Ok, so right now I have a 1997 ranger xlt extended cab 2wd 2.3L 5spd manual. I may be swapping in the engine/transmission from a 2001 ranger extended cab 4wd 4.0L SOHC 5spd manual. According to my research so far the transmission difference is M5OD-R1 versus M5OD-R1HD. Shouldn't I be able to just swap the 2wd extension housing and output shaft onto the 4wd donor transmission? Are the only differences between the two transmissions different gear ratios and beefier guts? I would assume too that I can keep my current driveshaft...what about the current rear end? I'm not very familiar with the 2001 rangers or just how many things changed across the years. Any insight?
Also, there is a 97 ranger XLT extended cab 3.0L 5spd manual 4wd at a yard nearby that I could use as a 4wd donor. I'm not sure I want to go through that much trouble, but since I'm tearing my truck apart anyway I'm entertaining the idea. Are there any frame differences between the 2wd and 4wd versions of the same year that would prevent me from swapping my 2wd front for the 4wd? I haven't measured anything yet to make sure but it seems like the suspension/front drive would bolt up to the same places after swapping out mounts and such. I can deal with the electrical issues of changing to 4wd...just wondering if the 4wd parts will physically bolt up correctly and if the 2wd frame is going to be in the way. Swapping bodies would probably take less time but the guy that runs the yard is a crook and I'm already going to pay enough for suspension/drive parts if I did this...and I'm not even convinced its frame is straight anyway. Would I be fine with the 97 transfer case or would I need the one from the 4.0L donor? I know that I could just buy a 4wd truck and it would be faster and perhaps cheaper...but I'm mostly considering doing it just to have a new project and I enjoy projects of such scale. Simply buying a new truck wouldn't be as much fun
An incomplete set of questions, but most of the ones I can remember at the moment. Thanks!