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Ford Ranger III



  • dchinndchinn Posts: 64
    Just bought a 2003 Ranger XL 5 spd 2.3L (no frills base model) for $9.6K OTD rebates and all. Yes, I test drove it and realized that it was low on power to accelerate but I'm no speed demon. The price to too good to pass up compared to a Chevy S10, Mazda B2300 or Tacoma w/ the same std features. 1st 500 miles mpg was about 26 + both city/hwy.

    Only peeve is that the Ranger sits up higher than the other P/Us (higher center of gravity) which causes the truck to want to tip when rounding a curve. Besides adding suspension parts or changing to 16 inch rims and lower/wider profile tires which cost some $$$, is there any other practical or cheaper fixes to alleviate this tendency.
  • There really isn't a whole lot that can be done, without affecting your vehicle in other areas. If you had a 4x4 or Edge model, it would be as simple as removing the rear blocks and un-cranking some torsion bars. You may still have some blocks on the rear axle that could be removed, but I am not sure what can be done to your front besides weaker or smaller springs. To truly lower your vehicle is beyond me as I've only considered to raise my Edge. Check out some Ranger sites that have dedicated forums as they will offer much more information than here. I can't give you a link because Edmunds will delete it.

    Also, just to alleviate body roll, you could get some stiffer stocks.
  • goldrangergoldranger Posts: 54
    If you just got a 03 2.3L check on or previous posts on this thread for the info and dates (3days)in feb or march when some bad 2.3 engines were produced and sent to dealers. the web site gives instructions on who to call with your vin # to see if you get a new engine.
    good luck
  • dchinndchinn Posts: 64
    Hey, I've got a Arizona Pebble Beige one too. States on the driver door jamb that vehicle was manufactured on May 2003. Hopefully my 2.3 was OK. But thanks for the heads up. Is yours also a base XL? How does it ride when cornering?
  • kcowboy12kcowboy12 Posts: 6
    have had a 2001 xlt ext cab 4x4 with all bells and whistles for almost two years now. have noticed that from time to time after starting up a loud "thunk" can be heard while still in park. not sure if this could be a motor mount or the drive train problem that has been metioned earlier. i have taken it into the dealer a few times concerning this problem but they have not been able to get the sound to come out and say they are not sure what it could be. any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Probably the A/C compressor cycling. My 2003 Manual does it while in neutral and sitting at a stoplight. I only notice it then because the rest of the time the engine/exhaust is making just enough noise to cover it up.
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    yes I notice on my 2003 also how loud the extahust is, I guess it is a performance exhaust - LOL
  • lfikelfike Posts: 38
    Right now Ford is offering 3000 back on Rangers, put 1000 down and they also match it...been in the military..another question....some dealers say it for those that are on active duty while others are saying it's for all military people active and honorable discharge.....can anyone give me a straight answer.
    ps...I notice jeep, Chrysler etc are doing it for all military people, active and honorable discharge.
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    FTI: the same Ranger that can be had for about 11K in the Nort East (that is with incentives) can be bought in the south for about 8.5 - 9.5 K
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    My 2002 XLT 4x4 does the same thing. I have no clue as to the source, and it happens so infrequently, that I haven't bothered taking it in to the dealer. I assume you also have an automatic transmission. Mine gets really loud at times.
  • dchinndchinn Posts: 64
    I read that it is for those military folks on active duty and active reserve/national guard. Those off active duty for awhile >30days that do not have a military ID card would not qualify. Not all dealers know the difference between AC/RC but they would need a valid military ID card to process your rebate.
  • kcowboy12kcowboy12 Posts: 6
    yeah your right auto tranny. mine also is very loud at times and not so loud at other times. i know what midnight stang it talking about with the AC and this is a different sound, but thanks stang.

    if you hear anything new about this let me know and ill keep you posted the same.
  • jkidd2jkidd2 Posts: 218
    Hey All, I'm the dummy who couldn't figure out how to turn on his cargo light. Another question for you....I've noticed ever since I bought my truck that when I start it, it seems like it takes a longer than normal time for the engine to turn over. Almost like its not going to start. Not sure if I am doing something wrong. If I don't step on the gas first or if I step on the gas as I'm starting, neither seems to make it "start" easier. Is this my imagination or an ominous sign of trouble?

  • limanliman Posts: 32
    My 2003 3.0 XLT starts up immediately. And as it is fuel injected, I never touch the gas pedal at all while starting. Sounds to me like you need an adjustment of some sort.
  • goldrangergoldranger Posts: 54
    I have a 01 4.0 that makes the same noise and notice it when I test drove other vehicles. I vote for the A/C compressor. Quick verification.... does it do it with the A/C in the OFF or VENT position? Remember the A/C compressor is running in all positions except for OFF, VENT, HEAT on the Floor.
  • My 2003 3.0l starts right up too. But jkidd2, you need to post your engine size too. I remember my old 1993 2.3l took about 2-5 seconds to start, but that was with over 140,000 miles on it. Probably just needs to build up the fuel pressure to feed the large bore cylinders.
  • jkidd2jkidd2 Posts: 218
    It has the 4.0 always turns over, it just seems like it struggles to do so...I have to hold the ignition in the "start" position for more than a few seconds, while it starts...kinda makes that noise that engines make when they are always starts, like I said...I just find it odd...


  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    Maybe wait a few seconds with the key in the on position before cranking, could be a bad/slow fuel pump ???? just aguess
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    Howdy, folks.

    I'm considering getting a pickup for the first time in my life, and I have a few questions that I would like some semi-definitive answers to.

    The models I am considering are the Edge, FX4, and FX4 Level II, and 4wd only (part of the reason for getting a truck in the first place). I haven't actually driven any Rangers yet, and before I do, I would like a little help winnowing down the choices. Keep in mind that I don't presently have any off-roading adventures in mind, just basic day-to-day driving, so I am interested mostly in how this drastic shift away from cars would affect me and whether or not I should abandon this idea entirely.

    The questions are as follows...

    1- Which of the above would be most "carlike"? I am referring mostly to handling here... I would have thought that the FX4s would be the rougher-riding of the choices, but I read in a review somewhere that the stiffer suspension and the Bilsteins actually IMPROVE the ride. Doesn't make sense to me....?

    2- I have read on this board that the manual-shift models are much louder than those with automatics because of the extra holes in the floor, is this accurate?

    3- How do the 4wd mechanisms differ between the autos and the manuals? I know the sticks have a floor-mounted shifter, does this indicate a different mechanism or only a different actuation mechanism?

    4- Anyone have any trouble with the 4.0/manual shift combination?

    5- Should I just get a used Explorer? :)

    Any input would be appreciated.

  • dchinndchinn Posts: 64
    The question about military rebates earlier. I finally had the time to call Ford Motor Customer Relations. They do have a rebate for military members which will expire within the next two weeks. They notify all dealers. The rebate $$$ comes from Ford and not from the dealership which does not hurt the dealer's bottom line but help bring in more potential customers. When I bought my Ranger from the dealer this past June, the salesperson and the assistant sales manager knew nothing about it and said it was a GM thing. As I investigated further with Ford, they gave me the scoop. Not all dealers sign up for it as it's more paperwork??? Anyways, I called the dealership up again 5 weeks after and asked for the sales manager to check into it for me and he was surprised (after he checked into it 30 minutes later) that they were participating in the program. All he needed was my military ID which I faxed to him to get the paper processed. I believe the rebate is $500 but I'll be happy in getting something back. BTW, this info is not on the Ford website (they just have the overseas Military Purchase Program).
  • dmoulddmould Posts: 76
    As the owner of a 2001 Ranger XLT Supercab 4x4 with a manual transmission, I will try to help you out.
    1. While I have not driven it, I am pretty sure the FX4 has the same springs as the other models, just better shocks, which probably do improve the ride. Please note that only a 2wd regular height XLT will provide car-like handling - 4wd models will not. My advice is to think about if really need 4wd. You will only use it about 3% of the miles you drive, but will use about 3mpg more gas all the time, and pay a handling and ride penalty. In my case, we get lots of snow where I live, and it has proven worthwhile when launching my water craft.
    2. My truck is very quiet, more so than my wife's SVT Focus. The manuals are not louder than the automatics.
    3. Same transfer case with either manual or electronic 4wd engagement. I have the electronic, and I like it. No Problems, easier to use on the fly when you hit snowy roads.
    4. If you are coming for a car, you will notice the manual transmission in the truck does not like to be shifted quickly. All the rotating mass of the transfer case prevents lightning quick shifts. If you try to rush gear changes, the syncros will grind, even when brand new. The 4.0L does work well with manual, quicker than the automatic. Shifts at high RPM are hard to get smooth though.
    5. After 2 years and 34,000 miles, I still enjoy driving my Ranger. It's size makes it more enjoyable to drive than a full-size truck in the city and in parking lots. It has the same payload as a 1/2 ton full size - nobody believes this until they check the specs. I have a slide-in truck camper for mine, and it hauls that 1100+ pounds just fine, even towing a watercraft on a trailer. The 4.0L manual is quicker than the full-size extended cab trucks (0-60 about 8 seconds, 16.0 in the quarter mile). Get a FX4 in Sonic Blue or Black.
  • lennxlennx Posts: 73
    I too am a long time car owner looking at a truck. You may want to consider an Explorer Sport Trac. Ride was very good for a truck.

    I have not driven the Ranger since I need a real back seat.
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  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    That bed is a joke. Looks like less cubic feet than the trunks of some big cars. what's that, 4 and a half feet?
  • Does anyone ever care about these chat things that get posted on every forum? Sound like a market research ploy to me.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,744
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  • seyorniseyorni Posts: 9
    I have a '03 Long bed Ranger. The long beds come with a an obligatory "suspension package", and I find my truck seems several inches higher than a "normal" Ranger and has a very stiff ride. Does anyone know what this suspension package consists of and weather it can be modified? Are there blocks that can be removed? Can I crank off the springs/shocks a little? Thanx.
  • campoutcampout Posts: 22
    Hello to everyone on the list. Just a note/question to Seyroni. I was just over at the Ford dealer the other day and they had two Ranger regular cabs/long bed, one had the 3.0V6 the other had the 4.0. How do you like your truck so far despite the firm ride? Didn't take either one for a test drive, but if have more time will try to get back there. Really don't see to many Ranger LB on the street anymore, but I like the idea of a 7ft. box in a small truck. Does the cab feel cramped? I'm 5"11 so leg room may be an issue. I currently own a '97 F-150 RC/LB, and my wife and I may want to downsize to a smaller pickup, just don't need the bulk anymore. Please let me know what you think, any info. appreciated.

    Thanking in advance,
  • seyorniseyorni Posts: 9
       Thus far the truck seems OK. The engine growls a little over 3 grand, the ignition key release tab is clumsily placed, the torque peak is too high, and, of course, there's that rocklike quality to the ride. The acceleration is adequate but won't pin you to your seat. I'm installing an aftermarket ignition system once I've broken 'er in, so I expect that'll improve.
       No, I don't find it cramped, but, then, I'm claustrophilic, so I'm probably not the one to ask. Actually, I took a tape measure and compared the interior cab width with a friend's 5 or 6 year old Dakota -- not a quarter inch difference!
    Yeah, I found it hard to believe too, so I remeasured. Same result.
       I agree with your observation about the rarity of long beds. 20 years ago everybody made long beds and they were common. Today a lot of people buy pickups as fashion statements, and most prefer a long cab to a long bed. Some vehicles out there today have beds only 4 feet long! Hell, you could buy a sedan, remove the trunk lid, and have a "pickup" that actually handled well, rode quietly and comfortably, and got good gas mileage!
       The way I see it a pickup is a utility vehicle; a box on wheels, and you will always get more utility out of a big box than a small one. If you buy a box you don't need just to be cool you're a poseur.
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    For some reason my '03 Ranger 4 cyl 5 SPD runs much better with high test gasoline, which it should not require. More power, lower enfine noisevibration and lower shift points, the difference is very noticable. Any one else in the same situation?
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