The long wait is over…for now. We here at Prerunner Maniac are showing you how to get 15 inches of travel without sacrificing 4WD. Our Desert 4×4 Project Ford Ranger got a facelift. Starting with the front of the truck we added the Dixon Bros Racing 4×4 long-travel suspension kit, fiberglass fenders, FOX 2.5in remote reservoir coil-over shocks, fiberglass fenders and a custom prerunner bumper. This article will cover the build, and in another article we will tell you how it performed.
We skipped showing you the tear down of the truck. It is kind of hard to see your own truck in such disarray. The parts that need to be removed for the Dixon Bros kit are the upper and lower a-arms, shocks, sway bar, torsion bars and remove the spindle from the stock a-arms. The next part was to cut off the shock mounts and the stock bumpstop mount. A sawzall and a grinder handled this.
Now to the fun part. You will see from the picture that the new shock hoop provided by the kit is mocked into place before welding. You might notice that we opted for the bumpstop cans to be included with our kit. This is easier if you want to wait to get the hydraulic bumpstops in the future because the entire suspension would need to be disassembled to add them later. After welding a little rattle can paint job helps clean things up. What you dont see in the photo is the supplied motor cage. This was finger tightened into place on the top of the two shock hoops under the hood. It does a great job of holding things in place while the hoops are being welded.
Next came the lower a-arms and the lower control arm rear brace. These lower arms are a work of art. The guys at Dixon are masters in metal and you will see the extra metal added to give the bumpstops a place to land. Also as part of the kit you will see the new axles. These things are a beast. They feature 300M shafts with 930 CV joints. The same CVs found on long travel buggies. Since the kit extends the front end 4 on each side we had to add the steering rod extensions. These too are machined by Dixon.
Once the lower arms are in place it is time to connect the upper arms, shocks, limiting straps and the spindle. This was a tricky part of the build, juggling so many parts all at once, but the Guys at Woolworth Motorsports made this look easy. Woolworth Motorsports has done a ton of these kits, and I am glad I didnt have to go to California to get it done. After the brakes were placed back on the spindle the shocks were charged with nitrogen and it was on to the other side.
Less than an hour later everything was completed on the passenger side and the motor cage was tightened to spec. It was now time to hang the fiberglass fenders. Again the Folks at Woolworth made this look like a simple task. We choose to go with Glassworks 6 bulge fender. This is the only glass Woolworth likes to use. The fit is so good you would think they came from Ford. Now that the fenders were on all that was left was finishing the front end by adding the factory lights and putting the new bumper on.
Well it is not a new bumper. My bumper is off the shops truck. The owner of Woolworth Motorsports, Robby Woolworth was ready for a change on his truck so he said how about taking my bumper? This was a great option for me due to time constraints this would have meant another few days for him to fab up the bumper then send it out for powder coating. I was pleased as punch. I had a set of KC lights that were installed and connected to the factory fog light switch for a seamless look inside the cab. Another great thing about this setup is that you cannot accidentally leave them on as they shut off with the ignition.
The other thing you will notice is our project Desert 4×4 got some new shoes. We choose to go with Mickey Thompson Classic Locks 16×8 mounted inside of BFG 285/75/16 Mud Terrain TA radials. This wheel and tire compbo really add to the aggressive look of the truck and they perform just as well.
The build took a few days to complete, but considering the amount of work involved it seemed to come together very quickly.
I want to thank the Guys at Woolworth Motorsports for their hard work and their attention to detail. The kit looks amazing. What a difference just having the front done.
In another article we will let you know how the kit performed. I know if will do well. Not only does Woolworth have it on their daily driver they also race with the 2WD kit on a 1400 truck. I have seen them take 2-foot whoops at 60mph. To me that is impressive. No longer do you have to have a $100,000 truck to go fast in the desert.
Be sure to check back with us as we continue the build on our Desert 4×4 Project Ford Ranger. Next on the list is to tackle the rear of this beast with Deaver Springs, remote reservoir shocks and flaring the stock bedsides.