Ranger - pros/cons considering maintenance/reliability

Natedog57

New member
I always find the "drive used" vs "drive new" discussion/debate relatively interesting, and I'll add my $0.02 just because I've had 3-4 old 1998-2001 Ranger.

I found them to be very reliable, simple, light duty trucks... wheel bearings around 200k, very easy to swap. Auto tranny's not the best, but 5 speed manual was quite good. 3.0l was slow but would run forever. I preferred the 4.0l, however the newer ones (2001+ SOHC) had timing chain (guide?) issues/preventative maintenance. Ball joints are a weakness. Honestly, I feel these trucks have a tremendous value, mostly due to reliability and price point.

What I eventually determined, while driving 20k+/ year, was that it was just a small truck... and a full size is more comfortable, and can tow much easier, while not getting much worse gas mileage... everything's a compromise.

I went to the 99-07 GM 1500 series which has also proven to be an exceptional value compared to buying a new truck.

I think it basically comes down to finding the right vehicle... low/no rust (something I don't worry about much here in the S), low miles and reasonably kept up by previous owners.
 

Buddha.

None of this matters
I would just get a new base model 1/2 ton truck. Even the base v6 engine is gonna tow a 4K pound trailer better than an old ranger.
My work truck is a v6 ram 1500 crew cab. I thought it would be a dog but it’s not.
 

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
30k a yr or more my neighbor buys 100k Camry’s and junks them at 350,000. Cheapest route for 30+ k yr driving.
Rural mail carriers around here do similar but with old SUV's. My guy has a early 00's Silverado, two other ones running around are rocking a first gen S-10 Blazer and a XJ.

For the few trucks with vacuum hubs there the fix practically grows on trees via second gen Explorers.

Its weird the pre-98 trucks had more problems with the bodies rusting out and the frames lasting forever, later ones had more frame rust problems and less body rust.
 

Chorky

Observer
Have you driven any of these trucks? I ask because you say the gas trucks are underpowered compared to the ecodiesel. The ecodiesel gets better milage but it's slower than the Hemi.

I know Ram supposedly fixed a lot of the issues with the ecodiesel when the brought them back last year. The previous ones were very hit or miss for reliability. The new one is based off the old one. It's not a completely new motor.

Either way driving as much as you are I would look at something newer. Newer motors and transmission last longer. A newer ranger isn't likely to need a motor for at least 300k. If you buy an older ranger it will need a motor at some point based on the milage you drive.
I did look at the ecodiesel (not in person). However, it is too expensive for me. Simple as that - unfortunately.... Also, I found out the oil filter housing is plastic?? Terrible...plastic and -20 degrees seems like a poor choice. But, regardless... too expensive. And that's not just the price. Its also the maintenance. I called several dealers, even though they have a 100K warranty, they wanted something like 300 bucks for an oil change every 5K miles, or they would not warranty a problem. New Ranger by comparison, according to 3 different dealers, is 50-85 bucks every 5K. Yes it cannot tow nearly as much, but if I really only expect to haul a 5K trailer here and there, then that seems acceptable.


First we really need to nail down "older"

An '11 is the older bodystyle, the last year of production until '19. Half as old as what I am daily driving, not saying they grow on trees but that is only 10 years old, creampuffs are out there. Retired guys loved smaller trucks to go to the barber and coffeeshop.

90's stuff... obviously the farther back you go the harder it is to find clean ones but again, if you look they are out there.
Good point! Subjectiveness at it's finest. To me, 'older' is model year 2000 to 2012. "newer' is 2013-2018. 'old' is anything prior to 2000. That's just my subjective terminology, nothing more.. But good discussion!!


30k a yr or more my neighbor buys 100k Camry’s and junks them at 350,000. Cheapest route for 30+ k yr driving.

Modern vehicles are pretty impressive regarding build quality over vehicles built 10yrs ago.
Your over thinking it. Plus if your not getting paid on your 30k of mileage maybe cut back on the driving thats not healthy 👍
Yep. well current situation is a commuting distance of 3,000 miles a month. I'm looking at moving which would reduce commuting to 2,200 miles a month (not including fun, groceries, etc..). However, with the housing market as it is, a lot of it is out of my control. The simple fact is my current truck will require that I actually PAY to go work. Dumb... So something has to change.

FYI I spent 15 hours doing a cost analysis, factoring in fuel, maintenance averaged over time, loans, mileages, etc... the cost, from a particular location, for my truck compared to a new truck with a 10K loan is a wash... seems like a no brainer at least considering cost alone. A third vehicle (such as a car) is not an option for me, unfortunately. Just positng this for the good of the group even though it's a bit personal.

All that said - the truck is currently getting serviced, everything is top notch - as expected.
 

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Overwatch21

Member
I think the Ranger is underrated. While it doesn't have a front locker like the ZR2, or MM shocks, it does have the highest payload and towing in its class. Very reliable powertrain too. The Tremor package looks great. Probably what the FX-4 should have been.

"What really matters here is those specs whoop the Colorado ZR2 up and down the trail. The Chevy has 8.9 inches of ground clearance and approach, breakover, and departure angles of 25.3 degrees, 23.5 degrees, and 23.5 degrees. On the other hand, the ZR2 comes with front and rear axle lockers—the Ranger Tremor only gets a rear locker—and incredible Multimatic DSSV shocks, so we're not going to make a call on which is the better off-road truck until we do a proper comparison."

2021 Ford Ranger Tremor First Test: One Tough Truck (motortrend.com)
 

alanymarce

Well-known member
However, one aspect I have not been able to really find much discussion/comment on (for either the 1500 or the Ranger) is real world experience with maintenance and reliability.
Short answer to the basic question: a client of mine (in Argentina & Bolivia) replaced its fleet of pick-ups a few years ago and went from Hiluxes to Rangers (about 2000 of them). Their decision was based mainly on total cost of ownership. I've heard no complaints.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Short answer to the basic question: a client of mine (in Argentina & Bolivia) replaced its fleet of pick-ups a few years ago and went from Hiluxes to Rangers (about 2000 of them). Their decision was based mainly on total cost of ownership. I've heard no complaints.
Yeah except I doubt he is using 2000 Rangers built 10 yrs ago😆.
This thread bounces between a 20 yr old unicorn and a new North American variant of the Australian Ranger. LoL
 

alanymarce

Well-known member
Yeah except I doubt he is using 2000 Rangers built 10 yrs ago😆.
This thread bounces between a 20 yr old unicorn and a new North American variant of the Australian Ranger. LoL
Thinking back - I believe that the Rangers were bought about 10 years ago. I've been to their field operations many times before and since and during the subsequent years never heard a whisper of complaint (not that there had been any with the Hiluxes).

Out of interest (if any?) the last time we did some wandering there we picked up (so to speak) a rental Hilux and drove from the coast to the Andes, south on Ruta 40, and back to the coast then north to complete the circuit. It was better than my previous experience with Hiluxes, although without weight in the tray the lateral stability on gravel was still lacking compared with the SUVs we had previously used in the region.

We'll have to try the new Ranger some time.
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
Thinking back - I believe that the Rangers were bought about 10 years ago. I've been to their field operations many times before and since and during the subsequent years never heard a whisper of complaint (not that there had been any with the Hiluxes).
I think even ten years ago that would still make it the current N/A Ranger platform.

 

egilbe

New member
I have a '20 Ranger Lariat FX4. Although its new to NA, its not new to the ROTW. The 2.3L ecoboost engine has been around for quite awhile in the Mustang and Focus. The 10 speed tranny has been used in the Ford Raptor. I love mine...

I worked for a company that made automotive parts for Ford, GM, and Toyota. The quality requirements for Ford and Toyota were lightyears above what was deemed acceptable for GM. For that reason, I will never buy GM products if that is any way representative of the rest of their quality standards.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
we picked up our ‘21 2 months ago. Not saying I’m loving it but pretty excited. Overall our xlt 4x4 drives very nice, has plenty of power and does what we ask it to do.
here are my observations that kind of bug me.
1. with child seat in place, there is no way to access the underbench storage. This means behind the drivers seat is a mess of shopping bags, tie down straps and other crap that could be in under the bench.
2. to get heated mirrors you need to order heated leather seats. We have cloth...
3. the arm rest storage box is “ loud”. Having anything slide around in there is very annoying. A 20cent piece of fabric / felt would be great.
4. The cargo box is very short! Come on ford, at least make it a true 5’.
5. where the heck do you put your phone? There is no logical place for it.
6. fuel tank is way too small. I guess ford did that to have a higher payload. But in daily life it sucks to fill up every week.

our previous car was a 2013 outback. That car had more features in the base model...

im not complaining. we knew the features when we custom ordered ours. But now that we drive it everyday there are just these details that could be easily considered by ford. Those details would only cost a minimal amount but would make a difference.

in any case, would I buy it again, for our purpose, yes.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
we picked up our ‘21 2 months ago. Not saying I’m loving it but pretty excited. Overall our xlt 4x4 drives very nice, has plenty of power and does what we ask it to do.
here are my observations that kind of bug me.
1. with child seat in place, there is no way to access the underbench storage. This means behind the drivers seat is a mess of shopping bags, tie down straps and other crap that could be in under the bench.
2. to get heated mirrors you need to order heated leather seats. We have cloth...
3. the arm rest storage box is “ loud”. Having anything slide around in there is very annoying. A 20cent piece of fabric / felt would be great.
4. The cargo box is very short! Come on ford, at least make it a true 5’.
5. where the heck do you put your phone? There is no logical place for it.
6. fuel tank is way too small. I guess ford did that to have a higher payload. But in daily life it sucks to fill up every week.

our previous car was a 2013 outback. That car had more features in the base model...

im not complaining. we knew the features when we custom ordered ours. But now that we drive it everyday there are just these details that could be easily considered by ford. Those details would only cost a minimal amount but would make a difference.

in any case, would I buy it again, for our purpose, yes.
I suspect the redesign due in 2 yrs will be far mor interesting than the old Australian Ranger warmed over for the US market. I liked it but at the time I had an Outback and two kids, rear seat space was a major concern. I have a 2019 Expedition today, its awesome and easily competes with the OB on range. Yeah that small fuel tank vs hungry turbo when say towing a trailer is a negative.
 

Chorky

Observer
Yeah except I doubt he is using 2000 Rangers built 10 yrs ago😆.
This thread bounces between a 20 yr old unicorn and a new North American variant of the Australian Ranger. LoL
Bouncing between the two because a cheap good condition older (90's - 2010) would suit me ok for the time being. But finding one is a unicorn like you said. And theyre priced high - then again so are most desireable old trucks.

we picked up our ‘21 2 months ago. Not saying I’m loving it but pretty excited. Overall our xlt 4x4 drives very nice, has plenty of power and does what we ask it to do.
here are my observations that kind of bug me.
1. with child seat in place, there is no way to access the underbench storage. This means behind the drivers seat is a mess of shopping bags, tie down straps and other crap that could be in under the bench.
2. to get heated mirrors you need to order heated leather seats. We have cloth...
3. the arm rest storage box is “ loud”. Having anything slide around in there is very annoying. A 20cent piece of fabric / felt would be great.
4. The cargo box is very short! Come on ford, at least make it a true 5’.
5. where the heck do you put your phone? There is no logical place for it.
6. fuel tank is way too small. I guess ford did that to have a higher payload. But in daily life it sucks to fill up every week.

our previous car was a 2013 outback. That car had more features in the base model...

im not complaining. we knew the features when we custom ordered ours. But now that we drive it everyday there are just these details that could be easily considered by ford. Those details would only cost a minimal amount but would make a difference.

in any case, would I buy it again, for our purpose, yes.
Thanks for the feedback! A lot of folks have mentioned similar things size wise - small rear seats and a 5' bed. Even two different sales folks at 2 different dealors said the same. I am single, and dont even have a dog - prospects of a future wife and kids is small it seems - so a extended cab (not crew) with the 6' bed would work great. I guess theres not many single people out there anymore.... But some of those little things you mentioned (especially the fuel tank size) certainly would be an annoyance. With my current mileage I would be filing up daily basically. Which is super lame. So I'm looking at buying a house in the town I will be transferred to. Not optimal, poor house choices and stupid expensive, but commuting is even more so. I did drive both a super base model, and a crew lariat and I will say they ride quite nice - about the same as my OBS actualy, but with more pep of course and other comforts. Cuttently in the process of getting a build quote with extended warranties and service plans since they cut down long term costs - so well see what they come up with and if it fits what my budget is.


I suspect the redesign due in 2 yrs will be far mor interesting than the old Australian Ranger warmed over for the US market. I liked it but at the time I had an Outback and two kids, rear seat space was a major concern. I have a 2019 Expedition today, its awesome and easily competes with the OB on range. Yeah that small fuel tank vs hungry turbo when say towing a trailer is a negative.
Are you implying the ecoboost gets terrible mileage while towing due to it being a turbo? Whats your mpg when towing? I agree the fuel tank is obnoxiously small - especially for my amount of distances with no fuel stops. I would have to put in a secondary 15 gal transfer tank for sure - but I believe there is room under the frame for that.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Bouncing between the two because a cheap good condition older (90's - 2010) would suit me ok for the time being. But finding one is a unicorn like you said. And theyre priced high - then again so are most desireable old trucks.



Thanks for the feedback! A lot of folks have mentioned similar things size wise - small rear seats and a 5' bed. Even two different sales folks at 2 different dealors said the same. I am single, and dont even have a dog - prospects of a future wife and kids is small it seems - so a extended cab (not crew) with the 6' bed would work great. I guess theres not many single people out there anymore.... But some of those little things you mentioned (especially the fuel tank size) certainly would be an annoyance. With my current mileage I would be filing up daily basically. Which is super lame. So I'm looking at buying a house in the town I will be transferred to. Not optimal, poor house choices and stupid expensive, but commuting is even more so. I did drive both a super base model, and a crew lariat and I will say they ride quite nice - about the same as my OBS actualy, but with more pep of course and other comforts. Cuttently in the process of getting a build quote with extended warranties and service plans since they cut down long term costs - so well see what they come up with and if it fits what my budget is.




Are you implying the ecoboost gets terrible mileage while towing due to it being a turbo? Whats your mpg when towing? I agree the fuel tank is obnoxiously small - especially for my amount of distances with no fuel stops. I would have to put in a secondary 15 gal transfer tank for sure - but I believe there is room under the frame for that.
Eco or boost there is a reason many say that. Under load the eco boosts like their fuel.
 
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