4 x 4 Australia - - Custom 4x4 Of The Year 2017 -

TIME, pa­tience and ex­em­plary en­gi­neer­ing can be a bril­liant combo, with this Coy­ote V8-pow­ered Ford Ranger a per­fect ex­am­ple. When you look at this Ranger to­day you wouldn’t think a cou­ple of years ago it con­tained a freshly-blown en­gine, with the owner bat­tling to get any rec­om­pense be­fore de­cid­ing, in­stead, to go the full monty and fit a su­per­charged Ford ‘Coy­ote’ V8. “Let’s put a V8 in it” were the words spo­ken to Gary Coleman of Diesel Leaders when the Ranger first lobbed in the com­pany’s work­shop. This was fol­lowed by “I want it to look fac­tory-spec too”.

What fol­lowed was close to a year – and ap­prox­i­mately 300 man-hours of work – be­fore the Ranger’s heart trans­plant was com­plete. The ac­tual fit­ment of the new bent-eight heart was, sur­pris­ingly, rel­a­tively straight­for­ward, with only a trimmed ra­di­a­tor mount, newly fab­ri­cated en­gine bay mounts and re-us­ing the en­gine and gear­box mounts re­quired to drop the en­gine in. The en­gine is phys­i­cally big (al­beit light), so there was next to no wig­gle room left in the en­gine bay.

“You can’t lift it up, or lower it, or move it for­ward or move it back,” Gary said. “It has to sit in the ex­act spot that it’s in. Move it down, you can’t get the ex­haust on, move it up it hits the fire­wall, move it back the head hits the fire­wall...” You get the pic­ture.

This jug­gling act sorted, the next was mar­ry­ing a Fal­con six-speed trans­mis­sion to the Ranger trans­fer case – a job few en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies were keen to take on, un­til Rage En­gi­neer­ing came on board. This took a few months and in­volved digi­tis­ing the gear­box and then ma­chin­ing a back hous­ing to fit the Ranger’s out­put shaft into the Fal­con gear­box.

A cus­tom ex­haust fol­lowed – again, a finicky, fine-tol­er­ance job to en­sure it ran from the en­gine to the rear with­out foul­ing any­thing – along with some re­shap­ing of un­der-


bon­net el­e­ments (in­clud­ing the air box) and shift­ing of com­po­nents. The orig­i­nal Ranger ra­di­a­tor stayed – it is larger than the Fal­con equiv­a­lent.

This Ranger is a mon­ster by any ac­count (the V8 puts out 344kw on the dyno) but is still able to head out bush. Heavy­duty springs matched with Bil­stein dampers com­bine with chunky 35X12.50R20LT Nitro Grap­pler M/T tyres (fit­ted to KMC Wheels XD820 sat­in­black rims) to keep the Ranger high off terra firma. Fur­ther un­der­body mods in­clude a mas­sive Rhino 4x4 alu­minium bash plate and rock slid­ers.

The front bar is a Rhino 4x4 Evo­lu­tion 3D winch job­bie, which looks fac­tory-fit and is a mix of 3mm and 5mm steel. Two rated re­cov­ery points, wheel arch flares and an F150 Rap­tor grille fin­ish off an awe­some en­gi­neer­ing feat.

This Ranger pro­ject is no small feat. Aside from the V8, springs, dampers and tyres have also been changed.

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