The '97 lets you avoid PATS issues, but adds a fuel pressure/return issue. More than a fair trade in my opinion.
Stick with the Mounty/Expo 4R70W transmission, keeps the PCM happy and is a very well though for a slush box.
Check out my 'lessons learned thread" on putting a 96 Expo into my 02 Ranger, covers most of the issues you'll hit with the exceptionally similar '97.
Last edited by win; 11-25-2015 at 04:47 AM.