Static Drop Information
Here are the links for the 83-97 drops and some information. I Answer this question so many times I am making a FAQ for it. I will do the 98+ later.
A 2/2 drop would be coils and flip your rear hangers and shackles. There are How To Articles on rangerpowersports.com therangerstation.com and fordrangerforum.com
A 3/4 would be Drop beams and a flip kit
You can do a 5/7 by combining all of these parts and either flipping the rear hangers and shackles with some grade 8 hardware for the rear 2" drop or install a 2" steel lowering block after the flip kit is installed.
You will also want some good drop shocks I recommend the Doetsch Nitro Slammers or the best ride and handling
I also sell the DJM Calmax shocks as well
but most people go with the Doetsch Nitro Slammers
If you have an ext cab you will need a carrier bearing shim to correct the drive shaft angles http://shop.illusivefabrications.com/replacements-accessories/83-97-ranger-carrier-bearing-shim-kit/
If you do go 5/7 I would also recommend a raised transmission crossmember and radius arm relocators for added ground clearance
The downpipe on the V6 trucks tends to hit the crossbar on the Radius arm crossmember and I sell them without the bar because some people have to cut it off. You will also want to install radius arm relocators before doing an alignment as they will change the front suspension geometry. You will also need DJM beams and the raised crossmembers if you ever decide to bag the truck and, they need to be installed before welding in bag brackets.
With a 5/7 drop you will also need a bolt in frame notch I offer a universal and DJM Ranger specific, both work fine. DJM comes powder coated and has bumpstops.
I also suggest picking up a set of NAPA part # 264-3950 +-4 degree adjustable camber caster eccentrics and, installing them before you take the truck to an alignment shop if using the drop coils. 83-87 is NAPA part #264-3952 3.25 degrees adjustable.
Air Ride Information
I am always being asked about Front/Back and Front/Back/Side/Side air suspension setups and want to put some information out there for people who think F/B setups are ok to run.
A F/B/S/S setup should technically be referred to as independent corner control. Here is why.
A 4 valve setup does not provide proper vehicle handling. 8 valves are needed for independent corner control and prevent air transfer when taking turns or, going around curves on the highway. The vehicle will naturally lean to the outside of the curve, when it does this it puts pressure on the outside bags (side of the vehicle the car is leaning to and wanting to pull your body towards). This in turn forces the air through the air lines to the other side of the vehicle, which will lift the vehicle on the inside of the turn even more. So a 4 valve setup will actually cause the vehicle to over roll in a turn more than stock, which can make for unsafe handling. Also the car will never sit level from side to side due to gas tank, battery, passenger, no passenger effecting the weight on each corner of the vehicle. You will also almost never be able to have an accurate alignment to prevent premature tire wear and bump steer issues due to the weight differences. A lot of vehicles will require a different pressure in every bag for the vehicle to sit perfectly level and have an accurate alignment.
So if you are running 4 valves and are having these issues this is why. Even if you are running sway bars on the vehicle with a 4 valve setup you are putting additional stress (more than with a stock suspension) on the sway bar and other chassis components which can lead to failure.
Bagging an Ibeam Ranger
Do you have the truck currently lowered with DJM drop Ibeams? If not that is the first thing you will need we sell those on our site under the static drop section. You will also need to relocate the radius arms from under the truck out and upwards on the outside of the frame with a set of our radius arm relocators. After those are installed you will also want a raised transmission crossmember. This will clear up the bottom of your frame so you can lay out.
Once these components are in place you can then proceed to installing your front bags and brackets. The beams and radius arm relocators need to be installed first to setup the correct geometry for the bag brackets. Which can be seen here http://shop.illusivefabrications.com/front-brackets/ranger-i-beam-brackets-style-2/
also our Ibeam bag brackets are made from 1/4" thick plate so you do not have to worry about them bending from the weight of the motor in the front.
You will need to notch the frame for the tie rods, the passenger side will need a larger notch than the drivers side. You will also need to slightly trim some of the engine crossmember for the Ibeams to tuck up in under the motor when layed out as well as, slightly bend the drivers side tie rod link to clear the pitman arm on the steering box. When setting up the bag brackets you want the bags perfectly straight and collapsed where the truck lays out in order to get the most lift out of your bags.
This pretty much completes the front suspension. You may need to trim about 3/4" -1"off the front crossmember on the drivers side under the core support it hangs down pretty far to protect the steering.
On to the rear suspension. You will need to install a 4 link to hold the axle in place, the most common setup on a ranger is a bag on lower bar triangulated 4 link. The lower bars will go outside the frame and the upper bars will be triangulated inside the frame. I suggest setting your 4 link up at ride height with your axle tacked in place up against the frame with some u bolts. Be sure to set your wheelbase as well (center of front wheels to center of rear wheels). Keep in mind the driveshaft will plunge in and out of the transmission some when the 4 link articulates in an arc from a side view. Sometimes we move the wheelbase back about .5" or so to allow room in the driveshaft for articulation.I would also suggest doing some research on instant center as well when setting up the 4 link to have good acceleration and braking characteristics. With a triangulated 4 link you will need to relocate your gas tank or get a fuel cell, this is highly recommended anyways because the stock gas tank hangs below the Rangers frame rails. You could run a wishbone upper link as well but you still risk tank puncture unless you have a custom shorter fuel cell built to go in place of the stock tank, we recommend installing a fuel cell in the spare tire area or into the bed of the truck. A parallel 4 link with watts link is also another option but bag mounting becomes more of an issue unless you also add 6 link bars and dog bones to run from the rear of the frame forward. In most cases a normal bag over axle setup on a Ranger with a triangulated 4 link, the bags will get mounted off the notch on the outside of the frame because the Rangers frame is so narrow.
After your 4 link is in place you will then want to install your frame notch. An 8" notch is pretty good for up to 20" wheels maybe even 22s but, your going to run into more front end issues than anything if you use the same size on the front. 20s can be done with the Ibeams but requires a bit more cutting and reinforcing the frame for the notches as you will need larger tie rod notches and will need to notch the frame for the Ibeams to tuck as well. To install a standard 8pc notch you will want to center it over the axle or maybe just slightly forward of the axle center from a side view as the axle will arc forward slightly when lifted or lowered from the center ride height. Once you tack weld those side plates in then you will need to tack the top plate in place, trim notch parts as needed to fit the frame contour and width. Once both sides are tacked in and everything looks good, fully weld the notches in place. After the sides and notch tops are fully welded then you can cut the stock frame out of the center of the notch. At that time proceed to install the notch bottom, trim as needed for fitment.
Next you will need to install the rear bag brackets, again set the truck so it is layed out flat and tack your brackets in place with the bags fully compressed. Sometimes the Rangers will tend to lean backwards when sitting on the ground. You may want to put a jack under the back of the frame and teeter it forward some so the truck lays flat (we also recommend just tacking your front brackets in place and getting the rear brackets tacked in place before fully welding them in to make sure the truck is sitting flat. This will also help tremendously if you might ever do a traditional cut floor body drop. Once everything is set and fully welded in You will also want to install front and rear shock relocators to dampen the suspension compression and rebound for the best ride quality and safety.
The rear suspension is much easier to do if the bed is removed first and you will also need to cut the bed floor open for the frame notches or raise the entire bed floor (traditional body drop it) and fabricate spacers between the frame and floor so the body lines stay in the correct location.
Most of the fabrication work is now done other than maybe building some compressor, tank, valve mounts. You will need to decide on your air management system, basic slow manual valves just to lower and raise the truck when parking or, a fast electric valve setup more for playing with the switches or, a digital right height controller such as the Air Lift AutoPilot system which we highly recommend for a daily driver. You will need to get an accurate alignment with pressure gauges on the air management to prevent premature tire wear.
Bag brand is your choice Slam Specialties SS or RE series and Air Lift Dominators are our first choice depending on budget. They also get the best lift over other brands of bags. I would recommend Viair Compressors Dual Packs in this order 480, 444, 380 which all push 200psi to have maximum play time in the tank and if you really need to get the max lift from your bags. A custom built engine driven compressor modified from a York 210 compressor also fills really fast but does require some fabrication work as well as a little oil maintenance so it does not burn up. These will fill a large tank very fast. Most common air tank size is going to be about a 5-8.5 gallon tank with the Dual Viair compressors. For a basic fast valve setup you can maximize your flow running 3/8" SMC or AVS valves with 1/2" air line or 1/2" valves with 5/8" or 3/4" line. This is extremely fast and may hop your truck about a foot off the ground without flow controls in place. An AVS switchbox is also a good choice with these basic 8 valve setups. You can read more on the different types of valves and air transfer on our FAQ page under Air Ride Information up above.
We also have bolt on 4 link kits available as well if you do not feel confident in fabricating the mounting points or are looking for a quicker installation.
This should give you a good overview of bagging the truck.
If you have any other questions please email me firstname.lastname@example.org