Early last year I was looking through an issue of Four Wheeler magazine and saw that they were starting a project deemed Project Range Runner. This project was going to feature the new trend in Long-Travel independent front suspensions systems used on four-wheel drive trucks.
Previously if you wanted to build a long-travel truck you had to go with extended Twin I Beams for the 2WD trucks and Twin Traction Beams for the 4WD trucks. These systems were strong and very reliable, but they had their weaknesses. When the TTB system cycles through its travel range the pivot points caused the tires to curve under the vehicle, so when your truck landed from a jump it actually landed on the outside of the tire. Now with the introduction of long-travel IFS systems you have 14 inches of clean travel that keeps your tires flat and level with the ground.
Now that you have a little insight as to the pluses long-travel IFS systems offer, lets continue our story. The system that FW magazine used was constructed by a fab shop in California Dixon Bros. Racing. The Dixon brothers have a history in off-road racing and Aaron Dixon just happens to have a mechanical engineering degree. The quality of their work is unmatched in the off-road industry.
At the time I was driving a 2WD Chevy Tahoe and got the itch to go flying over the whoops at an insane speed. I grew up in the desert seeing my first desert race The Mint 400 in the early 80s. My Dad bought my Tahoe and I got a 2004 Ford Ranger 4×4. Not knowing who I was going to have install the Dixon kit for me I started my research. I knew I was going to need glass fenders for the front as the Dixon kit extends the front track 4 on each side. I had heard that Glassworks Unlimited Inc. made a great fiberglass fender for the Ranger, so I visited their site to get more details. After liking what I saw I went to their dealers page to find someone that sold them near Las Vegas. Thats when I found Woolworth Motorsports. I gave them a call and they confirmed that they sold the fenders I needed. A couple weeks went by and I called them to ask if they had heard of the Dixon kit and they said, Yes, we have a 2wd and 4WD Ford Ranger here using their kit. This hit me like a lead brick, what luck. I was thankful that I would not have to go to California to have it installed. A few more months went by and I finally made it out to see the folks of Woolworth Motorsports. I met with Robby Woolworth the main fabricator, and he showed me his daily driver a 2006 bright yellow Ford Ranger 4×4. At the first sight of this truck I knew I had to have the same thing. This truck looks mean, 6 bulge fenders, pulled bedsides sitting on 35 BFG Mud Terrain tires mounted on Mickey Thompson Classic Locks. I glanced at the fab work in the bed, full bed cage that holds a full-size spare and it is the attachment point for the Fox racing shocks poking through the bed.
Now that you have the history on our Project Prerunner Maniac Desert 4×4 Project Ford Ranger this brings us to present time. This Monday I will be dropping off my truck so Robby and the Gang at Woolworth can transform my truck into a desert brawler. Check back for a complete write up on the build.