I purchased his '09 Ford Ranger for about 10 grand from a used car lot, and it currently has around 60,000 miles on the odometer. For the most part, I was looking for a daily driver—at least that's what I told the wife. Like most of my vehicles, I can't leave them alone. I have to modify them, drive them hard and try things to improve the look and handling. I've had lowered trucks before, but I kind of want to build this one to autocross the sh*t out of it. Who cares about autocross though? Well, I do but that is not saying much now is it? My plans are to modify the truck so that I can drive it on the road to work and back and also be able to push the limits on the asphalt. Sounds kind of cool to me but doesn't a Ranger have twin-I-beams under the front? Nope! Not the new Rangers—they have independent control arms just like an S-10.
Rangers from '98-up all have control arms with coil springs except the some Sport and Edge models—they have torsion bars and lower cross members that Ranger owners know make for an annoying drop job. The '01-'12 2.3L 4-cylinder Rangers come with a twin cam Dura engine that run strong, and from what I've read, will handle a turbo, but that's a whole other story. Let's get back to dropping this thing!
DJM offers a 4/5-drop that includes upper and lower tubular control arms to correct ball joint angle and gets rid of the crappy looking stamped steel arms. The DJM arms are made from much thicker steel and have greasable ball joints that the stock arms do not have. The arms use red poly bushing with inner sleeve that help keep alignment in check vs. the stock rubber bushings. This means that not only will the bushings hold up a lot longer during regular driving but not get trashed when pushing it on the twisties. Out back, it's pretty much stock with the exception of a DJM flip kit and shocks. In all reality, this truck will see tons of highway miles, so not only does the suspension have to ride good, it also has to perform good.
Most likely, you'll want to get yourself a set of alignment cams (PN 87500) from Specialty Products to help reduce premature tire wear and give the alignment shop better options on alignment. I opted to use the stock upper alignment spacers simply because I ran out of time to get them. When doing any kind of performance driving, it's a good idea to give the truck a little more negative camber than the stock Ranger alignment specs call for. I will start at Neg 0.25- to 1.0-degree of camber, and any more than that, I might have inner tire wear issues during long road trips, but the truck should like more negative camber on an autocross course. Caster also will help the truck perform well in corners but where do I draw the line? A good alignment shop should be able to give you advice on what you plan to do with the vehicle. The trick is to have the tire's contact patch on the ground at all times no matter what type of driving you plan to do.