1998 Ranger...Off road worthy?

Messages
623
Location
Pullman Wa
I recently aquired a 1998 Ranger 2 wheel drive truck, my question is this truck at least decent for light off road duty? I'm planning on using it mainly for simple chores (hauling gravel, animal "stuff") but was wondering if a standard 2 wheel drive truck can handle it. Any info would be helpful.
 
Messages
36,419
Location
ME
sure you bet. It gets better as the bed fills. Just don't stop in any low/wet points. You will learn to pick a line and drive gingerly yet gracefully in tight quarters. If you have the benefit of waiting for nice weather you can stay off wet grass etc. Remember most pickups were rear wheel drive from the 1900s to the 1960s and beyond, and everyone coped.
 
Messages
168
Location
St George, Utah
I also recently acquired a Ranger 2WD in 1997 vintage. I'm not interested in off road driving but maybe somebody can enlighten me on differential oil for the thing. The manual (came with a full set) has a Ford spec which is greek to me and also to the local dealer parts dept. It has a tag on the housing with several cryptic letters and numbers as well. The only advice I got from the parts dept was it uses either 80W90 or 70W140(which is synthetic he said) but might also need an additive (friction modifier one presumes). This was of limited help. Since it's a 2.3L with AT, I would doubt it was equipped with anything heavy duty. Anyone have any recommendations? My inclination is to use 75W90 GL5 gear oil
 

JTK

Messages
13,375
Location
Buffalo, NY
The are great reliable little trucks, but you wont get far off road with one. My dad has a bare bones 1998 ranger 2.5L 5spd short WB, vinyl everything. It's frightening in the snow even with good tires and a ton of weight. G/luck Joel
 
Messages
36,419
Location
ME
There's a "rear end" fluid section you can ask in. But if you don't have limited slip you can usually use plain jane 75w90. By timing his work to the weather conditions, I figure the OP can get around the site. If he were full-time professional and had to get around every day a 4wd would be essential.
 
Messages
505
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Don't stop in the soft stuff. Like sand or loam. Keep you momentum up. And don't stop facing up hill. I'd throw a cheap locker in there. Like a Detroit EZ locker. Cheap and effective. Traction is key. This would be the biggest benefit. You'd be surprised at the difference it makes. I'd also get bigger tires. Or at least wider tires. You want the biggest footprint. Get something with an agressive tread pattern. I'd reccomend a Mud Terrain tire. Also carry a 12v tire pump in case you need to air down. Do those things and you should be fine for light off road work.
 
Messages
1,838
Location
Southeast Louisiana
quote:
Originally posted by gfcrane: It has a tag on the housing with several cryptic letters and numbers as well. The only advice I got from the parts dept was it uses either 80W90 or 70W140(which is synthetic he said) but might also need an additive (friction modifier one presumes).
If you have two tags on the diff. (one which should say "70w140 synthetic ONLY") than you have limited slip and should only use the reccommendation along with a friction modifier. If only one tag, go ahead with the 80w90 and sleep well at night.
 
Messages
2
Location
Las Vegas NV
I just last week I put Amsoil Severe gear 75W-90 in my 99' 2WD Ranger rear dif. That is what is recommended on the Amsoil sight, and so far no problems. I have the standard dif, not the limited slip. I have had it on dirt roads before with no problems, but it would not be my first choice for serious off roading (the back end is very light).
 
Messages
849
Location
WA
NO, do not take that Ranger "off road." I realize that in your particular situation most of the town is "off road," but I strongly suggest you keep it on hardball paving. Furthermore, I would not suggest putting anything other than air in the bed; thus, no gravel, no animals, etc. Sure, things like "A/C" and a "rear slider" may have affected your judgement, but don't let all that luxury go to your head. It's not intended for landscaping duties. Plus, why would you want to get it all dirty after you've washed it, waxed it, and detailed the bed liner? See, that wouldn't be too good, would it? Naw, best to just take care of "your" Ranger...'cuz I'd hate to have to report it as stolen. BTW: You can't "rewind" the odometer by putting it on jackstands and running it in reverse, okay Ferris?
 

LC

Messages
536
Location
Wisconsin
I have a 99 ranger that I drive year round here in Wisconsin. A good set of grabber tires and some wieght in the back end and it goes through the snow and slop with out problems. I drive the truck across the state a couple times a week. They are nice running little trucks and hold up well. It gets used around here for everything from hauling dirt to loads of wood. Just don't over load it and you will be fine.
 
Messages
849
Location
WA
quote:
Originally posted by LC: Just don't over load it and you will be fine.
In Buick92's case, overloaded means anything more than air. If he wants to haul gravel, he can put it in the cargo well of his wife's minivan.
 

JTK

Messages
13,375
Location
Buffalo, NY
quote:
Originally posted by Mustang_Cougar: ... If he wants to haul gravel, he can put it in the cargo well of his wife's minivan.
Naww.. He's gotta figure out the ideal oil/filter combo for that chrysler 3.3 first! [Big Grin] Joel
 
Messages
10,244
Location
Birmingham, AL
Put some decent all terrains on it and you will be fine in most situations. My 2WD Ranger goes off pavement a fair amount and rarely has any trouble except in deep mud. It does just fine on dry dirt and shallow mud (as long as I keep my momentum). Tires will make a big difference. I originally had Goodyear Eagle GTIIs on it...they were terrible for traction. Now I have Firestone Desitination A/Ts and they are far better.
 
Messages
1,027
Location
East Helena, Montana
Before switching to nothing but 4WD trucks in 1991 I had 4 2WD pickups, while living and playing in the country. You wouldn't believe some of the places I took those 2WD trucks while camping, hunting, and fishing. As pointed out above, tires designed for off road, and weight in the rear end, are a key to traction. I'd get all-terrains. The mud-terrains will wear out too fast, give significantly lower mpg on the pavement, be noisy on pavement, and give less traction on pavement. In my opinion, knowledge of how to drive off road, and experience in doing so, is priceless and at least as important as the difference between 4WD and 2WD. Do some Google research on off road driving and hook up with friends who are experienced from it and have them teach you what they know. Read this: http://www.difflock.com/offroad/drivingoffroad.shtml The Ford Ranger is a tough vehicle and will stand up to the types of off roading that a 2WD is capable of. In the 4WD configuation its even better.
 
Messages
9,448
Location
USA
The rangers really are not that great off road. I have had to pull more Ford Rangers out of light mud then any other truck. Often I did not even have to use four wheel drive. The suspesision, weight distribution and power train in the rangers just does not work well as a package off road.
 
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