Category Archives: The 1999 Project: Ford Ranger


Yโ€™all know what tomorrow is. I have a lot to be thankful for.

A home. A family. A good job. So very blessed to have all I have.

I complain to much about what happens and not the results of what happens good or bad.

I need to change that. I will change that.

The boss called me today about my new part-timer, and she’s the lady I mentioned the other day.

He asked me if I was going to talk her up to him. I told him I didn’t need to. Sheโ€™ll show him. I have all the faith in the world in that. She impressed me when we worked together years ago.

I’m thankful Iโ€™ll be getting some help.

I’m thankful that at fifty-three years old, I’m still working and learning.

I learn little things to make my days easier at work every day.

Tomorrow morning I’m learning yet another thing on the truckโ€”oxygen sensors.

I have splurged and bought ze fancy French onez.

Bank 2 Sensor 1 is failing, causing the fuel system to work in a closed-loop, according to the log.

I don’t understand all of it, but I know where that oxygen sensor is and how to change it.

This is causing misfires. I can’t feel them but the OBD can read them. The truck starts a little rough but settles in quickly after starting out if the drive. My MPG has actually increased by .5 miles per gallon.

If it weren’t for the OBD reader and a check engine light, I probably wouldn’t notice.

It’s good to learn new things. I feel like I’m tweaking this here and there and I can’t really complain about twenty-two year old parts failing.

It happens.

That’s it. That’s the post.


1999 Ford Ranger Project: A Day Off

I have to admit I did not have an enjoyable morning. The shudders and stutters are back.

I drove around a bit, and things cleared up. I was thinking that it might be bad plugs or wires again. But these shouldn’t have gone bad within the time since I’ve changed them out. I’m going to check them, but I did some research tonight and I may have found the culprit.

From what I’ve read on the Ranger Forums and a few other places in conjunction with some 1-A Auto videos, I believe I have seen all my symptoms for this being the problem.

I worked ahead today to lessen my load Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow, I’m going in.

And a day off wrenching will still be better than a day on the floor in retail. Also, it’s a paid vacation day, and I need some time in my hands and out of my head.

That’s it. That’s the post.


1999 Project: Lights

I worked over a good bit last week, and I set a little money aside for this. I needed more light on the road. I bought these Bruce these.

Priced a bit higher than I usually buy.

I’ve been thinking about going full LED/HID on the truck. I don’t even know if there’s a difference between the two technologies. I’m old and the eyesight ain’t what it used to be.


Running the roads before dawn and with the deer running, it’s already risky sometimes. So here I am.


This took a bit longer than I expected. The problem is that this isnโ€™t just a simple screw the bulb out and replace situation. I had to remove the entire assembly. It’s a PITA. The headlamp assembly is probably one of the more secure I’ve come across. They put some thought into it for it to be this difficult.

I’ve got to say though; it’s a learning experience. Now I know what to expect when I change out the actual assembly around Christmas. The wife is gonna take me what I want for Christmas and this is it.

I plan to install smoked covers all around. Fog lamps, headlights, and tail lights. I like the look. It’ll make Bruce better looking.


I don’t think you can tell much difference in the lights right now from the pics. I’m sure I’ll be able to once I get behind the wheel in the dark. Which I’ll be testing as soon as the sun goes down.

Anyways, I had the chance to spend the afternoon in the garage doing something I enjoy.

These made a world of difference. The headlamp assemblies are so old the color is off.

But when they’re replaced, it will be about perfect.


That’s it. That’s the post.


Truck Stuff: 1999 Project

This whole refurbishment of this truck is an ongoing thing.

I have a lot of cosmetic stuff to do. Chips in the paint for the most part. I’m actually thinking of a light spray over the major scratches and a dot here and there for the chips. Then a good buffing.

Not a lot of structural damage, amazingly, and not a lot of rust at all for a twenty plus year old truck.

It has been hot, and I didn’t want to do it. Today was a nicer day, and when it’s cooler, I spend a good deal of time in the garage.

Today I went with the fender flares that have been sitting in the garage for at least two months. (She may or may not have been eyeballing them at that time.) Theyโ€™re a nice stainless steel and black rubber set that should last a long while with care.

I also did a bit of painting on the lowers under the doors and the front part of the bed with bed liner paint. It improved the looks and may provide some protection.

The plastic bumper covers are in surprisingly good shape but faded from their original gray. I went with black this time around. It suits the color scheme.

It’s nice to get out and improve and create. To do it myself. To get dirty again. Although, the shower did feel excellent.

I’m glad the weather is starting to change. It means more time for me in the garage/shop. I guess I may as well start getting things together.

That’s it. That’s the post.


Not Too Shabby

If you havenโ€™t figured it out yet I like to do it myself.

I have an old truck Iโ€™ve been finding parts here and there for and it ainโ€™t easy.

Ever since Cash For Clunkers the pickins are slim, so I work with what I can find.

Sometimes that means refurbishing a part and bringing it back to life.

It ainโ€™t perfect, but it suits me just fine.

I find that the more I do of this the more little tricks I find. Practice makes perfect.

This was a quick job today to test some paint that Iโ€™ve just started working with. I also needed to gauge the space on this piece so that I can install some switches for cut offs on my power to my dash cam and stand alone GPS point. Iโ€™m doing that so as not to put any drain to the battery when Iโ€™m parked and in store at work. Not that either of those are big battery drainers.

Itโ€™s not just the finding and refurbishing, this is fun for me.

Itโ€™s satisfying.

Itโ€™s a thing that I can sit back from and say, thatโ€™s done.

And I have something at the end of it.

Thatโ€™s it. Thatโ€™s the post.


One Mans Junk

I woke up at 5:15 this morning.

Not because of an alarm.

Not because I was excited about today.

Nope. It was back pain. Sciatica. Intense horrible pain.

Anyway, I got up and made the coffee, stretched a little and got ready for work. Not much to do for except suffer through it and wait for whatever Iโ€™ve tweaked to get better.

Getting old ainโ€™t comfortable. But it beats the alternative.

On the way to work Iโ€™m keeping an eye out for the right junked Ranger. Iโ€™m driving past a car lot thatโ€™s going out of business and he has seats, consoles, dashboards and all kinds of other stuff piled outside for different cars. I stopped to take a look because you never know.

No one is there so I decided Iโ€™ll stop back by on the way home.

Work was uneventful, one of those days I like so much. Low drama, everyone working. Knocking it out.

I got to hang with Kevin and Riv a bit which is always a treat. We work and cut up and it makes for good days.

I stopped by the place I mentioned and the owner was there. I asked about the possibility of any Ranger parts but that was a negative. He waited around to see if I could possibly use any of the other parts he had. Sadly, no. I didnโ€™t see anything I could mod for the applications I want.

And then he told me about Kenny. โ€œIf you go down 102 and cross the three bridges and take the road at the top ofโ€ฆโ€.

Well, you canโ€™t beat country directions. And I found Mr. Kenny easily.

Do you see what I see? Ainโ€™t she purdy? With a lot of elbow grease and love she could be a jewel.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kenny had only square bodies. Older than what I need. But he started talking junkyards and car guys with me and gave me a lead on another spot. A friend of his.

So off I go on another country direction adventure after filling up my tank (you never know).

As luck would have it this is sorta on my way home with a minor detour.

And then I meet Tim.

And Tim has a goldmine in his back yard.

You may see junked cars. I see possibilities.

I walked in an introduced myself and we talked and shortly he gave me the run of the yard.

This is my kind of place. You go out, find what you need, and pay the man after the haggle. If thereโ€™s a haggle. Kenny says Tim is a fair price kinda guy.

Iโ€™ll find out next week. I didnโ€™t have the cash with me today and he was getting ready to leave in the morning with his family for a vacation weekend. And thatโ€™s cool. I wish Iโ€™d known or I wouldnโ€™t have held him up at all.

I probably spent an hour out in the yard and I was lucky. I found several pieces that I can use. Iโ€™ll be back next Wednesday.

The time out in the heat with the sun on my back seems to have had a therapeutic effect, that and the stretching in and out of junked cars probably helped as well.

Iโ€™m a little stoked about my new gold mine. I love a good junkyard. Thereโ€™s nothing like it if you love cars or trucks and working on them.

Today was long. Today was good. I profited.

I made three new contacts that may become friends but at the least are friendly.

Thatโ€™s always a good thing.

Thatโ€™s it. Thatโ€™s the post.


Sunday Morning (1999 Project)

This is how it starts…

Not a bad way to spend the day if thereโ€™s a favorable outcome.

8:00 AM: Iโ€™m starting off the day trying to figure the problem out with the truck and these spark plugs. And I may have found the problem. I think itโ€™s the wrong set of plugs. Youโ€™d think the guy at the counter would have some knowledge as to what heโ€™s selling you but Iโ€™ve trusted too much in that. It would seem heโ€™s wrong.

(Further on Iโ€™ll be talking about Oโ€™Reillyโ€™s. I didnโ€™t get the bad plugs from there. – Credit where credit is due.)

Iโ€™ll be taking off to the parts place with a little more knowledge this time and the manual and truck info to back me up.

But first, church.

12:19 PM

Iโ€™m at Oโ€™Reilly Auto Parts and my man Chuck here confirmed part of a problem. I was sold single platinum plugs instead of double platinum plugs at the other parts place. The plug in five split and is causing misfire. These plugs couldnโ€™t handle the workload.

We may be onto something…

1:00 PM: I got back home, stepped out of the car and directly to the truck. I went to work on replacing the plugs.

The Usual Suspects

I started at one and went to six. I didnโ€™t pull a wire until I had the previous one gap checked, greased and seated. That fifth cylinder misfire was because of these old plugs. That would be number five in the lineup pictured above. Absolutely the wrong equipment for the application.

2:14 PM: After about an hour I was back on the road but it wasnโ€™t all rainbows and roses, no. The battery had died and a cell had went bad so I was off to another Oโ€™Reillyโ€™s to see about a new battery.

The truck isnโ€™t cutting back like it was and no check engine light. No misfire. This, for me, is huge! I love my truck but it has to be usable to stick around.

At this point I was only into this little adventure for blood, sweat, and $32.00 USD. I was dreading having to shell out for a new battery. They arenโ€™t outrageous but they arenโ€™t cheap either. And this battery was only a year old.

Mr. Gene

But then I guess there was a bit of โ€œwhiskers on kittensโ€œ. Turns out the battery I bought a year ago was under a two year warranty at Oโ€™Reillyโ€™s. Those fellas helped me out big time to day.

A BIG SHOUT OUT to Oโ€™Reillyโ€™s and to their employees. Gene and Jim in Camden, SC and Chuck in Lancaster, SC. They were super helpful and knowledgeable today.

And also, Iโ€™m thanking God. Itโ€™s getting hot and thereโ€™s no air in the Escape. The Ranger has super cold air. I prayed over the truck last night hoping that this was the problem. I needed it and it was granted. So thank you Lord for the hands and mind to work the problem and the grace to let this happen.

5:50 PM: I havenโ€™t eaten all day. I was all about getting this done. And now itโ€™s almost supper time.

Time to shower, eat, and relax. Tomorrowโ€™s Monday.

And itโ€™s gonna be a great day!

Thatโ€™s it. Thatโ€™s the post.


Dream Car

If you were to ask me what my dream car is I would tell you several years back that it was a โ€˜68 Ford Mustang.

I just love them.

To me, maybe not to you, they are beautiful cars. I love the way they sit, I love the way they move. How they almost look at you as you walk by, maybe giving you a little wink, tempting you to take a spin.

There was a time that I would have given most anything to own one.

But, times change, people change.

Iโ€™ve come to realize that my dream car changed into a dream truck. Maybe not a dream, perhaps more like a happy life.

Heโ€™s a green 1999 Ford Ranger. I came into possession of him for a few grand. Low miles, decent truck. It has its problems and Iโ€™m working through them.

Not my photo.

The pic above is nearly identical to my truck. When Iโ€™m done with this project it will be black and chrome. I love the contrast between the shiny and the dark.

The feeling of shifting and driving and enjoying something so simple, thatโ€™s a better dream for me.

And I will have it.

I donโ€™t know where this came from tonight but…

Thatโ€™s it. Thatโ€™s the post.


The 1999 Project: Ford Ranger

So this morning I picked up a 1999 Ford Ranger, technically an antique (but I guess so am I).

Straight stick (as God intended) V-6, basic little single cab truck. It’s pretty much all original but I love to mod on the inside and a little outside.

I’m really wanting to flat black the whole thing, headlights to taillights, tint the windows, etc.

Right now I’m sitting in the Best Buy bay waiting for the stereo to be installed.

This is what I’m starting with:

Old school. With a cassette player.

Im having a Pioneer touchscreen with CD/DVD, Apple/Android CarPlay installed in place of the stock stereo. I don’t have any cassettes anymore and rarely use a CD or even the radio even. Nope I stream podcasts and music.

I love having my maps on a large screen. The latest iOS update gives me even more options with music and messages plus the phone screen remains in an independent mode where, if needed, it can be used without disturbing anything on the stereo screen.

I’m also having a backup camera installed (because I can).

I spent a good deal of time here today. More than I wanted but I’m not complaining. It’s an older truck and the wiring is coded a bit different than what the tech was used to.

We kind of worked together on it and in the end I got what I wanted so all’s we’ll that ends well.

Jay the Geek Squad Tech that worked on my truck (I have a truck again!) was fantastic. He did a beautiful job.

Jay working on the backup camera.

I certainly can’t complain. He didn’t cut any corners and did his very best to install what I wanted where I wanted.

So if you’re in Columbia, SC and you need a backup camera or a stereo installed go to Best Buy on Two Notch and ask for Jay.

Beginning to end.

Start to finish it was an experience and Jay let me see stuff I didn’t know was in the truck for future installs and such. So the time I spent today was well spent.

Time to drop a review and nice email to the manager. I have to tell them that I was impressed.

This is just the start of this project. I’ll be writing more about it soon.

(Special thanks to Mags for letting this happen. She’s too good to me.)