by Bob McHugh
A compact pickup truck, the Ford Ranger dates back to 1982 and was initially introduced to combat a growing tide of smaller imported trucks from Japan. It was an immediate hit, and the Ranger has been a consistent sales leader in this market segment.
The Ranger appeals to a wide range of potential buyers from commercial fleet user to the do-it-yourselfer or the go-anywhere weekend warrior. Most truck buyers like to pick and choose the way their vehicle is equipped and the Ranger obliges. It comes in a wide variety of versions; long box, short box, regular cab, extended cab (with rear jump seats), two-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive and there’s a staggering array of options.
By 1998 the Ranger was already the best selling compact truck in Canada for 13 years straight. This redesigned Ranger came in four trim packages that included the very basic “S” trim in addition to XL, XLT and a Splash version. The standard cab was a little larger than the previous generation and is also had a longer wheelbase, an improved front suspension, rack and pinion steering and a four-door extended cab version for the first time.
A 3.0 litre V-6 engine was standard on the 4×4 models in 1998 and it came with “Pulse Vacuum” hub locks that allow on-the-fly shifts to the four-wheel-drive mode. If cargo hauling is your preference, the long-wheelbase regular cab 4×2 model has a cargo bed that’s 1,382 mm (54.4″) wide and 2,128 (83.8″) long.
2002 Ford Ranger
A battery-powered version of the Ranger, best know as the Electric Ranger was also launched in 1998. It was costly to purchase, had a limited driving range (75 to 150 km) and a radically reduced payload capacity. Aout 2,000 Electric Rangers were sold in North America over the course of the five year pilot program. Almost all of these were commercial lease/sales to fleet operators and the majority went to electric power utility companies.
Stuff learned from the Electric Ranger, energy storage, battery management, regenerative braking and lots more, will be used in a hybrid gas/electric version of 2005 Ford Escape.
The Splash version of Ranger was discontinued in 1999. In 2000 the 4-cylinder Ranger was also dropped from the product line and a raised suspension package was offered to make the 4×2 Ranger look like a 4×4 Ranger.
In 2001 the “Edge” trim package was added between XL and XLT and a front-end re-styling job made it look more like the larger Ford F150 pickup. And in 2002 the 4-door Ranger was dropped from the product line and a 4-cylinder version was reintroduced with a Mazda 2.3-litre engine.
The popular Ford Ranger is a good little truck that’s relatively cheap and easy to maintain. Used prices are reasonable and there’s a good selection of them out there.
- A flexible fuel line may contact with the exhaust manifold. It should have a retaining clip installed by a Ford dealer, to hold it in correct position.
- A 4×4 Ranger with an off-road option package may have incorrect wheel/tire information on the certification label.
- A cruise control cable problem may prevent the throttle from returning to idle. These vehicles should be inspected and the cruise control cable will be replaced if necessary.
- An “o” ring on the fuel injector damper assembly may leak fuel. The injector damper assembly should be inspected and replaced if necessary.
- Dealers will install a relay and wring overlay to prevent the fog lamps from being activated with the headlamp switch in the OFF position.
- Seat belt buckle assemblies should be inspected and replaced if necessary.
- Some vehicles have a hood latch striker that’s susceptible to fatigue fractures. Dealers will replace it with a revised hood striker.
- Dealers will inspect the front outboard seat belt buckles and replace faulty buckle assemblies.
- Ranger XLT & Edge 4×2 and 4×4 – The hood latch striker that may fracture and should be replaced.
- The rear axle differential case, on manual transmission Rangers equipped with the FX4 package, may fracture in a high torque situation. A Ford dealer will replace the rear differential assembly.
1998 – 2000
1998 – 2000
Current Red Book Pricing (avg. retail) September 2004:
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.
For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.
For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.