Yes, VSS was used along with speedo cables starting around 1989, they shared the same housing on trans(2WD) or transfer case(4WD), this was gear driven like all speedometer setups and you could change the drive gear for speed correction, i.e. different tire size or rear axle ratios.
This is what this combo VSS/Cable drive looks like on trans or transfer case: http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/attac...xle-speedo.jpg
Blue part is the VSS, and this image would be of a 1995 to 1997 because speedo cable hook up has obviously not been used, lol.
VSS part was used for cruise and computer only until 1995, speedo was still cable driven thru 1994
In 1995 speedo was changed to electronic style, and cable was gone, but VSS was still in the same place in trans or transfer case and still gear driven thru 1997.
In 1998 the VSS was removed from trans and the ABS VSS on the rear axle was now shared between ABS and speed devices, i.e. speedo/odo, cruise and computer
This required an interface to correct rear axle VSS pulses to true speed pulses
From 1998 to 2000(approx.) this speed correction was done by the GEM(module).
Note: on Rangers with 4 wheel ABS the 4WABS module could do speed correction, but it could be wired either way, GEM or 4WABS between 1998-2000
Around 2001 Ford started using an OSS(output shaft speed sensor), back on the trans or transfer case, this VR type sensor was not gear driven, it was similar to rear axle VSS using a "tone wheel" and it fed only the computer which did speed correction for rear axle ratio and tire size and then sent out that signal to cruise and speedo
Rear axle VSS was still there for ABS
Any Ranger with rear ABS will have the rear axle VSS so it can be used for electronic speedometers, you just need an interface device to correct for true speed, Dakota Digital makes the SGI-5e that can do that, there are other devices as well, thats just the one that comes to mind.
The 1989-1997 trans/transfer case VSS doesn't need speed correction, it is setup to do 8,000ppm and can be fine tuned by changing its drive gear