First ever "prerunner" build


New Member
Hi all,
This is my first every prerunner build so I am very new to this. First of I have little to none metal working experience but I have a more that average garage with garage tools if that makes sense. I recently picked up a 2000 Ford Ranger with a V6 5 speed manual. I have a real tight budget right now only about 5k is. Although over a long time slowly put money into this truck to make a true prerunner. I only about right now want something that can take a small beating nothing huge. While still being street legal. I want it to mostly look the part though.. I want it to look the park and still take a small beating. Later plans for this truck are long travel kit and roll cages for the cab and bed cages so I can do longer shocks and what not. But for right now I don't want it to look stock, want it to take a small beating and I want it to be a nice summer driver while still being street legal. Any tricks on how to accomplish this??? I have some mechanical knowledge, running corvettes at Bonneville in Utah so I can do a fair share of mechanical items. Looking around to change the looks of this truck Add to dictionary or however you spell it kept popping up. Thought on this company? I would like to thank everyone in advance for their knowledge and help.


There are some ugly truths to desert toys.

Suspension is a huge part of what makes an offroad truck perform and is expensive even for a mild build. That is to say a functional 'prerunner' requires a healthy investment upfront- no way around it. It's a steep curve in terms of dollars. Achieving significantly better results than stock will soak up $5k pretty quick but if you're privy to landing good deals, maybe some used parts, that will help. Keep in mind you're entering a different realm than cosmetic frame-drop lift kits. One can easily blow $10k per axle for a long-travel truck built right.

Also, it's a b!tch owning a truck initially built by the factory to run streets and light loads but now expected to soak up bumps at speed in a controlled manner without being a skilled welder. Trust me, I know. There is a lot of welding required as most of the necessary modifications cannot simply be bolted on. Consider learning to weld a part of prerunner ownership. Your mechanical abilities beyond that will also be of great help.

Obviously you're not setting out to build a race truck and either was I. These are some of the lessons learned from building & owning exactly what you seek to build- a nice summer driver while still being street legal. Turns out, asking a factory-based pickup to perform at any reasonable level is asking a lot. Good luck though and enjoy the transformation!


Well-Known Member
I've got the same sort of build going on a 96 though I can fab the parts. When you start doing your own fab you can burn through $5k in tube/metal fab tools and a welder. Not counting learning how to use one.

You can get a 10" travel kit for the front from Camburg for about $1800. It will bolt on and includes shocks. Camburg Ford Ranger XLT 2wd 98-12 Performance 5.5 Kit | Camburg Engineering This particular kit will be hard to find used.

You'll need some tires and wheels. Low buck from someone like 4 Wheel Drive Parts is about $800 for 33" BFGs in a pattern that will be OK on the street. Wheels will be another $500-600 and if you get the package they may mount them for you as part of the deal. You might be able to get these used as well.

With 33" tires you're probably going to need fiberglass fenders or at least pull out your fenders to clear. That's $350 for the fronts, another $500 for bedsides. Good luck finding these used, though I've seen them every now and again.

For the rear suspension a set of Deaver springs and some Bilsteins to match the front and you're at $900 or so. You may be able to get these used.

Suspension both ends $2700 plus whatever tax and/or shipping
Tires and wheels $1300-1500
Glass body parts $800-850 plus whatever tax and/or shipping

You'll need someone to align this once you get it put together so you don't grind the tires off it on the street and it's not so temperamental on pavement. The more you increase your off road performance the more the likelihood you'll sacrifice pavement performance and ride quality.

That's $4850 or so but you still don't have any lights or bumpers. Bumpers are a good first time project, much better than starting with a cage. This will get you more or less a trail truck that looks somewhat like a pre runner but not enough to jump anything except perhaps a big bump and not enough go go balls out through the desert.
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Well-Known Member
Try to get the a curt Leduc swap meet lots of parts at either the California or the Arizona one I have seen many used parts for great deals If you can buy it it is usually cheaper than having it built. And remember if it was easy and cheap everyone would have a Prerunner. Good luck and just keep pulling out the wallet is all it takes Right now sounds like your just wanting the look. Pull out the bedsides get some bumpers on it take off the tailgate and hang a spare tire off. We will know what your trying to do.

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