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Rear Cab Mounts for 2nd gen Ranger Ex-Cab

Discussion in 'Paint and Body' started by david85, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. david85

    david85 Full Access Member

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    Last time we tuned in, our little buddy was getting a facelift:

    https://www.oilburners.net/threads/ranger-gets-a-facelift.81927/

    The new core support is holding just fine, but now the rear cab mounts need work.

    EDIT: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Truck-Cab-...m=253426124737&_trksid=p2045573.c100505.m3226

    F-series trucks can have this problem, but this is more common with Ranger based vehicles (Bronco2 and explorer). The worst part is that no visual inspection of the mounts can tell if there is damage until the rust spreads out from under the rubber block. Once the mounting hole has rusted open that far, it's already too late and the mount falls through the bracket. In our case, the bottom rubber actually fell off due to the retaining washer rusting away. This meant the cab was only held down by gravity on one corner, so road handling started to get worse.

    It Gets worse.

    All cab mount brackets are riveted to the frame, no surprise there. The rear bracket however, also supports the front end of the box (this is true for 1st gen ex-cabs too...). So if you plan to perform a proper repair, removing the bracket can be a real pain. I have done quick & dirty repairs on these before that involve simply welding a new plate on top of the original bracket. It works, but it looks like crap. It will also promote even more corrosion as time goes on, because you are stacking one plate on top of another. The small clearance between will trap sand, salt and moisture (AKA crevice corrosion). Most repairs I've seen on the web use this method because its easy, it works, and most don't care if they don't get another 30 years out of what is essentially a worthless truck.

    It's not all bad news. Dorman started making aftermarket brackets a couple years ago. Many rangers like this one are still in great condition, except for cab mounts that gave up the ghost. If you ever noticed a craigslist ad that shows a ranger with a cab that sags a little relative to the box, well, that's what you'll be up against. I've noticed a few adds up here in Canada for trucks that appear to be mint, except for that. In most cases the owner wouldn't even know what's happening.

    What follows here is a complete repair for both sides on my Dad's "pet" ranger.

    Whether replacing or restoring the bracket, the first thing to do is remove the bracket from the truck. The main mounting bolts will usually be rusted by now, so plan on using a big breaker bar with cheater pipe.

    Unbolting the front of the box can be a problem due to how inaccessible the U-nuts are underneath. We got lucky and Both front bolts came out without too much fuss. The canopy and bed liner had to come out first though. Again, everything was still in great shape.

    I used a floor jack and wood block to support the cab, then used my weapon of choice to blow off the rivets: Plasma Cutter! Shoot across the head, and try not to gouge into the bracket, if you plan on repairing it. Once the heads are off, an air-chisel should be able to push them through.

    The one catch here is that there are other chassis brackets on the inside of the frame rail that are also retained by the same rivets. They won't fall out, but the rivets might put up an extra fight in these spots.

    After some blood, sweat and expletives, the passenger side was out.

    The attached photos show the after market bracket compared to the rusted OEM bracket. If any of you are wondering, yes, there is a difference in metal thickness. However its so small you can barely notice. Fitment was also excellent, and the supplied rubber resulted in perfect cab height once torqued down. I was surprised.

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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  2. david85

    david85 Full Access Member

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    OK, so I mentioned that I bought 1 bracket. That meant the other side needed to be restored.

    To do that, I blew out all the bad metal with a plasma cutter, then grafted in a plate of 1/4" steel. This is thicker than needed, but it was either that, or scrounge for something less than 1/8". Once that was one, I wire-wheeled the bracket and dosed it with Corroseal. Once that cured, I coated it with Cloverdale Industrial Enamel. It's a 1 component oil based paint that goes on thick, dries slow, and can be touched up easily at any time. It takes a while to cure fully but does get quite hard once finished. I use this as "rock guard" for my F250.

    The Photos show what the repaired bracket looked like with the Corroseal cured. It's normally a milky color and turns purple before curing black when finished. Then the last photos show both the repaired bracket, and the Dorman Aftermarket bracket installed in the truck.

    The Dorman bracket did come with zinc coated metric bolts but I wasn't quite satisfied with them. They were a tad sloppy in the holes and I had my doubts as to the strength rating of 10.9. Since I needed to buy bolts for the other side anyway, I got enough 7/16" NC grade 8 bolts to do the whole job in one size. I've done plenty of frame repair like this on other fords and never had any issues with these.

    As I mentioned in the first post, the Dorman bracket is was a very nice fit. It is a little expensive but if you want a bolt on fix, it will work for that. However, bolting it on will by far be the easiest part.

    On final struggle here was the fuel tank ford put in this little truck....

    You know those fancy aftermarket fuel tanks that superduty owners are often spending 1500 USD to buy for extended range? You know, the ones that fill every single cubic inch of room to spare under the frame? The ones that stretch from the rear axle all the way to a few inches behind the transfer case? Well, it turns out ford offered a similar tank from factory way back in 1990 for the ranger. Why am I going on and on about this??

    Well, that huge-mongus tank is tucked right up against the driver's side frame rail. And that means no access to get the bolts in for the new bracket. The only option was to partially lower the tank. To do that, the extra long skid plate has to come off. To take the skid plate off, the drive shaft has to drop. Yeah...

    Needless to say, ford engineers really tried to put a lot of extra into this little truck. Normally I'd start ranting about how it was put together, but honestly it was fairly well thought out all things considered. Oh well, at least the fuel tank and lines are all plastic so I doubt they will have to come out any time soon.

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    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  3. david85

    david85 Full Access Member

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    And now we get to the reason I love the 1st and 2nd gen rangers so much. And why I'm willing to put work into a "worthless" old truck like this.

    Even though this truck uses an open C-Channel frame construction (one piece, bumper to bumper), it has ridiculously high torsional stiffness. Once all the mounts were in, I took it for a quick spin around the block. It felt nice and planted when being tossed in the corners. Even better than when my Dad first bought it a few years ago. The 2nd gen also had a couple improvements in the front end, with a wider track and improved anti-roll bar. The improved handling is really noticeable compared to our 1st gen ex-cab (diesel).

    All of this means that without the need for a rust-prone boxed frame (often made in overlapping sections), you can torque the body on a bone stock 1990 ranger to the point where one tire is dangling in the air, and can still close both doors with one fingertip. Really. Also notice how little the box twists away from the cab in the last photo.

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  4. david85

    david85 Full Access Member

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    Oops. I missed the photo for the installed aftermarket bracket...

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    laserjock likes this.
  5. Thewespaul

    Thewespaul Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

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    Lookin great! I despise those rivets.
     
  6. laserjock

    laserjock Almost there... Supporting Member

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    Looks real good. I’ve been casually looking for one around here for a while to do bad things to. Not sure what exactly yet but a re-power would likely be involved.
     
  7. david85

    david85 Full Access Member

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    I'm sensing a 4BT swap in your futureLOL. I have a spare parts engine out of an 86 diesel ranger (our 1987 1st gen is powered 2.3 TD). The 4L still runs fine though, so other than fixing the oil leaks, I don't plan to mess with it any time soon. Don't get me wrong, rangers are fun to build but this one is too nice to cut up.
     

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