One way to customize your Ford Ranger is by equipping it with the necessary parts to become a capable off-road truck. You need a few essential items to lift the vehicle high enough off the ground to gain clearance over fallen tress and rocks. Along with this, off-road vehicles are subjected to punishment from debris, so protecting the underside of the vehicle is also important if you want your Ranger to make it out of the woods in one piece.
Things You'll Need
- Suspension-lift kit
- Off-road tires
- Undercarriage skid plate
Install a suspension kit to allow for larger tires. The lowest point of the Ranger is the rear axle and the only way to raise it higher off the ground is to increase the tire diameter. In order to do that, you must first lift the suspension. This will create more room between the axle hub (mounting location of the wheel) and the inner fender. Installing a suspension-lift kit is a fairly difficult tasks when preparing a Ranger for off-road driving but it only takes basic hand tools to bolt the suspension lift-kit into place.
Remove the stock tires and rims and install off-road tires and rims. Larger tires with aggressive tread patterns give the vehicle the ability to improve traction on slippery terrain such as small rocks or mud. According to 4x4 Off Roads.com, after the truck itself, the tires are the most important part of successful off-road driving. Using wheels that are equipped with bead locks (bolts that secure the side wall of the tire to the side of the wheel) will keep the tire from spinning on the wheel while driving off-road with low tire pressure. If you plan to drive the Ranger on the road as well as off-road, select a tire that is designed to give you the ability to do so. A mildly aggressive tread is recommended by 4X4 Off Roads.
Install a winch. A winch is vital for vehicle recovery in the event you slip over a ravine or become stuck in the mud. It is mandatory on many trails if you plan to trail ride without a partner vehicle. A winch connects to large rocks or nearby trees and pulls your vehicle out of trouble with a metal tow-line that is connected to an electric motor.
Install a skid plate under the Ranger to protect the oil pan and fragile front-suspension parts like the lower control arms. The underside of the Ranger will be hit by rocks and debris being spun up by the larger tires. One of the most common engine fatalities is a hole in the oil pan. One small hole could ruin an engine and leave you stranded. A skid plate is relatively easy to install but serves as invaluable insurance when you go off-road.
Tips & Warnings
- Installing larger tires will alter the Ranger's speedometer accuracy. Most Ford dealers will recalibrate the speedometer on late-model Rangers.
- Photo Credit Golden Gate viewed from the truck image by Alex "Stranger" from Fotolia.com
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