Ye' Olde Site By Joby

The Danger Ranger Mk II

My 2003 Ford Ranger FX4 Level II

Projects, modifications, how-tos

Origin story

In 2016 I was lucky enough to get my grubby little paws on what is pretty much the holy grail of Ford Rangers ... for people who are into Ford Rangers anyway. A 2003, still with its first owner, with only 74k miles on it, with the top-of-the-line FX4 Level II offroad package. The previous owner still had the window sticker and everything, and had actually special-ordered this truck to get it with literally every option that existed. The best offroad package, the best interior trim and accessory packages, the factory payload and tow packages. This little truck has payload and tow capacities on par with a low-to-middle-level F-150 of the same era, but can get almost 20mpg on the highway, and actually fit down a narrow trail or normal-size parking space.

2003 in particular was even an extra special year for the Ranger, because it was the last year that they came with manual transfer cases, and also the first year they fixed the timing chain guides on the 4.0L V6 engines.

One thing that's always struck me about Rangers is the sheer gamut of options that are available for them. They're almost more of a platform than a single model. It's actually kind of amazing when you consider that mine, compared to your average base-model fleet Ranger of the same year has a pretty amazing lot of things that are different:

  • engine
  • transmission
  • differentials, front and rear
  • rear axle
  • driveshaft
  • front suspension
  • shocks
  • brakes
  • additional frame boxing
  • seats
  • interior trim panels
  • hood
  • grill
  • wheels and tires
  • skid plates

Since I bought this truck I haven't really done too much of note in terms of upgrades or modifications to it. It's pretty amazing right out of the factory, and can do everything I need both on- and off-road without any need for dicking around. It's currently my adventure truck, my SAR truck, and my grocery truck whenever we need to get more than will fit in a Prius. It's also basically my child.