Drivetrain Vibration SOLVED
I have a 1997 2WD 4.0 Ranger extended cab with a bad vibration issue BUT I have found a solution. I was told that my carrier bearing needed to be replaced, so I went down to the auto parts store and purchased an ANCHOR bearing replacement. This bearing comes with no paperwork or instructions of any sort. Most ALL of the YouTube videos show people putting these things in backwards and not installing the ring that comes loose in the box correctly. All but one video I found have people putting the ring on loose and it will rattle and the bearing on backwards. Well I figured all that out but the truck still had the vibration. Then I figured out what the problem was. During this process something told me to hang on to the old bearing and I did. I took the Anchor bearing and put it side by side with the original one and noticed that the center of the driveshaft will sit 3.5mm lower in the ANCHOR bearing than in the stock one. This will throw all the driveshaft angles off. I looked at my old stock bearing and it actually didn't look bad so I put it back in. PROBLEM SOLVED. No more vibration. You could in theory shim up the Anchor bearing but you would need to make the shim yourself (and know how thick to make it), plus the retaining clips are not designed to take a shim so you would also need to come up with an idea to fix that also.
My recommendation to stop the vibration is to buy the original Ford bearing which is part number F5TZ4800AB. I know it costs more but no one wants this type of aggravation or vibration. Some FORD dealers will tell you this part is no longer made because they are idiots. I called a couple of different dealers and they said they could have it the next day. Yes, the 3.5mm made all the difference in the world because it put the driveshaft back to the angles it was originally designed to be at. STOP THE INSANITY, get the right bearing.
P.S. why was I told the old bearing was bad? I thought I had a transmission problem and the tranny guy mentioned changing the bearing, so I changed it. Turns out he was wrong. The old original bearing was fine.
This is just my 2 cents of experience that I thought I would tell all you guys that may have this problem so you wouldn't have to go through the agony I went through. Pass it on.