This Ranger bed thing is getting way too easy!
Now it’s back off
Bed off the Ranger
Why? You ask? Well…. because something went wrong when I put it on. Her’s how the story goes. I put the bed bad on. Cool. I decided to move the Ranger to a different parking location. Cool. When I get it parked I smell fuel and when I get out I see a pool of fuel dripping from the area of the fuel tank. Not cool!
A quick peek under the bed revealed a major issue at the top of the tank. in the fuel pump area. Damn! So out comes Mr Bed Lifter / engine hoist and off comes the bed. I have it down to a science now. And it didn’t take long for the problem to become apparent. The area of the feed lines, which had been flagged as a potential problem in a earlier post, was spitting fuel badly. The lines were severely rotted and I must have stressed them putting the bed on. So here we have a whole new project.
I guess I will have to replace the fuel pump assembly. Easy enough but not planned for. So it’s off to the web to hunt down prices for the parts. See Ya!
More like putting it back on by myself!
I spent the day threading the new replacement taillight harness into the bed superstructure and getting it fastened in the way it was supposed to be. So that a simple plug disconnect allows for the bed removal. Then I connected it all into the damaged light housings. Why the damaged housings? Well the new ones ain’t quite got here yet! That’s why! So on with the show.
With most of the electrical repair work done it was finally time to put the bed back on the Ranger. And since good help is hard to find I went about it all by my lonesome. Once again my big working buddy, my engine hoist, was put into service as a crane in order to get the bed up and over the frame rails. And once again the strap around the bed through the bed rails worked like a charm. With a bit of maneuvering to clear the new filler pipe it was brought down on target. A couple of big alignment pins got it right where it needed to be.
The new bed bolts and j-clips
The bed is back on
Here is where the new bed bolts were put in . Along with my hockey puck bed spacers. That is when I discovered that my calculations on the needed height of the spacer was off! Actually by a bit. Like another hockey puck bit! No biggie really. I just have to make another run to Dunham’s Sports to get a couple more pucks/bed spacers.
So with it all in place I can call it a productive day. Time for a well deserved Captain Morgan refresher!
Really working on the Ranger bed
Splicing in the new tail section wiring and cutting away some bad metal
Another productive day of slicing and dicing. I got the new taillight segment spliced in and tested. I also did some cancer removal to the front bulkhead of the bed. Both in prep for remounting the bed on the truck.
THE WIRE HARNESS – I did have to make another side trip to Parts Galore yesterday because the harness that I picked up a few days ago turned out to be hacked and slashed for a trailer light drop. I wasn’t paying attention when I extracted it. And it was unrecoverable. This trip I went to the 8 Mile and Hoover location. The good side of this trip was that not only did I get another good rear segment but I got one that had a Hoppy no splice trailer light drop kit installed on it. It is a plug and play unit that converts the 3 light system of the Ranger to the common 2 light trailer system. So I can actually tow with this bugger if I need to. Kool!
The bed is off
I spent an hour prepping both segments to be spliced. Now my version of splicing is strip and soldered. No crimp-ons for this splice! So some stripping and tinning was needed, Then a simple wire color for color splicing with heat shrink overwrap. Then a simple plug in of the taillight harness and a quick light check validated that all was hooked up and functioning right. Sweet!
Crapola! – There was one annoying discovery during the functional check involves the taillight units. I discovered that both rear housings are farked. Why? Because some goofball apparently took out the two long screws in the face of the housings and neglected, for whatever reason, to take out the two additional screws in the tailgate flange. So …… when they grunted them out they broke off the two inside mount posts. And broke big holes in the housings. Water Intrusion 101. I could glue them back together but instead I am going to just replace them with new. What the Hey! I’m kinda goofy like that.
THE BED BULKHEAD – This was a pretty simple and straightforward task of slicing off some decayed metal. Some had already left the building on it’s own. I made the rest go away. I am working on having some patch panels fabricated. But for now most of the rot is gone and the hockey puck mount repair can proceed. Good for now. And that will probably be in the coming days.
Like I said a very productive day. Hopefully I can get a couple more like this and be reassembled. Stay tuned.
The words “truck bed repair” and “hockey puck” in the same sentence is nothing short of extraordinary!
But in this case totally appropriate!
One discovery in the course of taking the bed off the Ranger, to make the repairs to the suspension way easier, was some unseen rust damage. The bed has some serious rot issues in the bulkhead at the cab end but I believe I can get that repaired relatively easily with a sheet metal patch. I am measuring up the affected area for a repair panel. A simple flat panel with a ledge will solve the issue nicely. One twist to this repair is that integrated into this rotted area there are a couple of spacer units at the cab end. They act as the spacers needed to level the bed when it is bolted down. The other four bolt points for the bed are direct mount. One of these forward spacers is still intact but the left one is totally rotted away.
This is why hanging out with a bunch of old goofie gearheads has it’s benefits! You never know what secrets are going to be revealed. BzeroB
In my course of exploring my repair options I was enlightened to an inexpensive alternative repair method. It was the elimination of the two metal standoffs and the substitution of a pair of stacked hockey pucks. Yes, I said hockey pucks! It seems that two pucks stacked together are almost a dead match for the height. Simply drilling the appropriate sized hole and you have a high pressure vulcanized rubber no rot bed spacer! Frickin Amazing! Now I have to make a side trip to the local sporting goods emporium for four hockey pucks.
Stay tuned for more on the hockey puck bed repair!
The new filler neck and bed bolts are now here
I ordered a new filler neck and a set of bed bolts online the other day and they are now here. Hopefully I can get the bed back on soonish.
The bed bolts are simply 6 new torx head bolts and their matching j-nuts. Initially I did manage to get 3 off intact and the j-nuts were questionable. I made the decision just go ahead and replace them. A no brainer here. If I have to remove this bed again I don’t need any more issues. Simple enough.
Ranger filler neck assembly
The filler neck is more of a maintenance and convenience item due to discovering some major cracks on the outer sleeve which is the vent mechanism. And that was discovered once the bed was removed. And I believe that was the first time the bed was ever off. And you could not have seen them as it was installed. It was actually an easy swap out. One band clamp at the base and a couple of twists and it was swapped out. DONE!
The Ranger is standing on it’s own
After a lot of cutting, grinding, finagling and wrenching the Ranger is standing on it’s own. And very solidly, if I may say so. Once the weight was on the suspension a pass with a torque wrench [ you remember those don’t you? ] got everything snugged down correctly.
The final piece of this rebuild was a pair of 14mm x 100mm x 1.5 bolts and nuts. These were for the front spring eyes. It took a bit of brute force to get the bolts in but a bit of force applied with a come along got the bolts to drop in. I am sure part of the issue was the goofy geometry due to the cobbled brackets.
All the new brackets are in place along with a new sway bar set up and new shocks. And it doesn’t wiggle or bounce at all. I am pleased with the results. Now I can get to the sidebar issues of the bed bolts, the filler neck and the spare tire mount. One thing at a time.
But now it is on steardy footing. I am sure it hasn’t seen that in quite a while. We will see if it drives better. Stay tuned!
Burning out the old bushings
I finally got all the old spring bushings burned out. A propane torch got the smoke and flames going! Ahh! The smell of burning rubber. Excellent! It took about 30 minutes but they are all out. The next small task is to clean out the eyes so I can embed the new bushings. A little buzz with a cutting bit followed with a round file should get the job done.
I will have to get some new front eye bushings from a local source. For some reason the springs on this truck have a large eye in the front. Usually reserved for the 4WD versions but apparently they are also in some 2WD vehicles. Like mine to be exact! So I will get them tomorrow and then I can start the reassembly! WooWoo!
I did pre-assemble the brackets on the frame to start the rebuild staging process. It is looking better already. Gonna be cool tomorrow but no matter. I will start the reassembly in earnest.