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Old 11-23-2019, 07:57 AM
Revtach Revtach is offline
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Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 78
Default 2003 Ford Ranger FX4 Level 2 Manual Shift

Located in Binghamton, NY.

Truck has 142,xxx miles. Standard 5 speed and a manual shift transfer case.

I've owned it for a little over 2 years and have put a lot of work into it. I cherished this truck and still do despite it's faults. When I bought it the suspension, brakes, and exhaust were complete toast. I went ahead and rebuilt the front suspension with the mevotech kit and also put all 4 new Bilstein shocks on. At the same time I put on a dynomax ultraflow catback exhaust, did a complete tune up with plugs, wires, air and fuel filter, replaced all the old steel brake lines with nickle/copper lines, did a rear disk brake conversion kit, and put on a heavy duty diff cover from Solid Axle Industries. Earlier this year I also replaced the front pads and rotors. In addition, this year I also replaced both timing chain tensioners with genuine Ford tensioners, at the same time I upgraded a leaking thermostat housing with an all-aluminum housing from SimmonzAutoSports ($135). And just this week I put on a new fuel filler neck and a new u-joint on the rear driveshaft to address a driveline vibration.

The truck runs and drives excellent. The Bilstein shocks are amazing. There are only a few issues.

The first is that this is a New York truck wich means there is a lot of corrosion. This is very common with vehicles in this area so you need know realize you're buying a 17 year salt-belt truck. The corrosion has eaten through the bed to the point where one of the mounts has broken through. You can still haul items in there, but I wouldn't put anything too heavy in and the bed itself does rock back and forth if you push and pull it with your hand. You can leave it as-is or you can replace the bed if you find a rust-free one. The way I see it is that the fuel pump on these trucks usually needs to be replaced at 150K miles and the bed needs to be pulled to do that. So if you find a replacement bed then you might as well replace the bed when you replace the fuel pump. Alternatively if you are fine with the bed as it is then you can simply access the fuel pump by cutting out a hole in the bed since the bed is pretty much toast anyway.

The second issue is that the engine has developed the diesel rattle on startup. I replaced both tensioners shortly after this happened to address the rattle, but the rattle persists if the truck sits for more than a day. I really can't decide one way or another if this is a big problem or not. Research is pretty split with people saying that the rattle is common and isn't a problem so long as it's not getting worse, while others say it is a problem. I can honestly say that it hasn't been getting worse. It simply developed the noise one day this year and has remained constant. The next step in fixing the rattle is to replace the plastic timing chain guides inside the engine and the engine might need to be pulled for that. The truck will probably also need a new clutch in 5-10k miles, so again the way I see it is that if you are going to replace the clutch you can do so by either dropping the transmission or pulling the engine. Pulling the engine is a little more work but not much. So if you're going to pull the engine to do the clutch then at the same time you can replace the plastic timing chain guides while the engine is out.

All in all this is a really cool and rare truck. It is a shame that the salt-belt corrosion has attacked it, but it is still a great truck in my opinion. It has some heavier duty drivetrain components with the 8.8 rear, manual shift t-case/tranny, and the 4.0 sohc is powerful enough. You can drive it as-is, turn it into an off-road rig, or harvest the parts for your own build. With the 4.10 gears and torsen rear diff, a cheap build idea would be to throw some 33's on and cut the fenders for clearance. That would give the truck decent off-road capability while retaining good street-manners.

I will post pics this afternoon. Asking $2500

Last edited by Revtach; 11-23-2019 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 11-23-2019, 03:19 PM
Revtach Revtach is offline
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Default Re: 2003 Ford Ranger FX4 Level 2 Manual Shift





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Old 11-29-2019, 06:21 PM
Revtach Revtach is offline
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Default Re: 2003 Ford Ranger FX4 Level 2 Manual Shift

Update: We had a warm day here in NY 2 days ago. Temps were about 60 F. I started the truck up after sitting for 3 days and there was no rattle at all. Leads me to believe the rattle is somehow related to the oil getting cold and flowing a little slower.
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