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 Ford Ranger

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ijp
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PostSubject: Ford Ranger   Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:18 am

Thought I would start a tread to document the development of my truck. I have already decided on some of the basics but will explain why I have taken the route I have. As the development continues all thoughts, improvements, concerns would be greatly appreciated. The information I have read here already has been very useful and I have enjoyed and learnt from others so thought I should contribute something back.

Vehicle choice was the first and biggest decision and is always a compromise. It has to be:
• Commercial vehicle to allow me to purchase it thought my company so this meant one of the 1t pick ups or 110 utility.
• Suitable as a daily commuting vehicle to cover 60 miles per day approximately.
• Suitable for trips around the UK for work.
• Reliable
• Big enough for family of 4
• Reasonably economical

As well as a daily drive and work horse around my croft the truck will be used to tow a boat, camping trips around Scotland and trips further afield. I am planning a tag along in the Alps or Pyrenees next year but ultimately I would love a trip to Iceland and another to Mongolia so I want the vehicle to be capable and able off road.

Previously I have owned and used for camping trips; 110 1998 defender CSW, 2002 Hilux Double Cab, Land Cruiser Colorado, Jeep Cherokee. All vehicle have their pros and cons and all influence future decision making and no doubt each will have its own followers on here, after all it would be boring if we all liked the same thing.

My choice at the end of the day was a 2013 Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT Double Cab which in my mind has the following pros and cons:
Pros
1. Very comfortable
2. Economic, currently around 30mpg but still to loosen up
3. Great carrying and towing capacity
4. Very safe, high ncap rating
5. Commercial, so lower road tax

Cons
1. Very sophisticated, everything is controlled by electronics so could be difficult to fix
2. A bit shiny and bling looking, requires a coating of mud to blend in
3. Compared to a Defender not may suppliers of upgrades
4. Newly out so limited track history
5. Unlike Rangers supplied in other countries it doesn’t come with a locking rear diff.

I have had it now for 6 months and really like it. The electronics are amazing, I wouldn’t like them in an old vehicle where they are starting to go wrong but the advances in technology compared to anything else I have ever had are impressive and you cant stop progress. For example, it is impossible to lose the back end even on a wet slippery roundabout. It senses the slide and corrects it making for a very safe vehicle until you forget how to drive, jump into another pick up and crash. It can also apparently correct trailer sway. Off road it copes better on slippery surfaces like wet grass with all terrain tyres than my Defender did with mud terrain tyres provided there isn’t much axle articulation required.



So with a standard vehicle delivered the modifications could begin. Position of the roof tent was probably the biggest consideration. I like my roof tent mainly due the comfort of the built in mattress. On my Defender it was set up to come over the bonnet as I don’t have the below tent room and I wanted to be able to set up within a car space. I have also used the tent on top of the 4 1/2’ high trailer. On the Ranger the choice was double can roof or on the canopy. While looking at options on the internet I came across N&J Aluminium and liked the look of the things they fabricate. On discussing their canopies the idea of a low level canopy came up. This gives more space in the pickup than a flat cover but keeps the tent lower for centre of gravity, keeping the vehicle low for wind resistance and ferries and ease of access to the tent for set up and entry / exit. It also allows the roof rack to remain free for other items.

Next was choosing a roof rack. Not a great deal of choice out there for platform type racks so ended up getting a Rhino Pioneer rack from TBR and am very pleased with it. It is fitted into a rail system which is pop riveted to the roof of the cab. Feels very secure but it was a bit nerve racking having to drill the roof of a new vehicle. I was keen to do this myself so I could make sure everything was painted and sealed well. My old hilux had a canopy fitted by Toyota which had been bolted to the body work but the holes were not painted or protected with anything so by the time I bought the truck it was starting to bubble up the paint around every hole, what a shame not to do a proper job. So very carefully the holes were marked, drilled, painted, rust proofed and sealed as the rails were fitted.



Another basic I wanted to complete before winter was to waxoyl underneath and in any cavities. The truck has a 12 year corrosion warrantee but for the sake of a day in the pit and a tin of wax it has to be worth it. Following this the paintwork got a paint sealant treatment. I wouldn’t have bothered with this if it hadn’t been for a mate pestering me telling me how good it is. I don’t normally wash cars at all but as this one is new I feel obliged to.

This truck needs to be comfortable for my family of 4. At the moment, on camping trips, we all sleep in the Hannibal roof tent but in the future when my kids are bigger someone will have to move into the caranex. The intention is to have it set up to allow cooking during the day without unpacking and cooking at night in the caranex. I also like the idea of keeping it all relatively simple and adaptable so I can easily modify things in the future and so there isn’t anything that can break down and cause a problem.

So with the canopy fitted I have now started trying out different options for storage in the back. I plan to get the following to fit in:

6 metal ammo boxes under a false floor containing:
1. Tools and spares
2. Recovery equipment
3. Bushpig and fire kit
4. Cooker
5. Cooking and eating kit
6. Washing and cleaning kit

3 plastic storage chests
1. Adults clothes
2. Kids clothes
3. Jackets / boots

Fridge
2 x water jerry cans (Septer cans)
Water pump and maybe heater
2 x Food storage box
Auxiliary battery with T Max split charger
Table
Chairs
Spade
Caranex

And for more adventurous trip in the future:
Hi lift jack
Waffle boards
Extra fuel
Extra spare wheel

I like the use of ammo boxes because they are so adaptable. The 3 boxes which slide in first will be stuff I don’t use often, the second set of 3 have their lids removed so function like drawer to make them easy to put stuff in and get stuff out. The other big advantage is they are easily removed so I can store them in my shed when not needed and just carry the ones I want. I can also use them as tables or seats in camp. And ammo boxes are strong and make good use of space.





The plastic chests are also useful around camp and can be carried on the roof rack if more space is required in the pickup. They are reasonably water tight and have survived a few holidays on the roof rack of my old Land Cruiser which was a short wheel base and needed the roof storage.

As I progress with the build I will post more photos and thoughts. Any tips and advice is greatly appreciated. At this moment in time I am making a slider for the fridge and thinking about how to mount the hi lift jack.

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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:42 am

Not the best off road vehicle, but you realised it was a compromise so had enough information to make an informed choice.

Not a lot of off road equipment available, but being a Ford it will come in the next 6 months or so.

Not the most reliable truck, nor the most economical, but again that's a compromise you have to make, particularly as it meets your requirements. Main problems have been turbo actuation software which Ford automatically re-programme when in for service, weak ABS sensors which are again automatically changed, and on some foreign market vehicles the fuel injector wiring loom has had problems, again changed during servicing.

Reasonable sized bed for your equipment, are prone to rust but with a new truck that's easily overcome, and apart from that the mechanical bits are cheap and easily fixed.
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:49 am

Like that bit in the 'Cons' - "A bit shiny and bling looking, requires a coating of mud to blend in" Laughing

Would have thought that overall the Hilux would have been a better bet, especially as you're thinking long term with Mongolia on the agenda. With a proven track record, Hiluxes are fixable virtually anywhere, but a Ranger??? Then again, having already owned one, you know the merits of the Hilux, hence you made an informed choice. Can't say fairer than that, each to their own.

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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:21 am

I was sure I was going to buy a hilux when I started looking but having test driven one followed by a ranger the ranger was a world apart, made the hilux seem very dated. I have never found the driving position in a hilux very comfortable for my back. Reliability and getting it fixed are my biggest concerns but 99% of the time it is a commuting car so comfort won. And realistically Mongolia is a long way off and I will be changing the truck in 3 years or so. By then the new hilux will be here. Most of the things I am doing are transferable to any other 1 ton pick up.

Shame there isn't a commercial version of the land cruiser or patrol here, that would have made the choice more interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:52 am

Mmmmm, good point. When you eventually get around to Mongolia, the new Hilux is liable to kick all its rivals into touch, so it'll be an easy decision come the day. In the meantime, you'll be able to drive what you want, rather than what is practical somewhere a lot further down the line. thumbsup 

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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:50 pm

Hi
Great looking truck you have there.
I test drived one ranger a few month ago and I was a pleasant experience.
I’m not too big of a fan of the Hilux either.

I’m a huge fan of the VW Amarok which I would buy for sure if my wife then let me take it scratch its paint and fill it with mud.
Not the case.

Good luck with your ranger
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:34 am

Trial fit:



Slide out fridge:



Sliding tray:



The tray is all screwed and glued together and bottoms out onto wooded supports with a clamp holding it shut but I do expect to have to fabricate one out of steel at some point. But to test the concept this will do for now.
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:09 pm

great job!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:38 pm

looking great
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:30 pm

This weekends project was to mount the Hi lift jack. A length of 1 1/4" aluminium channel fits nicely into the jack profile, 2 stainless bolts secure the section onto the frame of the canopy, 2 further bolts go through the canopy and all the way through the box section and are held in place with nuts inside the box section and finally a trimmed down coach bolt fits in from the outside and is fastened with an "R" clip to secure the jack to the truck.


Jack in position



Wing nut holds jack in place, coach bolt prevents easy theft. Slots allow access to nuts.


Inside end of coach bolt, grommet prevents a bit of vibration.


I did this because I didn't really like the look of any of the bought ones and they seemed unnecessarily expensive.
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:23 pm

nice,i likey.....thumbsup 

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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:07 am

I concur, very neat. thumbsup 

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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:47 am

First trial fit of Hannibal tent and Caranex.



Planning on making a frame under the tent to house the folding table and waffle boards and some sort of frame for the Caranex to fasten over.

As I take bits of my 110 roof rack I thought I would post this as it might be a useful idea for other looking for ways to mount a gas bottle.



Bottom of bottle fits neatly through the hole and a small strap holds it down.

Is it legal to carry a bottle in this way throughout Europe as I am planning something similar on the Ranger?
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:56 pm

It.... it's so pretty! Smile 
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:05 am

Summer is approaching (hopefully) so have been pottering away on my truck getting it ready for camping trips.

It now has a T Max split charger linked to a Numax battery which powers the fridge, a fuse box for additional electrical items and a 240v inverter. These have all been installed in the pickup  due to lack of space anywhere else. I didn't know if the fancy electronics in this truck would like the split charger but so far so good, keeps the battery topped up with enough power for the fridge for a couple of day at least.



On the front I have added an ARB Sahara bar and Goodwinch TDS.


The winch electrics were not obvious. I got the truck stuck up to its belly in soft ground, winched out no problem but then got lots of warning lights coming on, powertrain / stability control / engine management either together or in sequence. Took it to Ford, they said it was because of the power the winch was drawing and suggested I buy a Land Rover!

The Ford Ranger UK forum couldn't help, the Devon 4x4 guys couldn't help (although they were very helpful and tried their best), the Goodwinch guys could help, but i eventually got the answer from the Ranger forum in Australia. Thankfully the solution was very simple, connect the winch negative to the main earth point, not directly to the battery. If you go to the battery the management system can not see the power being used but it can from the earth point so doesn't get confused. The internet can be so handy.

Also added Asfir skid plates to protect the underneath.

16,000 miles completed in the truck with no issues (other than self inflicted ones).

Water system is next along with a method for mounting and demounting the roof tent quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:42 am

Two points: "I didn't know if the fancy electronics in this truck would like the split charger but so far so good, keeps the battery topped up with enough power for the fridge for a couple of day at least."

Well that's okay then, cold beers until you get rescued. You'll definitely need a Plan B though, just in case  the cavalry don't arrive until the third day.  Razz 

The second: "Took it to Ford, they said it was because of the power the winch was drawing and suggested I buy a Land Rover!"

Seriously? Hang your heads in shame Ford. Heads will roll, and if they don't, they should. Crazy!  stupid

All looking very neat, has it experienced snow yet?

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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:39 am

The guys on the Ranger forum told me the fix but this method comes from Ford in Australia. Shame Ford don't seem to be able to communicate internally but maybe I am expecting too much from a franchised dealer? The only other advice they gave me was that I should install a second battery then seemed a bit put out when I showed them I had.

There is snow up in the mountains around Aberdeenshire but we have had hardly anything lower down, very unusual weather this winter. So no, not had a chance to play in any snow but here is still time.
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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:46 am

Franchised dealers ... say no more. Can't beat the independents, unlike the big boys who just wanna flog you a new motor, they know 4x4's from the ground up.

You will definitely cop it before too long. Reckon we'll also get a dose down south when that ol' north wind starts blowing. Worst is yet to come.

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PostSubject: Re: Ford Ranger   Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:54 am

I like the idea of specing up a pick up for overlanding, I did think about doing something similar with a 110 pick up.

I might still look at this in the future but at the moment I ill stick with the Disco again a compromise but then such is life  thumbsup 

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