94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

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94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:46 pm

First tank was 16mpg. Second tank 12.75mpg. No I dont drive whole lot. This is mostly my grocery getter for winter thanks to its high ground clearance.

Looking online and they said check the oxygen sensors. A 94 only has two. I did. One was light tan like a spark plug would look in an engine where fuel ratio is correct. Other was black with fluffy carbon on it. Online they said either bad oxygen sensor or a leaky injector on that bank of cylinders. I replaced both oxygen sensors with new Denso sensors. Found new pair on ebay for $25 shipped each. Good price for Denso. Already learned not to bite on generic sensors just to save $5.

I started it afterwards and it took some time for check engine light to come on compared to before, where it came on immediately, but it did come on. Possibly could be me bypassing the IAC. Or something else. I will try to remember to stop at Autozone next time to town and get a readout of codes. I am just not up to counting little flashing lights. Am curious if this will increase gas mileage. 16mpg in a Ranger is bad enough. 12.75mpg really sucks, I get 13mpg on my old '84 F250 4wd with the 300-6 and a non-computer carburetor. It weighs 6000 pound compared to 4000 pound for Ranger. I used to get 16mpg on my old full size 1960 Chevy Apache with 235-6, granny 4spd, and an eight foot bed. And it wasnt geared for economy. So a smaller truck thats geared for economy and is a computerized modern wonder with similar size engine, cant do any better????? Progress??? Seriously a 4.0L Ranger should do at least 20mpg. The LIMA 2.3L engine would do 25. Think the later DOHC 2.3L would top 30mpg.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:09 am

Ok, refilled tank yesterday and 13mpg. GRRR.... Been reading and reading online. Finally figured its either the temp sensor that tells computer the coolant temp. Or its the fuel pressure regulator. Went out and looked for the fuel pressure regulator. Found it. BINGO! Some previous owner had disconnected the vacuum line going to it and capped off the vacuum ports on both the regulator and the manifold.

These fuel pressure regulators used to be dealer only part and they charged moon for them, well over $100. Ford redesigned things in late 90s and put regulator in the fuel tank along with the pump. So less and less demand, plus third parties started selling them. Anyway after lot searching, found new one on ebay for $30 shipped. Its on its way. I didnt even test current one, figure current one has ruptured diaphram, so was leaking and some previous owner not feeling like buying a new one, just plugged off the vaccum ports so raw gas wasnt sucked into the manifold. However this meant no pressure regulation so pressure can spike and engine runs rich. REad of many Explorers with this engine from that vintage where fuel mileage would suddenly drop from high teens to 12 to 13mpg and corrected by new pressure regulator. Hey makes perfect sense to me.

This engine is no mileage champ, but no reason in world it shouldnt get 16 to 18 mpg on regular basis. Still nothing to brag about, had heavier V8 vehicles with no computer that did that well.

Like said before if this engine got 35mpg, then I would praise the electronics as a miracle. But when it doesnt do any better than an antique carburetor engine without all the complexity, its just another unnecessary expense to keep it in repair.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:16 am

I replaced FPR with a $30 new one off ebay. Mileage went down to 10mpg. Somebody suggested the air temp sensor. I pulled it and found it was wet with gasoline. Where no gasoline should be. Yep, dud FPR. Ordered a new Motorcraft one for $60. Also new coolant temp sensor and air temp sensor. Took long drive today. 14mpg. Hey better than 10mpg, but we are still talking mileage more like a full size pickup with a V8.

I will putter with it while longer but think its due for an engine transplant. I dont have emissions inspection here so going to get a carburetor straight six. A chevy no less cause I happen to have one in good shape. It also easier to fit than a ford straight six. I know, put a Ford straight six in the old Ranger. I got 16mpg when this old chevy six was in full size pickup. Think had like 3.73 axle. Should get better mpg with the Rangers 3.27 axle. I even found article of some guy that put progressive 2bbl weber carb on his old chevy straight six and got 18.5mpg with that 3.73 axle.... Sounds like a plan.

Though I did get a fuel pressure tester so will fiddle a little more with the 4.0L. But its gotta get at least 16mpg on regular basis to remain in the truck. Sorry but I could put a stock carburetor chevy 350 in there and probably get 14mpg on long drive!!! Lot more fun to drive too....

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:33 pm

Ok, long interlude. Back in May or June 2016, transmission went out on this Ranger. Shifter was flopping around like limp noodle. I managed to get it back up into yard and let it roll back into weeds over summer.

Ok, this is a 4200 pound truck with 4.0L engine and what amounts to same light duty 5spd Ford used on the 4cyl, just different bolt pattern. I found one with low miles for around $500. Rebuilt one costs $800. Pick a part yard ones most likely high mile and not lot better shape than one that failed. All seemed kinda pointless to me.

I got notion of using an old Chevy granny 4spd I had out in yard. Its probably from early 60s. Seriously you have to really try to seriously abuse one of these to kill it, they were one of toughest transmissions ever used in a pickup and even used in 2 ton truck back in the day. Trick is finding a bellhousing to adapt. The Mazda transmissions Ford tended to use in all Rangers had bellhousing as part of the transmission housing. Well there was some kind of $800 custom racing bellhousing for these Ford 4.0L, but nobody had one in stock, you wait until factory makes a batch sometime in indefinite future... And really, $800??? Guilding the lily a bit.

This is a Cologne bolt pattern engine like the older 2.6L, 2.8L, and 2.9L engines used in various Ford products here and Europe from late 60s to 2014 when Ranger production ceased. Well the older stuff pretty rare and expensive. I finally found the late 80s Mitsubishi 5spd used in some Rangers had a separate bellhousing and a round indexing hole. Some guy had one for sale on ebay for $60. I asked him to measure the indexing hole. Only slightly smaller than traditional Chevy bearing retainer. I got it. Turned down the bearing retainer on the SM420 for snug fit on my mini lathe and all it could handle! Luckily the cast iron housing on this SM420 is very strong. Was able to drill holes in bellhousing at reinforced points, on into the transmission housing and threaded the holes in the transmission. Seemed strong enough except the SM420 was designed to hang off the back of a very heavy duty cast iron bellhousing that took all the weight and had transmission mounting areas cast into it. This feeble little engineered aluminum mitsubishi bellhousing not up to that. I used big chunk angle iron and made a rear mount for the SM420.

Ok fall gets here and I install it making custom cross member, lengthen driveshaft, all that kind thing. Drove it around my property a bit at one point, but was noisy, the y-pipe wasnt sealing on the passenger side to exhaust manifold. After lot messing decided the OEM light duty "engineered" flange wasnt holding properly. Got a Walker repair flange and that silenced it. Then had problem with clutch arm hitting the y-pipe. Sliced and diced and rewelded it for umpteenth time. Finally got it so it wouldnt hit though gotta be the weirdest looking clutch arm ever.

The original plastic master cylinder on this Ranger was mounted at a downward angle. I extended out the brake booster with a spacer big enough to let me mount a Wilwood master cylinder in traditional clutch master spot on firewall next to this spacer. Well Ford had designed the clutch pedal in S shape with pivot made to work with the original downward pointing master. Connecting the Wilwood to this pivot made rod bind at one point in its stoke. Figured out I couldnt use the pivot on clutch pedal that original rod used. So had to take clutch pedal out of truck (nightmare part 1), weld on it, then reinstall it (nightmare part 2). Right now pedal to master linkage fine, no binding. But my gosh Ford engineers really dont want you working on anything up under that dash.

But in meantime I had borrowed the Wilwood clone slave from Ranger to use on the F250 when its Wilwood clone slave failed. Seems this brand of clone uses cheapest crappiest rubber parts possible. Or maybe they just set in some warehouse for couple decades. The one that failed on the F250, the dust boot was in shreds, looked like it had been on there 50 years instead of nine months.

The clone slave I borrowed from Ranger of course worked fine as it was brand new. But two weeks later I was under F250 for other reason and noticed the dust boot on this clone slave had come apart at one of the accordion bellows pleats. Dryrotted and failed in two weeks. Jeesh.

Just today when temp got into 40s, I put new non-original dust boot on it. Hopefully that gives it some extra longevity. I have also ordered a genuine Wilwood slave to use on the Ranger. You can get rebuild kit for the genuine Wilwood, basically two o-rings and a new dust boot for $15. The clones tend to use different piston with one o-ring and a cup seal. I finally found company called CNC that sells a clone version, also makes a rebuild kit but wants more for the kit as a brand new complete clone like I bought. I gave $40 each for my clones. The CNC rebuild kit goes for $45 to $55. Kinda funny (and frustrating if you need it)..... as it makes no sense whatsoever to even offer a kit for more than actual complete new unit.

Anyway hoping the genuine Wilwood holds up better. Going to mount it with two heim swivels since genuine Wilwood slave is very sensitive to precise alignment so piston isnt forced where it wears one side of cylinder more than others. The heim swivels let it do straight even pull even if the clutch arm and anchor point arent always in precise alignment.

So get to see both if good quality dust boot lets clone have some longevity and whether the heim joints let the genuine Wilwood have longevity.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:33 pm

Got the Wilwood slave and the heim swivels in mail yesterday. Waiting for nice weather day to install.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:43 pm

Installed and adjusted to where I can shift when I push clutch pedal all way in. But not happy, requires way too much effort. It would be unpleasant to drive it like this in traffic. Much like the F250 was in traffic until I modified its clutch linkage. When I only occasionally used it, was livable. but last summer after tranny self destructed in the Ranger, had to promote F250 to my primary vehicle. I had incentive to improve shifting in traffic by improving clutch linkage. Its much improved and not such a pain to drive in traffic. Devil is always in the details.

I am thinking the clutch arm on Ranger is hitting edge of its exit hole in the bellhousing. Thus trying to use that edge as fulcrum instead of the pivot ball. With the defacto fulcrum futher out, it loses mechanical advantage. Like being the skinny kid on the teeter totter. You need as much mechanical advantage on the lever as possible, much more difficult the farther you slide in towards the center.

Anyway clutch is same 10 inch as it was with original transmission, just a 10 inch Chevy disk instead of a 10 inch Ford disk.... Same Ford pressure plate and flywheel. Shouldnt require anymore pedal effort.

Two ways to deal with it. I can elongate the hole in the bellhousing. Or I can modify the clutch arm so the fork end of clutch arm that engages the release bearing sits further forward than it does now. Probably half inch would do. Course I remove clutch arm, maybe just as well do both.

No real hurry. Do it while its still up on blocks with easy access.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:25 pm

Ok, the clutch arm wasnt coming out without taking loose the y-pipe. That became my least favorite option immediately on discovering that.

Also couldnt get the die grinder nor the dremel in good position to extend the hole. But I could drill holes. I drilled series of small holes side by side and then used long heavy duty screw driver to knock out the chunk of metal. This is some kind of aluminum alloy so not too difficult though did leave bit of a rough edge. Beats taking stuff apart for better access though.

Hooked slave back up. And clutch works much better. I had guessed correctly that clutch arm was hanging up on the bellhousing. And works ok without over tightening the slave cylinder adjustment when its in relaxed position. I also do like having clutch and brake pedals further apart (I hammered out the bend in clutch pedal). On their compact vehicles, Ford always did seem to put the pedals uncomfortably close together. Fine for some delicate little gal with tiny feet, but not pleasant for a full grown male or somebody wearing overshoes or something. Now matter of reassembling dash stuff and emergency brake pedal. I'd say its now ok to drive without constantly worrying about clutch disengaging enough to change gears.

No doubt things will loosen up more as I drive it more.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:05 pm

Well, ran across mention someplace of these early 90s Ranger/Explorer/Aerostar ECMs having swollen/burst capacitors. This was common on desktop pc's at one point. Companies were searching out the cheapest commodity price on capacitors and bit.

So finally pulled the ECM on my Ranger, same one that was in it when I bought it. Turns out the part number translates to 1994 Explorer, federal emissions, with manual transmission. Problem is the 94 Explorers were year ahead of Ranger and had went to sequential injection and used a cam position sensor. My engine set up for batch injection with no cam sensor or EGR way it came from factory. Meaning this thing has been running on some "limp home" mode for all time I've used it. I assume more from no imput from any cam sensor being more important than non existant EGR. No idea whatsoever how it even starts and runs since this computer does sequential injection and my injectors arent wired that way.

But I am getting ahead of myself. At first I though ok, bad ECM, look on ebay and find a $17 one for 94 Explorer with automatic. I live in state without emissions inspection currently, so if it threw a code cause it didnt find automatic transmission lockup or whatever, doesnt matter. I mean its been running with CEL on since I bought it.

So that one arrives and yea, truck again starts and runs, but even rougher than it did with one I pulled.

So figuring things out I look for proper ECM. Yea, used ones on ebay start at $150. Over $200 at parts store. Great so run across a thread on some Ranger/Explorer forum from guy saying the ECM for 3.0L engine will run 4.0L engine fine and dandy despite everybody saying it wont. I just gotta try this. Found another ECM for 92 to 94 Aerostar with 3.0L engine for $23 and it should be here Monday. Its for non-egr system. The 3.0L engines used in Ranger/Aerostar might even went to 95 without EGR. Unfortunately the give away ECM for Taurus with this engine always was EGR.

In mean time I post about this on a Ranger/Explorer forum and they suggest car-part.com to find the correct original ECM for my truck. They even offered phone number for guy that has one for $75 plus shipping. Lot looking and I find one for $35 plus shipping at some junkyard in Utah. If the Aerostar 3.0L ECM doenst work very well, will order that.

Hey I am learning. And if I have to buy the Utah ECM, all three together still significantly cheaper than buying correct one off ebay or at parts store. Slowly but surely I am being dragged kicking and screaming into the electronically controlled automobile age. I know early 90s still pretty far back and still OBD1... Move to OBD2 era and you get the wonders of PATS/VATS security that actually only secured extra profit to dealers for making crazy priced keys. Thieves in modern age just use tow truck or trailer, they dont hotwire ignitions. All this so called security does is make life a nightmare for those getting those last miles out of a vehicle. And ever more complexity with more sensors. And ever more delicate and complex and expensive engines.

Though after all the struggles, despite my having learned a lot, if doing it over again, would just have used the Chevy straight six carburetor engine that would easily bolt upto one of these old granny trannies. I know how to get 18 to 20mpg out of vehicle this size and weight, with Chevy straight six, without a computer or fuel injection. Might even do better considering the axle ratio in Ranger. Those old Chevy pickups usually geared pretty low.

I had some years back put Ford 300 straight six into an 84 Ranger. I know the problems involved. The Chevy straight six would be a much easier fit. Still long engine, but manifolds are on drivers side so no interference with heater box. At least the 250 and smaller versions were narrower than the 300 and the oil pump is on the front passenger side so no notching into the axle cross member. Oh and the oil pan sump is set further back so no modifying the oil pan. Yea I prefer the Ford 300, but the Chevy 230/250 is just much better fit in Ranger/Explorer. Now if I could find a Ford 200/250 "falcon engine" in good shape, that would probably work ok too though would need oil pan from Fox body version, the older ones had front sump. A good condition used Ford 200/250 pretty rare. You could find such an engine, but it would most likely require complete rebuild. The 300 still findable, the fuel injection version made through 1996 and can be converted back to carb pretty easily though if you have the wiring harness, not a real need to do so. Six of one, half dozen of other situation. No real advantage to fuel injection on 300 either, they were long stroke "tractor" engine and carb version properly tuned got just as good mileage as the fuelie version.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:32 pm

Ok, I went down to clusterbox and got the ECM for the 93 Aerostar with the 3.0L and installed it.

Ranger started, ran little odd until I plugged in the idle air control, idle immediately increased to 1000rpm and engine smoothed out, which is about right when cold. I had it off before to keep truck from stalling at hot idle. As truck warmed up, engine ran smoother and smoother. Idle dropped to 500. It did do the hot idle stall at one point, but started right up and didnt stall again.

Anyway, I am going to move the F250 out of way and do some testing with it. Want to see how it acts under load. But frankly its running far smoother than it has anytime I've owned it so I suspect good things during testing. And hopefully thats it, dont have to buy any more ECMs.

CEL on, but would guess thats because this ECM is for an automatic transmission vehicle. There is a way to trick an automatic ECM into thinking automatic still there with couple resistors. Though since I dont have emissions inspection, dont really care.

So that guy posting that one thread was indeed telling truth. A 3.0L ECM can start and run a 4.0L. Now how it drives out on hiway..... still to be determined. But just way it sounded, pretty sure it will do ok.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:38 am

I took it down the the drive and then the county road and turned around just before chicken house hill. It made noises and smells like anytime you do major changes. Shifted like you would expect an antique transmission that hadnt been used in couple decades. Brought back memories of the old Chevy Apache pickup with this same transmission....

Ranger runs fine. This ECM should do fine. Engine running very smooth. I didnt even think about the engine during test run, just about the transmission. If I actually had working accurate odometer, betting this ECM would get mileage of 16mpg, maybe more.

Still freaks me out a bit how fast granny first gear is with this economy rear axle ratio. First in this transmission is the lowest first gear of all granny four speed transmissions. But with this axle, its just little slower than a normal first gear, doesnt feel like a creeper gear. In the old Chevy, it barely moved when you had it in granny first. Will say its near perfect for getting up my steep driveway. Slower than first in the original Ranger transmission and crawled right on up with no hesitation and no hint of stalling out. Felt lot like the old 72 Courier I had, it was geared so first was slower than normal first would be, so had lot low end umph. Yet I am not going overly fast and bouncing two foot in air on every bump. Nor super slow creeper crawling.

Next test will be when I go get mail again, will take it out on hiway down to the roadside park. That will give me clue how it does on hiway without getting in any traffic. Also how it handles the big chicken house hill. Of course it would crawl up in first, but curious if it can make it up at least in second. I cant remember now what gear I came up CHH hill with in old transmission. Seems like second. Third in this transmission is between second and third in the original transmission. Fourth is same 1:1 ratio in both transmissions. No overdrive needed with this axle ratio.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:30 am

Update. Good news and bad news. First I drove to town in it. Transmission had odd occasional squeal when cold. Drove on hiway fine and no noise when warmed up. But when I got home, felt heat. The transmission was HOT to the touch. These old heavy duty granny transmissions at most get luke warm after heavy use. Pretty sure there is a bad bearing, thats the squeal. Bearing locked up and spinning on the shaft, rather than balls/rollers turning.

Guess I posted this transmission had set outside for very long time and I found bit rain water and some rust inside it. I cleaned up rust best I could and put in fresh lube, but gambled and didnt disassemble it. Lost my gamble. You can get a rebuild kit, but good chance shaft is worn at this point and either need replacement or expert repair. But I have couple spare transmission. I know one should be good, I had pulled the lid at one point, no water, no rust. Didnt open the other. Never driven a vehicle with one of these three installed, so also possible damage when I aquired them. One is out of pickup that friends ex wrecked when they were married. The other two are $5 bargain at long ago auction when nobody much wanted these. Now they have some popularity with rock crawler Jeep crowd, they like the super low first gear.

So I get to remove and replace transmission again. Oh joy. Be foolish to ignore the squeal and heat and continue driving it this way.

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:06 pm

Update. Finally got back to Ranger. Got clutch arm removed and release bearing looked at angle. Ok, pull transmission. Nope, release bearing self destructed in the ten miles it was driven. Apparently left factory with no grease. I bought a NOS American made bearing, this one the old long style that GM used on the old straight six with a particular pressure plate. The existing cast iron clutch arm didnt like the groove this bearing had. I made opening in bellhousing bit bigger and used a later stamped steel clutch arm. Of course it didnt like the exhaust y-pipe and I am tired of cutting and welding arm to try and get around the y-pipe, rather have staight direct pull by slave cylinder. Well had enough of that stupid y-pipe. Order mandrel bent pieces to make make my own from scratch. Moving the cross over part back behind the transmission. The driveshaft is high enough not to be problem. Course this means I delete the catalytic converter. But when I had everything apart after first buying the truck, when I turned converter vertical, the innards just fell out. Truck has 200k mile and this no doubt is original converter. No emissions inspection in this state so not going to worry.

Now getting universal exhaust parts anymore not particularly cheap. Though AdvanceAutoParts online had Nickson brand reasonable with free shipping. Even found a discount code that got me another 25% off. Works for me. I could just angle cut 2" EMT electric conduit and weld and make my own angles but the mandrel bent provides better exhaust flow I think. Not that it matters, nothing is going to make this an economy vehicle.

Anyway I am thinking now that the squeals that seemed internal to transmission were death screams of that dry release bearing. Though still the consideration of the heat build up. Anyway going to try this transmission again with new release bearing. It wasnt absolutely horrible to pull transmission back enough to put in bearing, that HF transmission jack works nice for this. I am too old to bench press a SM420 transmission.... Not sure why I didnt just make a custom y-pipe before. Guess I wanted the catalytic converter to be there in case I ever did need to replace it and make it functional.


Last edited by Admin on Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:42 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: 94 Ranger with 4.0L fuel mileage down to 12.75mpg...

Post by Admin on Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:26 pm

All together yesterday. Still up on blocks, but started it. With clutch pedal pushed, easy to shift gears. Effort to push pedal moderate, less than before probably due to better clutch arm geometry. Redesigning exhaust y-pipe from scratch made life lot easier. No need for twisty curvy clutch arms putting weird stresses on anything. And the long 1 7/8 inch Chevy release bearing definitely way to go. The Mitsubishi bellhousing I used is inch or so deeper than standard Chevy bellhousing. That longer release bearing makes up the difference.

My AWOL neighbor that came to me three years ago to fix driveway, then disappeared off face of planet, showed up the other night saying he is finally ready and found dozer guy who should be here this week. Supposed to be guy that specializes in driveways and knows how to prevent the huge ruts washing into them. Last guy I went in with former neighbor to hire knew what he was doing. But former neighbor cheaped out and had dozer guy stop as his property. Well that just meant water came down middle of drive from above his property and washed a big rut at the curve. Jeesh, nobody mentioned stupid, I'd paid the dozer guy little extra to finish the job properly, wouldnt take that much time.

So waiting to try Ranger until that happens, no reason to fight my steep rutted drive with 2wd needlessly. No point to prove. And I did warn him that gravel washes off the drive, even the good kind that compacts well, so isnt really worth the money. But he is paying for it up to his place. Good for him, all gotta learn I guess. But be nice for a year or so, especially in winter or when its really muddy.


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