 S Commerce Drive Murray UT 84107 801-288-2585 www.teraflex.biz G2 Axle & Gear 400 W. Artesia Boulevard Compton CA 90220 310-900-2687 www.g2axle.com By Ali Mansour Enjoyed this Post? 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