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Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger #5192823 08/21/19 10:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
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Patrologia Offline OP
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I need to replace most of the front suspension on a 2004 Ford Ranger 4x4 that I recently purchased, and I'm looking for recommendations for how to keep this kinda cheap, but not too cheap. I've seen 8-12 pc kits on Amazon and elsewhere for around $100, and frankly that seems "too good to be true" or at least, too cheap to be good. Maybe I'm wrong.

Some information that might be important.
1. this truck is not a daily driver, I bought it for those times when I need to haul something or move something. Probably 3K per year max, 4 at the outside.
2. It's a 4x4, which will be nice this winter, but I don't intend to do any off roading or anything like that with it. I don't need heavy duty or premium parts for that purpose.
3. Torsion bars, not coil springs.
4. Passenger side Control Arm is the one piece, so I assume I should stick with that.
5. I don't want to lower it, lift it, or anything like that.

Just by my own checking, I need to replace all 4 ball joints (at least 3 are bad, the passenger upper I'm not sure), the left outer tie rod end (did the right already), and the sway bar links look pretty rusty. Inner tie rod end on the right seemed solid, I haven't checked the left yet but I already have that if I get into it and it is bad.

I'm open to a "kit" if there's one that is worthwhile, and I'm open to ordering parts separately from different manufacturers if that's what BITOG recommends. I tried shopping a bit on Rock Auto, and realized I don't know enough about either the quality of the components I'm looking at or about my own needs to make intelligent choices. I know I could just go all Moog, and I'd be fine, but I have a feeling I'd be paying for more than I actually need.

So, can I get a little help?


2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.3L
2003 Honda Civic EX
2004 Ford Ranger 3.0L 4x4 held together by rust and dirt
Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5192911 08/21/19 12:39 PM
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oilpsi2high Offline
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For my truck, RockAuto has a front end refresh kit that includes all new front end components (or most of them.)

Try to find something like that.

I always try to stick with OEM stuff, or at least name brand aftermarket like Bilstein and MOOG. Check forums or even a Facebook Ranger group for good/recommended parts.


Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5193033 08/21/19 03:00 PM
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Patrologia Offline OP
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Yeah, I checked a couple of Ranger forums, but it seems like the most active people on them need high performance because they either want to lift the trucks a lot, they're taking them off road a lot, or both. The only response I got when asking the question seemed to be "go cheap," but without claiming any experience with said cheap brand (Detroit Axle). I guess I have to do the research to find out what the quality name brands are. For example, I wasn't familiar with Bilstein


2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.3L
2003 Honda Civic EX
2004 Ford Ranger 3.0L 4x4 held together by rust and dirt
Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5193122 08/21/19 04:33 PM
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nthach Offline
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If that '04 Ranger is anything like the Explorer, the upper control arms have non-serviceable ball joints, while the lowers can be pressed in and out. You need to buy new upper control arms. I had to go through that with a friend's '98 Explorer. The good news is that the new Moog arms I've installed have serviceable ball joints. I've priced out all Moog parts for that truck and it's $200 with the new control arms.

Moog Problem Solver would be my pick, then OEM TRW/Lemforder. I have my doubts with Chinese suspension parts and replacing the ball joints on these isn't a job I'd like to do twice. I've heard from The Critic that Mevotech is meh.

Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5193325 08/21/19 08:31 PM
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slacktide_bitog Offline
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Motorcraft, or Moog CK-series (NOT the RK), or Proforged

Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5193373 08/21/19 09:23 PM
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2strokeNorthstar Offline
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I use all Moog problem solver on my 01 F150 4x4. Best of aftermarket but even they wear out if you are rough on your truck. Tried some AC Delco and didn’t last 1 year. Got an air hammer with the right sized attachments. Changes are simple now.

Last edited by 2strokeNorthstar; 08/21/19 09:23 PM.

2001 F150 5.4L 140k miles
2013 Nissan Juke Nismo 80k
2000 Honda S2000 183k
1998 BMW 328i 170k
Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5193374 08/21/19 09:23 PM
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kstanf150 Offline
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Go with Moog parts from RA
They’ll serve you well at a good price

Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5193405 08/21/19 10:06 PM
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01rangerxl Offline
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Unfortunately I think most IFS Ranger offerings are hit or miss. I tried to get quality with Raybestos Pro back around 2011-2012, which looked decent but didn't really hold up. 3 of 4 had to be replaced after 85k miles. Bought one Moog Problem Solver lower and O'Reilly's "Precision" upper arms to replace the shot Raybestos junk. The O'Reilly Precision arms are junk too...boots already falling apart, so they will need frequent greasing to last much longer. I guess the Moog lower ball joint has been fine so far, but so far is roughly 20k miles.

My friend bought one of the many generic kits online and it at least lasted a year until he sold the truck. I am undecided on what I will do next time.

The Twin I Beam / Twin Traction Beam suspensions used until '97 may have been archaic, but at least they don't have the same appetite for ball joints.


2002 Ford Ranger XLT | 3.0 V6 Auto 2WD | 231K miles
1994 Ford Ranger STX | 4.0 V6 Manual 4X4 | 201K miles
1994 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0 V6 Auto 4X4 | 250K miles
Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5194188 08/22/19 08:48 PM
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Patrologia Offline OP
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Thanks all, I ended up ordering Moog versions of everything from Summit. Turned out to be a bit cheaper than Rockauto. I had no idea I’d be able to do that under 200, so thanks. Should be here Monday, and I’ll do the work next week.


2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 3.3L
2003 Honda Civic EX
2004 Ford Ranger 3.0L 4x4 held together by rust and dirt
Re: Help choosing suspension/steering parts '04 Ranger [Re: Patrologia] #5194262 08/22/19 09:58 PM
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Kruse Offline
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Originally Posted by Patrologia
Thanks all, I ended up ordering Moog versions


Since you've already ordered your parts, my post is irrelevant, but....
About five years ago, my cousin died. He was a Viet Nam vet who came back different then when he went there. Which is really irrelevant to my post, except his main vehicle was a '98 Ford Ranger, 3.0/manual tranny/2WD.
His brother put the Ranger in his barn for a few months and it just sat there, basically neglected. I was there fixing another vehicle of the brother and I saw it. Thinking I could get a decent bargain, I asked about it and drove it home a few days later.
Vehicle had right at 100K miles on it. The front end needed a complete rebuilding and I used Moog Problem Solvers on the whole front end. It's not that I was a Moog fanatic or anything, it's just that RockAuto had the Problem Solvers at a decent price and everything was replaced at the same time. The vehicle became my wife's favorite vehicle and now has close to 200K miles on it. She just got back from visiting her mom which is about 1500 miles round trip. While I'm not going to argue that Moog Problem Solvers are the best replacement parts out there (they probably aren't), they've held up really nice and my wife commented on how the truck drives really nice at interstate speeds. These parts do have zerks, but I very seldom grease them. When it comes to ball joints, too much grease is worse then not enough. Good luck with your Ranger.

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