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Old 11-17-2015, 11:14 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Default blkpnthr's 1985 Beater

Hey,

As suggested in my introduction thread, I've decided to make a "build thread" for my '85 Ranger. There isn't really a whole lot of building going on - it's more like rebuilding. With the exception of what it leaked from the engine and transmission, oil has never touched the underside of this truck, so it's got corrosion issues.

My goal is not much above it being a beater. The body's rough, the frame is rusty...

Specs
  • 1985 Ford Ranger, base
  • 2.0L w/Carter YFA 1-barrel non-feedback carb (electronic idle speed control)
  • TK5 5-speed manual transmission (RWD)
  • 7.5" diff, axle code "845" (this doesn't seem to be valid, typo? 3.45 or 3.55 ratio seems likely)
  • Manual steering, no A/C, no radio, no interval wipers, no tach/temp/oil pressure gauges, no cigarette lighter socket, tiny useless mirrors...totally base model. The only exceptions I can find to this are the long bed and apparently the bumper was optional according to some references in manuals.

History
  • Original owner bought new from Ken Knapp Ford in Essex, Ontario. He was a fleet mechanic for local municipal government and also owned a repair shop in the past.
  • The truck did not see many kilometres in the last third, if not half of its life. When I bought it, the windshield sticker for its next oil change was 7 years in the past, but the odometer still had a few thousand km to go.
  • The original owner sold the truck in October of 2014 to the second owner. The second owner bought it as a vehicle to learn to drive with a manual transmission. The heater core failed during their test drive; the original owner had it replaced. The receipt for the heater core job shows the odometer reading as 123,757km.
  • Their plans changed, no longer needed or wanted to learn how to drive stick, so onto Kijiji it went. In May of 2015 I bought the truck with 123,768km.

My Intent
  • I will keep it going as long as it makes sense to me. When that sense runs out it'll be ready for scrap (not saying I won't be a decent caretaker, but it's only got so long left...)
  • My original goals were to make it a winter vehicle to save my car from those abusive conditions, but seeing the insurance and fuel savings driving it, it might go on the road year-round for a while to give me a chance to catch up on upkeep and projects with the other vehicles ('83 and '91 Grand Marquis)

Photos (May 2015 when I bought it)







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Last edited by blkpnthr; 11-19-2015 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:59 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Work Done/Photos (May 2015 to November 2015)

Introducing the newbie to the family:


Baby's First Parts Order:


The second day owning it, the gas tank started leaking. Drained the tank into gas cans via the fuel line (truck was given to me with a full tank).

Fuel tank replacement, May 30


I HATE THIS BUZZER. Replaced it with a dinger/chime out of a newer Ford (probably a Grand Marquis; it was in my junkyard parts box. plug-n-play)


Cutting out weak corroded floor metal and trying to test fit some sheet metal (this isn't the option I ultimately went with).


June 10 Replaced timing belt


June 13 Flushed coolant with old rad (which had a seeping leak). After flushing out, replaced radiator/cap, hoses, thermostat, coolant. The oil seen at the top of one of the bottles was from the drain pan, it did not come out of the engine mixed.


June 24 Drum brakes, rear brake lines, parking brake cables and differential oil


Oct 10 Shocks, front brakes, lines


Oct 10 Floors


Oct 11 Decided to try to move the bed cap around by myself. Not a wise choice. Made amendments to the front 'window' of the bed cap (a big piece of poorly fitting acrylic) and position of cap on bed. It isn't the right cap for this truck but it'll do.


Oct 11 Reinstalling interior


Oct 12 Bleeding full brake system, then "first drive"


Oct 14 Installed 12V sockets, as I have a dash cam I want to have plugged in. 12V source for sockets is always hot from battery but with switch to turn it off. I prefer this over switched with ignition.


Oct 17 outer tie rod ends


Oct 17 Carb removal and rebuild


Received Ontario Safety Standards Certificate. This was the first day I drove it to work, Oct 19.


In troubleshooting some starting, idling, running issues I picked up a spare YFA carb from a 1982 F-100 I6. This is a feedback carb but minus the feedback components it's otherwise identical. Bolted on, the 2.0 fired up and ran with the carb as I pulled it from the junkyard. I did eventually put the original YFA back on once I confirmed it was a tuning issue, not a carb defect or internal issue.


Oct 25 Compression test, vacuum troubleshooting


Oct 31 buddy of mine at a shop mounted my snow tires on my old Panther turbines.


Nov 1, posed near Essex Engine Plant


Interval wiper switch and relay from junkyard


Nov 1, some stickers...


Nov 8, upgraded mirrors (donor vehicle 1988+ Bronco II)


Nov 9, found a vacuum leak in the vac motor that switches hot/cold intake air. Repaired. Also replaced ignition coil (new) and Duraspark II module with good used which corrected some starting and running issues.


List of Work Done
In no particular order, items for which there are no photos above:
  • Patched exhaust leak. It has since blown itself apart again due to a smog pump issue and racecar-like exhaust popping. Because racetruck.
  • patched passenger cab corner
  • changed manual trans gear oil (Redline MT-90, the only GL4 75-90 I could find)
  • ran wiring for radio and installed one
  • While doing rear brakes, pulled out the axle shafts to verify bearing riding surface is good and replaced axle seals
  • Repaired/refurbed courtesy light door switch
  • Replaced shift lever with a slightly less sloppy one.
  • Good used battery
  • Changed oil + filter, for first time in 7 years (it wasn't over the mileage interval yet, but...7 years!)
  • Air filter
  • Fuel filter
  • new tail lamps (cracked)
  • rear license plate lights (corroded wiring due to botched trailer connector install)
  • headlamps
  • blower motor resistor
  • Converted all 11xx style bulb sockets to 31xx style bulb sockets
  • Converted front side markers to signals which alternate with the actual turn signal
  • plugs/wires/cap/rotor

Man, this post length limit is killing me!
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Last edited by blkpnthr; 11-18-2015 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 11-18-2015, 12:01 AM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Default Re: blkpnthr's 1985 Beater

Outstanding Issues (as of this post)
  • Transmission tail shaft seal leaking. I have the seal, just have to pull out the driveshaft to change it.
  • Smog pump has a broken mounting ear.
  • Smog pump diverter valve has broken vacuum nipples, so that system is capped off currently.
  • Exhaust has a hole that was patched twice but keeps blowing itself open again forcefully, due to fuel burning in the exhaust (oooo racecar bang bang!). This seems to be connected to the fact the smog pump is still installed and running but the diverter isn't functioning, so it's injecting air permanently, which is contributing to the rich exhaust igniting. Have yet to verify this but it seems likely.
  • Toe is set kind of wrong and steering wheel is not centered correctly, so Ackermann geometry is screwed up. I'll be correcting this before the good tires go back on.
  • Carb needs some tuning. Little bit rich under certain conditions. Struggles to idle at first in the cold, but once choke opens it's fine.
  • Fuel pump may be letting fuel drain back causing starting issues if it sits long enough. I have a new pump, just not clear it needs to be done or not.
  • Still need to install interval wiper stuff
  • Rain leak around windshield (seems this explains the bad floor rust)
  • Rain leak in bed cap
  • Completely plugged up EGR pipe from the exhaust to the valve, and bad EGR valve. EGR system is capped off and a blocking plate is installed, to be repaired when I find a good valve and figure out how to un-block the pipe.
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  #4  
Old 11-18-2015, 08:17 AM
flyboy12 flyboy12 is offline
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Default Re: blkpnthr's 1985 Beater

I'm looking forward to seeing more, and I really do hope you turn it into a DD
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Old 11-18-2015, 10:12 AM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy12 View Post
I'm looking forward to seeing more, and I really do hope you turn it into a DD
Maybe maybe...

This whole 'manual steering' business is getting old, though. Not much I can do about it, fairly sure the 2.0 has enough power to move the truck or drive a steering pump, but not both simultaneously lol. Getting this thing up to highway speed is a terrifying experience and happens 500ft or so after merging due to running out of acceleration lane. And that's here in Ontario with a 100km/h speed limit (63mph).

I'm keeping my eyes open for a junkyard truck with vent windows so I can perform that little upgrade, even if only on the driver side. It'll be a complete asset if I'm going to drive this tin can with vinyl seat in the summer. Also trying to find a way to rig up a sway bar since this thing has more body roll than my cars (and I say this as a lover of body roll...it's just too much).
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Old 11-23-2015, 06:54 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Small status update:
  • Corrected toe as best I could to get steering wheel re-centered. Highly un-scientific adjustment - measured front and back of tires at common tread points and got it 1cm narrower in the front than the back (toe-in). Not sure what that works out to in degrees but it's probably still too much toe in. It does drive correctly now though and tire noise while turning is way way down.
  • Swapped on the Panther Turbine wheels with snow tires on them for the first snowfall of the year. Temps are going back up into the 50s if not higher so they'll probably come off again.
  • I was driving along and after a long stretch heavy on the accelerator to catch a green light, got my expected BANG in the exhaust when I let off...but this time it was different. Things got very loud and unpleasant very fast. Looked under and found the pipe that is part of the cat had completely blown itself apart in the weak spot. Made creative use of some scrap HVAC duct metal and a band clamp to put it back together.
  • Removed belt from smog pump. As long as the diverter valve is broken, it just constantly injects air into the exhaust, which when mixed with rich exhaust in a hot cat is what gives the explosions. I do eventually want to fix this system to work correctly. I believe in cats and smog pumps - they use a damn near immeasurably small amount of power but their environmental benefit is huge. Until it all works though, I have to stop the obnoxious noises.
  • Turned in the mixture screw a little bit, trying to get it to stop being so rich. Seems not to have accomplished anything.
  • Very cold starts, it stalls after a couple seconds running, for 2 or 3 starts. On the second or third it will idle normally. Suspect choke is opening too far when the vacuum pull-off opens it.

Not very exciting stuff but it'll be nice in a couple years to look back over this thread and see all the crap I did.
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  #7  
Old 11-23-2015, 06:58 PM
Krazy-baja Krazy-baja is offline
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Default

. And That's too much toe in.

Last edited by Krazy-baja; 11-23-2015 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 11-23-2015, 07:27 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Default Re: blkpnthr's 1985 Beater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazy-baja View Post
. And That's too much toe in.
I figured so. Problem is I replaced the outer tie rod ends, but not the inners (they don't need it). But, the adjusters are seized onto the inners pretty tight, so I couldn't turn them. If I go one turn further with the outer ends, I end up another whole cm off. If I could do one half turn on each side that would do the trick I think.

Plan is to fight some more with the adjusters to see if I can make them move, but replacement of those parts would be easier...
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Old 12-01-2015, 08:00 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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A small, relatively useless post about things.

On account of the bad toe settings I'm only putting the snow tires on as needed, to avoid unnecessary tread wear until I can get those adjusters to turn (which is proving to be VERY difficult).

The tires that came on the truck are very old and in not-so-great shape, so I don't mind the idea of chewing the tread off of them. They have a good amount of tread, just bad condition otherwise.

Decided I might as well clean them up so they look presentable.



Bought a shop manual on eBay. $20, can't go wrong. It is missing the wiring diagrams section, but between the Chilton's book (which has pretty comprehensive wiring diagrams) and the EVTM I think I'm good.



So I checked the oil the other day, and the level was OK - I had major oil loss issues at first due to very loose valve cover bolts which I tightened, no new gasket or anything, and it seems to have mostly worked. But, on the dipstick I saw some foamy/creamy white stuff, which seemed alarming. The same substance was finding its way through the vent in the oil filler cap into the air cleaner.



Did an oil change, and let it drain extra long to try to get as much of the old out as I could. Since we're going into winter, changed it out for 5W30. The engine makes good oil pressure so I don't see any issue with this.



The good news: antifreeze seems not to be mixing into my oil.
The bad news: checking the dipstick with the new oil in it still has the white stuff, so the new oil washed it down into the pan from the cylinder head. It's probably just resulting from condensation since I usually don't drive it far enough to fully heat up, so probably nothing to worry about, but I'm going to keep an eye on it.

When I first bought the truck it had some yellow "fog" lights on the bumper, but they needed to be replaced (missing hardware and corrosion issues). I found an acceptable replacement, also with a yellow tint which I like, and will be putting those on. I also found a good deal on LED flood lights which I can see being of particular value at my preferred vacation/camping destination...so I bought two.



On a related topic I'm hoping there's a straightforward way to pop a 130A 3G alternator onto this engine. It was an easy swap on my car. Will have to do some measuring and comparing. Presumably newer 2.3 alternators will go on, just don't know enough about this platform yet to know if that's an upgrade or not. Edit: after some research it appears my options with "newer 2.3 alternators" are either a 2G (ew) or if I were to want a 3G it'd have to come from a different application, since the 2.3 switched to the sideways mounting bolts. Current alternator (pun?) is externally regulated and has studs for connectors, I'm guessing it's a 60A which was a popular amperage at the time...

Also, getting a trailer this coming weekend...not that I think the 2.0 can haul much. It's a homemade trailer made of the back half of...a first gen Ranger, complete with a cap on the back. Will be painting to match of course. I'm thinking it could be made into a rudimentary camper or just general cargo, haven't decided yet.
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Last edited by blkpnthr; 12-03-2015 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:03 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkpnthr View Post
Also, getting a trailer this coming weekend...not that I think the 2.0 can haul much. It's a homemade trailer made of the back half of...a first gen Ranger, complete with a cap on the back. Will be painting to match of course. I'm thinking it could be made into a rudimentary camper or just general cargo, haven't decided yet.


At least in spirit I consider it to be an integral part of the truck.
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:55 AM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Dropping in for somewhat of a seasonal update.

The truck did very well through the winter, though it was a mild one with maybe a total of 6 inches of snow for the whole winter...

It has been retired for the season. Going back to the Grand Marquis was an experience. I know which one I like more, and it's not the Ranger.

I replaced the trans tail shaft seal. Still leaks. Kind of ticked off about this because I have Redline MT90 in the trans which is not exactly a cheap gear oil.

On that note: it shifts very nicely with the MT90, but is very hard to get into first when cold. Requires a bunch of clutch pumping and lever wiggling. This issue existed before the MT90.

Didn't do anything yet with the smog pump or exhaust. In order to fix the exhaust properly I need a cat. Not going to put a new cat on until I'm very satisfied that it's running properly. It's much closer to that state now than it was when I got it, but the exhaust is still pretty foul, so I'll worry about this when it's time to prep for next winter.

Interval wiper stuff was not a direct fit. Same connectors but pinned differently. Neither the stuff for my '83 Grand Marquis nor for the couple-years-newer Ranger I have on hand worked. Need to study some wiring diagrams. I'm not above, nor is it beyond me, to hack up the harness to match the parts I have.

Rain leak still exists but truck is parked under a carport, shouldn't be a huge deal. Will monitor floor condition of course.

In retrospect, I should have bought a Panther wagon as a winter beater. It's more my style. But...the Ranger has not been a bad vehicle and I'll run it for a couple more winters.
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:33 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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I found a TK4 truck in a yard!



Grabbed the shifter, and it improved the shift quality so much it feels like a totally different vehicle. Bolted on with no alteration (I read previously that the bolt holes would need to be elongated but this seems not to be the case).

Throw is shorter because the pivot point isn't "continuously variable" anymore, and precision is spot-on.

Imgur has changed its interface and seems to have eliminated the ability to embed just a thumbnail, so this'll have to do.





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Old 10-25-2017, 05:29 PM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkpnthr View Post
Dropping in for somewhat of a seasonal update.
Look at that, it's time for my yearly post!



In the time since I last posted, I bought a 1984 Town Car to be a more "well appointed" winter beater, drove it through last winter (low end torque + RWD + heavy = fun), then got smacked up in a fender bender (not at fault) and insurance fixed it to better-than-beater-status, so I won't treat it as a winter beater anymore. Whoops.

The Ranger has been mostly parked in that time, occasionally moved around under its own power. It was pretty much rolling coal at idle for a while, which turned out to be a defective float installed during the carb rebuild.



After that, carb tuning started to respond more to how it should work. I concluded that the reason it ran happiest with a little extra throttle was that it was permanently rich due to fuel getting past the needle valve, because of the sunk float. That issue is resolved and aside from burning a little oil it runs much better.

This past weekend I replaced the flywheel, pressure plate, clutch disc, pilot bearing, slave cylinder+TOB and master cylinder as well as the second U-Joint. I had forgotten that I intended to "do it later" back when I replaced the trans output shaft seal. It didn't move freely by hand, and the bearings were full of rusty dust so that was much needed.

Clutch disc was totally shot, flush with the rivet heads, with rivet head damage on the flywheel. First try after reassembling the clutch was not releasing. I re-bled it on the truck and got some air out, and it worked better but engagement was still pretty close to the floor. Then I remembered I forgot to lube the input shaft where the disc slides so the next day I yanked it out, did that, and put it back together. Re-re-bled the clutch and now engagement is right about the halfway mark, which seems to be pretty much perfect.

As it happens the hose for my "one man brake bleeder" perfectly fits onto the clutch line fittings so bleeding the master before it was all assembled, and then keeping the fluid in the line while putting the trans in, was pretty simple and contained. Still a huge mess from disassembly but the bleeding was OK. The early trucks use a seemingly better designed master, as they can be successfully bled on the truck without any of the gymnastics the newer Rangers seem to require.

Total work time for the initial clutch replacement to test drive after is 11 hours...I feel like that's not bad for a first timer working at a fairly sluggish pace. The next day removing, reinstalling and bleeding again was 4 hours. Experience pays I guess.

Here's some trans porn:























And like that, it was done. Between the new clutch and the TK4 shifter it's really a totally different experience to drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blkpnthr View Post
In retrospect, I should have bought a Panther wagon...


I've acquired a new "incredible waste of time and effort" vehicle, and I've outdone myself (RE: the Ranger). Behold, the 1985 Ford LTD Country Squire!



Anyone particularly interested can follow that project on GrandMarq.Net. It's very long-winded, so takes a little dedication.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blkpnthr View Post
I'll run it for a couple more winters.
No plans for change here. The Ranger is worth more in utility to me than it will ever get as scrap or private sale at this point, so short of a frame structural rust failure I'm hanging onto it.
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:12 PM
ford4thot ford4thot is offline
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Default Re: blkpnthr's 1985 Beater

Good looking old truck, the work looks unfortunately all too familiar. Brings back bad memories haha

Wagon looks like a fun project
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Old 10-29-2017, 10:19 AM
blkpnthr blkpnthr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ford4thot View Post
Good looking old truck, the work looks unfortunately all too familiar. Brings back bad memories haha

Wagon looks like a fun project
I kinda like the character of the first gen Rangers, so even if it is a bit of a sh!tbox in various ways (and believe me, that title is well-justified), I enjoy doing the work.

I don't have any sort of auto repair background other than high school auto shop. Some may see that lack of experiencing coming through, but I think I do OK.

The wagon is...something else. If it weren't for having brought the Ranger back to life (and earning a bit of a confidence boost from doing so) I wouldn't have taken that project on.

I've taken the Ranger on a couple short test drives and the clutch fully engaging has moved a little further up in the pedal travel. Still nowhere near how bad it was before (almost completely off the pedal before it grabbed) but I'm wondering if maybe the normal, by-design engagement point is just a little high on these to begin with.

Oh well.

I did explore the possibility of getting a Turbocoupe 2.3T for it from the junkyard, but there were too many unknowns. Like why was the bellhousing attached to it but trans missing...implies the car was scrapped with trans gone...if the owner had the means to do that, why not keep the whole engine? Started wondering about cylinder head cracks or sloppy main bearings. Computer was missing so I wouldn't have been able to test run it soon enough to make use of the warranty, so I scrapped that idea.

Pulled the valve cover to try to figure out why it loses so much oil. Mating surface is totally screwed on the VC. Previous owner had already put on a PermaDry squishy rubber gasket, evidently chasing the same issue. I'll likely go back and get that 2.3T valve cover since it looked to be cast aluminum instead of stamped sheet metal.

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Last edited by blkpnthr; 10-29-2017 at 10:34 AM.
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