It’s official, I’m doing the Tennessee Gambler 500 next weekend! Then I’ll be doing the Illinois Gambler 500 October run three weeks later. Since that leaves me little wrenching time, I should get started!

Any Oppos nearby the rally out there?

Skid plates: My inspection reveals that my truck has most of the factory option skid plates. The other much more long term Ranger owners on my team say the factory ones are good for the kind of offroading we do, so I should just complete the factory ones.

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Front plate will either be the only prefab one on the market, or I’ll see if I can get someone to fab me one up.

Roof rack is still a thing, but the metal jerry cans it’ll carry will just be for looks. If I need extra fuel (doubt), I have a plastic can in the bed for it.

Lighting: Two ditch lights, one 22 inch bar on the rack, all independently switched. Oh, and I’m probably going to put RGB strips everywhere. What’s a Gambler car without silliness!

Tires: Installed! To put this into perspective, I bought this truck for $700 and my first mod was $150 muds. I’m still under a grand, baby! And I have two spare wheels from it all.

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Mechanical: I had an awful misfire after the fuel cap broke and I replaced it with a pill bottle and g-string...

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It now has a real fuel cap, misfires are gone. Check engine light is gone!

I want to change the transmission fluid before the trip. This truck lived 220k miles of who knows what kind of treatment, so this can be some insurance I’ll make it home. Thankfully, trans fluid changes are easy in these.

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The exhaust is also shot, so I’ll just grab the glasspack I have laying around and slip it on.

Paint: I won’t get around to rust repair. However, the truck will get the same Gambler 500 livery as the smart, plus “Sirch & Rascue” on the side. The livery will be pink because why not.

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Bed: Not going to worry about it until after the trip.

2001 front end conversion: See above.

Front bumper: Barring me finding a custom one for sale or getting one made for cheap, I’m just going to bedliner the factory one and send it as is.

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Ooooooooh this is so fun! Oh, so those Thornbirds? Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ the seller wasn’t wrong. These things produce SO MUCH vibration and the roar is only second to a turbofan engine. Oh, and the road manners are shite. But I love them!

Update: Ugh...so the front right is leaking 20psi a day. Weird because the right front wheel is the best wheel of the bunch! Guess I’ll take her back tomorrow and have the shop look at it.