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We Put $15,000 Suspension on our $500 Ranger

Mar 17, 2024
We bought this truck for $500 and we are going to race 500 miles through the deserts of Mexico, but if we want to reach the finish line or even survive this race, we have to make some improvements, so Starting with the most obvious shortcomings of this truck , the


, ideally we want our truck to be able to scream at speed, maintain traction at power wash through desert brush, and handle just about anything the desert can throw at it, so to do that we buy . All of this may seem very complicated now because it is, but as we go through and install each component, we'll talk about what it is and how it works, so what did we spend $177,000 on?
we put 15 000 suspension on our 500 ranger
You might ask yourself, well, we have a weld of yourself. rear shock kit and reverse shackles with giant springs and stops, all from King. We have different leaf springs, a shock ring kit, limit straps, additional hardware like H-joints, and of course some raw materials for all the manufacturing we'll need to do once you've done it. Add back taxes and shipping, what you're looking at is $17,000 worth of high-end


components for a $500 truck that's 30 years old. It's good, now this suspension installation will not be as simple as many other suspension installations that As we have done in the past, we are going to have to take the truck down a little more than normal and this will require some fabrication and it is all a lot bigger than what I'm used to, so we have to learn a little and go up. and rotate the pivot two three, yeah, that was good now, before we get too far.
we put 15 000 suspension on our 500 ranger

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we put 15 000 suspension on our 500 ranger...

I wanted to talk about the suspension on the Ranger and part of the reason we bought this Ranger is that it has beam front suspension, now what that means is that there are two beams that go across the front that are basically responsible for holding the hub to the car and the wheel to the car, but what it doesn't give you is camber adjustability, but for the most part that's not a big deal. On trucks, if it were a track car, you'd want to have adjustable, determinable camber like you would on a dual Wishbone setup or even a Mcferson strut setup, so you can dial in your camber and get your handling just the way you want it. you want. on the track, but on a truck like this we are more concerned about the ride, so we got an ibeam truck and we are going to install longer IE beams, so with a short ibeam the same amount of angular range you get just as much travel.
we put 15 000 suspension on our 500 ranger
If you lengthen the ibeam look how much more travel you get and maybe one downside to the dual ibeam setup is that once you solder this in place that's it, it just goes with the range of the arm and the camera changes dramatically throughout the range, but what it gives you is really good contact between the tires and the ground, even when the body is heavily rolled on your outside tire, it will be on the ground, it will look great and it will be great to drive. a ripper, okay Dylan, what is this a microphone? I'm going to place it on your person.
we put 15 000 suspension on our 500 ranger
I'm afraid a small magnet will hold it. This is Dylan's test. Hello everyone, he will help us in this construction. He knows. Much more about these trucks than we do. Dylan was kind enough to put together a complete work list for us, all the tasks we need to do for this job today, what do you think our biggest challenges will be for this front beam build? and front radius arms for the front, we have to find our Cas we Lo where we want to go, do a lot of testing and full Dro centers, a lot of manufacturing, yeah, that's pretty much it, yeah, this should be pretty interesting.
Well, we took the differential brakes and leaf springs out of the Ranger and this is all going to go away because it's too weak for what we want to do with the truck. We're going to put huge tires on this thing and hopefully, there's a lot of power under the hood, so with those things we would just break these axles and blow up this differential so we have much beefier components to replace and they're pretty good. Every part we remove is literally one the size of the part we bought, how heavy will this be once this is all installed, we will need a place to test it.
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The first thing we need to do is assemble and install the brackets for the suspension, so today we won't be putting on any actual suspension, but we are going to install all the points that will allow us to take out our new suspensions. We have my guy Mike Day here to help us with some of the fabrication welding. You may remember it from some of the videos. I asked him to help us. In the past, like the E36 roll cage, Dylan is still here, we have a lot of hands on deck now, actually, we have a lot to do, so let's get to it right now.
Basically I'm just cleaning up the frame rail so we can in the future weld up our new suspension pickup points so I'm just going to take us to the bare metal, clean up the rusty bits, remove all the junk and we'll be ready to weld up the new stuff Let's see if Dylan has any photos. This looks like a fit to me, I should tap right here, oh yeah, look at that inch gap, yeah, so what I'm going to end up doing is basically cutting it on this curve. I'm going to fit the rest of the bracket here because everything lines up nicely and then I can line up this piece, cut the back of this C member and figure out where it fits best, put it back together and it'll be like nothing happened, so our brackets Upper suspensions are We'll come off that frame rail and go right up to this area, which means a lot of the stuff that's currently in this area needs to be removed, so I'm working on getting the washer fluid tank and overflow tank out.
We'll probably have to get rid of this air conditioning and probably a handful of other things, but ultimately, okay, this engine will be out of here in the future, so we can change whatever we want, we just have to keep it. It's working for now so that's what we're going to do, we need to make some room for all the brackets to fit, we had to trim the shock mount to fit around the new beam mount and then we're going to turn this one around side. up because it fits pretty well, we're going to go to the other side, we're going to make sure it's the same, then we're going to turn that side, we're going to throw the cross bar out and then we can really burn everything down, yeah, that's what I don't do.
You don't need me anymore, that was great, Jerry's been doing something really fun, tell him, I cross things off when they're not done just because it's fun and then I was like, oh W, I thought, damn, who knocked that out, who knocked that out. that. Everything went well, so while they work on the front, I'm going to start working on the rear, I'm going to clean up a few things with the wire wheel and then I'm going to install the leaf spring pickup points which should be pretty easy, they screw into place into the existing holes in the frame, although we have to find hardware.
I heard it's missing. I'm just making a list of all the hardware we're missing. Hardware tabs, plugs, shim tabs, stop brackets, everything like that. we can sort it out all night Mike has a lot of things on the track that he can do to the truck and set them up for success, you know, because I'm not going to be here because I'm leaving, today is my last day, I know that. It's been a short ride but it's been good and I like to burn out quick, you know, okay so we put the new ibeam mounts in place, these are the original ones, this is where they were mounted, not literally, but at the same time distance.
As you can see the new one is even further away, that means the wheel will be further away from the fender. I mean, now we have a much longer ibeam and that will give us more suspension travel, which when going over it screams and passes. Jumps will give us better contact with the ground to reduce power and go faster. Well, we have a lot of things to do, but unfortunately we have reached a point that is a bit slow for which we lack hardware. spindle and knuckles, a set of bolts we need to get. We are also missing hardware for the rear leaf spring supports, which will be there in no time.
He came back with the hardware for the crossbows, so that's good and will speed up our return. up, so we're doing what we can. Mike is working on building the eye rays. We have some flat pieces that we need to imitate with tubes, so Mike got out the bender and is going to bend some things to match those flat ones. pieces and then everything will be welded together and we have some big eye beams and they look similar, that's what we're going to do. Mike just attached the front eye beams and threw the first one in the truck and we thought.
OMG that thing looks long and well it's just that the wheel is in a different zip code than the truck so we realize they are made to be trimmed we basically have to figure out where we want the wheel to sit. We pretty much make the front axle about an inch or two wider than the rear axle and once we know that, we'll take some measurements, cut the ends of these beams and then weld everything we're going to need from there. to trim them, but before we can do that we need to simulate our radio arms which will basically locate the front and rear ibeam because obviously you want it to do this but you don't want any of this so that the radio arm connects to the truck back here, so we're going to simulate them, then we're going to measure and cut the fronts, weld the ends and we're going to be a few steps closer to a running truck, so we're going to try to land the The radio arm mounts to the frame they belong to and then we're going to get rid of this crossbar and make something like a trans crossbar to join them together right now.
I'm taking apart the crossbows basically so we can just have one. essentially a sheet or whatever the smallest package is and we can put it on the truck and then we can jack it up without lifting the whole truck and see where we go, you know, basically, we activate our stops and activate full compression. Alright, here in the back we have our giant inverted shackle. Normally you would have to do a lot of calculations to determine how long this shackle should be, which will affect your spring rate and your overall travel and spring travel, but fortunately.
We just bought a kit that goes on the factory mounting points and has all the math worked out, so all we had to do was bolt it on. This is all very important and fortunately there are many companies that have it figured out for guys like me. More pieces for the stack. More pieces for the stack. We've got a really interesting little setup here, so we've got the shaft in full compression and we've got a nice little wooden shaft. space up here just to keep the axle separate from the frame so that we never crash the axle into the frame, especially if you imagine our delin at the end of our Bump Stop is worn out, this will continue to get shorter and shorter. so we want to make sure that if this is at its shortest point, even without the delin, we can't crash the axle into the frame and then we need to mount our cans here for the stop so they can hang here, so what What happens is that it can float, thank you.
I've got 2 inches of tape on top, floating this here because that 2 inches is what we need with this at its maximum compression, so it's just kind of thank you, holding that there in space. that we know where to mount it and we are in the process of trying to mount it, that's why this is all clean. We're going to run some tubes through the cans and right into the frame here so the stopper basically works. exactly where it is, but eventually it will be connected by metal, so we're getting pretty close to some things that should be able to go in soon, so I'm working on these little ones that will gohere and Mike is working on crossing the shock hoops here for a little bit of structural support between the two, so this is just adding a little bit of reinforcement for the bumpers, this is where the bumpers will live and that will take a lot of strength if we get to the bottom of our suspension, so we want to make sure that they are reinforced appropriately so that they don't bend or, worse yet, twist our frame or, you know, ruin anything else, so there is an extra tube that will make it nice and strong.
We'll have an What are you doing? We are currently estimating the ride height and basically just putting. the axle up to what will be halfway through the shock travel all the Open, they are 42 inches long, fully closed, 26 inches, so our goal is about 34 inches from B, basically, a distance from the shock mount up to where the lower shock mounts will go and we will call that ride height the shock weld. tabs and then once everything is back together we'll know for sure what the ride height actually is, but halfway is a good place to start so now that we're at our approximate ride height let's go set the sprocket a couple of degrees below the drive and that's because with leaf springs the sprocket will wind up under load so we're trying to compensate for that now so we're going to attack these brackets which will take us to our approximate location.
If we have to shimmy it later, we'll also have that option now that we have the shock on, we'll lift the rear end all the way up and see if they're happy that things don't hit. each other hot dog oh yeah tell me where to go uh down down yeah yeah okay now turn left your left feels good we have a wheel on the truck and a shock absorber and a lot of other things that are coming together, all right, things above are all completely welded together, so now it's time to remove the axle and leaf springs from the truck so we can completely reassemble the leaf springs.
They're completely stacked and we'll finish welding things onto the shaft while it's outside. of the truck and then we can put it all back and we can put this thing on the ground in the back, which is exciting, it's a cool noise job, it's my alarm clock in the morning, okay guys, come on, look, awesome guys what does the front look like jimmy as these are cut to size beams. I'm using this piece of wood just to hit against the frame, so I have a ruler and then I'm measuring that so I can cut the beams in the same place so the width of the track is the same on each side.
I'm going 13 inches from there and that will allow us to find a place where I can align this axis that I'm going to align. up the bottom and then we're going to set the curvature and then trace this, cut it to fit and then do the same thing on both sides, okay, we've got a few things to cross off the list here, work, uh, let's see install Mockup SL Leafs are totally well made, shock lugs and hoops cross that sucker, yes sir, boom, okay, two big crosses, yes, let me rework one of these to have the I-beams all welded together.
I'm starting to simulate them. In the truck, I'm going to check my Camber. I want to make sure it's pretty even on both sides. We have camber adjusters here for the upper ball joint and we have a degree in basically either direction, but it was pointing even both ways. So that's what I'm looking for, but it will be fine with that much adjustment. Also ignore this whole hub breaking axle assembly which is for a later episode. Okay, now our radial arm is too long, which is interfering with the end point of our other ibeam, okay, the cross member that is interfering with our passenger side ibeam is about to get cut, please clean up, that's close, that's good, although okay, we have the passenger side beam and the radial arm pretty much done, so now there it is.
It's time to make room for those beefy wheels and tires we have. We'll start by taking all this off then we'll throw away the wheel and tire and cycle it and if we need to make more room I'll cut more and if I don't need to make more room we'll have a party so I have to get to Cuton so I can get to the party . Yes, that's going to be a problem and this is as far as we can cut before we go in. firewall okay, so we have more free space but we still don't have enough, we're close but we're still biting here and we're going to have to make some space down here.
I don't know if this is the best solution, yes I don't think it is either, so since there are a lot of clearance issues with the tires I'm going to add 3 to these beams, we already cut them so it's a shame but I made these sleeves. here, so I'm going to sheath it on the inside so we have the space we need and it's going to be pretty strong there. Wow, honey, it's big, there's a red star next to it. Wow, okay, we have clearance. on the passenger side, so we've taken a first step into the driver's side clearance, so now we're going to lift the wheel and see how close we are, we're definitely going to have to hit it a little more, but I want to make sure I hope everything goes very well, so I want to clear this clearance tonight, that will be the last thing of the night, then we'll come back tomorrow, finish some things and hopefully get the big boys on the truck.
Hopefully it's the last day of suspension installation so we're stuck, we're trying to figure out how to get the shock in there so we have to put some lower shock mounts on the axle and we also have to figure out the We have stops for the rest of the day and I think that will be enough time, we're going to have to put Jimmy to work. Yes it's true. He had this whole speech in mind that he was going to make and bring them together. Friends, wrap it up guys, I just want to say it's been a fun rollercoaster of a 7 days of work.
I'm so proud of all of you Mike, thanks for coming out here welding this truck. I really appreciate it. Without you we probably would have gone under by now like this would have been a crazier project than high-low, so like Pops to all of us, okay, okay, in three Baja Blast, bring here one, two, three, Baja Blast about to launch the first front suspension. Hopefully the truck will all line up and what happened will be resolved. Our big suspension doesn't fit. You run into this top bar on the shock mounting tower. Well, okay, we have a new plan and it's good, and it's what we have.
I really wanted to do it from the beginning, but we're worried about cleaning the tie rod and steering linkage. We're going to put the shock mount, the lower shock mount on the front of the ibeam, which will pretty much solve everything, which is great. It gives us a better angle of impact, we have free space up here, we will have more free space down there and the only thing we will have to do is modify this tab a little. Wow, we've got radius arms, beams and our suspension in place those are three important things, like the big three, our new podcast is coming in March every Wednesday, it's automotive news, baby, take a deep dive, okay, I'm working In installing the last can for the last stop, that means I have to weld the can to the truck where it is stationary and the strike plate to the beam so you know the stop has something to land on the end.
The stop is basically the thickness of these two hockey pucks, which is why I have them there. To simulate the stop, if the stop is full, the only minor concern is that we will catch the head of the bolt on the way down, but I think we will be clear and if we are not, we can leave some clearance, so I'm going to tack . This is in place right now, then check that free space. We didn't clean it, so we're going to have to polish the edge of that bracket, which isn't a big deal. Okay, we have clearance for the bolt head and impact pad. that's good, that's one more thing, I hope it's permanently off the list after that whole battle with the torch and the fleece and everything we finally got out of our original pitman arm right here, this is what connects its linkage steering gear with its steering box, we did all that.
We can fit this guy with a new pitman arm with a 4-inch drop because we're adding such a massive increase in ride height that we need our steering linkage to be more aligned with our tie rods with the steering linkage and IE beams that They are in front. -It's going to look crazy at first sight, you'll be able to see Mike's work and his craftsmanship on full display. It's going to be awesome now that Nolan has the 4 inch drop pitman arm installed, now it's time to take care of our steering. Linkages Now we are going to try to reuse our OEM steering linkages, but they are too short so we will try to use them by cutting them off, making them longer and then throwing them in the truck, who the hell did that.
I don't and we forgot to film it, but it's done, it looks great, they're elongated and, uh, the truck should be able to go left and right, all I have to do is put this last ball joint on and then we're in. Okay, one of the last things we need to do for the suspension is install these limit straps. I've got the tabs down here ready to go to the I-beam, so this top hole is going to meet this hole up here. You'll notice that right now it's not like that and that's on purpose because we want the limit straps to limit the suspension before they reach full sag where everything is maxed out, so we're basically going to weld them together and then we're going to choose the suspension will go up about one inch, so as we lower it over the wheels and tires, the suspension will start to compress and eventually we will have the correct distance between our bottom bracket and the top hole for our limit straps, we will put the hardware on it. and then we will be limited once we have the limit straps on, then we will raise the truck again and if we did everything right, they should be taut mid-fall because they will limit the downward travel of the suspension and if not Don't get tense I'm jumping from the roof I'll catch you thanks Jimmy wow look that's solid, solid, crazy, we built a Civic, then we made a beautiful paint of that Civic, then we made a shirt with the beautiful paint of the Beautiful Civic that we made and it's now available on donut media. com.
Check it. This truck clearly looks radically different than it did just a week ago and we've completed everything on our stupid little list. There we put $177,000 with suspension. on a $500 truck not to mention 20 pounds of welding wire. The thing is awesome but it doesn't run or stop so we'll fix that in the next episode so we can take this thing out into the desert so make sure you subscribe to the channel so you don't miss it and be sure to follow Bikee on Instagram at Mike the day, check out their X5 version on the ECS Tuning YouTube channel and visit us next time when we have this up and running. stop and drive in the desert see you later

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