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  #1  
Old 09-15-2009, 03:07 PM
sliverstorm sliverstorm is offline
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Default 80's light trucks

Hello, I'm looking for a compact/light duty truck from the early 80's, and information is scarce. I've searched here, but most talk seems to be about the 90's models.

Right now I've decided no S-10, and I don't think I'd go for a mazda B2000 either (too uncommon, which doesn't seem like a good thing for a workhorse), which seems to leave me with the toyota pickups and the ranger.

Right now from what I can tell, the toyotas are reliable (perhaps extra proof of this fact is the sheer number of 80's toyota pickups I see around here) and their biggest problem is rust. Fortunately rust isn't a problem where I live.

However, I have almost no information about the rangers, which is why I'm here asking you guys . Are the first gen rangers as hardy as the toyotas? Are parts cheaper, engines any easier to service or rebuild? Anything you can tell me about them, esp. as far as 80's toyota pickup vs ranger goes?

A bit of background- the reason I'm looking at getting a pickup is because my current transportation consists of a 2 seater sports car and 2 motorcycles. I don't need to haul 1 ton or anything, mostly what I want is the bed for wet scuba gear, the length for carrying stuff on the roof, and the ability to tow a laser (which weigh in the 150lb range) on a trailer. It'd also be handy for moving engines around, usually around 500lbs tops. I figure I can get an efficient 1/4 ton 4 banger. Fuel economy isn't a HUGE concern, but I do want to stay above 20.
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2009, 03:30 PM
Jay FX4 Jay FX4 is offline
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Hello, Siverstorm. Welcome to FRF!

I would argue that the early Ranger were much tougher than comparable Toyotas. Ford had been building trucks long before Toyota showed up here. I would image 80's Ranger parts are more readily available, and therefore cheaper. If you want to give yourself a crash course on the older Rangers, I'd suggest checking out these links:

History of the Ford Ranger

http://www.therangerstation.com/reso...nts/ranger.pdf

And this is always a great technical reference for all years of Rangers:

The Ranger Station - Technical Library

Hope that helps!
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2009, 04:47 PM
Clem Clem is offline
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We here are biased, I have never owned a Toyota pick-up, but have numerous friends who have and do. These are very reliable trucks which seem to last very well and have a good resale value, the down side seems to be repair costs, some friends have said "that part cost half what it would have for my Toy". Parts from auto salvage yards are scarce where I live and demand a premium price if they are located.
Ranger based vehicles, (RBV's) have been around since the first Ranger came off the assembly line in the summer of 1982 (83 model year). There are still quite a number of 80's models around in various condition. The older ones had a number of problems, but were reliable and fairly cheap to maintain. The body style was boxy and not what many people deemed to be good looking, a restored and nicely painted early Ranger is very nice looking. Good body parts are becoming increasingly hard to come by, but there are places which have aftermarket body parts. Mechanical parts are plentiful and reasonably priced. Some engine parts, like the 2.9L V6 are common, but have various problems, the most common of which are cracked heads. 85 model year was the last factory carbureted engine in RBV's.
The 80's models suffered from a very light duty drive train and suspension.
The early to mid 90's have much superior drive train and suspension which have, IMO, lasted exceedingly well, parts for these trucks are much more common and therefore more reasonable.
In 96 or 97 the drive train took another change. (Someone will set me straight on the correct year).
I own a mid 80's RBV that I am in the process of upgrading to a heavier duty drive train of the early 90's.
I also own a 2002 Ranger 4x4 XLT, this is my third Ranger, I have had an 87, and a 92 prior to the 02. All were 4x4 and very reliable with the exception of the little glitches that seem to plague all motorized vehicles.
I would suggest a 90's Ranger for your needs, as they are easier to find, can be had with mileage under 100,000 miles, have a much superior drive train and parts are more readily available, therefore less costly.
You may have noticed that Rangers have a number of years where the bodies appear to be the same, this works for you, as the interchangeability makes locating body parts much simpler. Drive trains are the same.
RBV's include Ranger, Bronco II, and Explorer
Good luck with your decision. I know there will be other comments to this post.
Welcome to FRF.

Ray
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2009, 05:56 PM
Jay FX4 Jay FX4 is offline
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Since you specially said you were looking for an 80's Ranger, I wasn't going to say anything about the newer ones....yet. But since Clem brought it up, I totally agree that a 90's model would be much better. I'd like to know why exactly you're considering an 80's truck, but keep in mind these points...
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Originally Posted by Clem View Post
I would suggest a 90's Ranger for your needs, as they are easier to find, can be had with mileage under 100,000 miles, have a much superior drive train and parts are more readily available, therefore less costly.
You may have noticed that Rangers have a number of years where the bodies appear to be the same, this works for you, as the interchangeability makes locating body parts much simpler. Drive trains are the same.
All those points are right on the money and you'd be making things a lot easier on yourself.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2009, 06:33 PM
sliverstorm sliverstorm is offline
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Well, I was looking for an 80's for a couple reasons. I'm extremely cheap- I have bought all my vehicles in a broken (or somewhat broken) down state, and I fix them up. The 80's trucks can be had real cheap.
90's cars add complexity and weight, and I really like the absolutely boring & simple look of the toyota pickups and 80's ranger. Not ugly, just not one frill. Plus, they are smaller which is something I wanted.

I will definitely take a look at the 90's rangers though, they don't seem to be too much more expensive, surprisingly. And I'm well aware you're biased- truth be told, I'm somewhat biased towards Toyota (my 2 seater is an MR2, love that thing), so I figured I should at least give the ranger a fighting chance

Could you tell me a little bit more about this issue with the 80's suspension and drivetrain? I'm not planning on moving more than 400-500lbs- is it still a concern?

Last edited by sliverstorm; 09-15-2009 at 06:42 PM.
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2009, 06:40 PM
Jay FX4 Jay FX4 is offline
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The only thing is the further back in time you go, the more scarce they are. Same for parts. Rangers are so common that if you look around you're likely to find whatever combination of year/miles/engine/color/price you were looking for.
You can get a newer Ranger and still be cheap.
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2009, 09:29 PM
Johnbaum13 Johnbaum13 is offline
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Honestly, I would get the Toyota. I have driven both, worked on both, and I prefer the Toyota to the Ranger. Don't flame me, but the engine is better designed, and the suspension is as strong, if not stronger than the Ranger. Also, where it matters to me, the Toyota is lots faster than the Ranger in the 80's. Either way you go, I recommend getting the 4cyl. You can't beat them for reliability and availability of parts. Both the Toyota and the Ford 4clys have been used in dirt track racing for years, and have proven to be nearly bulletproof.
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2009, 11:55 AM
mr.ranger mr.ranger is offline
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I agree with Clem and Jay..
I would definately consider a 90's ranger for the facts they already mentiuoned..These rangers are more common, still light and simple while remaining cheap at the same time..Im uncertain to this but the 90's Ranger's may even acheive better fuel economy then the 80's Rangers..
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2009, 04:45 PM
sliverstorm sliverstorm is offline
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Well, in the end I went with an '84 toyota I found for $500 Mechanically it's 100%, just needed a few repairs (dead alternator, timing was off). Seems like it'll be a good choice; For starters, I've been looking around as I drive, and it's the only kind of light truck I see on the road 'round here!

Thanks for your time and opinions!
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2009, 06:53 PM
Jay FX4 Jay FX4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sliverstorm View Post
Well, in the end I went with an '84 toyota
Hope it works out for you.
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NOS for teh horse powaz!!!
ɹǝʌo ǝɯ dılɟ
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  #11  
Old 09-26-2009, 08:28 PM
mr.ranger mr.ranger is offline
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good luck with the toyota, you couldnt of made a wrong choice as both trucks are greats
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  #12  
Old 09-26-2009, 09:39 PM
Booze1983 Booze1983 is offline
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get an 83!
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1983 Ford Ranger / 2.3L / 2WD

Fog Lights-Cleared Turn Signals-Composite Headlights- 8k HID - Tach & White Face Gauges - L.E.D. Gauge Lights - Front and Rear Sway Bar - New Carpet
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