well... what kind of driving to you plan on doing? if you think you'll be eventually building the engine up, i'd go 5-speed.
i had a 5-speed in my first ranger, and got an auto in my new ranger because i wanted something a little nicer. now that i've been building my engine and running nitrous, i wish i had stuck witha 5-speed. the 5r44e and 5r55e transmissions are crappy transmissions for ANYTHING other than normal daily driving.
if you'll be doing normal driving, a lot of stop-and-go driving (especially traffic), or towing, then i'd go with the automatic.
*SOLD 05/24/08* 2003 Silver Frost XLT 4 Door, 3.0 v6 4x2 Automatic.
255/60 Toyo Proxes S/T on 18 x 9 Boss 304 Chrome Wheels.
Slotted Rotors with Ferro-Carbon pads.
Volant CAI, Crane Roller Rockers, Borla Pro XS Exhaust, MSD DIS-4 Plus Ignition.
Kenwood Headunit w/7" Screen, Infinity Kappas in front and rear, 12" JL Sub,
Custom Ported Enclosure with Flushmounted Infinity Amps.
Custom Interior including Reupholstered Headliner and 7" Visor-mounted LCD Screens.