Transmissions

THINGS TO LOOK FOR: Manual versus automatic is mostly a driver preference, and in the Ranger world both have pros and cons. The late-model automatic transmissions (5R55E) that came behind the 4.0L engines have a better reputation and better aftermarket support than the automatics in early Rangers. There have been a few changes for the manual transmission (suppliers and types) throughout the years, but the newer Rl-HD five-speed seems to be the best model yet. Though they might have a few more minor issues compared to the autos, we're still a big fan of the manual.

THINGS TO AVOID: The early (pre-'95) auto transmissions were not known to be extremely reliable. Although the manuals weren't anything to write home about either, they're likely the better option when you're looking at some of the older trucks. Leaky seals and failing slave cylinders are usually the manual transmission's downfalls, so be sure to check for leaks thoroughly before you buy any used Ranger, manual or automatic for that matter.

powerful 207hp SOHC (single overhead cam) version that is still used in the trucks today. Though the 4.0L gets the most fanfare, it's not the only V-6 in the stable. While some say you should avoid the 3.0L V-6 because of its lack of power, we've had excellent experience with it. Yes, the 4.0L

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transfer case is never especially attractive to us. If you're looking to get more gearing from your truck, know that your options are currently limited to a DIY doubter or an Advance Adapters geardriven Atlas II transfer case. This is largely due to the limited support for the Ranger transmission's 25-spline output shaft.

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