2.3L 2nd vs 3rd gen ranger, a few random questions


Jackrabbit88

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I've had a V8 for a while and it's about ran into the ground and time to make a change. Realistically I don't "need" that much truck. So after searching quite a lot I'm pretty sure I want to go with a 2.3L ext.cab ranger with a mannual trans. For work I have about 1000lbs of gear in the bed, I'm hopping to see 22mpg or better, But even if I'm down to 20 I won't be disappointed.(getting 16 with my current set)

I've done a ton of research so far digging up old Post but here r the questions I haven't found answers for yet.

On ext cab models, is there a difference in leg room from the 2nd gen to 3rd gen?

Ive seem some ext cabs that have 4 doors. Not a true 4 door but the door that opens after u open the front door. when was this option first available. From what I can tell it started in 98 but I'm not sure.

I know engines r virtually the same but will a manual trans from a 97 2.3l be a direct swap to a 98-01 2.5l?

I'd like to find an 04+ duratec. But I remember reading that it's next to impossible to find one with both the extended cab and manual trans. Is this true. So far I haven't found one but I've only been looking for a few days.

Are there any major changes in the frame / chassis and body of the 2nd and 3rd gen. Is the 3rd gen weaker than the 2nd gen
The only thing I could find was this

https://www.explorerforum.com/forums/index.php?threads/2nd-gen-vs-3rd-gen.256901/

Basically will the 2004+ ranger crumple like this 3rd gen explorer.
 
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Shran

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I'm hopping to see 22mpg or better, But even if I'm down to 20 I won't be disappointed.(getting 16 with my current set)
You might/probably will see 20+ with a Duratec engine but it's pretty unlikely with a 2.3 Lima or 2.5. A max of 20mpg is about what those will do.

On ext cab models, is there a difference in leg room from the 2nd gen to 3rd gen?
I think they're about the same

Ive seem some ext cabs that have 4 doors. Not a true 4 door but the door that opens after u open the front door. when was this option first available. From what I can tell it started in 98 but I'm not sure.
Correct, '98 or so. '97 and older do not have rear doors.

I know engines r virtually the same but will a manual trans from a 97 2.3l be a direct swap to a 98-01 2.5l?
I believe so, the Duratec trans was different

I'd like to find an 04+ duratec. But I remember reading that it's next to impossible to find one with both the extended cab and manual trans. Is this true. So far I haven't found one but I've only been looking for a few days.
4 cylinder extended cabs are hard to find, no matter what. Power to weight ratio makes them totally undesirable in my eyes. Quite a few of the late model 4 cylinder trucks were also fleet vehicles and the extended cab was not a necessity.

Are there any major changes in the frame / chassis and body of the 2nd and 3rd gen. Is the 3rd gen weaker than the 2nd gen
The frame and suspension in 2nd and 3rd gen trucks are quite a bit different. I would not call either one "weaker." Just different.
 


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