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Ford Ranger Beginner

Old 01-09-2019
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 2
Ford Ranger Beginner

Looking on buying a Ford Ranger to go off-roading but don't know which trim to buy would like some help on the difference between trims and which recommended getting?
Old 01-10-2019
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Welcome to the forum

Depends on the year of the Ranger really, trims are not the same every year

History of Ford Ranger article here:
Ford Ranger had 3 generations
1983-1992 was Gen 1
1993-1997 was Gen 2
1998-2011 was Gen 3
Gen 2 and 3 are virtually the same size wise
1995 and up had the new OBD2 computer and a Body Computer(GEM until 2003, the SJB in 2004 and up)

You can also Google: (YEAR) Ford Ranger Brochure
Say you see a 2005 Ranger for sale, Google 2005 Ford Ranger Brochure, it will usually have all the trim features

4cyl Rangers did come in 4WD, but rarely, and only until about 1997, 1998 and up 4cyl 4WD would be a unicorn, in 2002 and up no 4cyl 4WD
2001 to 2004 Rangers with the 4.0l SOHC V6 had timing chain issues, this was resolved in 2005 and up
Many complain that the 3.0l V6 engines used from 1991 to 2008 were under powered, test drive one and make up your own mind

2001 and up Ranger 4WDs used Live Axle, front wheels and axles were always locked, no manual or automatic hubs, 4WD was done in the transfer case only
1998 to 2000 Ranger used PVH automatic hubs, which were a bad idea, lol, but they can be converted to Manual hubs
98% of 4WD Rangers used electric transfer case shifting, they used an electric shift motor, the shift motor needs to be used once a month or it will fail to work when you actually need 4WD, you just need to shift transfer case to 4low once a month, you don't have to drive in 4WD.

1998 and up 4WD Ranger got torsion bar front suspension, some liked it others didn't
2WD Rangers stayed with Coil springs thru the years, except 2WD Edge and Sport models which got torsion bars in some years

The Rangers used the same automatic transmission from 1985 to 2011, it had 3 different models but inside it was the same, A4LD, 4R55E, 5R55E, if "properly" rebuilt they lasted same as new, if soft part rebuilt then 12 to 18 month life

The 1990 and up Manual transmission was almost bullet proof, M5OD-R1

In the late 1990's automatics became the "standard" transmission on most cars and trucks and you had to pay extra for an "optional" manual transmission, so most vehicles after 2000 will be automatics, even "Fleet" vehicles, Fleet vehicles were usually the lowest option package available that year

So pick a year and find a 4WD Ranger of that year and ask questions about that year
Old 01-11-2019
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 2
Thank you, gave me a great idea of where to start looking
Old 01-11-2019
jholman05's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Brookville, IN
Posts: 11
Look inside the door jamb for the axle code, then look up the axle code on google. Some come with limited slip some don't, this will also tell you the final drive ratio and ring gear size.

My '06 Sport 4x4 has the R7 axle code which is the bigger 8.8" Ring gear, 4.10 final drive and Limited slip.

FX4 models have skid plates, obviously better for offroading.
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