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  • Neat trick

    This may have been though of before,but we have a few guys around that are building street rods out of mini trucks like the Ford ranger and so on.Well the problem is most of these trucks are to light in the rear i.e. no traction.So what to do?Can't have a steel wieght in the bed might come lose in a wreck,so then it hit me get an old set of frame rails to use as lead molds.We got a set filled the bolt holes with bolts capped the ends and poured whal-la custom fit wieghts that bolt on and no mess in the bed.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  • #2
    Yes I thought I saw this in an earler post and indeed I did,who ever thought it up thanks.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

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    • #3
      weird,

      wouldn't adding that weight change the balance and handling of the machine.

      Spkrman15

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      • #4
        Back in the old days, we used lead shot in 2 1/2 inch capped pipe for balancing weight. That was when you could still buy lead shot in 100lb. bags for about $10. I like the shape cast method. Make sure those things have steel backers (or giant fender washers) because they can still pull through a bolt/nut. I haven't checked in a long time, but NHRA used to outlaw "free weights". NASCAR uses the cast method weights too but I think they have to be contained within the frame rails (Boxed). These RULES were developed for safety on the track but the same "safety techniques" can be used on the street too. That's where seatbelts came from.

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        • #5
          Yes,it does change the balance, very much in fact,the little trucks are really light in the back end,the main idea is to keep the back end behind you in a curve and also hold the slicks down on the strip I didn't mention what engines we are dealing with,the one guy I helped out has a 86'ford ranger with an MPI 302 and a narrrrroooowwwww 9"Ford with lots-o-rubber,even though its a stock motor out of a Linclon Towncar its a lot of motor for the little Ranger(about 3,000lbs less sheet metal)sucker takes off like a rocket and he ain't even done anything to it yet.
          I just need one more tool,just one!

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          • #6
            Wierd... yep.. done that. I welded a 5 inch thin wall pipe onto the 9 inch rear (filled with water) in a 56 ford, 428 cobra jet engine set back 6 inches, C6 tranny, Oldsmobile F85 white seats.. (important part) it would launch so hard the seat brackets broke several times making me bend two steering wheels and nearly land in the back seat. (1975 was the year) sprung weight vs unsprung weight on axle?
            My uncle thought it was a rollin coffin, before he died of cancer, I found my prize club sedan ford in ashes in the driveway. I always thought he burned it to try and save my life. Maybe?

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            • #7
              I much prefer gaining traction by increasing the tires grip on the road and increasing the contact patch. This can be accomplished by increasing the tire width and running a softer compound, etc.
              I assume with the narrowed rearend, you are using a four-link rear suspension with a panhard rod for lateral location. If you increase the weight transfer to the rear, with a properly designed suspension system, traction should be no problem. Adding lead inertia to the vehicle is counterproductive, (although your technique is clever). NASCAR cars have a high minimum weight requirement. They add as little dead weight as possible, preferring to burn up the weight up as stiffer frames, roll cages and such.
              Tire compounds have come a long way in the last 15 years or so. Soft tires don't last long, but they sure do stick nice! Balancing good handling with good rearward weight transfer can be tricky, but mandatory if the truck is to be driven on the street with any regularity. Tiny front tires and 90/10 shocks have no place on the street IMHO. Anti sway bars set up for close to neutral handling go a long way, as do low profile tires. To get a reasonable sidewall height and maintain an adequate contact patch often necessitates going to a 40 series aspect ratio and/or expensive large diameter rims.

              Location: North Central Texas

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              • #8
                JOEL,you do have a point,but when we can nearly pick the rear end off the ground by hand it makes things worse to add tire width.In a car the wieght is there by design,all that sheet metal adds up quick,in a truck there just isn't any,I know from lifting the beds off these trucks that at best they only wiegh 200#or so,so you got all this power and can't go anywhere without spinning tires.Nascar I put in a class by themselves,they build a tube frame and cover it with sheetmetal,and it still wieghs a lot less than a production car/truck which is what we are dealing with.
                I just need one more tool,just one!

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                • #9
                  Weirdscience,
                  I think I understand, and I feel your pain! All I can tell you is that I been racing for over 20 years, and have raced many trucks with NO bed on them in an effort to lighten the vehicle. A friend had a blown chevy in a lightned mini truck, Hauled ass, never spun the tires unless he wanted to. I'm not too proud to admit that some of them pulled on me more than once. While it is certainly a challenge to overcome weight bias, it is one that can be overcome with suspention and tires.
                  IMPORTANT-I assumed that you had a pozi-trac differential, if not, you can easily DOUBLE your available traction.
                  Remember, rail framed dragsters have very little weight, and this is what makes them the fastest vehicles. In the early days, they would smoke their tires all the way down the strip. Don Garlits figured out how to stop doing that, and dominated the sport.
                  The NASCAR comment, was just to point out that they use weights only to have a safety factor when they go on to the scales. The minimum weight requirement is 3500 lbs, very HEAVY! F-1 cars are much lighter and have much more horsepower.
                  Just want you to go as fast as you can!
                  Location: North Central Texas

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                  • #10
                    I only have a (modified) 4.0L in my '94 ext cab ranger and I still have to pay attention to keep from spinning the street tires, and that's with the factory limited slip differential. Weight distribution is definitely a problem, but I also can't help thinking that there is a stiffness problem as well.

                    The frame rails on mine are a hollow channel with metal on only 3 sides (as are most, I assume). Cross-bracing is also very minimal. I know that street rodders often reinforce the rails by welding sheets to the 4th side, a trick I plan to copy. I was also contemplating adding cross bracing in the rear to further help torsional rigidity. I guess what I'm saying is that there's a lot of opportunities to improve stiffness in addition to the weight distribution problems.
                    The early worm gets eaten.

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                    • #11
                      INTP,have you had any cracked windsheilds or back glass?If so you have discovered a small flaw in the Ranger that has to do with rigidity,I have an 86'swb and a 90'lwb ext cab and both are limp rags as far as cabs go.I solved my problems with cab mounts that I custom made myself from softer rubber so they would give a little instead of racking the cab and so far they have helped at least as far as cracked glass.Joel,getting back to the wieght issue we are only talking about a couple of wieghts about 150# each so no big deal,the suspension is largely factory eccept for a few mods like torsion and traction bars i.e. you step on either side of the back bumper and both sides go down the same.the rear end is locked down in the front so there is no angular movement on the pinion the thing is stiff as it can be without modifying everything in sight.
                      I just need one more tool,just one!

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                      • #12
                        Wierd... how much mod's did you have to do to get the 5.0 in the ranger. I have a 94 lowrider, currently with a 4.0 V6 w-5 speed. The motor is still in too good of shape to worry with, but.. when it goes I wanna V8-auto. I was all excited about the 4.6 till I found out it was a terrible swap.

                        I got a fiberglass camper shell.. it adds enough weight. Still will smoke em with the V6.

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                        • #13
                          Not to bad on the 302 had to move the rad foward .500" and make a few things fit like the trans mount cross member.The 351 however is a lot more involed,steering is the first, it required a perverted pitman arm and custom headers,then firewall had to be expanded and so forth,also heavier coils in front a real pita.The 302 was smooth and have recently been told that a kit exists for doing just that so long as you stick to a c-4 tranny with a short neck.
                          I just need one more tool,just one!

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                          • #14
                            As a matter of fact, I did have a windshield crack because of stress. It was right after it was replaced (hit by a rock), so the company did the second swap for free.

                            FWIW, there are supposedly several places that have ranger swap 'kits' for 5.0L/T-5. When my mustang gets its new 351W engine (after the economy picks up, that is), the truck will inherit the 5.0L. Don't think it will mind hand-me-downs...
                            The early worm gets eaten.

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                            • #15
                              Go for it!Just be sure to put a block of wood under the gas pedal till you get it figured out
                              I just need one more tool,just one!

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