General year by year 4x4 question - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 03-15-2010
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General year by year 4x4 question

Hi all, new user here, hoping that this is the correct forum. Wasn't really sure how to go about searching for this answer, so apologies if it was there right under my nose.

I have a 1994 Ranger, owned it for 9 years, and am starting to think about replacing it.

I have been very happy with it, and am strongly considering another newer Ranger, but have a question about the 4x4 mechanism. Apologies for the long post.

Background:
The 4x4 in my existing truck works ok, I guess, but is kind of a pain. I can't go faster than 50mph in 4wd, have to slow way down to put it in 4wd, was told that I need to back up a few feet when I take it out of 4wd, and when driving in 4wd, it binds up if the road is dry.

Now I get that it's not meant for dry pavement, but I live in CO and the roads can go from dry to snow to ice and back to dry pretty easily. All while on the interstate. So the safe speed can go from 65mph to 30mph and back to 65 mph pretty quickly. I have been in newer trucks (a friend's Tacoma, for ex) and that truck has a switch to turn from 2wd to 4wd, and he just switches back and forth as needed, doesn't need to slow down, stop, go in reverse, etc and it doesn't bind up either.

Question:
I assume that the Ranger's 4wd mechanism these days is more user friendly than mine? More like my friend's Tacoma? And if so, what model years did the changes come in? I won't be buying a new truck, so need to know if there's a model year cutoff I should use in my search.

Thanks so much for reading and (hopefully) responding!
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Old 03-15-2010
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You would be correct. If I were you I would go with a 2001+ truck.
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Old 03-15-2010
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I'm not sure what year it changed, but the newer trucks are similar to your friend's Tacoma... a switch on the dash to go from 2wd to 4wd high and back to 2wd without slowing. You only have to stop to change into 4LO (obviously)
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Old 03-15-2010
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Buy this one

I would say they are offering about a grand over what it is really worth given the miles and the non BFG AT KO tires.
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Old 03-15-2010
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well, not exactly ready to buy -- trying to save up the $ so I don't have to take out a loan -- though that one is right in line with the amount of money I'm looking to spend.

BUT, too bad it's an automatic. Manual transmission is one of the non-negotiable requirements for me.
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Old 03-15-2010
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Just so you know though, The manual transmissions in the rangers are far inferior to the automatics. They don't have a torque converter so the towing capacity is about half of what it is with the automatics. Should you plan on modifying the vehicle with a programmer the automatic can be configured for better shift points for differrent applications like towing, low end torque, or fuel economy.

I know a lot of people on here think the manual is the way to go because they like to play with sticks, but for actual day to day use the automatic is the way to go.
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Old 03-15-2010
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the newer rangers are shift on the fly 4x4 but they will still bind in turns on dry pavement with 4x4 engaged, any true 4x4 system will do that. 4x4 on dry pavement is one of the worst things you can do with a 4x4 truck. the only 4x4 system that wont bind like that is an all wheel drive system because it adds a diiferential in the transfar case to allow for the difference in speeds between the front and rear axle but no ranger that i am aware of ever came with an AWD drivetrain.
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Old 03-15-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryTasker View Post
Just so you know though, The manual transmissions in the rangers are far inferior to the automatics. They don't have a torque converter so the towing capacity is about half of what it is with the automatics. Should you plan on modifying the vehicle with a programmer the automatic can be configured for better shift points for differrent applications like towing, low end torque, or fuel economy.

I know a lot of people on here think the manual is the way to go because they like to play with sticks, but for actual day to day use the automatic is the way to go.
I prefer a manual in snowy/icy conditions, and also I find them more fun to drive. I won't be towing much if anything. But still nice to know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01_ranger_4x4 View Post
the newer rangers are shift on the fly 4x4 but they will still bind in turns on dry pavement with 4x4 engaged, any true 4x4 system will do that. 4x4 on dry pavement is one of the worst things you can do with a 4x4 truck. the only 4x4 system that wont bind like that is an all wheel drive system because it adds a diiferential in the transfar case to allow for the difference in speeds between the front and rear axle but no ranger that i am aware of ever came with an AWD drivetrain.
Thanks. I should have been clearer, I expect the binding if I'm in 4wd on dry pavement, but it's not an issue if I can shift on the fly. Without shift on the fly, I find myself trying to guess what the road will be like for the next 5-10-15 miles.
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Old 03-15-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LurkerDan View Post
!
Thanks. I should have been clearer, I expect the binding if I'm in 4wd on dry pavement, but it's not an issue if I can shift on the fly. Without shift on the fly, I find myself trying to guess what the road will be like for the next 5-10-15 miles.
O i got ya, yeah i know what you mean now
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Old 03-15-2010
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2001 or newer. 1998-2000 is electronic shift on the fly, but with automatic vacuum hubs. You are supposed to be slower than 45mph when engaged 4x4 if I recall correctly. When you switch, there is an electromagnetic clutch that brings the front driveline up to speed, then engages the transfer case, then engages the hubs (when they work). Lots of things to fail. You can replace the auto hubs with cheap manual hubs and leave them engaged, but they are not as strong as 2001 and newer.
Halfway through the 2000 year, the front axles because "live axles", there was no disconnect at the hub. The front driveline is always turning, the only thing to be engaged was the transfer case. What that means is that is a safer shift on the fly, I have shifted my sport trac into 4x4 at over 60mph with zero issues, very easy to switch from 4x2 to 4x4 and back as road conditions changed.
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Old 03-15-2010
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Thanks! 2001 and newer it is! I was probably going that route any way, but now I know not to be suckered into some low mileage older vehicle that was driven by a little old lady.
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Old 03-15-2010
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i'm a believer in the manual trannys and manual transfer cases. yeah, that's why my ranger is a 1st gen. where i have to live with snow and ice at least 7 months out of the year, engine breaking with a manual is hard to beat. and i tow with it, too. just my $.02.
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