CUSTOM 4X4: XLT FORD RANGER
The White Walker
Meet Todd, aka Whitey, and his awesome XLT Ford Ranger. This is the holiday chariot for Whitey, Pip and their two kids Tyler and Jordan.
This Ranger is set up primarily for touring, and I think it’s a very well-thought-out build. Being an electrically-minded bloke who loves his toys, it comes as no surprise that there’s been a fair amount of electrical work put into this. Whitey wanted the machine to be functional, comfortable and capable… which it certainly is. The Whitemans have recently bought a new camper trailer so it goes hand-in-hand with the lifestyle they are chasing, with already a half-dozen trips on file and plenty more on the drawing board.
Not content with a dual-battery setup, this puppy is sporting four batteries! The starter circuit for the engine remains original, with an upgraded Bosch starter. The next bank of batteries is a pair of 120Ah units in the tray, charged by a Redarc DC-DC charger, giving 240Ah of juice. This main auxiliary bank powers fridge, freezer, 1,000W pure sine inverter, and all the camp power you could dream of. The Redarc for this bank also accepts solar input for mobile panels, and the whole bank can be switched to the starter circuit in an emergency via a solenoid and soft switch control in the cabin (probably useful for any heavy winching, too).
The final battery circuit is a 50Ah Optima battery, mounted under the rear seats, used for the LED work lights all around the vehicle (of which there are four… two to the port and starboard, and two off the stern). This bank is powered by its own Redarc DC-DC (lower amperage). All in all, it would appear Whitey is scared of the dark! Speaking of lighting, for night driving there’s a dual-row 52in light bar up on the roof, accompanying a pair of LED spotties down on the colour-coded ARB Sahara bar.
One of the things I like most about the setup in the interior is the roof-mounted centre console housing most of the electric switches, extra interior lighting, and GME UHF which connects to the heavy-duty GME high-gain antenna. Accompanying the inside mods is a pillar-mounted set of pods, for monitoring various voltages, amp draw and charge rates, temperatures… and probably a live feed to NASA’s telemetry supercomputers. Keeping the kids safe is a reversing camera, which also assists in tow-hitch alignment for the boat and/or camper trailer.
Speaking of which, the rig has an onboard Redarc TowPro brake controller – for the 3-tonne boat, and the camper trailer. Drivetrain wise she’s got the stock 3.2L turbo-diesel powerplant, with upgraded 3in SS modular exhaust, and of course the factory rear locker. Whitey reckons this is more than enough, for now (we all know therefore that means ‘temporarily’). Fuel-wise, he’s replaced the factory tank with a 140L unit to give awesome range for the long hauls.
Suspension is a modest 2in Ironman 4X4 Foam Cell constant-load, making a little room for Yokohama Geolander 33in All-Terrains and supporting the weight of an ARB Sahara bar upfront, with a 12,000 pound Ironman 4X4 synthetic line winch. Onboard air duties are provided by an ARB twin air compressor, mounted in the tray on a custom alloy tool/gear box, alongside numerous DC outlets and a volt meter. Now, as any family with young kids will attest … things can get messy with these little terrors. With that in mind, there’s Black Duck canvas seat covers throughout, and moulded floor mats/buckets which capture all of the shrapnel.
Keeping the kids in the shade is easy with a Foxwing awning, mounted on the rear of the Ironman 4X4 canopy – which also houses a set of Rhino Racks and a flatbed rack for the mounting of various toys. With many trips already filed, and a strong desire to get out there at every opportunity, I reckon we’ll be seeing this rig around the trails frequently. Cheers, Whitey!