I just bought a 98 ford ranger 4x4. The four wheel drive was making a really bad noise when i test drove it from the buyer (private seller). So I disconnected the front drive shaft and the truck ran fine. After researching many threads on the transfer case and the four wheel drive system of these rangers, I took my drive shaft out and saw that I just had to replace the joints bearings with a kit on ebay for about 90$ bucks. I also noticed that my hubs were locked in all the time and that shouldn't be. Well, I'm going to have to order some rugged ridge manual hubs so that I know my four wheel drive system will be ok in the long run. After reading many threads about vibrations in the front end of many 4x4 rangers, My opinion is that if every four wheel system only moved when it was needed (hence the manual hubs), Then there shouldn't be more than half the problems people are having with their front ends. Maybe theres more to it but Thats what i think of this matter, thanks for hearing me out guys. I appreciate all of your input and suggestions.