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  #1  
Old 11-01-2016, 02:22 PM
AgentGTO AgentGTO is offline
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Default 03 Ranger Camping Project

Howdy, I've been stalking on this website for a while and now that I'm actually doing something with my somewhat newly acquired truck, I figured I should make a thread about it.

The point of this project is to turn my truck into a mini camper and take road trips on my long weekends. I have this rare opportunity with my job so I figured I should take advantage of it.

I just need the truck to be livable on my way to the destination where then I get into my hotel. So I want a set up that can be put in and taken out easily without having to spending half a day getting it ready. This is also going to be test to see if I enjoy truck camping as much as I think I might.

So here's my truck when I bought it.



It's a 2003 Ford Ranger, White, extended cab, with the bigger 4.0L, 4 WD and an A.R.E. Topper.

Current plan: (Anything in green is done)

Remove fuddy duddgy bug shield
Rhino line the fenders
Rhino line the body

Install a light bar on font bumper
Remove rear jump seats
Build a flat platform in place of rear jump seats
Install a roof rack
Build a sleeping platform in the bed
Build storage in the bed for trips
Build storage in the cab for trips
Complete a tune up for road tripping
Paint front grill
Get window covers for the topper
Fix the driver side window, glass window keeps opening
Get a D-ring hitch
06 Power mirrors with color matching cap
06 Taillights
Carry spare gas, somehow

This is what I have for now.

Now for the future, my plans are way to expensive and complicated. I'm going to have to wait and see how this project pans out before dedicated time and money to future ideas.

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Got rid of that fuddy duddgy bug shield and the license plate of the used car dealer. Never really liked them.


I also found these LED lights at autozone and though they would be a better replacement to that crappy light that's in my topper. So I used the case where the bulb was, and shoved some batteries and wired those lights to the case.


The LED's have a 3M sticky adhesive backing, so I stuck them on roof. Turns out it's difficult to keep things stuck to raw fiberglass.



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Now for the disassembly processes. I took apart the roof rack I pulled from a junk yard, removed the rear jump seats, removed the fender flares, removed the tailgate, removed the rear bumper, removed the grill and with a friend took off the topper.








This was a quite a bit of work, but it panned out.

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When I took off my topper, I found out that the rear door on the driver side has been repaired at some point. One because the sticker that's usually there, wasn't, and two, there's all this over spray that was caused by the losers the other owner paid for.




Stuff like this really pisses me off. If you're being paid to do a job, do it right.

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This is me mocking up the roof rack so I can figure out where to drill the holes.




Now to be honest here, I didn't really measure it. I more or less eyeballed it. I'm short on time and needed to get that one there.
But it's sit pretty straight, so it's not bad for an eyeball!

After that I started masking off everything I didn't want Herculiner to get on.







Decided to use 2" painters tape because I didn't have anything to cover the truck and again was running out of time. I also sanded everything, by hand, with a green scotch bright pad then using the even rougher pad the Herculiner kit came with. I also found some spots where rust was starting to call home so I dealt with that as I was prepping the surface for coating.
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Last edited by AgentGTO; 11-25-2016 at 08:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2016, 02:24 PM
1vannn 1vannn is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Sounds like your doing a great job so far! Sweet build keep it up buddy.

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  #3  
Old 11-01-2016, 02:48 PM
BlueOvalGuy92 BlueOvalGuy92 is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

She going to look good when you are done!! Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 11-02-2016, 10:42 PM
horizon94 horizon94 is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Can't wait to see your camper shell mods! May have to steal some

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  #5  
Old 11-06-2016, 09:39 PM
AgentGTO AgentGTO is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Thanks, it is a lot of work to get this done but it'll be worth it.

This what the truck and tailgate looked like the next morning. I applied both coats the previous day and couldn't get any pictures because it was dark by the time I finished up.





Then I applied the 1st coat on the fender flares so I could work on the topper while it was drying.



Then I installed the roof rack, that I also painted the day before, and assembled the roof rack bars. And of course like most things in life, this required help.

I had a friend use an Allen wrench to hold the bolt on the outside while I crawled underneath and put the washer and nut on, then tighten with my drill.



Then it was time to puttin things back, staring with the rear bumper and tailgate.



Then my friend and I put the topper back on and while we were re-installing the topper I went ahead and straighten it. Before the topper was installed a little crooked so the driver side handle always had to be pushed in to close, now it doesn't!



Now at this point I start getting really excited because the aftermath was actually better than I thought it'd be. It was probably embarrassing but I was tired and my shoulder hurt so I have a pass on being giddy.

So my friend and I went and got lunch because the fender flares still needed to dry some more before putting them back on.

So when we came back from lunch the fenders dried out enough and we put them back on. After that I started getting even more excited, and here is the finished product!







I am really happy with how it turned out and despite the work and pain, it was 100% worth it!

Then I also noticed that my D-ring hitch came in, funnily enough I even picked the package up from the mailman but I thought it was my dad's until he opened and left it on my workbench.



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So some gooddys came in during my work week.

In order it is:
- Custom mattress from Foam Factory (70x30x5)
- Rotpax 4gal fuel can and mounting plate
- 24" light bar





The mattress is surprisingly comfortable and was very reasonably affordable. The Rotapax fuel can is probably overkill but hey, it's better to have and not need than to need and not have. Right?

The light bar is also for going out to those middle of BFE places and needing light since the nearest town is 20 miles away.

My only concern is how I'm going to mount my light. I want to mount it on the bumper, on the part where it dips down, and wire it up to my fog light button.



But the problem with that is that the light is to deep and to set the light bar arms on the bumper, the light hits the front grill and can't sit straight.

So my ideas to combat this are to drill and mount as close as I can, which will probably look stupid, or get different mounting brackets that are slanted and move the light bar forward an 1", or drill the bumper for brackets that extend out and have the light bar bolt to the bracket instead of the bumper. I also don't want to mount it on the roof or roof rack because I don't want the light that high and don't want to deal with the wind noise that might cause.

Anyone have any ideas on this?
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2016, 09:41 AM
AgentGTO AgentGTO is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

So I started on making a platform for my mattress. I wanted something that would be sturdy and simple so I don't have to spend a day to install it and take it out. This is a rough idea that I came up with.



I found this cool threaded rivet gun at Harbor Frieght and decided that I needed one.

So I drill a 9.5mm hole in the bed of my truck, one in the front and one in the back, for the L - shaped brackets. The L - shaped brackets help support the left side of the platform. The platform is also sitting on the wheel hump.





Then after I got a good setup, where it's nice and sturdy but easy to put in and take out. So then I started to carpet the wood so it would look nice and I wouldn't have to worry about getting splinters anytime I moved around. Plus I used the board as a back stop when I was coating my fenders so they also looked ugly.




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And of course when I finished wrapping them I looked upon with awe, because they were perfect. Until I found out that I did it wrong. smh. I ended up wrapping what would be consider the bottom, instead of the top. So I just ended up adding another layer and wrapped the top. So now the bottom and top are carpeted. I also cut out a board to use as a backstop to keep me or the bed from hitting the clamps that hold down the topper. Also wrapped them in the carpet.
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  #7  
Old 11-10-2016, 10:17 AM
AgentGTO AgentGTO is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

These pictures aren't going to look great because I took them at night. If I have the time I'll try and get some day time shots and upload those.

And here is what it looks like installed in the bed.



The platform is 3/4" plywood that is being supported by 3 2x4's (which are actually 1.5" X 3.5"), the wheel hump and two L brackets on the front and back.

Then I put the twin fitted sheet and gromitted the corners and tied them together so it wouldn't shift around.



I'm pretty happy with the result. There's plenty of space to sleep on my back or on my side, which is a big deal since I'm a fat dude. The mattress is also really comfortable. And with all that I even have quite a bit of storage space underneath the sleeping platform.



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I also rented a drill at Home Depot, because I didn't have one with enough power to drill through metal, so I decide to drill the bumper for the threaded rivets for my light bar. So her she is with the 24" light bar attached to the front bumper. I think it looks pretty cool and uses that space pretty well. It's not wired up yet, this is just a test fit and to drill those holes so I could return the drill to Home Depot.

I'm thinking of hooking the light bar to the same button used for the fog lights, but I noticed that the fogs automatically turn off if you turn the high beams on and I don't want the light bar to do that. So I'm still a little conflicted about that.






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Now for my current dilemma, I'm trying to figure out the best way to mount my spare fuel can. It fits perfectly between the roof rack rails and is much easier to get too when standing on the tailgate vs it sitting on the roof rack. If I mount it directly to the topper it means 4 more holes I have to drill and weather seal, but it also leaves the rack open for more stuff. It also keeps it closer to the truck so there won't be as much wind resistance.

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  #8  
Old 11-10-2016, 10:53 AM
jgardiner jgardiner is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Nice job. Keep up the good work. What did the roof rack come from?
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2016, 11:46 AM
SB03Ranger SB03Ranger is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Awesome set up man.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2016, 01:47 PM
BlueOvalGuy92 BlueOvalGuy92 is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Looking good!!
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  #11  
Old 11-10-2016, 02:10 PM
bumstead27 bumstead27 is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Looks awesome! Can I make a suggestion? If you Rhino line the bottom of your front bumper the lines will flow a lot better and will look cleaner I think.


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  #12  
Old 11-10-2016, 02:12 PM
AgentGTO AgentGTO is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgardiner View Post
Nice job. Keep up the good work. What did the roof rack come from?
Thanks, the roof rack came from an 08 Ford Escape. I was looking for SUV's with mostly flat tops and the Escape ones look more modern than the old expo racks.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumstead27 View Post
Looks awesome! Can I make a suggestion? If you Rhino line the bottom of your front bumper the lines will flow a lot better and will look cleaner I think.


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That is actually a summer project. I'll be rhino lining the plastic part of the front bumper and leaving the metal white. I'll also be tearing apart the rear bumper, because a lot of rust is starting to from, then I'll rhino line that too.
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  #13  
Old 11-11-2016, 09:26 AM
UltraHDGames UltraHDGames is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Truck looks great with the roof rails and i love the sleeping platform you built, keep up the good work!
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  #14  
Old 11-12-2016, 07:00 AM
AgentGTO AgentGTO is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraHDGames View Post
Truck looks great with the roof rails and i love the sleeping platform you built, keep up the good work!
Thanks, I really like the roof rack too. Looks much better than the expo rack imo. Also can't wait to test out the sleeping platform too, should be good.

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Found this truck mat on CL last night for $10. Decided to pick it up after work. Will probably slim it down to fit between the wheel humps in the bed so I'm not sitting/kneeling on metal.

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  #15  
Old 11-20-2016, 11:25 AM
Gruss Gruss is offline
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Default Re: 03 Ranger Camping Project

Very Nice! What is the roof rack off of?
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