any Ranger axle from '93 to 2009 I think will work either 7.5" or 8.8" and be a direct bolt on, I think somewhere around 2007 they changed the hub size in the rear axle so the drums don't interchange but that's the only difference. You can swap the 9" and 10" brake backing plates between the two I believe.
Fortunately local salvage yard has an 8.8 inch 4.10 gear ratio 10 inch inch brake rear end. I am removing drive axle to change u-joints as well. How do I reinstall drive axle to new rear end correctly?
When you mentioned something you called a drive axle with u-joints it sounded like you were talking about what is normally called the drive shaft which connects tje transmission or transfer case to the pinion at the differential.