Ranger is ongoing project.

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Ranger is ongoing project.

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:13 pm

Cant remember if I posted about spacers and carrier bearing wobbling. I made solid spacer and wobble gone. Long story and doubt anybody that interested so wont go into history. Fine. But the wobbling apparently was masking some vibration in the driveshaft. Once I tightened it up I would feel the thump, thump, thump, especially at lower speeds after transmission warmed up. That heavy old cast iron transmission does dampen vibrations especially before lube in it thins out after driving. Wondering if I needed to go to driveshaft shop to have it balanced or to have custom new driveshaft created. Trying to piece together a custom driveshaft from parts thats right length with no cutting/welding not easy since anymore most used driveshafts are sold by application, not length. Makes no sense to me since a particular model could have used several different driveshafts. Still think measurement is important, save lot headaches. I did come close in length with front driveshaft from some 4cyl Jeep Wrangler combined with rear driveshaft from Ford Escape AWD. Use same ujoints so could work together. And it would physically fit, but it would be IMHO too tight of a fit with slider section fully compressed, so probably too long by inch or so, not allowing enough self adjustment when rear axle moves up and down over various terrain.

Anyway I crawl under Ranger and stare at it for a while. It looks ok, I have cobbled much cruder driveshaft splices in past that didnt give this much trouble. I mean you probably wouldnt wanted to drive 100mph with them, but no thump, thump, thump at lower speeds. So could it be I just need to balance this front half (in front of carrier bearing) part that I had shortened? Yep, it only had one weight since the part I cut off at other end had the other weight. I use hose clamp to clamp on short thin bit angle iron near the carrier bearing, on opposite side of this section driveshaft from where the original weight still exists on other end. Took it for a drive. No thump, thump, thump. I seriously doubt I got it balanced as well as driveshaft shop, but I may have it balanced well enough it wont be annoying at speeds I drive. It will never be driven over 65mph. The big test is next time I drive to town for groceries. It seems at its worst as I say, when transmission is all warmed up and I am driving like 35mph. If it passes that test then all is well.

Oh seems now everytime I go to use Ranger, battery is dead, even next day. Its always had a bit of a phantom drawdown, but unless it just sets for weeks at time, it will still start. This battery is one I bought new at TSC for Festiva. says on battery it was manufactured in 2010 so yep, eight year old battery. Yesterday it went from dead to fully charged in 4 hour. Too quick. It obviously has limited capacity from age. If it was healthy and with my charger, it should take at least overnight to fully charge. Worse I left charger attached overnight with the maintenance charge light on. This morning it instead lit up the unhappy face light saying bad battery probably a bad cell. Really not good. I however suspect it will last well enough until I get to town to buy new one. Especially if I unhook battery cable when I park it. Its a mid grade Exide battery. Looking online not sure if TSC still sells Exide, was showing batteries with their store brand Traveller on them. Might still be made by Exide though. Or they may still sell Exide in some stores next to the Traveller batteries. They just dont offer them online.

All I know, I have had really good luck with Exide batteries, least the mid grade, no idea about the cheapies. Cheap batteries in my experience are never good buy unless you are going to sell car in next couple weeks.... But I still remember how annoying the Autozone and Walmart batteries were back when I chased price out of necessity. They tended to do well to last two years. Eight years compared to two years, and relatively small difference in price, I will take the Exide thank you. Only other battery I have ever had that lasted 8 year was a Sears Gold battery that came in a vehicle I bought. Those were super pricey batteries new and not something I would bought no matter how long they last at price they wanted. But it did last very well. Lot of price of battery isnt battery, its the silly warranties. Friend of mine had a diesel one ton. Her brotherinlaw talked her into using two "premium" car batteries from Walmart in it. Not reliable at all. Problem was the car batteries were more hype than fact with claims of cold cranking amps. New batteries specifically for this diesel (yes it requires two) were super high dollar, over $200 a piece. I got to looking and found an Exide tractor battery that TSC carried for $100 each, yea same price as car batteries but limited 90day commercial use warranty only. Huge CCA and reserve capacity that met specs for battery for this truck, heavy as all get out too. I asked online and others had used them in Ford diesels. Said its a really tight fit, but can be made to work and its heck of a bargain. I put couple in for her, it was a super tight fit. But no more battery problems. She was just going to trade the Walmart batteries in for core charge. Ouch, I have true dead as doornail junk batteries around so traded her them for the Walmart batteries. TSC didnt care, they just wanted core charge batteries for the metals in them. One of the "premium" Walmart batteries failed quickly, the other I still using in my F250. Not sure how long that has been now, but its been reliable enough. Worst part was they were side terminal batteries. Not sure what Al was thinking to try using side terminal batteries with adapters in a ford diesel. He died not long after doing that so maybe his brain wasnt working right. Cause pretty sure he knew better.

Wish there was room for one of those diesel tractor batteries in Ranger, but there isnt. They have engine compartment packed with modern crap. Looking online the biggest battery you can put in my Ranger is group size 65. That was the optional factory battery. Shows my age, I still remember when nearly every Ford used 24F group size. They are taller than group size 65 so guessing they probably wouldnt fit in Ranger. Now my old F250 firewood truck, if it ever needs a battery, that diesel tractor battery would fit in it, just about anything fit under hood of it with the straight six carb engine. Fit couple people under there or spare engine.....

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Re: Ranger is ongoing project.

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:42 pm

Ok, old Nissan battery actually took a charge. Surprised its set almost three years. Its out of my ex's old Frontier, she wanted me to help her buy new battery winter before she died, this one was so-so on reliability in cold weather. I took along scrap battery for core charge and kept hers.  It says group 25 on it but without label I would be hard pressed to tell difference from a 24F.  Enough charge in it that  I am using it now.  No it wont last long term, but it and the Festiva battery both along for the ride, should give me a little insurance until I get a new battery.

And been looking more at batteries.  And measuring.  I would need to build a custom battery tray and extend cables.  But I think there is space on passenger side of radiator in front of air cleaner box for a group 31 battery in Ranger.  Group 31 is that diesel tractor battery I mentioned.  Ran across a review of one on Autozone website.  Guy said unlike most Autozone batteries that expire on schedule after couple years, he has a group 31 Autozone battery (made by Johnson Controls) that has been used in many vehicles/equipment and been flatlined multiple times and brought back from the dead.  It always comes back and his is now 12 years old.  Ok, convinced me.  Not my idea of fun shoehorning it in the Ranger but that post did confirm my suspicions that one of these could last very long time used in regular gas highway vehicle.  They have very heavy plates, etc to hold up to tractor and construction equipment use.  Some have even regularly deep cycled them though they arent a deep cycle battery.

Look at the economics, these group 31 are $125 at TSC and O'Reillys.  The cheapest bargain 24F battery is $85.  I am guessing one would be super lucky just to get 5 year out of the $85 battery.  But assume for sake of argument that it could, that means $170 for two batteries to go ten years.  Where that $125 battery might go ten and maybe more years without replacement.  I am thinking if there is  anyway you can shoehorn a group 31 tractor battery into a vehicle, that is the sweet spot for biggest bang for buck in batteries.  It would eat fancy nancy $200 to $300 high tech batteries for lunch.  Now always devil in the details.  It is large and it is HEAVY.  So have to figure how much that matters too.

Reminded me of when I lived in trailer court while going to college.  (And dinosaurs roaming the countryside)   Anyway VW I had was cold bloodedest car ever.  Neighbor in trailer court jumped it and then mentioned his old Dodge V8 had been similarly cold blooded in sub zero weather.  He needed it reliable for a job.  Popped trunk lid and there was a monster size battery.  I mean this thing about filled the trunk.  He said he got tired of tow truck bills and such, so went down to truckstop near interstate and had them remotely mount  battery intended for diesel semi in his trunk.  No problem after that.  Oh and when he jumped my VW which tended to be reluctant even with a jump, immediately started.  Monster batteries make a difference.

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Re: Ranger is ongoing project.

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:18 pm

I know wasting lot time researching batteries. I found a group 24 battery for $45 at farm store called Atwoods. I hadnt even realized they had new store closer to me. Still probably not worth driving there. And I am sure that battery though cheap to buy not particularly good buy meaning its per year cost be pretty high if it only lasted couple years.

I also found a bargain 31P battery 30 miles away at place called Batteries Plus Bulbs. Said limited stock, but $89. Want to make sure they had one in stock before leaving home or ordering for pickup. Apparently another 10% off if you order online and then go pick it up in person. Same Energizer 31P that Sams Club sells for $105 to members. If its truly $89 (plus tax) then its really good deal. $35 cheaper than TSC or Oreillys.

The Ranger started right up this morning. Guess long as I disconnect battery cable when I park it, I am ok for now. Need new battery before cold weather I am sure. Ranger's battery problem both weak battery and that parasitic drawdown its had since I have owned it. Just that weak battery doesnt have lot capacity to begin with so drawdown is faster. Only thing on computer vehicle is computer resets with battery disconnected so has to relearn things to be most efficient.

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Re: Ranger is ongoing project.

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:20 pm

Went to town for groceries today though probably could procrastinated bit longer.  Anyway wanted to see how driveshaft did once everything warm and loosened up.  Less thumping but some.

Stopped at Lowes and got 6pk of hose clamps that would fit around driveshaft.  Just in from removing the bit of angle iron and hose clamp holding it.  Replaced with three of the new clamps.  Positioned the worm gear tightening screw opposite of the welded on balancing weight at other end. The worm gear part of clamp now is the balancing weight on that end of driveshaft.  Took it for drive that allowed lot 30mph to 40mph and back.  This was the main vibration speed range.  

Cant say its perfect but its better than this morning.  No thumping.  And drive there and back again felt smooth.  I would be willing to risk taking Ranger on longer trip at this point.  

Looked at the TSC 31P battery this morning.  It is big one.  But still think thats most bang for the buck.  Now little more comfortable driving to that place 30 miles away that supposed to have the $89 one.  TSC wants $125. And yes, TSC no longer sells Exide branded batteries. All are either Traveler or Econostar. Maybe still made by Exide, but shorter warranty for more profit.

Longer drive soon over to friend about 2 hour away to pickup a riding mower.  Really wanted to be able to take the Ranger.  Be VERY long trip with the F250 and its very stiff springs.

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Re: Ranger is ongoing project.

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:35 am

Still havent driven 30 miles for that bargain 31p battery. Did however spot that CarQuest battery that came with the Ranger. Ranger had set sometime when I bought it and this battery was stone dead at that point. I just put Festiva battery in it and didnt mess further. But just curious I put charger on it. Had set over 3 year now out in weeds, so... But it took a charge. And truly amazing once it took what charge it could, it actually started the Ranger! Oh I am sure its very marginal, I just was curious. Sure the unseasonably warm temps this October helped.

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Re: Ranger is ongoing project.

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:52 am

I did make that long trip to friends house to get the riding lawn mower. No problems. There still is a bit of vibration. At this time year, not feeling like crawling under truck to loosen clamps wee bit, just barely enough they can move, then drive it to let them position themselves, then crawl under again and tighten them... But I will eventually.

Ah had real cold day. Ranger wouldnt start. Nissan battery just made it groan a bit. The old Festiva battery did nothing. However I had tried charging that old CarQuest battery that came with the Ranger like three years ago. It was dead when I bought the Ranger and so never messed with it, just set it in grass as a core trade in to use sometime. But surprisingly it took a charge. Guess what that cold day, IT started the Ranger. I obviously missed a bet by not charging that thing back when I first bought the Ranger.

Not deluding myself that its a great battery, but looking like it will get me through rest of winter. So can procrastinate buying and adapting a group 31 battery. Oh and the F250 battery is on downhill slide too and will need replacing by next year. However think a group 31 would fit its stock battery tray with maybe a small modification.

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Re: Ranger is ongoing project.

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