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A while back I purchased a 1998 Ford Ranger XLT and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this truck, it’s genuinely the best vehicle I’ve ever owned; it’s a humble little truck but I love it. Unfortunately, I caught the tail-end of a pileup recently. Thankfully the truck took it like a champ like I knew it would but the front bumper is screwed up and it’s not worth it to me to try to salvage it. Funny enough, it actually pushed in to the driver’s side tire and I ended up pulling in to a parking lot, securing the bumper to a light post with a tow strap and pulling the bumper back out lol, runs like new. Anyways, it’s screwed up and the thought of needing to replace that bumper has me thinking that I’d like to mod my truck for off-road purposes. It came with a 4x4 high and low option and I would like to really make it suitable for light rock crawling and generic off-roading. Maybe lifting it more than it already is and whatnot? I don’t know where to start and from the research I’ve done, I’ve only found crappy sorta-fit quality parts. If any of you guys have any guidance, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks for reading!
 

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Clean truck, I’d do a simple lift. Maybe some 31” or 33” tires. Put a locker or lsd in the rear axle. Build or buy a set of bumpers and rock sliders . Then hit all the trails you can and learn some techniques and keep learning about the components of the truck, how to repair and modify. Once you get up on the game you could do a full build. Gl
 

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1982 Jeep DJ5 LQ9 V8
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Start with some basic bolt on parts and use that as a platform to learn what you like and dislike about your truck off road and the parts you have on it. The thing I have learned about cars/trucks and a lot of other things like guns and stuff, is its better to start out basic, and then building up from there. Other wise you could end up spending A LOT of money and time on something your not happy with.
Also before you start, have a shop check your frame. It might have been bent in your crash, which would make bolting on parts like a bumper or suspension really annoying because it will have moved bolt holes and changed your suspension mounting points and geometry. Would suck to spend a bunch of money on parts and then they don't fit or work right because your truck inst strait. It might even be something you can check with a tape measure and some stock measurements you might find online.
Figure out what your main use for the truck will be. Hunting/camping/overland, rock crawling, racing, so on. Then check out what other people have done to their trucks based on what you want out of yours.
Id do what the first reply says. Get a decent suspension kit, some good tires, and gears/lockers. Great place to start. Even before any kind of bumpers and stuff.
Keep in mind that a lot of modificatons will need "support" modifications. For example bigger tires are harder to stop, so you might need some better brake pads and some steel brake lines to boost your break performance. They are also harder to turn because of their added wait, plus they will change your gear ratio. That's why you need gears in your diff to match your tire size.
 

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your build list will be determined by your location and type of terrain.
traction will get you alot further than some bling bling wheels and off road lights..
lift, tires, rear locker will take you to places most havent been.
 

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I never regretted having a winch in the bed of my trucks. Sometimes you really do want to go backwards or pull things onto your trailer or into the bed. Having just had a HF Badlands 5k winch fall - break apart at the positive terminal, I would recommend something slightly better for the bed winch :-D

#1 improvement is I would look at getting rid of the horrible pulse vacuum system and putting in real locking hubs and a real mechanical shift transfer case. A nice winch bumper with a grill guard would not hurt.
 

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I too am kinda renew to this as well as has been many years since i 4x4 ed other than atvs. Then was old school. Had 68 chevy 4x4 and both a 84 ford bronco fs and 88 bronco II. That was in 88. Now have broght back from the grave a 86 Toyota Four Runner 22re 5spd. Previous owner cranked up front tortion bars, while the ass sagged badly. I installed air bags on the rear.(not seen done anywhere) I would say equalled somewhere around 2 - 2 1/2 inches. I made my own and install a tubed front bumper and winch. Put on new 31-10.50-15 MT tires on 15x8 wheels. Got a used set of side rock gaurds that i cut out 13 inches out of rewelded and installed ( came off Tahoe) . Installed Led headlights, second battery to opperate winch and lights among others. Done some tuning on the motor and some maintenance. 4x4 in good working order . Now i gotta go try it out and as they say go from there. Our trucks bout same size. Dont know how far or how high you have in mind but thats where i started. Good Luck.
 
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