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Old 03-17-2018, 11:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'd probably get low rolling resistance car tires first before I got a new axle. The axle will help but its not going to be an absolute ton. Your ranger is specced out to weigh 3100 pounds. I would get you a set of either 195-65/15 Michelin Energy Saver a/s or some 195-65/15 Bridgestone Ep422. Your car weighs about the same as my prius (3050), and the load ratings work and I can still tow my boat and what not. My mpgs went from struggling to get 51 in spring weather to averaging 63 mpg (both were max effort). Key was I had 7 year old non low rolling resistance tires in the correct size but the actual tread width was also 6.2" vs 5.6" of my 185-65/15 ep422.
The key with the axle is finding something that is already assembled so its cheap to swap in. Ford axles are a dime a dozen and easy to find. I know im a mustang guy/ ford truck guy as well. I'd say go as low as you can on the gear ratios and you will more than likely gain a ton of mpgs from 55-65 but only a marginal amount at 70 mph. (3.08 3.15 3.33)

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Old 03-18-2018, 05:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Been looking at new tires and wheels but I need to get a baseline for the new fuel logs. The plan was to swap in a complete rear end from a donor truck. It looks like a 3:27 is only available in an 8.8 and I'm not sure how much extra work that will be as compared to a 3:45 available in the same size/configuration as what is in there now. I'm still worried a 3:08 will be too tall for the times I do spend in town. My typical daily drive is 65 miles one way with 3 small towns along the way. Stop lights in each one of them. The remainder is all 2-lane blacktop at 55-60 mph and a 7 mile stretch each way at 65-70 mph.

I'm leaning towards the 3:45 unless someone can talk me into trying to fit an 8.8 under there with the 3:27.
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Old 03-18-2018, 05:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just use one lower gear than you typically would.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm sure it will hardly matter. When you get into LRR tires that actually matter i'm sure the 24" tires and the higher ratio axle will cancel out to about the exact same as stock. Go with whichever makes the most sense... (a 3.45 is only a 8% reduction, while a 195 LRR tires is a 10% increase in revs).
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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LRR tires are out. Too hard a compound for the driving I have to do in the snow. I need traction on the twisty 2 lane blacktops I drive. The current tires (not my choice but on the truck when I bought it) are 36 lbs each. I am currently looking at the Kumho Crugen HT51 (in the correct size) at 27lbs each and 7" wide. Rated at 51 psi inflation and excellent wet,snow,comfort, and tread wear ratings according to Tire Rack. They are a light truck/cross over tire. The other option is the Firestone Destination A/T in a size very slightly smaller than stock (205/75/15 compared to 225/70/15 stock). 24 lbs each and only 6.3" wide according to TR. Only 44 psi on the inflation and only slightly lower ratings for the weather and ride. I had the Firestone's on the old Ranger and they ride very well. I did see a drop of 1 mpg but I also changed from a 14" tire (stock) to a heavier 15" tire and heavier wheels. They handled great in the snow and were pretty quiet for an A/T tire. The Kuhmo Crugen's are fairly new and I haven't seen very many reviews on them from folks who have driven more than 2-3k miles. Either way both are much lighter than the current Brigdestone All Terrain's that are on there. Up-sizing to the largest tire that can comfortably fit in the wheel well and allow for travel takes the weight up to 30-31 lbs each. (235/75/15 compared to 225/70/15 stock)
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:38 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm still investigating the rear end swap. I can find a 3.08 in the same size rear end (7.5" open) so it would be a direct swap. I can only find the 3.27 in an 8.8" from a Ranger with a 3.0L in it. It would still be a pretty direct swap and the shock mounts and spring perches are the same but it has to heavier. How much I'm not sure. I thought I had read that the Aerostar was offered with a 3.27 in a 7.5" rear end so I am thinking that the gear set might be available. Just more hassle and $$$ to do it that way.
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Since you mentioned traction, I’d recommend adding a Trac-Lok unit to whatever axle you swap in... pushing with both tires has to be better than pushing with only one...

An Explorer axle would swap in too (free axle flip)but I don’t think they come in a tall enough gear to make a difference... most people go for the 3L73 axles, with disc brakes... and you already have 3.73 gears as is
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Been driving 2wd in the snow for years now. You get used to it. I drove my parents car with LRR tires and felt like I was out of control. Slid around like the road was greased instead of snowy. No traction from a dead stop in fresh snow either. I think the 3.0L and 4.0L Rangers offered limited slip rear ends, but I'm not sure.
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Excuse me for asking but why do you not have a dedicated set of snow tires? I mean we dont get snow here but if we did a set of walmart snow tires would be my go to. Also I drive a Prius with 185s and can maintain a typically 20 over the turn speed limit signs. But yeah LRR doesnt mean low grip always. I had michelin pilot sport 3s on my mustang as sport tires but they were also LRR etc...
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Old 04-07-2018, 05:04 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Most snow tires are very LRR because they have high silica content, which is the primary additive for making tires low rolling resistance. Nokian Hakkapalitas, for instance, have rolling resistance competitive with some of the best all season LRR tires, and are arguably the best snow tire.

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