Four Wheeler Features Project Ranger X

Anybody that knows offroad knows Four Wheeler Magazine. Its one of the largest, longest running, offroad focused publications in existence keeping up on events, trends and industry news. The staff got wind of the BDS 2019 Ford Ranger project build (Project Ranger X)  for Ford’s Booth at SEMA and immediately showed interest this, the newest version of Ford’s midsize pickup offering full outfitted into a utilitarian motorsports themed adventure rig before most had ever laid eyes on the new truck. After checking out the truck at the show Four Wheeler wanted more and set up a time after the show to shoot a full feature on it. Earlier this week that feature story went live on giving everyone the inside scoop on Project Ranger X, the truck they affectionately refer to as a mullet. Check out the feature online at (Four Wheeler – BDS’s 2019 Ford Ranger) and keep an eye out for it in an upcoming print issue of the Four Wheeler.

Built up and ready for an adventure. With just 5 short weeks, the BDS build team took one of the first 2019 Ford Rangers in existence and overhauled it into a show stopper. Built for capability out on the trail, great looks with a strong stance and plenty of utility with room to haul gear BDS’s Project Ranger X elevates the Ranger to the next level. Starting with a pre-production 2019 Ranger right off the assembly line, this truck was torn down, the frame was extended, service bed and custom rack fitted, a BDS suspension lift installed and larger tires and accessories were added. We documented the build in a 5-part build series that followed the team as they transformed this 2019 Ford Ranger from stock to fully custom, click the links below to check out how it all came together.

Build Intro

Build Update #1

Build Update #2

Build Update #3

Build Update #4

Project Ranger X Built Sheet:

2019 Ford Ranger XLT 4×4
2.3L EcoBoost Engine
10-Speed Automatic Transmission

Custom Long Bed Conversion (136” wheelbase)
BDS 6” Suspension Lift System (prototype)
BDS Upper Control Arms (prototype)
BDS GlideRide Rear Leaf Springs (modified GM1500 springs)
FOX 2.5 Factory Series front DSC Coilovers
FOX 2.5 Piggyback DSC Rear Shocks
AirLift Rear AirBag System w/ Lower Cradle Mount
Rear (Extended) Spicer Driveshaft

Wheels & Tires:
35×12.50×17 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM3 Tires
17×9 KMC XD Series Grenade OR Wheels

Powertrain Mods:
Ford Performance/Borla Catback Exhaust System

Vehicle Mods:
OE Magnetic (charcoal) Paint w/ Black & Fiery Orange Stripes
Knapheide Utility Box w/ Custom Built Rack System
Warn Ascent Front Bumper
Warn Zeon 10-S Winch with Factor 55 FlatLink
Custom Rock Sliders and Rear Bumper
Rigid LED Lighting (Radiance, SR-M, and Scene Series)
Bushwacker Front Pocketstyle Fender Flares
Dometic CFX 40W Electric Cooler on Slide
MaxTrax MKII Recovery Devices
Rotopax 2.5 Gallon FuelpaX Containers
Amp Research Fuel Door
Warn Epic Recovery Kit
James Baroud USA Retractable Awning
Air Lift Quick Shot Air Compressor and 2-Gallon Tank
Ford Performance Rear Diff Cover and Diff Skid
sPod 8-switch Touchcreen Relay System
Kicker Audio System (KMC10 Head Unit/KMTC Tower Speakers)
Optima YellowTop H6 Battery

2018 SEMA Show:

See it this week at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas in the Ford Booth in Central Hall #22200. Along with Project Ranger X, Sport Truck USA (home to BDS Suspension, JKS Mfg, RT Pro and Zone Offroad) will be set up over in the offroad section in South Hall, Upper Level in booth #30192. We’ll have severl new vehicles and new product on display to check out. Be sure to stop by to grab a beer with the BDS crew (served cold all week long) and see what’s new. Find out more about our SEMA plans by clicking the link, BDS’s 2018 SEMA Show Preview. We look forward to seeing you out in Vegas!


Go Back to Update #3  |  See the Completed Project RangerX  |  Jump Ahead to SEMA 2018 Preview

Ranger X – Build Update #4

The SEMA crunch is getting real, with just 2 build days to go until we need to hit the road for Vegas, there is still a lot to get done on this build, from wiring, assembly and final installation and graphics. At this point the shop is operating like a well oiled machine with everyone doing their part to get the job done. The “To Do” list is starting to dwindle down and their’s a light at the end of the tunnel. All the parts are back from paint and powder coat, the Warn winch and Rigid lights are installed in the bumpers and its getting bolted up front for the final time. With the larger wheels and tires we needed some additional tire coverage. In the rear the wider design of the service box does just the trick, but for the front we needed a set of fender flares. We turned to Bushwacker and got their first prototype set of pocket style flares for the Ranger and had them color matched to the factory Magnetic paint and swapped out the hardware to black stainless.

In a way this truck is like a mullet, its all business up front with that Warn winch bumper and 6” coilover system while its a party in the back as with custom outdoor stereo, dirt bike, electric fridge, spare fuel, lighting and more. Now that we have the Knapheide service box installed for the final time we’re fitting up the rack and wiring up accessories. With the goal to build this into a capable adventure rig able to haul a dirt bike and gear we knew we’d plenty of fuel supply. We turned to Rotopax for their 2-gallon Fuelpax containers and mounted them to a custom build rack designed for additional storage of gear and lights. When it comes to the auxiliary lighting, we turn to the pros at Rigid Industries. We’re installing an assortment of lights on this truck to include front amber radiance pods in the bumpers, a 40” front facing amber radiance light bar on the roof, and their SR-M floods all the way around the bed to light up the trail or camping spot. To keep things a bit cooler when setting up camp, we added a James Baroud retractable awning off the side for some easy access to shade on hot days and dry covering on rainy ones. Also in the theme of keeping cool is we have a Domestic CF-40W electric fridge/freezer mounted in the bed. We mounted this on one of the slide kits for easy access out on the trail. This truck is full of fun, from the mount for a dirt bike in the back to the bluetooth stereo in the bed. The stereo consists of Kicker’s KMC waterproof head unit powering a pair of Kicker marine grade tower speakers mounted to the rack to keep the party going. Along with the front mounted winch, we have more recovery gear in the back from Ford Performance and Warn along with a pair of Maxtrax recovery mats that we can stick under the tires if we find ourself stuck on in silt, sand or snow. The extra storage on this truck will be used for tools and camping gear. We have on-board air and a 120 volt power inverter to run tools and charge devices. We also have a ramp to load the dirt bike in and out of the truck.

We’re getting close, Project Ranger X is almost complete and ready to make its debut at the 2018 SEMA Show in Ford’s Booth #22200. We’ll have one more update before the show kicks off, a preview of the finished truck and then plenty more coverage of it out at SEMA and as we hit the trails afterwards. For more on the build be sure to head to the BDS Blog, on YouTube and on Facebook and Instagram at #ProjectRangerX. Check it out next week as this truck makes its debut at SEMA.

See the Completed Project RangerX  |  Continue on to SEMA 2018 Preview

Go Back to Update #2 | Jump Ahead to Update #4

Ranger X – Build Update #3

We’re back again with our latest update on Project Ranger X. The last couple weeks have been controlled chaos around teh shop as the BDS engineering team takes on the 5-week overhaul of our 2019 Ranger along with prototyping suspension kits for all of the other 2019 Ranger that will be on display at the show in Ford’s booth, building up our 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 and prototyping several new lift systems for the Wrangler JL and other new applications to debut at the show. Now nearing the end of our 3rd full week with the 2019 Ranger we’re buttoning up the rear suspension ahead of the service box getting back from paint while its all easily accessible. With the new extended 136″ wheelbase and converted the factory mono leaf setup over to heavy duty BDS leaf springs along with custom shackles and a set of AirLift bags for additional carry capacity. The shock mounts have been relocated as well and once we get the frame painted we’ll be bolting in a set of FOX shocks to match the front coilovers.

Next project was the rear driveshaft. With the extended wheelbase we needed an extended length driveshaft to install in the rear. We reached out to Spicer who builds the factory 2-piece unit to source an OEM quality extended length shaft to bolt right into place under our 2019 Ranger. Perfect fit and finish on this build. Another side effect with extending the frame is exhaust fitment. On this build we’re installing the Ford Performance cat-back system from Borla and need to lengthen the pipe by about 10” to fit like a standard exhaust. This ought to give that 2.3L EcoBoost some deeper sound and free up some additional horsepowers. The wiring needs to be addressed on this truck as well. Along with the extending the factory wiring we’re also adding additional circuits to power all our new accessories like the auxiliary lighting, stereo, air compressor, electric fridge and more. To control all of these additional devices we have an sPod 8-circuit relay system with touchscreen controls. This will allow us to control and customize all of our wiring outputs while cleaning up and speeding up the install process over running individual switches and relays.

Up front we fit this Warn Ascent series winch bumper to offer extra protection. Its a stout design and with a few minor tweaks we’ll integrate their front skid plate in with our IFS crossmembers for extra strength. From here the bumper is off to powder coat so we can get it installed along with the Warn winch and Rigid lighting. The wheels and tires a mounted up and ready to bolt on as well. The prototype BDS 6” lift system will allow us to install this set of 35×12.50×17 BFG KM3 tires mounted up on a set of the new 17×9 XD-Series Grenade OR wheels. These wheels have a great look, strong design and the backspacing we needed to clear the new steering knuckles. We added orange rings to match the rest of the theme we have planned for this build.

Last week we sent out the Knapheide service box to our crew at Butler Body Shop on the other side of town to prep and lay down the matching Magnetic gray paint. They’ve been great at meeting our deadlines with a top quality paint job each time. After paint the bed was sent over to spray Line-X sprayed inside the box for extra protection. Time to start reassembly. Stay tuned for next week’s update as the SEMA crunch gets real with a mad dash to get bumpers, lighting, graphics and all the other accessories installed in the final week before this truck hits the road for the 30-hour drive out from Michigan to Las Vegas for Ford’s booth at the 2018 SEMA Show.

Continue on to Build Update #4

Go Back to Update #1 | Jump Ahead to Update #3

Ranger X – Build Update #2

New 2019 Ford Ranger, check. Complete teardown of suspension and removal of bed, check. Frame cut and extended 10″to accomodate the Knapheide service box with 136″ wheelbase, check. Nearing the end of our second full week with this truck we’ve made a lot of progress prototyping the suspension. Using a mix of CAD sourced from Ford and raw measurement taken off our Ranger we’ve designed the complete IFS system from the ground up to improve this trucks performance with clearance for the larger 35” BFG tires we have planned to go under it. At this point the prototype crossmembers, differential relocation brackets, upper control arms and FOX coilovers have been cut, welded and are test fitted. This setup will correct the suspension geometry at 6” of lift while keeping all driveline angles in check. The last thing we’re waiting on are the steering knuckles. We just got the prototype knuckle castings in from the foundry. Right now they’re over in our manufacturing plant getting CNC machined on our Mazak so they’ll be ready to install.

In the rear of this truck we’ve begun mocking up the new suspension setup as well. Being the frame on his truck was extended 10” we will need to build new spring perches and extend the brake lines, wiring and rear driveshaft. Even though this service box is built out of aluminum, its heavier than the factory box and with all the gear we’re planning to load up we need a heavier spring pack. Being that we’re already building new perches for the truck we’re swapping out the factory monoleaf setup for a BDS multileaf spring pack using a set of BDS GM1500 leaf springs that should give the ride height and load capacity we’re looking for and pairing them with a set of FOX 3.0 piggyback shocks. For good measure, we’ve also called up our friends at AirLift to add in a set of air bags to help support extra more weight as needed.

While all of this is going on, we’ve also got a few guys fabbing up the adventure rack to mount on top of the service bed. This will give us even more storage for things like fuel cans, offroad lighting, retractable awning and other offroad essentials. The rack will be fitted to 3 sides of the truck and left open in the back to give us room to mount a dirt bike in the back. We’ve been mocking things up to figure out the best positioning to mount the bike and other gear going in the back of this Ranger.

At this point the service box has been on and off several times as we figure out logistics for things like the fuel filler, suspension, and steps. Rather than go with the standard cab length nerf steps we wanted to build a set of custom rock rail capable of supporting the weight of the vehicle and offering rocker protection. This set we’re mocking up will integrate a step for easier access to the bed.

With all this attention being given to the back of the truck we wanted to make sure the front is ready as well. In place of the factory stamped steel bumpers we’re test fitting Warn’s prototype Ascent Series winch bumper on the truck. This will allow us to install a Warn 10,000 lb winch and auxiliary lighting while offering up additional protection.

That’s all to report on this week, stay tuned for next week’s update as we continue to prep this truck for SEMA. Check out more of the build progress photos below.

Continue on to Build Update #3

Go Back to Intro  |  Jump Ahead to Update #2

Ranger X – Build Update #1

One week in and the build team is diving in head first to tear this truck back down and start laying out the plan of attack. At this point we haven’t had much seat time in the 2019 Ford Ranger, just a short 2hr drive back from Dearborn to Coldwater and some driving around the BDS test course.Despite the limited seat time up to this point we can already tell its going to be a contender going toe-to-toe with the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado once it hits the market early next year. We like the styling inside and out and the 2.3L EcoBoost backed by the 10-speed automatic transmissions has some pep. While our tight 5 week build timeline is keeping us from doing a full review on this truck it seems to have the right recipe to be comfortable and capable on and offroad.

Last year if you watched the buildup of Project SD126, our bright orange Raptor Super Duty, we took a standard cab Ford Super Duty and chopped the frame to take 18” out for a short bed conversion because Ford doesn’t offer a standard cab-short bed configuration. The end result was a super short 126” wheel base Super Duty what was agile on the trail and tear through the desert at high speeds with a long travel suspension on 42s. This year we’re doing the opposite, starting with a crew cab for 2019 Ford Ranger so we have more room to haul people and gear around. The plan is to fit this Knapheide service box to haul tons of gear on the back to build an ultra capable adventure rig. The problem with that is the crew cab Ranger is only offered in a (5ft) short bed configuration whereas the service box is only offered for the extended cab Ranger that use the (6ft) long bed. The solution, we brought out the cutting tools and welder to extend the frame on this brand new truck by roughly 10” to accommodate the Knapheide box. This will give us the best of both, optimal cabin space and more bed storage.

Up front the engineers has been hard at work using a mix of CAD we received from Ford as well as measurements taken off the truck to develop a number of suspension upgrades for this new Ranger. With the plan to outfit the entire fleet of 2019 Ford Rangers in Ford’s booth at SEMA our team has been working closely with Ford and FOX to get these options dialed in. We’ll have more on the other trucks beign showcased at SEMA when showtime rolls around, but on our particular truck we’re designing a full IFS lift system to include the crossmembers, taller steering knuckles, differential relocation, FOX coilovers, upper control arms and more. The team is in the process of designing and test fitting components so we’ll check back on the progress later on. The longer rear section of frame is also requiring a change to the rear suspension with new leaf springs, shackles, shock mounts and more. Check out the progress and stay tuned for more…

Continue on to Build Update #2