charlie brown 1988 ranger

charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
here is a bit of an intro. sold my part in a racing effort to build this truck. i got burned out racing and all the money. it was funner to build a fun fast prerunner that i can use exploring places, baja preruns, surf trips and chase for race teams in baja. i went to the dealer and order this tuck just for that. i picked up the truck from a racing family dealer the day micky Thompson and wife were murdered.

anyways i had the truck 2 weeks before it went on jack stands for the 1st time. a basic cage, custom leafs and custom coils up front.
its just been growing from there. i can not count how many builds/rebuilds it has had.
this truck was one of the 1st to have long radius arms. one of the in-board radius arm mounts. my 1st set of coil overs were 2 sets of bilstien 2" shocks that we modified to hold a threaded coil over that slide over the shock. i had 2 per wheel and each on had 2 springs. 8 springs on the front. it worked so good. i dont have many pictures of the early years.
 

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marcytech

Active member
Joined
Apr 6, 2022
Messages
67
ive always been a huge fan of this truck. i remember seeing a magazine article waayyyy long ago about it online and just drooling. through forums i finally saw it in person and man do you drive the wheels off it like you know every inch of the truck and how it will react to every bump and dip. its incredible youve kept it running all this time. hats off to you sir
 

DesertGoat

Active member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
110
Location
San Diego
Chris's truck is bad ass!

+1
These ain't gonna do it any justice, but here's what I've got of your truck Chris
AYMmHmN.jpg


cVsjCbg.jpg


CyMR06K.jpg
 

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charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
both of those baja trips where some of the best.. thank you geoff and mike for the invites and i look forward to more trips like those.
thanks marcel for all the help you given. https://cdn2.race-dezert.com/forum/data/attachment-files/2011/04/273341.OFRP-110600-RER1.pdf

my truck keeps evolving. to jump ahead to current projects, installing a new swing set with sealed roller bearings. wo a set of Hollander motor sports custom knuckles. trying to figure out what hub package to go with. probably going with the speedway engineering rear 2.5 to match what i have in the rear already.
 

theycallmeWALLY

Administrator
Joined
Mar 30, 2022
Messages
825
This truck is truly one of a kind.

Huge motivation for me staying with an SOHC motor package. Keep it simple stupid!
 

charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
after some years gone by and kuster shocks sold to swayaway and king was just starting, i upgraded the front to the 1st gen swayaway 2.5

a few years later i needed to ditch the leaf pack and go link. my buddy and i where designing a setup, buying the parts. I was at my favorit race (still is) san feleip 250. must of been like late 1990s-2001ish and as i walked through tech i say bret king with his plastic table and like 2 shocks and i notice he had a lower link arm also. as we talk i asked him about the lower link. he told me his buddy is going to try and make a kit for the rangers. ask bret if he could display it. of course i was all over it. got the guys name. monday after the race i was on the phone with larry plank. on tuesday i left work early and went to his shop. he showed me the only one he had made (was for the dry wall guy ranger) i forget his name. it was not complete or close to being finished. i was impressed. plank was preping and racing a pro truck (ivan stuwart deal) and used that to down size it for the ranger.
i gave him a deposit and he told me he will start on it. it took him a few weeks but he called and said come get it. in his shop was 2 other guys. nester of now newline and tom mckenzie of now SI. I talked to all 3 about installing the kit. it was the 1st kit to leave there shop.
and it is still on my truck today. i have bought a few replacement parts along the way like a new set of bushings and lower link mount (because of baja rocks).

my buddy and i finshed the back half before the dry wall ranger. plank was pissed off at me and the shop my buddy was renting space from because he thought the owner of the place was going to copy it. kreg donaho was known for shit. but dave winner of fabtek took advantage of kreg then screwed him out so thats why. lots of shit show back then.
we be working on my truck and jerry and jason were just opening a shop. they would come by and check out stuff.

people gave me shit because of the way i built the back half. it was not what everyone else was builting like they see the race trucks. i wanted to stay true for what i wanted. a fun, fast, prerunner that can carry plenty of camping gear. back then prerunners were mostly for preruning only.
 

charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
cant find some old pictures. cell phones camers were not a thing then. here are some when i finish the rear link back half. when we pie cut the frame behind the cab, and started looking for the spot to pie cut the frame behind the axle and i just grabed the sawsaz and cut it off. through that part of the frame away.
i wanted the spare tire out of the way but easy to get to. thats why its down low. i wanted a bit of a bed to put my camping gear or chase parts for a race. the 1st rack i made was heavy duty ti carry a trans at speed on the course if needed. i had jeff lothringer of lothringer racing family make me some side storage boxes. got this from the old rivera ranger. jeff bilt or modified them so he made mine. he also did all the rear tin work which is still on there today.
 

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charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
helton lived around the corner from me and he would stop by and check things out. this is about the time he was getting into racing i think.
after some fun years, it was beyond time to upgrade the cage. at this time 1 1/2 was legal for racing so thats what i did. the next year is when the new rules came ot wtf.... i was a bit bumed because i did have thouts to race it just a few times. what ever.
 

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charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
i will say this. i would have built the cage differnt. at the time to weld 360, we made the rear part around the cab. then pulled it out and welded it up. then we made a tube to go all the way around the floor. from one side of the truck to the other. it attached to the front frame and at the body mount areas. the i side cage was welded to it. i was able to kick it sideways off the halo inside tube to tip it forward and weld most all of it. i know some are not 100 % but only on a few of the cross brace.
had a buddy silicone bronze weld the sheet metal. used a automotive seem sealer, then sprayed it with the lizard skin ceramic coating. painted everything that could not be poweder coated with the por 15 paint.
installed the McNeil dash and concel.
 

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charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
a few years later it was time to go equal length beams and beter hubs. not sure why but i boght a kit from dave at threat ms. i would have use SI but i wanted to adjust my alignment. the up grade was ok. for whats out there now, i would go different.
then it finaly happen. while at my favorite spot (san felipe) at the petes camp poker run, i was hitting it to hard i guess and broke the front upper shock mounts. i was still driving it home. haha. then came a great upgrade. new king 3.0, modified the brake master stuff and new front cage. the brake master relocation kit was from tnt fab Tyler. it was for moving the master sideway horizontal. but that would not work for me so i cut it and modify it to make it vertical and lowered it straight down towards the frame. i had to come up with a way to make the stock set up remote reservoir. this is what i came up with.
 

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Cleandezert

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 7, 2022
Messages
251
never knew the history... pretty rad. I love hearing about the early days of prerunners.

And glad to see those hollander hubs went to a good home.
 

Brett_408

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
Messages
65
after some years gone by and kuster shocks sold to swayaway and king was just starting, i upgraded the front to the 1st gen swayaway 2.5

a few years later i needed to ditch the leaf pack and go link. my buddy and i where designing a setup, buying the parts. I was at my favorit race (still is) san feleip 250. must of been like late 1990s-2001ish and as i walked through tech i say bret king with his plastic table and like 2 shocks and i notice he had a lower link arm also. as we talk i asked him about the lower link. he told me his buddy is going to try and make a kit for the rangers. ask bret if he could display it. of course i was all over it. got the guys name. monday after the race i was on the phone with larry plank. on tuesday i left work early and went to his shop. he showed me the only one he had made (was for the dry wall guy ranger) i forget his name. it was not complete or close to being finished. i was impressed. plank was preping and racing a pro truck (ivan stuwart deal) and used that to down size it for the ranger.
i gave him a deposit and he told me he will start on it. it took him a few weeks but he called and said come get it. in his shop was 2 other guys. nester of now newline and tom mckenzie of now SI. I talked to all 3 about installing the kit. it was the 1st kit to leave there shop.
and it is still on my truck today. i have bought a few replacement parts along the way like a new set of bushings and lower link mount (because of baja rocks).

my buddy and i finshed the back half before the dry wall ranger. plank was pissed off at me and the shop my buddy was renting space from because he thought the owner of the place was going to copy it. kreg donaho was known for shit. but dave winner of fabtek took advantage of kreg then screwed him out so thats why. lots of shit show back then.
we be working on my truck and jerry and jason were just opening a shop. they would come by and check out stuff.

people gave me shit because of the way i built the back half. it was not what everyone else was builting like they see the race trucks. i wanted to stay true for what i wanted. a fun, fast, prerunner that can carry plenty of camping gear. back then prerunners were mostly for preruning only.
This is some of the coolest offroad history i'v read in a long time. Reminds me of the "something new" thread on RDC way back!
 

charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
thanks.. bret and his dad built the kuster shocks. they worked in the oil industry and were friends with walker evans. they got together and leap frogged the shock industry.
when kuster oil company crashed, so did kuster shocks. thats why swayaway was able to buy them. and thats when brett and his dad went on their own with king shocks.

most all the 1st TT trucks where all 1 1/2" and some where O-tothin in spots. after a few bad crashes (john swift crash that killed dino and a nissan factory back both suffer deaths) they change the rules. bill savage ( who approve and i think had a hand building some of those cars) stepped up there game on inspection.
 

charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
hitting "the wall" years before it was named. i think this was preruning the old score Lucerne 250?? 1989..90.
thats my buddy in the 73 van. he used to help out/prep cars. he helped me with my 1st build on the truck.
that van was impossible to keep up with. full floater, 35" tires custom shocks, big motor, race built c6. it pre ran everywhere in baja. goat trail was kids play for him. he told me he made most all his money from tv truck/cars. said he helped out building trucks for the 1980s tv show "the fall guy" i never paid attention and dont know/care if it was true, we just hung out racing our trucks party in baja.
 

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charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
so i will skip several years of builds and rebuilds/motor swap stuff and just sprinkle them in over time.
the truck still has the original plank/si rear link.
31 spline full floater speedway engineering rr with aluminum hubs and drive plates. been in the truck since it had leafs. only broke one axle but many drive plates. thats why i run the aluminum drive plates. bult in weekink. cheap and fast repair.
 

charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
Is your engine cage fully removeable?
yes except for one tube. thats how i figured out to bake it last. a 100% bolt on i think would fail. so what i have been doing to both front half and back is make it bolt on with one tube that could be easy to cut and sleeve if i needed to remove it. its the last weld i do after testing and powder coating.
 

charlie brown

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
79
so to talk current, i been frustrated ith my power steering for the last few years. it was orignaly built by Lee steering who was doing a lot of nascar and offroad back in the day. every few years he would rebuild it.
but a few years ago i needed it rebuilt and Lee retired. charlie of Pss was his main guy and ran the shop for several years before Lee shut it down.
so of course i went to charlie. he rebuilt the pump, rebuilt my box and mod it for a ram assist (but plugged it for now). I also changed out the cooler to a triton race cooler. since then i have always had a problem with bleeding the system. air bubble somewhere. so this last fall while doing some prep, i flushed the system. but know after 3 months stiil cant get it to pump.

spent 30 minuets with charlie on the phone. he had no ideas and asked if i could send him pictures. we talked after and he gave some insight but nothing ground breaking. he did say that he could not get parts for it anymore due to the rona supplies chain stuff.

spoke to jeff at Howe. pretty much the same. no one knew of anyone or if a TC pump will work.

pictures of stock and a TC look very much the same.

so i finally made my way out to kartek yesterday to look at the pumps side by side. both howe and a Pss pump and mine all look the same.

the difference are:
the stock pump high presure line comes out towards the passenger side, the TC pumps come out towards the driverside. not a big deal. just re-rout the hose. actuly, the hose would be beter if pointed towards the driver side.
also, all 3 bolt holes on the stock unit are threaded and all of the mod TC pumps from howe and Pss only have the top center one. the other 2 have been drilled out. not sure why but i will just try and run the next size tap through it.

i need to figure out a pully set up. kartek has one that is 1/8" smaller. dont think that is enough to matter. or try and remove the triangle bolt on part from my stock and see if the shaft are the same.

my only concern at this point is if the rotation is the same direction.
and i picked up a new reservoir with a filter. my old lee "swirl" one will get retired.
 
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