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Newbie prerunner info


Hey everyone,
Been thinking alot about a pre-runner, what's the bare minumum I need for a truck to be cinsiconsidered a pre-runner? I don't have a big budget so I'll be looking for used parts, I want a V8 and lots of suspension travel any help would be great


Well-Known Member
You want a pre runner or a trail truck? A pre runner is more or less a race ready truck with some amenities like a full interior and A/C. And of course a full cage and all the safety gear. You would use it to pre run a race or as a high performance desert toy. A trail truck is a truck that you can take off road though wouldn't last during a race or be competitive. Or pass tech.

I've got a beamed Ranger pre runner in the shop now being built to 7sx/7100 (ish) specs. I figure I'll be $10k or so into it with me doing all the work, fab, engine, suspension. And it won't be competitive in the class but will pass tech though I don't plan on racing it. I've got a couple grand into it now and I'm in the cage fab stage. To be competitive in the class you're looking closer to $20k. A full size truck will be more. Cost will be determined by the scope of the build and the platform on which you wish to build. You'll also need the skills and tools complete what you decide not to job out.
Add weight to bed until desired attitude is attained. Hoon.



I'm thinking about a ranger with a 5.0 swap, long travel suspension it's not gonna be used in races or need to pass any inspection but needs to be street legal, after that I'll slowly add other things I want but nothing for compitions just a toy for the dunes and I have access to a couple hundred miles worth of dirt trails I can rip through. What is a good susoension setup should I look at for a Ford ranger? Are bead lock rims a must have?


Well-Known Member
Sounds like you want a trail truck. Most trucks non racers call pre runners are trail trucks. Tons of info online about the conversions. The Ranger Station, Desert Rangers and Ranger Forums to name a few have more detailed info than here. This will start you out. Ford Ranger V-8 Engine Swap

I've got a 4.0 in mine. I thought about a 302 or even 351 swap but decided to build the Cologne. A stock 302 is only a couple hundred hp. Were I to swap it would be a 2.3 liter Ecoboost. Take outs from LKQ are pretty cheap and the tech is modern. It's pretty easy to get 300 hp from the Ecoboost with minimal effort. More if you sink some dough into it.

For a 302/351 what you'll need to do will depend on what the core came out of. If you use a new Coyote crate you are over 400 hp easy. At a cost of about $10k new for the swap. LKQ has take outs for less. Many have done the 302 swap, it's not difficult. You don't have the grief of sorting out the street car Coyote computer to see what you need to get it to run. If you use the Ford Performance package computer and harness it's plug and play but maybe not legal for street use. At a cost.

If the donor came from an Explorer chances are you'll need a cam and head work or new heads. Eventually you'll probably want to re flash or replace the ECU. You can get them cheap, running, for a few hundred in many cases. If you work a 351 you can get it up to 300 hp without too much difficulty. For your app the hp/tq curve is more important than flat out hp. You'll need that torque to muscle through the dirt.

For suspension there are lots of choices. It will depend on what year you get. 97 and before are beams, after that are a arms. These days beam kits aren't that common but arm kits are. You can spend $3-5k on the front for a mid to long travel. I've got a gen 1 mid travel Camburg kit on the front that came with the truck. I did a Chevy spring swap/shackle flip on the back. Right now it's plain Jane Bilstein 5100s on both ends that came with the truck. The Camburg 98 plus entry level kit is only a couple grand. Camburg Ford Ranger Edge 2wd 01-12 Entry Level 6.0 Kit | Camburg Engineering

Search around, plenty of solutions and ideas out there. People have been building these for years.


New Member
vegasloki.. so I've got a chevy van that i'm using as a donor to build a trail truck similar to what you're talking about..

i'm looking for an early 00's ranger to stuff my 6.0, 4l80e, and 3500 rear end(no idea what it is but it's huge) into. i'm only looking for mid travel setup as I won't be hucking it and will actually spend a lot of time on mtn roads. So i do want it very streetable. I do want some stout suspension, and a cage, but don't need 10k worth of LT for this build.

that camburg entry level 6.0 is what i've been eyeing, but I'm not sure what to do on the rear suspension that would balance out nicely with the 6.0 camburg kit.

any guidance would be greatly appreciated


Well-Known Member
A buddy of mine may be selling his 90 4Runner with a 302 swap in it. Full Chaos front and leaf sprung rear. Clean truck, clean swap.