G_Body_Man Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 8:52 a.m.

So I may not be getting a C1500 as I first thought.

You see, yesterday, my parents borrowed a hardbody. Due to the fact that I forgot to take pictures of it, the picture below will be the most accurate representation of the actual vehicle.

My parents loved it. They said they would chip in if I were to get a small truck. So I'm probably getting a Ranger. Any Ranger/B-series owners on GRM who care to chime in? What goes wrong on these trucks? How expensive/difficult/time consuming are these problems to fix? Would you recommend one to others?

EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
Aug. 22, 2015 8:58 a.m.

Can't speak to the Ranger, but I have a 93 B series and I love it. Needed some wheel cylinders and a new master and slave for the clutch. Both were cheap and relatively straightforward to install. It's no lightning bolt, but dead nuts reliable. If you're looking for a small truck I would recommend a B series. Around here these trucks are plentiful and pretty inexpensive.

G_Body_Man Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 9:02 a.m.

In reply to EastCoastMojo:

Thanks for the info! I'm thinking of buying either a Ranger or a B-series extended cab with the 4.0 to tow a fairly hefty trailer.

bigev007 Reader
Aug. 22, 2015 9:44 a.m.

I know several people who towed car trailers with v6 rangers. All quickly moved to full size trucks and report better mpg in addition to a massive improvement in the towing "experience"

Aug. 22, 2015 9:50 a.m.

I owned a 3.0 powered ranger for years. I bought it with 60K miles and sold if with 150K miles. It was reliable. It needed a battery, tires, brake(pads/rotors) and gas/oil during that time frame. The A/C stopped working and that was the reason why I sold it. I moved to South Carolina and having a vehicle in the south with non-functional A/C is idiotic.

For the Full-size truck comment.... Yes, i wished I had purchased a full size truck. I got 21 mpg at most on the highway(hypermiling it) and around 14-16 around town. I could have received the same mileage with a full size and regret not buying it. The bed size is annoyingly small, but overall the truck is easy to park. A small diesel would have been the right choice there.

To sum up: reliable truck, just great. Same fuel mileage as a full size with none of the advantages.

BlueInGreen44 HalfDork
Aug. 22, 2015 9:53 a.m.

If I were to buy a Ranger (and I might be doing just that for winter beater purposes) it would be a 2.3 with a 5 speed. But I wouldn't be towing much at all. If I would be towing I might be looking at something a little bigger.

What's your definition of a "fairly hefty" trailer?

pres589 UberDork
Aug. 22, 2015 9:57 a.m.

Yeah, I'd tow a jet ski or small utility trailer with a Ranger, no questions asked. Tow a car? No thanks.

I've a friend with an '01 Ranger. Standard cab, inline four, and it's okay but the driving position is cramped. She's about 5'10" and seems okay with it but I'd want a smaller steering wheel with less dish if I owned it. I would look to a 1998 or later with a coil sprung front suspension as there seems to be more aftermarket support if you want to make changes to improve handling.

Truth be known I'd rather have a Mazda B series, extended cab, when it was a real Mazda and not a rebadged Ranger. I think they're nicer to drive and ride in with the only downfall being that they're getting old at this point.

EDIT: I missed the second post, and the "hefty trailer" comment, and change my answer to GMT400. Or B-body but I'm sure the OP won't do that so yeah, GMT400, forget Rangers.

jimbbski Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 9:57 a.m.

My experience goes back a few years but I bought a 1989 Ranger 2.9L V6 5sp new. The best vehicle I have ever owned! I towed my Fiesta race car with it on a steel 2 axle trailer and had no problems. I even pulled down up to 17 mpg towing. My nephew got the truck after me and it was finally sold by him with 170K hard miles on it. The only major issue was a blown up trans due to driver error. That and it did eat exhaust systems! Every year I was replacing some part of the exhaust, cat back of course.

G_Body_Man Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 10:19 a.m.
BlueInGreen44 wrote: If I were to buy a Ranger (and I might be doing just that for winter beater purposes) it would be a 2.3 with a 5 speed. But I wouldn't be towing much at all. If I would be towing I might be looking at something a little bigger. What's your definition of a "fairly hefty" trailer?

A 3000-lb travel trailer

yupididit HalfDork
Aug. 22, 2015 10:30 a.m.

Get a 4.3 s10 if you're not going to go full size.

EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
Aug. 22, 2015 10:31 a.m.

Yeah, I wouldn't want to tow that much with my B2200.

G_Body_Man Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 10:33 a.m.

In reply to EastCoastMojo:

That's why I want the 4-liter.

JtspellS SuperDork
Aug. 22, 2015 10:44 a.m.

It would be easier to find an old v6 full size work truck that's not completely beat to E36 M3 if you are going to be towing, they can be had for cheap, parts are everywhere, and everything is cheap and or easily accessible.

pres589 UberDork
Aug. 22, 2015 10:49 a.m.

I'd be looking at this so hard if I were you;


Bumboclaat Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 11:12 a.m.

How heavy will your trailer be when it's loaded?

Edit: Also what kind of trailer is it and what will it be used for?

NickD New Reader
Aug. 22, 2015 12:08 p.m.

"Fairly hefty" trailer makes me think you might be better off with a Dodge Dakota. A little bigger than the Ranger and came with 5.2L or 5.8L Magnum V8s factory that have more oomph to them. A 4.3L S10 wouldn't be terrible either.

fujioko HalfDork
Aug. 22, 2015 12:53 p.m.

Seems that I have seen a number of rangers with rusted out rear shackles and hard brake lines. Both issues are DIY type repairs.

pres589 UberDork
Aug. 22, 2015 1:30 p.m.

In reply to fujioko:

G_Body_Adolescent doesn't fix rust, didn't you get the memo?

Wally MegaDork
Aug. 22, 2015 1:38 p.m.

In reply to pres589:


My brother had a 4 cyl Ranger we used to tow a 16ft boat. It worked ok but I don't know if I would tow much more with if.

spitfirebill PowerDork
Aug. 22, 2015 1:53 p.m.

I had several full size f150s with the v6 and they were miserable trying to tow a trailer with a Kubota ATV.

alfadriver UltimaDork
Aug. 22, 2015 1:59 p.m.

We had 3 different Rangers over 6 years of leasing- and liked them all. Started with a 3.0 and then that last two were 4.0. Our tow package is a 750lb aluminum dual axle trailer and a 2400lb Alfa. Over multiple trips from Michigan to Florida- we found that they all towed really well. We'd get about 15mpg pulling with a full truck, and almost 20 when empty. We always had a bed cap, too. Also- we added a brake controller- both axles had e-brakes.

The only consistent issue we had were collapsing rear shocks. So I replaced them with some shocks that I could adjust the ride height- that fixed a LOT of stuff. I still have them if you want them. So if you get a 99-05 Ranger, shoot me a note, and we can figure out a way to get them to you.

We did some LOOONG trips with that thing- like a day and a half drive to Atlanta and back through the hills to get a car. 4 trips to Florida and back with a car; one trip to the hills of Tennessee for an Alfa convention; a trip to New Hampshire. Plus a LOT of local towing, too- 10-12 autocrosses and 2 track days.

If you like them, they seem really solid, other than the rear shocks.

drainoil Reader
Aug. 22, 2015 3:15 p.m.

Owned 3 Rangers in my life and never tried towing anything more than 2 snowmobiles. My 4.0 v6 got 15 pulling both sleds and best of only 17 mpg pulling nothing. Other two were 2.3 4 cylinders and they got 21-22 in dd mode, I never even thought of them as tow vehicles with such a small engine. Unless you get a steal of a deal on a nice rust free v6 Ranger, get a full size you'll not regret it.

G_Body_Man Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 3:53 p.m.
pres589 wrote: In reply to fujioko: G_Body_Adolescent doesn't fix rust, didn't you get the memo?

I've fixed body and suspension component rust before, I just don't feel ready to do any frame grafts.

G_Body_Man Dork
Aug. 22, 2015 3:56 p.m.

The thing is, I could buy an older, beat-up C1500, or a newer, better condition Ranger for the same money, because my parents are willing to chip in for a small truck. I might just buy a pop-up trailer as opposed o a travel trailer, though.

Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
Aug. 22, 2015 4:05 p.m.

The only small trucks that make economic sense (i.e. significant fuel economy gain) are the manual trans 4 cylinder models, if that won't do the work you need, jump to a 6 cylinder half ton.

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