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Best year if I want to upgrade from my 2wd

James Morse

1997 XLT 4.0L 4x4 1999 Mazda B3000 2wd
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Roanoke VA
Vehicle Year
1997 and 1999
Make / Model
XLT 4x4 & B3000
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0L in XLT, 3.0L in B3000
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
There are two trucks. I am working on '97 now, 99 2wd B3000 is all sorted and for sale.
I love my '99 B3000. But I'd like to have 4wd for snow and going up fire trails. The other thing I would want is power windows/locks even though they are harder to fix, crank window is really getting a bit old school even for me. Other likes about the truck - easy to work on. I like the cab plus / extended cab vs 4-door, so I'd want that the same.

So my question is, what are the good and bad years? Probably I can't afford to look at anything past say 2011. I'm not in a hurry. I wouldn't even mind another '99 if it were in good shape.

I saw a Nissan Frontier 2010 with 60k miles for $15k and that has 4wd and it has a whopping 258HP and a lot of torque so I'm wondering for instance what, in a Ranger, would compete with that? I don't know anything about Nissan and maybe they are sh*t plus I kind of would rather stick with Ranger at least based on my experience so far with the '99.

I guess I don't even really care that much about the miles if it's in good shape. The one I have now is 185k and I'm fine with it. Stuff is fixable on it when needed and the parts aren't that expensive so that's a big plus.
 


RonD

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canada
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Ford
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2005-2011 Ranger 4x4 with 4.0l SOHC, 200HP V6
4x4s also had your same 3.0l up thru 2008, but avoid the 2004-2006, had valve issues
 

superj

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corpus christi, texas
Vehicle Year
2004
Make / Model
ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3 liters of tire smoking power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
Grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s
And the Nissan frontier is as great a truck as the ranger. I regret selling my 03 frontier
 

scotts90ranger

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Dayton Oregon
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1990, 1997
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Ford
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2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3 Turbo
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
Depending on what you want... Personally I prefer the TTB front axle (used through '97) but I have no complaints with my '00 Explorer front end which should be the same as a '98 up Ranger.. If you want power the OHC 4.0 is the ticket but the early ones had timing chain issues hence the '05 up thing above even though the OHC was introduced in '00 I think...
 

rubydist

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Denver
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2009
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Ford Ranger FX4
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4.0 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
sohc was first in Rangers in 2001 although some Explorers had them sooner.
 

Blmpkn

Toilet enthusiast
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2021
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Ford ranger
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2.3 EcoBoost
Engine Size
2.3
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" level
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275/65/18
My credo
Its probably better to be self deprecating than self defecating.
I'd get another ranger.

Nissans got all that jap reliability going for it and all but... I've driven an 04 or 05 frontier quite a bit... and it doesn't inspire any sort of confidence. It just doesn't FEEL good.

The interior is worse than the rangers IMO, the seats/seating position isnt exactly comfy, they don't ride as good as a Ranger does, I'm not sure if this one is a 6cyl or a 4cyl but it's a complete dog, it's auto trans is hot garbage... just... no.

Ranger.
 

superj

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ranger edge
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3 liters of tire smoking power
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Total Lift
none
Total Drop
none
Tire Size
235s
My credo
Grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s
My ranger and my 01 frontier have the same crappy torsion bar frontier end.

If it's an 03 or earlier frontier, it's a 3.3v6 which has very low hp, like a 3.0v6 in the ranger. I had 325k on mine when I sold it and luckily got the ranger soon afyerwards
 
Last edited:

Roert42

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2011
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Ranger XLT
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4.0 SOHC
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
I personally like my 2 sohc 4.0s better then ohv I have.

That being said, I prefer the TIB over the torsion beam suspension. The torsion beams always seem to be in the of something, whenever I’m under the truck. The front axel is much more serviceable with the TIB

I would still sacrifice the TIB for the SOHC at the end of the day. much better power.

Find one without tensioner noises, and a manual trans, Live front axel, manual transfer case if you can find one that’s not over priced.
 

James Morse

1997 XLT 4.0L 4x4 1999 Mazda B3000 2wd
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Location
Roanoke VA
Vehicle Year
1997 and 1999
Make / Model
XLT 4x4 & B3000
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0L in XLT, 3.0L in B3000
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
There are two trucks. I am working on '97 now, 99 2wd B3000 is all sorted and for sale.
Thanks everyone. I went and looked at the Nissan again and... didn't like it, just a bunch of stuff I won't go into, but I didn't get the same 'feel' as when I saw the Ranger (one I have), I had a good feel about it. I know that's not scientific, but fact is my seats for some reason fit me perfectly, very comfortable, and I've done some work on it, so far no issues doing the work, and when I looked at the Frontier I was like, oh, no. Plus it didn't even have fog lights, just the cutouts, and I thought man for that much money you oughta get fogs. I mean, I know I don't have them, but the point is, I'm not going to pay, say, 10k plus trade, for something that doesn't make me say "I want that."

I'm not familiar with the plusses and minuses of the engines, trans, front end setup, etc that have been mentioned so I'll sort through these great responses and then come up with a few possibles, and go from there. I'm not in any rush, so I think my best position is set a goal or two of what I'd want, then just keep watching. Many thanks!
 

lil_Blue_Ford

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Manual
So I personally kinda lean towards exactly what you want out of it is what to go with.

If you like the TTB front axle, go with anything up to 97. My red 92 was a beast with the 4.0, wouldn’t win races but it had that rugged go-anywhere vibe. The A4LD auto really woke up when I did some valve body work and a shift kit and adjusted the bands.

05 and up 4.0 if you want power and just jump in and go.

98-00 4.0 if you want to do a 5.0 swap with a minimum of fuss.

4.0 SOHC motors make the most power short of a 5.0, but they can blow timing chains. 05 and up are reasonably reliable. All of the other engine options are fairly reliable except maybe the 2.9, but a lot of that reputation seems to be related to poor maintenance and poor quality control. If it’s still running at this point, it was probably a good one and I wouldn’t be overly scared.

All of the autos kinda got a bad rap, but I think a lot of that has to do with overheating, poor maintenance, and sloppy factory shifting. An extra transmission cooler, proper maintenance (A4LD drive bands should be adjusted every 20-30k from what I understand). Shift kits and valve body work cures the sloppy shifting and reduces heat. Shift plugs on the manuals are a concern but not a huge problem if you’re aware of it, think it was limited to the M5OD variety.

97 and older are cheaper to work on and lift

There are options to convert torsion bar to coil overs, so that’s a possibility for 98+ trucks
 

Roert42

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Vehicle Year
2011
Make / Model
Ranger XLT
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
4.0 SOHC motors make the most power short of a 5.0, but they can blow timing chains. 05 and up are reasonably reliable. All of the other engine options are fairly reliable except maybe the 2.9, but a lot of that reputation seems to be related to poor maintenance and poor quality control. If it’s still running at this point, it was probably a good one and I wouldn’t be overly scared.

I would say the same thing about the SOHC 4.0s. If they haven't blow up by the time you got the motor, they will last a couple week until you change them. Only take about half hour to change them in the ranger. I hear they are harder to get to in some of the other vehicles, I wouldn't know.
 

Shran

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My dad has a '97 Nissan hard body pickup and a newer Frontier, think that one is like a '16 or '17, don't remember. Both have been good trucks. The '97 needed an engine at about 260k, lost oil pressure or something. Frontier needed a clutch at around 20k but was fixed under warranty. My big complaint about Nissan is that everything is smaller - if Ford uses a 7mm bolt, Nissan uses a 5mm. Engine wiring harness on a Ford might be 18 gauge wire, it's 20ga or smaller on the Nissan... stuff like that. Does it matter... I don't know, but it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.
 

Ranger850

Banned... except Florida... and here soon
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Ford
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Born with a 3.0, looking for a donor V8
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Manual
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2WD
Total Lift
Stock 2"
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Stock
My credo
Doing things wrong, until I get it right.
- if Ford uses a 7mm bolt, Nissan uses a 5mm.
Every bolt on a Nissan is a 10mm. ;missingteeth; Us Nissan guys have lost more 10mm sockets than any other species on Earth.
 

Shran

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Every bolt on a Nissan is a 10mm. ;missingteeth; Us Nissan guys have lost more 10mm sockets than any other species on Earth.
Was referring to the thread size, not the fastener head size. I am glad you fessed up though!
 

Roert42

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Vehicle Year
2011
Make / Model
Ranger XLT
Engine Size
4.0 SOHC
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
2WD
10mm head is normally a 6mm thread
 

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