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Discussion Starter #1
Just picked up this truck the weekend before last, and I'm going to be working to get it back on the road again. Not many of these trucks left, so I thought it would be cool to share here!
Here's some links to a couple videos I've done about it, I plan to try to document all of my progress as I go along.

Walk-around tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urH1bjF01FY

Removing the battery pack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Chu0ZZDiyw







 

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This generation of Ranger is reasonably common in the UK, I guess being originally a Ford of Australia design, other right-hand-drive markets got it first.
But this is the 1998-2012 third-generation Ranger, which was for the Americas (North / Central / South America, built in the U.S. and Argentina). The replacement for this generation was developed in Australia.

This generation of American Ranger does look a lot like the Ford-badged Mazda truck which was available as the Ranger outside of Americas from 2006 to 2011.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just picked up another one this weekend! This one is a 98' model, also uploaded a video of it...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQlPvGgvgqs

I may end up parting this one out (as much of a shame as that would be)... I am on the lookout for some batteries for the white truck though, so if anyone in or around southern California has any I might be interested buying them, or maybe even some sort of trade for the red truck!
 

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Wow, I would love one of these. This would be a great little project to gut everything out and just swap in a very simple Hyper9 system and some newer, quality battery modules.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, I would love one of these. This would be a great little project to gut everything out and just swap in a very simple Hyper9 system and some newer, quality battery modules.
Not sure why you'd want to swap in a Hyper 9 (other than more power)? The drive-train setup in these is actually pretty decent, other than not being very powerful... Although it might be possible to maybe swap the inverter and just run more power through the stock Siemens motor, as it seems pretty overbuilt for the application.
You also would have to figure out a new gearbox for a Hyper 9, as the Getrag gear reduction unit on these trucks is concentric with the motor (e.g., the passenger side gearbox output actually goes through the center of the motor, which is really bizarre, but saves a lot of space).
Lastly, the voltage that this truck is designed to run is in the low to mid 300v range, so about 2-3x what the Hyper 9 is designed for... Meaning that to use a Hyper 9, you'd have to swap all the other HV components (A/C, power steering, DC/DC, etc.) for stuff that will run that the 100-150v that the Hyper9 will use. Might as well just do a scratch-built conversion at that point.
 

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Not sure why you'd want to swap in a Hyper 9 (other than more power)? The drive-train setup in these is actually pretty decent, other than not being very powerful... Although it might be possible to maybe swap the inverter and just run more power through the stock Siemens motor, as it seems pretty overbuilt for the application.
...
Lastly, the voltage that this truck is designed to run is in the low to mid 300v range, so about 2-3x what the Hyper 9 is designed for... Meaning that to use a Hyper 9, you'd have to swap all the other HV components (A/C, power steering, DC/DC, etc.) for stuff that will run that the 100-150v that the Hyper9 will use. Might as well just do a scratch-built conversion at that point.
I agree that converting a genuine Ranger EV to any low-voltage system isn't appropriate; it would make more sense to start with a conventional Ranger.

A battery replacement (and likely upgrade to lithium, with a suitable BMS), plus an update to the current charging port standard, seems like the right level of modification for a Ranger EV.

...
You also would have to figure out a new gearbox for a Hyper 9, as the Getrag gear reduction unit on these trucks is concentric with the motor (e.g., the passenger side gearbox output actually goes through the center of the motor, which is really bizarre, but saves a lot of space).
...
I didn't realize that, or had forgotten about it.

For anyone wanting a motor power upgrade for the Ranger EV, the Chevrolet Bolt drive unit is a possibility. Like the Ranger EV, the motor and transaxle are concentric. The Chevrolet Spark EV also had a concentric design, but uses less efficient planetary gears and a heavier but less powerful lower-speed motor. Of course then (as with any modern EV motor) the Ranger EV's stock battery voltage will be a little low for the motor...

For anyone determined to replace the motor, but keep the concentric transaxle, motors with hollow shafts which might accommodate this include the BorgWarner (formerly Remy) HVH plus the YASA, Emrax, and likely other "pancake" designs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
For anyone wanting a motor power upgrade for the Ranger EV, the Chevrolet Bolt drive unit is a possibility. Like the Ranger EV, the motor and transaxle are concentric. The Chevrolet Spark EV also had a concentric design, but uses less efficient planetary gears and a heavier but less powerful lower-speed motor. Of course then (as with any modern EV motor) the Ranger EV's stock battery voltage will be a little low for the motor...
Interesting... I didn't know that the Spark and Bolt also used concentric motors. There is a modification that a few Ranger owners have done to allow the truck to operate at slightly higher voltages, but it is really just a different driver board in the inverter that eliminates a few other modules... So I'm not sure what it would involve to remove the inverter entirely, as I think it plays a big role in the operation of the rest of the systems in the truck...

Since I have two trucks (and one will likely end up a parts truck), I thought it would be cool to take the motor out of the second truck and stick it up front since these use the 4wd Ranger front suspension. Not sure what it would take to make the 2nd inverter run "standalone" though, and traction/stability control might be concern.

The max voltage the Ranger will run with "stock" is about 374v, or roughly perfect for a 90s pack, which just so happens to be equal to 15 Model S modules ;). There is a guy that I think is running 14 of those in his Ranger (along with that inverter driver board) that gets 200+ mi of range.

My current plan is to do a lithium swap on one of the trucks, but I'm still looking for a pack within my budget... Although not ideally what I'd like to use, I might be relegated to using some used LiFePO4 cells. The white truck currently has a completely dead LiFePO4 pack in it, which is unfortunately past the point of being saved. I also would like to get it set up with CHAdeMO DC fast charging, though that will likely be dependent on what I decide to do battery wise.
 

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Not sure why you'd want to swap in a Hyper 9 (other than more power)? The drive-train setup in these is actually pretty decent, other than not being very powerful... Although it might be possible to maybe swap the inverter and just run more power through the stock Siemens motor, as it seems pretty overbuilt for the application.
You also would have to figure out a new gearbox for a Hyper 9, as the Getrag gear reduction unit on these trucks is concentric with the motor (e.g., the passenger side gearbox output actually goes through the center of the motor, which is really bizarre, but saves a lot of space).
Lastly, the voltage that this truck is designed to run is in the low to mid 300v range, so about 2-3x what the Hyper 9 is designed for... Meaning that to use a Hyper 9, you'd have to swap all the other HV components (A/C, power steering, DC/DC, etc.) for stuff that will run that the 100-150v that the Hyper9 will use. Might as well just do a scratch-built conversion at that point.
All fair points. I'm just fascinated with the HyPer 9 motors and thinking of all the vehicles that would be enhanced by using that motor system.

I'm looking to swap one into my 2200lb Th!nk city at the moment. it would be almost 300% more power and torque at the expense of about 20% range. Fair trade-off for my use.
 

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Since I have two trucks (and one will likely end up a parts truck), I thought it would be cool to take the motor out of the second truck and stick it up front since these use the 4wd Ranger front suspension. Not sure what it would take to make the 2nd inverter run "standalone" though, and traction/stability control might be concern.
In his Bolt-driven Westfalia, Yabert was able to use the complete Bolt drive unit with stock controls, in the rear of the van. I suspect that while stability control is doomed to just not work, traction control would still be functional for each axle separately.

The max voltage the Ranger will run with "stock" is about 374v, or roughly perfect for a 90s pack, which just so happens to be equal to 15 Model S modules ;). There is a guy that I think is running 14 of those in his Ranger (along with that inverter driver board) that gets 200+ mi of range.
I wondered about 14 Tesla Model S/X modules, but I don't know how the pack dimensions would work out. An advantage of 14 instead of 15 modules could be that it might be possible to use the original Tesla BMS from any of the 14-module models.
 

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All fair points. I'm just fascinated with the HyPer 9 motors and thinking of all the vehicles that would be enhanced by using that motor system.
The HyPer9 is potentially a good upgrade for any low-voltage system using a traditional brushed DC motor, but other than being configured for that voltage and having a traditional package (mounting, shaft end), it's a pretty normal modern permanent magnet synchronous motor. For vehicles already running higher voltage, a salvaged EV motor might be a better choice... if you can mount it and arrange a compatible inverter.
 

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Since I have two trucks (and one will likely end up a parts truck), I thought it would be cool to take the motor out of the second truck and stick it up front since these use the 4wd Ranger front suspension.
Assuming that the 2WD Ranger of that vintage uses coil springs, it looks like the EV uses the 4WD suspension to get the torsion bars for packaging reasons. It looks like a conversion to 4WD (with two drive units) would present three challenges:
  1. although the suspension may be 4WD, the hub carrier, bearings, and hub are presumably the 2WD components, so they would need to be swapped out,
  2. the battery pack appears (in the walkaround video) to extend all the way to the front axle line, so it would need to shortened to make room for the drive unit, and
  3. everything under the hood would still need to be fit in, as well as the front controller/inverter.

From a quick look at the battery removal video, it seems like it would make sense to build a new pack which omits the portion forward of the mid-mounts, so it doesn't occupy the engine space.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
All fair points. I'm just fascinated with the HyPer 9 motors and thinking of all the vehicles that would be enhanced by using that motor system.

I'm looking to swap one into my 2200lb Th!nk city at the moment. it would be almost 300% more power and torque at the expense of about 20% range. Fair trade-off for my use.
Unfortunately I don't think you can use a Hyper9 in a Th!nk, as those also run a high voltage system (roughly 400v max). The HyPer 9 is only designed to run at 100-150v, so you'd be running it at 3-4x the voltage it is designed for...
 

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... these use the 4wd Ranger front suspension.
Assuming that the 2WD Ranger of that vintage uses coil springs, it looks like the EV uses the 4WD suspension to get the torsion bars for packaging reasons...
It looks like some later 2WD Rangers of the same generation also used the torsion bar suspension, so it isn't just a 4WD suspension; in the case of the EV, it looks like the torsion bar suspension came with the frame, which was the 4WD version presumably for strength, but it may also have been used for height (perhaps wanted in the EV for clearance under the battery pack). That means there may be some experience out there in the 2WD torsion bar to 4WD conversion. In any case, the 2WD uses fixed spindles, so conversion to 4WD definitely requires changing the hub carriers (uprights).

The Ford Ranger Front Suspension
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It looks like some later 2WD Rangers of the same generation also used the torsion bar suspension, so it isn't just a 4WD suspension; in the case of the EV, it looks like the torsion bar suspension came with the frame, which was the 4WD version presumably for strength, but it may also have been used for height (perhaps wanted in the EV for clearance under the battery pack). That means there may be some experience out there in the 2WD torsion bar to 4WD conversion. In any case, the 2WD uses fixed spindles, so conversion to 4WD definitely requires changing the hub carriers (uprights).

The Ford Ranger Front Suspension
Thanks for sharing, I didn't realize that any of the regular ICE 2wd rangers had torsion bar suspension as well... I knew the previous gen 2wd ones used a twin I-beam/coil spring suspension, and the 98' and up had a more "conventional" wishbone/coil spring IFS.

Upon further research I guess it was the Ranger Edge (and later Sport) 2wd (kinda like the equivalent of the Tacoma PreRunner; bigger tires, fender flares, ground clearance, etc. to look like a 4wd, but still just 2wd) that used the torsion bar suspension. The EV came out in 1998, which was before the Edge became available as a 2wd with the torsion bar suspension (2001-2005). Other than the hubs and shocks, the 4wd and Edge suspension look to be nearly identical. Could be that maybe they use the same spindle/knuckle as the EV on these trucks?

I imagine they used the 4wd frame/torsion bar suspension on the EV both for the weight (the lead acid version weighed about 4,600lbs. empty), and the extra ground clearance (the battery pack does hang about 3-4in. below the frame rails).

The shop/student manual documentation refers to the EV having "Ranger 4x4 control arms and modified Explorer 2wd steering knuckle and spindle assemblies" along with apparently unique torsion bars, shocks, and stabilizer bar. The brakes on all four corners are also from the Explorer parts bin, and supposedly the rear hubs are "similar to those used on the Thunderbird"...
 

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Upon further research I guess it was the Ranger Edge (and later Sport) 2wd (kinda like the equivalent of the Tacoma PreRunner; bigger tires, fender flares, ground clearance, etc. to look like a 4wd, but still just 2wd) that used the torsion bar suspension.
I think that's a good comparison. There was a similar situation in Nissan Frontiers.

In the current (and mechanically unrelated) Ranger worldwide the base 2WD sits 100 mm (4") lower than the 4WD, but other 2WD variants including all 2WD Rangers in the U.S. sit at the same height as the 4WD. (We don't get new 2WD Rangers in Canada).

The EV came out in 1998, which was before the Edge became available as a 2wd with the torsion bar suspension (2001-2005). Other than the hubs and shocks, the 4wd and Edge suspension look to be nearly identical. Could be that maybe they use the same spindle/knuckle as the EV on these trucks?
That seems likely, or at least very similar parts.

I imagine they used the 4wd frame/torsion bar suspension on the EV both for the weight (the lead acid version weighed about 4,600lbs. empty), and the extra ground clearance (the battery pack does hang about 3-4in. below the frame rails).
I agree. Thanks for the confirmation about the weight and the pack position.

A Ranger EV converted to lithium and 4WD might not be very different in weight than a lead-acid original Ranger EV, perhaps.

The shop/student manual documentation refers to the EV having "Ranger 4x4 control arms and modified Explorer 2wd steering knuckle and spindle assemblies" along with apparently unique torsion bars, shocks, and stabilizer bar.
The Explorer of that vintage was based on the Ranger. I don't know why they didn't just use 2WD Ranger steering knuckles (hub carriers), but I suspect that is was for ride height, resulting from the position of the spindle in the knuckle relative to the ball joints - raising or lowering the spindle is how 2WD vehicles are lowered or raised without messing up suspension geometry (no change in spring length or arm angles). The Explorer/EV knuckles (and presumably later Edge) would likely have the spindle lower on the knuckle than the normal 2WD Ranger, and likely at the same height as the 4WD Ranger hub.

The other parts would be unique just to match the axle load. The torsion bars and stabilizer bar would simply be thicker for higher weight, and the shocks stiffer.

The brakes on all four corners are also from the Explorer parts bin, and supposedly the rear hubs are "similar to those used on the Thunderbird"...
The Ranger EV needs hub and bearing assemblies like the front of a FWD or 4WD vehicle, or rear of an independent suspension RWD vehicle, because it doesn't have the live beam axle and does need to accommodate driven axle shafts. The Thunderbird was RWD and large and the generation of that time had independent rear suspension, so the hubs and bearings would be suitable; the hubs wouldn't be identical only because the Thunderbird used a slightly different wheel bolt pattern (108 mm instead of 4.5" or 114.3 mm of the Ranger and Explorer).

The good news in all of this is that conversion to 4WD is likely largely straightforward, and that parts (such as bearings) should be readily available for the EV... even if you may need to ask for them by another name with some suppliers.
 

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Unfortunately I don't think you can use a Hyper9 in a Th!nk, as those also run a high voltage system (roughly 400v max). The HyPer 9 is only designed to run at 100-150v, so you'd be running it at 3-4x the voltage it is designed for...
I don't want to hijack the OP but I'm already working on re-configuring the stock pack for 144v. Essentially I'm going to be entirely gutting the car and starting over from scratch, just using the OE battery location.

On the EV Ranger topic it seems to me that doing an ICE conversion and mounting the motor directly to the rear differential would be the easiest/best way. This would leave the trans tunnel and most of the engine bay free for batteries. It would also allow you to fine tune acceleration vs top speed by replacing the ring gear with one of the many options available in the aftermarket. am I missing something?
 

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On the EV Ranger topic it seems to me that doing an ICE conversion and mounting the motor directly to the rear differential would be the easiest/best way. This would leave the trans tunnel and most of the engine bay free for batteries. It would also allow you to fine tune acceleration vs top speed by replacing the ring gear with one of the many options available in the aftermarket. am I missing something?
The Ranger EV is already an EV... there's no conversion to be done. The stock engine and transmission spaces are filled with the forward portion of the factory Ranger EV battery pack.

For someone wanting to upgrade the motor, there is no conventional rear axle to connect to - it has that Getrag concentric gearbox, for which gearing changes are almost certainly not possible.

For conversion to 4WD, with the front part of the battery pack eliminated (counting on lithium to provide enough capacity despite the much smaller volume), the plan would be to use the extra drive unit from the second Ranger EV. For someone without an extra drive unit, it would be possible to convert the hubs and carriers (knuckles), add the normal 4WD front drive axle, and connect a motor to it... then changing ring-and-pinion sets would provide some tuning ability, although the most extreme reduction available would likely be the only suitable choice. For a Ranger, that would be the 7.5" or (more likely) 8.8"; the 8.8" has up to 5.71:1 available.
 
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