Should I buy an automatic Ranger? - Page 2 - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #26  
Old 06-13-2007
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3.0 and Auto. I have no problems with it and it's 5 years old.

I think the 3.0 has plenty of pick-up, I have never driven a 4.0 but I'm not really looking to race mustangs anyway.

I had a stick in my last vehicle and I wont have it again until I have a sporty car
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  #27  
Old 06-13-2007
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I hate the automatic. With a passion.


Well, maybe that's too strong of a word, but I really, really, really wish I would have gotten the manual to back up my 4L. I had to rebuild the 5R55E at 78K because it decided the torque converter wasn't it's friend anymore. When the torque converter died, it took it's friends 2nd and 5th gear with it to hell.

$1500 later they are all together again.

I added a second aux. cooler to help keep things cool. And I have proper gearing. These autos are just not confidence inspiring if you ask me. I never know when I'll see that "O/D OFF" light flashing on the dash. I wonder if the fluid is too hot. I wonder if the valve body gasket is blown out...

Just get the manual.
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  #28  
Old 06-13-2007
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Another firm manual trans fan here; I won't drive an auto if I can help it.

But there are some things you should know about the manual trans in the Ranger. It seems that the slave cylinder and clutch in the manual trans Ranger leaves a little something to be desired. Loosing the throwout bearing in the slave cylinder is pretty common. Although in my experience it seems to be more common in 4.0L V6 powered trucks. I had a '99 4x2 w/ the 2.5L I4 in it before this and never had any problems w/ my manual trans. In this (4x4, 4.0L V6 powered truck) I was on slave cylinder #2 by 12k miles!

I believe that much of the trans design dates back to the very early Ranger, when the power output was much lower, even for the V6 powered engine. Somewhere along the line they stepped the trans up to an 'HD' version, but all that really changed was some of the gearing. From what I understand, the clutch is largely the same.

Meanwhile the auto has been completely replaced front to back several times over the years. I think this is because the trans was shared w/ the Explorer, which was a popular cash cow for Ford. More cash in meant more R&D attention and improvements. So you're looking at a relatively modern auto vs a dated manual trans.

Mind you that's mostly a collection of opinions gathered over the years. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

On the engine front: I too would avoid the 3.0L V6. In my opinion the cost and fuel economy differences between the 4.0L and 3.0L engines make the 4.0L a no-brainer. .. That assumes of course that you can get the engine you want w/ the drive-train, cab, and box configuration you want. Ford plays tricks to make some drive-train options not available unless you go for the 4WD and/or extended cab.

There isn't anything wrong w/ the 3.0L V6. It is just a dated engine design and the 4.0L SOHC V6 is just that much better.

Fair warning though, the engine is not very impressive at low RPMs. You'll have to open it up quite a bit to find its power. .. And when you do so your fuel economy will suffer greatly. Go easy on it and you'll get decent power and decent economy. I can put down 20-21 MPG in my fully-loaded, mondo heavy ex-cab 4x4 LII in the summer by going easy on it. Many report similar mileage w/ the 3.0L in lighter configs.

The I4 is a great choice in my opinion. The only problem is, as I mentioned earlier, the restrictions on drive-train and cab/box configs it saddles you with. IIRC you cannot get a 4x4 w/ the I4 in any config anymore.

Another issue w/ the trans choice is fuel economy. W/ a manual trans you have the ability to precisely control the shift points. I've found that w/ the 4.0L early shifts (2k RPM or less) GREATLY improves fuel economy. Others have reported that getting their auto trans trucks to shift that low is nearly impossible.

Last is towing: Be aware that the auto has a far better towing rating than the manual trans. Something to the tune of nearly 2x the rated capacity. My heavy, manual trans equipped LII has probably the lowest towing rating of any Ranger equipped w/ the 4.0L.

But that's the rating.

We've discussed it countless times, but the overall consensus is that Ford is kind of pessimistic about the ratings w/ the manual trans because of the way they qualify it. Basically the load it up and park it on a steep grade (something like 12% IIRC?!), then try to start from a dead stop. The manual trans truck fries its clutch while the auto slowly creeps away thanks to the the torque converter. Most of us wouldn't be stupid enough to try to launch our manual trans trucks on a steep grade loaded down like that. Instead we'd try to loop round the block or something. So yeah, if you're smart about it you can exceed the rated limit.

But then if you are looking to tow a lot, the Ranger isn't the truck for you anyway..


At the end of the day I'd get another Ranger w/ the manual trans again, despite the clutch problems I've had. I just couldn't deal w/ the yawn-fest an auto is.. Also when something does go wrong w/ an auto it is going to be big bux. An entire refirb'ed manual trans can be had for less than what some auto repair bills run!

Yeah, that turned out longer than I intended..
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  #29  
Old 06-13-2007
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My 94 with the 4.0 and 5 speed is a good combo and effortless to shift but, the reasons I am looking for the automatic is because I am just tired of shifting first of all (my last 4 trucks have been 5 speeds)and second I am always hauling a truckload of teenagers and there legs are just plain in the way. I just sold my f150 on ebay and would consider another f150 if the right one comes along but both models have there flaws. The f150's have engines that usually croak by 150,000 (they should have kept the dependable 5.0) and the rangers have the automatic tranny weaknesses. I guess I could look for a sport trac but they are more like a soccer moms truck in my opinion...lol So what I am really in the market for is a 2wd ext cab ranger with a 3.0 or 4.0 auto but will consider a 4wd. I will also consider an f150 but it has to be a shortbed to fit in my garage. The trick is I want to buy it with cash so it won't be new.
John
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  #30  
Old 06-13-2007
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5.0 wouldn't pass muster for emissions.. that's the word I hear anyway.

Fitting three across in the cab of a manual trans Ranger IS a pain.. I know that well. But I'm not sure I'd make the auto vs manual decision based on that point. But then I am a kidless, single guy. YMMV.

Personally, if I had the cash, I'd probably go w/ an F150 if I were to do it all over again. But I bought mine new and the cost differential between a new Ranger and a new F150 was just way too great (even in '03, when I bought).

And now that the '04+ F150 is no longer available w/ a manual trans..
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  #31  
Old 06-13-2007
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I can drive manual just fine, but its annoying in stop and go, plus manual isnt truely faster then an auto.

90% of people cannot shift anywhere near as quick as a auto. manuals are great for launching from a dead stop, however most people cannot do this properly and when they do leave the auto behind they shift to slow and allows the auto to catch up. You lose about 10-15% of your power going through an auto tranny and about 5-10% through a manual (so ive heard)....

If you want a race truck, auto with a improved torque converter will be faster then a manual unless your an amazing shifter. Manual is a thing of the past basically, its why most high end sports cars are going to paddle shifting, basically a clutchless manual. Even like ferrari puts automatics in their top of the line cars to keep ur hands on the wheel, and it can shift impossibly faster then a human.

Also a manual trans isnt strong enough to tow like an auto.
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  #32  
Old 06-14-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IR0NS1N
Manual is a thing of the past basically, its why most high end sports cars are going to paddle shifting, basically a clutchless manual.
Now that is funny!

High end sports cars have fancy transmissions like the VW DSD or Porsche Triptronic system. Both are 'semi-automatic' or 'clutchless manual' transmissions, depending on who you ask. Neither bear any significant similarities to any automatic transmission ever offered in a Ford Ranger.

A semi-automatic transmissions have a clutch just like traditional manual transmissions. The difference is that the clutch is computer controlled through an electro-mechanical mechanism instead of by your foot.

A traditional automatic transmission on the other hand has a torque converter that uses vicious, high pressure fluid forced between rotating elements.

As for the manual transmission being a thing of the past, I strongly doubt it. Most enthusiasts (including this one) have a strong distaste for autos, even the 'semi-automatic' variety. Most reports I've encountered call the flappy paddle boxes a marvel on the track, but a nuisance around town. The british car show 'Top Gear' has made note of this once or twice. They laughingly suggest anyone seriously considering one try parallel parking a car w/ such a trans before buying.

(*Again, the flappy paddle gearboxes are NOT the same as having paddle, 'F1 style' shifters on the steering wheel. In many cases those paddles are linked to a traditional automatic trans that can be instructed to manually shift up or down on demand. Again, this is not even close to a manual.)

The US is the only country I've ever heard of where manual transmissions are so unpopular. Manual gearboxes are the norm overseas.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IR0NS1N
Also a manual trans isnt strong enough to tow like an auto.
That's why most semi tractors have autos.. right?

Apples to apples I think your wrong. The RANGER auto might be rated to tow more than the RANGER manual.. but I think that is the exception, not the rule.

Also, don't forget that in this sue-happy world we live in those 'ratings' are targeted to the lowest common denominator, not an individual w/ a brain.

Last edited by NHBubba_Revisited; 06-14-2007 at 06:46 PM.
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  #33  
Old 06-14-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvcat
My 94 with the 4.0 and 5 speed is a good combo and effortless to shift but, the reasons I am looking for the automatic is because I am just tired of shifting first of all (my last 4 trucks have been 5 speeds)and second I am always hauling a truckload of teenagers and there legs are just plain in the way. I just sold my f150 on ebay and would consider another f150 if the right one comes along but both models have there flaws. The f150's have engines that usually croak by 150,000 (they should have kept the dependable 5.0) and the rangers have the automatic tranny weaknesses. I guess I could look for a sport trac but they are more like a soccer moms truck in my opinion...lol So what I am really in the market for is a 2wd ext cab ranger with a 3.0 or 4.0 auto but will consider a 4wd. I will also consider an f150 but it has to be a shortbed to fit in my garage. The trick is I want to buy it with cash so it won't be new.
John
used 2wd supercab rangers with automatics are a dime a dozen, you should have no problem finding one. Most are 3.0s, but some like mine are 4.0. As has been said a thousand times in this thread, look for a 4.0...you will not regret it.
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  #34  
Old 06-14-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camodown
My old truck was a 2000 3.0 auto. That motor is a great motor but around that time they just came out with the (i can't remember which one) but the tranny's that were used at that time. It was horrible. Had it fixed twice under warrenty and finally traded it in because it went out again like a year later.

The guys at ford told me that they were having a lot of problems with the auto tranny in 2000(but not enough for a recall...of course) but he said they were almost recalled.

Now I have a 2003 4.0 auto and I love it and haven't had any problems. I'm with Steve on the whole hunting thing and I love not having to mess with the stick in those situations.

So if you are looking for a ranger in the 2000 range, I would go with manual because the auto tranny has a lot of bugs they worked out later.
Your not really comparing apples to apples. Your '00 3.0L had the 4R44E auto tranny, your '03 has the 5R55E (the 4.0L Ranger has been getting the 5R55E since '97).

I bought my Ranger as a daily driver, and as such, I did not want a manual tranny. Having to shift all day long was getting to be too much of a PITA. I'm happy with my decision to choose the 4.0L with the 5R55E.

When I want to have fun and manually shift through some gears, I jump in my 5-speed SHO.
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  #35  
Old 06-14-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHBubba_Revisited
Now that is funny!
I ment all that for Ranger and USA. I ment clutchless manual as in no foot pedal clutch. Yes I know people hate autos, but here in America we have almost opposite roads and types of traffic then the rest of the world.... Most of the roads in Europe are roads that have been around for ages. Many are from the middle ages even. In America we have more open space thus leading to long straight roads, also our roads are far newer. Its why american cars are made for the straight line and euro cars are ment for everything else. However in America manuals seem to be a thing of the past, hench why sooo many companys are going to auto / paddle shift. I know hardly anyone that can honestly drive as stick. I see the stick shift going the way of the old muscle cars, not practicle and only few will own them, but they sure as hell amazing to drive.

Also semi tractors are quite a bit different in design and use over a compact truck.
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  #36  
Old 06-14-2007
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my GTI has the tiptronic which is still kinda sluggish, but the new DSG automatic equipped GTI's are faster than the 6 speed manual GTI, the Pontiac GTO with an automatic is indeed faster than a manual equipped GTO.. it's true, autos are slowly catching up to manuals in terms of lost time in between shifts.
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  #37  
Old 06-14-2007
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Well I got a real bargain on a 99 ext cab xlt with a 3.0 automatic so I bought it. Just got home with it a little while ago. The tranny works ok but it is not just right. Is it worth doing a filter change or should I just look for the 5r55 trans and put in it(if its compatible electronically). The speed sensor is also bad the speedo jumps all around. Will the speed sensor jumping make the trans act funny?
John
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  #38  
Old 06-14-2007
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Quote:
I had a stick in my last vehicle and I wont have it again until I have a sporty car
amen, man my 4 cyl stick was slow as *****... seemes like you had to redline thru each gear to get anywhere... I love my 3.0 auto :)
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  #39  
Old 06-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvcat
Will the speed sensor jumping make the trans act funny?
Yes, it could be related.
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  #40  
Old 06-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHBubba_Revisited
We've discussed it countless times, but the overall consensus is that Ford is kind of pessimistic about the ratings w/ the manual trans because of the way they qualify it. Basically the load it up and park it on a steep grade (something like 12% IIRC?!), then try to start from a dead stop. The manual trans truck fries its clutch while the auto slowly creeps away thanks to the the torque converter. Most of us wouldn't be stupid enough to try to launch our manual trans trucks on a steep grade loaded down like that. Instead we'd try to loop round the block or something. So yeah, if you're smart about it you can exceed the rated limit.

But then if you are looking to tow a lot, the Ranger isn't the truck for you anyway..

First off, I pull my boat all the time with my truck, its over 5000 pounds and I pull it up the ramp all the time with my MANUAL. You need to know what your doing and you will be fine.

Rangers have plenty of grunt to pull anything within reason. My only concern is when I buy a camper if it will handle it due to wind resistance, not the weight.
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  #41  
Old 06-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greygooseranger
First off, I pull my boat all the time with my truck, its over 5000 pounds and I pull it up the ramp all the time with my MANUAL. You need to know what your doing and you will be fine.

Rangers have plenty of grunt to pull anything within reason. My only concern is when I buy a camper if it will handle it due to wind resistance, not the weight.

Pulling with a Ranger (either transmission) isn't a problem. Our boat and trailer is a bit over 3500lbs. Trying to get a loaded trailer stopped is the problem. Trailer brakes are a necessity as the stock Ranger brakes are barely sufficient to haul down the truck itself.
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  #42  
Old 06-15-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klc317
Pulling with a Ranger (either transmission) isn't a problem. Our boat and trailer is a bit over 3500lbs. Trying to get a loaded trailer stopped is the problem. Trailer brakes are a necessity as the stock Ranger brakes are barely sufficient to haul down the truck itself.
I agree, you must have trailer brakes. I have dual axle surge disc brakes on the boat, and it stops perfect....
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  #43  
Old 06-15-2007
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I have the standard . Its been in the shop for tranny problems 3 times and is about to go back as the syncros suck , u cant shift unless u hit the sweet spot. Every time i have had it to the dealer has been for the same thing. I would go with the auto, it cant be half as bad as this standard. My wifes sport trac has the auto and i think its nice. Wish mine had the auto.
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  #44  
Old 06-15-2007
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Given I would always like more power, but my 3.0 auto combo has enough grunt to get me around.
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  #45  
Old 06-18-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IR0NS1N
I ment all that for Ranger and USA. I ment clutchless manual as in no foot pedal clutch.
Why even mention a 'clutch-less' manual when discussing trans choices for a US Ranger? Such a transmission has never been offered even as an option for the US Ranger. As I said, the autos fitted to Rangers bear very little, if any comparison to such 'semi-automatic' transmissions. It's blatantly a case of apples to oranges.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IR0NS1N
Yes I know people hate autos, but here in America we have almost opposite roads and types of traffic then the rest of the world.... Most of the roads in Europe are roads that have been around for ages. Many are from the middle ages even. In America we have more open space thus leading to long straight roads, also our roads are far newer.
I see you are in Arizona. I've never been, so I can only come to the conclusion that your roads are, as you state, dead straight. Fortunately that isn't the case for all of us. I've driven in nearly half the US states and parts of Canada. Fortunately there are some mighty sweet curves and mountain roads out there to enjoy, even in an overweight, top-heavy compact pickup truck! I encourage you to seek one or two out someday.

Besides, I guess you've never been to the Boston area. Many of the roads in Boston date back to the 1600 and 1700's. The standing 'joke' is that Rt 128 (aka I-95, the major arterial road going around the city) started as a cow-path..

But that isn't even the point. Even in the city w/ 90 degree street intersections and Interstate on-off ramps an indecisive auto can be infuriating to drive. Just last weekend I felt this frustration while driving the GF's auto trans'ed sedan into a busy traffic circle. Nothing pisses me off more than stomping on it as an 18-wheeler bears down on you and having the trans decide its a fine time to change gears!

In the end the biggest thing a manual yields in the auto vs manual debate is far greater control. By definition a traditional auto trans cannot give the driver the same level of control because a machine or piece of electronics is ultimately in control of the gear-box, not the driver. While it is possible to design a system where the controlling system can out perform a manual operator in almost any way, it has yet to be done on a budget compatible w/ the Ranger.
Quote:
Originally Posted by greygooseranger
First off, I pull my boat all the time with my truck, its over 5000 pounds and I pull it up the ramp all the time with my MANUAL. You need to know what your doing and you will be fine.
While I think that 5k lbs sounds like a helluva lot to be towing w/ a Ranger.. overall I agree: if you aren't an idiot, the Ranger will do just fine for occasional towing.. even above the 'rated' limit.
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  #46  
Old 06-18-2007
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This topic has been discussed here at length. In fact this thread is probably one of the better examples. And this post from Bob does a great job presenting some of the points I've tried (and likely failed) to present above. Bob also has a wealth of information in that post. (Like the Ford qualification test for GCVW ratings being run on a ~20% incline! Not a ~12% as I incorrectly suggested above.)
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  #47  
Old 06-18-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHBubba_Revisited
And this post from Bob does a great job presenting some of the points I've tried (and likely failed) to present above. Bob also has a wealth of information in that post. (Like the Ford qualification test for GCVW ratings being run on a ~20% incline! Not a ~12% as I incorrectly suggested above.)
Very interesting stuff Bob posted there (as is usually the case).

And I agree with Bob in that, transmission choice is almost entirely a function of personal preference, not necessity. As I said above, I specifically wanted an automatic tranny in my DD Ranger. On the other hand, regarding my SHO, I wouldn't even own it but for the 5-speed MTX tranny.
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  #48  
Old 06-18-2007
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Try climbing up a hill after having to stop at the bottom... going up a 3 mile climb in first gear sucks! Auto all the way, wether im going up snowboarding or finding deer iun the woods the 4.0 w/ the auto is the way to go. i drove my 2.3 w/ the manual for 3 years and ill take the auto over the manual every time.
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  #49  
Old 06-18-2007
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^^^Its always going to be a personal preference...
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  #50  
Old 06-19-2007
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4.0 stick. The only way to go!
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