The Lone Ranger – 1st Long Road Trip

The wife and I took the first ‘long’ road trip in the Ranger this weekend (about 600 miles round trip). While not really part of the build, I thought a little update on how the thing does on the road would make some sense.

Onto the photos!

Headed south (MO) on the two lane for awhile:
Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Stopped at Blue Springs:
Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Continued on To Rocky Falls:
Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

And then onto Alley Spring/Mill. This mill is a little different as it uses a turbine instead of a water wheel to power the machinery:
Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

More two lane, and a quick trip down a ‘creek’ road, we stopped and grabbed some photos of the Ranger:
Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

No real issues with the truck on the way down other than a motor mount starting to let go. So we stopped an said ‘hi’ to some relatives near Hartville Mo, loaded up and headed back home:

Sara L.: 1st Road Trip &emdash;

At this point in the trip, things turned a bit sour. It turns out my truck doesn’t like to act like a truck. When it is loaded up in the rear (had about a ½ to ¾ ton of rock on it), the soft rear suspension likes to sway dramatically at highway speeds above 55 mph. A few white knuckle moments here and there, not anywhere near as bad as death wobble, but still concerning.

As a result of that swaying, my rear shocks have overheated to the point of leaking some of their oil, so I’m not sure how long they are for this world. The swaying also didn’t help out the motor mount situation, which led to things shifting around enough to cause an exhaust leak (knowing my luck, its one of the dang headers leaking).

Other than those issues, I’m extremely happy with the trucks road manners. Even with the gears being what they are, there wasn’t any issues holding highway speeds (loaded or unloaded) which surprised me some. At this point, I think the biggest improvement to be made in the road manners is adding something to stiffen up the front steering (Hyro, or trac bar) as the front shackles allow for a bit more slop in the front than I like.

I’m not quite sure how to attack the rear loaded swaying problem just yet (other than tightening up the front will help some). I’m not sure if slapping a sway bar on the back is the answer, or just adding something to help stiffen up the rear some (Bags?). I don’t plan on hauling that much in this, so its not a priority at this point.

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