Hi-Range Rangers

By Editor
31st Aug 2018 , 1:01 pm

Our team recently completed some major work on two Ford Rangers. It seems as if these Rangers are reproducing in our workshop.

We entered into long discussions with the customers to decide on a setup that would work for the vehicle’s intended application. In the case of the first customer (Extra Cab), the vehicle was to be setup as a self-sustaining camper and would need all the necessary gear to achieve this.

The work on the Extra Cab Ranger was set out for us!

While the other client, with his Double Cab Ranger, would do shorter more frequent trips, that didn’t require as much, sustainability gear. Well…that’s what he says now.

The first port of call is protection! Out there on the trails, your vehicle gets put through very rough terrain and is very exposed to the elements, so its important to have quality protection.

So, starting on the front, we fitted an Oppositelock bullbar. Oppositelock bullbar is an Australian built and tested product with Airbag Certification. OL pride themselves in quality products that offers the durability needed to take on the outback thus making it a great competitor for the African market and more so for the Botswana market. We fitted the same bar on the double cab, except that we put a set of LED 215 Light Force spotlights on the Double Cab. The Double Cab will do driving at night and requires that extra lighting.

Sump protection is vitally important against sharp, rocky objects that may cause serious damage to the under carriage. So, with a Front Runner sump guard protection that offers the needed protection for the under belly of your 4X4, it is a must have. We fitted both Rangers with this sump guard.

On the rear we fitted an ONCA bumper with a single wheel carrier which through lots of trial and error we have found the ONCA rear bars most competitive to the grueling corrugated gravel roads of Botswana. On the spare wheel, we also installed a Front Runner spare wheel braai grid, covered with a custom canvas braai grid cover and spare wheel step, making rooftop access far more convenient. While with the Double Cab Ranger the customer didn’t feel the need to have a spare wheel carrier. So, we left that standard for now. He will be back.

Also adding to the protection and performance aspect of these two Rangers, is a V-spec Safari Snorkel. This protects your air intake from dust and especially water through those deep river crossings of the Okavango Delta. Adding to that a Safari Snorkel allows for much better airflow to your engine. Safari Snorkels are manufactured in Australia from Safari’s own Industrial Spec UV Stabilised Polyethylene.

The interior is being protected by the trusted Melvill & Moon and a Hi-Range custom made canvas dashboard cover with built in segmented pouches. The back load bin was rubberised. This protects and preserves the load bin from any damage. We have found through years of travelling Botswana, that this combination of protection handles our terrain extremely well.

Storage

When it comes to Canopies, aluminium canopies are leading the market. They are durable, light weight and easy to work with, without compromising on strength and durability. A Rhino Man aluminium canopy which is manufactured in South Africa and marks themselves as a market leader in off-road aluminium canopies. Up top we have secured a load bar kit to support the Alu Cab Expedition roof top tent. So, with both vehicles fitted we now have a base to work around.

The Alu Cab Expedition Gen 3 full kit powder coated is a state-of-the-art roof top tent. The Expedition is a sleek design that allows for consistency and quality. Made up of an aluminium casing and 400-gram UV-resistant rib-lock waterproof canvas with sealed seams. With the option to have load bars fitted to allow for a 50kg max load on the roof of the tent.

On the Extra Cab we fitted a Front Runner roof rack because, when it comes to roof racks and accessories, Front Runner is our trusted product of choice. Front Runner have come up with a modular roof rack design. Meaning, that with easy to bolt on brackets securing various types of camping gear from gas bottles, jerry cans, water storage tanks, to even bicycles, couldn’t be easier! So, with this modular design it is easy to add and remove accessories that best suits the customer’s needs. This gives you safe and secure mounts for your equipment. Less chance of your equipment getting damaged or potentially lost!

Making use of the variety of Front Runner modular accessories, we fitted the following components to the Extra Cab:

  • Front runner stainless steel Rack mounted table. This table is mounted underneath the rack using a table rack mount. This table is stored on the rack without compromising space for other accessories. This table easily slides out the side of the rack and is held in with a lockable latch.
  • Front Runner 45L water tank with lockable tap while on the ranger we fitted a Front Runner 52L stainless steel water tank with pump inside the load bin.
  • Universal gas bottle bracket and side mount for gas bottles.
  • Hi lift jack held on with Front Runner Hi Lift jack mounts.
  • Spade with Front Runner side mounted spade brackets.
  • A Front Runner 6 wolf pack drawer system was fitted to both Rangers. This gives them loads of secure, tidy storage space. We also added some Front Runner tie down rings to give the customer some more tie down points for those awkward loads.
  • Also fitted was a potjie pot secured with a Front Runner potjie pot holder. Nothing beats a good potjie out in the bush.

When it comes to shade, the Alu Cab shadow awning is a great feature. It offers a wide spread of shade especially on those hot summer days. The Alu Cab shadow awning was mounted on the passenger side of the Ranger using shadow awning mounting brackets. The Alu Cab 270° Shadow Awning is an easy to use awning that needs just one person for set up.  The Alu Cab Shadow Awning was designed in the windy Cape Town and is built to with stand strong winds and harsh suns. Covered with a reflective canvas material it makes perfect for desert conditions.

What’s camping without camping gear?

With a range of products to choose from after fine tuning our options we came up with this:

  • On the inside of the canopies we fitted a stainless-steel table, held up with a canopy table frame.
  • A basic kitchen cupboard which safely stores the canvas bag of cutlery. These mounted at the side doors of the canopy which makes it convenient to access on the road! Everyone loves a road side coffee, right?
  • Packed away in the wolf packs, is a 2-plate gas stove protected by a Hi-Range custom made canvas bag.
  • Also added into the Extra Cab kit is a Fast Pitch Pop Up Insta Cabin 4 Green ground tent with Front Runner Expander chairs. The Front Runner Expander Chair’s telescopic design allows this comfortable chair to fold into an extremely compact unit which is easy to store and transport. This is kept safely in a canvas bag with straps.
  • Secured with cam buckles and fridge frame, an Engel combi 40L fridge freezer sits nice and snug in the load bin of the Extra Cab with easy side door access through the canopy. This model also includes the user friendly digital control with LED display as featured, long with built in battery monitor. Also included is a 3 Year warranty. While for the double cab, we fitted a Big Country tilt slider in the back above the drawer system. A tilt slider is great allowing the fridge to tilt forward it allows you to easily reach into the fridge.
  • Behind the driver’s seat of the Extra Cab is another Engel 40L fridge only which is secured down with cam buckles and a fridge frame.

Having fridges is great, but how do you power them up without compromising your vehicle’s battery?

Well, easy. We install a dual battery management system. There are various products on the market which enable this. In the Extra Cab we installed an Intervolt DC-DC dual battery management system with a deep cycle battery. This allows for a DC-DC charging. Which means your deep cycle battery can charge independently of the starter battery. A DC-DC charging system can ensure efficient charging and can prolong the life of your batteries.  What this does is offer an optimum charging cycle for your auxiliary battery. This system can be monitored with an Intervolt battery monitor. The deep cycle battery is secured in a steel Front Runner battery box. Which has female 12V power points mounted to it.

Conventional solenoid systems can only charge the auxiliary battery in parallel to the starter battery like that fitted in the Double Cab. We fitted a National Luna Portable power pack. This power pack is a solenoid dual battery system. However, what is unique in a way that the battery box is portable. So, you can move it around your camp site to best suit you, thus making this a handy, convenient solution. 

I’m sure you’ve been asking yourself about suspension? While the most common added feature to 4WD vehicles is suspension and is usually the first thing to go on. We think differently. To get the best out of your Tough Dog suspension it is important that it is spec’d correctly. Before any work is carried we need to understand what the extra gear will weigh. In this case we can estimate the additional weight to be in the region of 250 – 350kg. Based on that figure we can correctly spec the suspension using Tough Dog suspension guide. In this case we used the Tough Dog 300kg leaf suspension kit. This means the suspension will carry a constant weight of 300kg and still give you a 40mm lift from OEM suspension. It is important that your suspension is spec’d correctly, as failure to do so can lead to premature wear on your suspension. So, getting expert advice here is the most crucial part of an exercise such as this one.

While getting out to your favorite camping site may be possible now with all the correct camping gear sometimes these places a far stop from civilization so with a Front Runner Reserve Fuel Tank you can be rest assured to reach your destination and allow for exploring of your destination.

It is important to carry a fire extinguisher. Some SADC countries require this to be in your vehicle before they will permit access through their borders. It is also important to carry one should you experience any sort of fire outbreak. This will help eliminate a smoldering fire before it gets out of hand.

We take pride in projects like these and wish these customers safe happy travelling and look forward to their pictures of these rigs in action!