I just changed all 8 plugs and wires in my '96 Ranger XLT extended cab.
This being my first time to change spark plugs on the Ranger, I read all the threads on this forum related to spark plugs.
Anywho, I bought a used Ranger with 94,000 miles on it and the plugs have never been changed (or the wires). So I bought the Motorcraft platinum plugs (SP-432-AGSF32FM) and a set of Borg Warner Select wires.
The plugs on the left side of the engine (as you face the engine from the front) were fairly easy to change.
The plugs on the right side were the trickiest as many of the threads that have discussed this have emphasized.
What I did to get the two farthest plugs on the right side of the engine was to use a tent stake (the one shaped like a hook) and reach through the manifold and pull the wire out by hooking the plastic extension on the end of the spark plug boot. There should be a plastic extension on the 3 spark plug wires on the right side of the engine. I was able to pull it out fairly easy.
Of course at this point you can use an extension on your socket to reach the farthest two plugs.
What I did to install the farthest two wires was to position the wire on the spark plug. This can be done by threading the wire between the manifold and the engine and reaching through the manifold with either a spark plug boot puller or a pair of tongs. Then once the wire is situated on the wire I used a long 3/4" open end wrench to reach through the manifold and push the wire on to the boot. I put the open end wrench on the end of the spark plug boot and got enough leverage to push it on.
And that was it. I think I could change all the spark plugs themselves in less than an hour if I had to do it again.
Hopefully I will be able to go 60,000-80,000 more miles.
One thing I did find was that all the spark plugs that I took out were gapped betwee 0.070"-0.080" and had a bit of carbon at the end of the plug. I gapped the new spark plugs the recommended 0.042"-0.46", more closely to the 0.042".
Anyway I hope this helps any one that has an upcoming spark plug change on the 2.3L engines. I was just glad I didn't have to pull the manifold off.