Seems the assembly people at Ford were trying to cut costs. I had the metal tubing of the power steering corrode and begin leaking after about 6 yrs. During repairs, I found no flap guard attached to the inner fenderwell to stop road splash from getting into the engine compartment. The holes were in the fenderwell for the flap guard attachment, but none was installed. The local Ford dealer was happy to sell me one for the driver side location.
Was my situation a fluke? Well, my brothers newer Ranger, by 5 yrs, also had the missing splash shield.
Hmmm, maybe they were an option I never thought to add.