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Old 03-14-2010, 05:38 AM   #1
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Lowering my '85 Ford Ranger

Does anyone know if there is a way to lower my Ranger a bit. I use to have an '87 Ranger and I seem to remember that there was a factory way to lower it a couple of inches. I figure briging it as close to the ground as possible (without making a lowrider out of it) would improve it's aerodynamics. Anyone have knowledge of this? Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:22 AM   #2
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Yes. For lowering the rear there are a bunch of cheap/free options. Lowering the front is more difficult. I've been investigating this because I expect my next car to be a 93-2000 Ranger.

Here's a few of the options for the rear (from my memory):

1. Flip the spring hanger. Grind off the rivets, turn it upside-down, bolt it in place. It's totally safe and costs as much as a few Grade 8 bolts. You can do this just on the rear hanger or the rear and front hangers.

2. Remove a leaf or two from the springs.

3. Axle flip - this may be possible with the stock axle, but if not you'll need an axle from an Explorer. Instead of having the springs mount on top of the axle they get mounted below the axle. My camper came setup this way and I did the opposite to lift it.

4. I could swear there's a couple more options but I don't remember them.

For the front:

1. Buy drop spindles or other drop kit. This is the only really decent way to do it. The rest of the ways listed for the front may wear/destroy suspension components quickly (except #4 below).

2. Use softer springs. From a Ranger forum: Spring rates can be found on your driverside door sticker, under the SPR. 1st digit(or 1st and 2nd) will be front springs, 2nd(or 3rd and 4th). Some codes are 4 digit, some are 2. 11KK BBCC 1K BC...like that. That's the ford letter/number spring rating system...idk how to find the actual numerical weight rating.

3. Cut the springs (assuming it's 2WD; if not it may not have coil springs). This is ricey but the results might not be too awful on a Ranger.

4. Smaller tires in front. Since there's no 4 wheel anti-lock brakes (and assuming 2WD) there is no consequence.

5. If 4WD, you probably have torsion bars; you can de-crank them in 5 minutes for free.

If you use smaller tires in the rear it will shorten your effective gearing, which might be a benefit with the 4 cylinder in the city but if you do any highway driving it will drop your fuel economy.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:35 AM   #3
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Looking through my notes:
http://www.rangerpowersports.com/for...d.php?t=218815
http://www.rangerpowersports.com/for...d.php?t=244965
http://www.therangerstation.com/Maga...%2005/tech.htm

Another easy, cheap option I forgot for lowering the rear: Remove the lift blocks. You'll need shorter U-bolts.

Another option for front coil springs: Spring-Lox. People hate these, but when I was younger I used them on an old Caddy and they worked great. I don't know what all the fuss is about.
http://www.amazon.com/Superior-18-12.../dp/B00029K20C
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=66299
(I've got links to more sources if necessary.)

Most people will say that they're dangerous or terrible but my experience with them was fine.

After you lower the front it may throw your alignment off. Here's some DIY alignment advice for the Ranger:
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech...Alignment.html

Sorry for the huge amount of data, but I am very interested in this. Can you start a gaslog and provide some past data, if you've been tracking it? I'd love to know just how well this stuff works out for you.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:26 AM   #4
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Yeah, Holycow, I just started recording MPG data and will keep you informed about what it does. Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
Looking through my notes:
http://www.rangerpowersports.com/for...d.php?t=218815
http://www.rangerpowersports.com/for...d.php?t=244965
http://www.therangerstation.com/Maga...%2005/tech.htm

Another easy, cheap option I forgot for lowering the rear: Remove the lift blocks. You'll need shorter U-bolts.

Another option for front coil springs: Spring-Lox. People hate these, but when I was younger I used them on an old Caddy and they worked great. I don't know what all the fuss is about.
http://www.amazon.com/Superior-18-12.../dp/B00029K20C
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=66299
(I've got links to more sources if necessary.)

Most people will say that they're dangerous or terrible but my experience with them was fine.

After you lower the front it may throw your alignment off. Here's some DIY alignment advice for the Ranger:
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech...Alignment.html

Sorry for the huge amount of data, but I am very interested in this. Can you start a gaslog and provide some past data, if you've been tracking it? I'd love to know just how well this stuff works out for you.

these spring clamps work great until you take them off, and crash your car(happened to me when I was young, because I was used to the good handling), after you decide that ripping apart your bottom side isnt worth it... spacers are better(if done right) in my experience.. fyi and also these things might bend your springs if put on sloppy, and after taking them off your spring might be crap(maybe why I crashed after removing them), I removed them after I had to replace an oil pan. yea my one crash, not a scratch, wasn't really my fault..

I wouldn't be recommending these, then again you haven't had my exact experience cow.


I have a friend who has spacers on his v8 truck, and they work fine(if done right), no problems for 2 years now.
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:29 PM   #6
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spotaneagle, were you using them to lift or lower?

The thing about bending the springs reminded me: You need two on each spring. If you just use one it will be uneven, maybe unpredictable and maybe messing up the spring as spotaneagle described.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:02 PM   #7
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no there were two, but after I removed them they werent in the same exact spot on all the springs... so after a while, I bet they can move around and maybe get a little loose.. so the car will pivot on the spring oddly, and I do remember the springs looking a little odd after I removed them, I think... and they were to lower, I didnt put them on either (bought car like that)but still, suddenly one could become loose, there's no bolt-lock mechanism built it, thats probably the problem...

Basically saying, these could easily trash ALL of your springs.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:10 PM   #8
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Mine migrated at first, too. I checked them often after installing and saw that they did. I cranked them all the way down so that the coils were touching, and used additional nuts as lock nuts. Then they never moved. Perhaps that's why mine worked out well.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:15 PM   #9
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I bet if you put an extra locking nut on the end of these it'd be alot safer... Still I think there's too much room for error here..

Lock nut vs the rest of the life of your vehicle.. I bet you will have something go wrong eventually after all these bolts are the same type of bolts you clamp your exhaust with, they're not that strong, and I wouldn't put my long term trust in this hack.
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