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1950 F1 Frame Swap - Advice?

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Old 06-11-2018, 12:55 AM
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1950 F1 Frame Swap - Advice?

Excited about my new project truck. Looking at keeping it Ford, but want 4x4, better steering and brakes under the beautiful cab and bed. Have considered an older explorer frame & drive train, but want more versatility with lift and HP offered with Ranger. Have my eye on a 1997 Ranger 4x4, 4.0L, Auto, reg cab, long box. Looks like WB fits but track is about 5" narrower - assume I could use offset rims to help. Like what I've read about better engine/trans (4R55E) combos than earlier years. This is a big project, will be challenging, but great for a guy just heading into retirement and likes to work with my hands. Wondering if anyone else has done a Ranger frame/drivetrain swap and has any advice before I make the purchase on the 1997? Thanks - jc
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:57 AM
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Hi JC,

have no opinion if your idea will work out. But my gut feeling tells me you are asking for a lot of work and a little bit of hassle for sure.

Good luck with your project. Be sure to keep us posted.

Wil
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:36 AM
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Welcome.

From my limited experience with Rangers, you'll have issues with the engine bay, transmission location /linkage, wheel location in the fenders, and likely the steering column location. This is armchair analysis without side by side measurements.

There are good solutions for steering, suspension, and brakes that don't require a frame swap. If the 4x4 feature is a gotta have, then you've already picked your path. Lastly, whatever your estimates for budget and timing should be multiplied by about three. With a frame swap, it will likely be higher depending on your fab skills. Fancy paint jobs can easily add 10k alone.

So am I trying to discourage you? Not really. Just realize this is a big project that can eat up a budget quickly and not provide any on the road time for a number of years. An alternative, that certainly has been appreciated by many, is simply to drive the old iron as is for a bit - assuring safety first - before reducing it to a pile of parts. This allows one to better understand needs versus wanna haves and prioritizing based on knowledge rather than other factors.

Your truck, your decision.
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:17 AM
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The long and the short of it is that it will be very hard to find someone who has done it (TO COMPLETION!) that will recommend a frame swap. There are a lot of unfinished frame swaps out there.
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:42 AM
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In my experience whatever perceived gains in a frame swap are lost when weighed against all the time and effort to get the body and bed to fit. I would offer that if you are interested in adding a 4x4 capability to your F1, keep the F1 frame and add the suspension to it...still a good deal of work but the end results will be much more satisfying. Good luck with your retirement project!
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:04 PM
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by VitaAnteActa View Post
Have considered an older explorer frame & drive train, but want more versatility with lift and HP offered with Ranger. Have my eye on a 1997 Ranger 4x4, 4.0L, Auto, reg cab, long box. Looks like WB fits but track is about 5" narrower - assume I could use offset rims to help. Like what I've read about better engine/trans (4R55E) combos than earlier years. This is a big project, will be challenging, but great for a guy just heading into retirement and likes to work with my hands. Wondering if anyone else has done a Ranger frame/drivetrain swap and has any advice before I make the purchase on the 1997? Thanks - jc
Not as easy as it looks. The internet is littered with the unfinished carcasses of "converted" trucks where their owners gave up and are now desperately trying to sell what is left. Also the 1997 Ranger had a couple different transfer cases available, neither of which were the best.
Transfer Cases

I don't know what your skill level is but unless that and your pockets are deep you could be disappointed.

.
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:40 PM
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I say do what you want, anything can be done, just be prepared because it is a lot more work than it seems. Mounting the body is the easy part, then comes all the smaller jobs to make all the mechanical and electrical systems work as they should and not be cobbled together.
 
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:37 AM
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Thanks - jc
 
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:47 AM
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Great advice. Yes, a modestly lifted 4x4 is the goal with a stock exterior appearance. The '50 is not driveable as is.
I know I'm headed for some challenges, but that makes it a good project for me. Finding resources for possible solutions is really important.
Any suggestions for new steering and tranny/shifter linkages?
Thanks so much for getting back to me. Best - jc
 
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:07 AM
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The way I would attack this project would be to go somewhere that has almost every type and size of 4x4 in stock that you can take pictures and get dimensions of all critical measurements. Try you local U-Pull-It or similar yard. Get your dimensions from your truck and then you can compare those with the ones in the yard. Now if you find one that seems to be the best candidate, you can either buy it from the yard or look on the internet to find one.

Just my two cents.

Later!
Mr. Ed
 
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:51 AM
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I talked to these guys a few years back. At the time they said they were going to devise a kit for a Ranger.

http://www.e-zchassisswaps.com/index.php
 
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:18 PM
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Thank you. Looks like an interesting resource.
Best - jc
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:10 AM
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I've done a few chassis swaps on different vehicles, never a ranger frame, lots of measuring and a plan of attack, as long as your mechanically inclined and can fabricate, it shouldn't be an issue, I just picked up a 51-52 f2 and the future plan is to swap it to a dakota frame, not sure yet if I'm going 4x4 or not.my last swap if you look it up in here is project fuggly,its a 53 f300 on a s10 frame,there's a write up on what I did and I'm sure some of it can be carried over to a ranger frame.
 
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