91 Ford Ranger 4x4 STX - Do I want it?

Hi -
One of my coworkers has a 1991 Ranger STX 4x4 with a 2.9L, 5-speed, extended cab with approximately 222,000 miles on it. He's looking to sell it, and it
would be great for my lawn mowing business I have for extra income.
I drove it and it drives pretty well, but am looking for opinions on a couple items.
1. It pretty clearly needs front rotors, as there is a distinct thump-thump-thump when the brakes are applied. I usually do this type of work myself, and found out the local AZ wants ~$122 a piece. Is there anything else about these brakes that I need to know, given that it's a 4x4? I'm hoping they would be turnable. 2. I heard a whining sound from the drivetrain when my foot was on the accelerator. I suspect that it may be the front axle shafts turning (hubs were NOT locked), but am not sure if the sound was normal in a 4x4.
Beyond those two items the vehicle is in decent shape considering its age: the body's straight, paint is even and the intererior is pretty decent. The A/C won't blow cold anymore, but he said it does when it has a charge.
Does anyone have any experience with one of these? Is there anything specific I should look for? I've owned an '84 with a 2.8, and an '87 with a 2.3 4cyl and had no trouble with them, but they were both 2wd.
He said he was hoping to get $1000 for it, edmunds.com puts it at less than $500 because of the high miles.
Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
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If they 'thump' turning them would only fix it temporarily. Despite popular opinion, most or all of that symptom isnt 'warp', it's either a crack or a contamination spot.. where the alloy is different.
Shop around... look for Raybestos or TRW brand. Or NAPA rebrand is probably good.
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I can tell you that from having already bought a set of rotors for my own '91 Ranger XLT, those Autozone rotors are way overpriced. I think I paid around $45 -$50 each for mine @ Napa. ANY parts I have bought for my truck have not been expensive, it is very cheap to maintain. As for the whining you are talking about, I've had my truck 4 years and it has always had a noticeable whine from 1st to 3rd gear, 4th and OD you can barely notice it. Note that my truck is only 2wd, so yes, the noise could also be something in the 4wd driveline. Anyway, I'm not sure if your truck has the same Mazda transmission that mine does, but it is more than likely making the noise you are talking about. BTW, my transmission was rebuilt 3 years ago and it had no effect on the whining, it still does it now. I just learned to turn the radio up louder. My truck has just over 245,000 kms on it.
FYI, www.therangerstation.com is a great resource on the web for these trucks. I will also tell you about the only two major annoyances/problems I've had with this truck. The first is the rubber plugs on the top of the transmission, if it is a Mazda unit and the plugs have not been taken out and replaced with steel or equivalent. This should be one of the first things to check/fix. Those plugs are known to leak and after time your transmission will lose fluid. If it gets too low like mine did, you WILL damage the transmission. It overheated and broke the tailshaft in mine. The site I mentioned above has a great article to explain how to fix the plugs.
The second thing are both the EEC and fuel pump relays are known to stick and cause electrical problems. If it ever happens, you'll think that either your battery or alternator has just died, after your truck refuses to start. I went through a year of replacing new batteries, testing alternators and checking wiring before I finally found an article on the internet explaining the problem with these relays. The fix? The two relays are the same, buy two of them, replace them. It is a 2 minute job and it is well worth the time and money for the relays, otherwise you will drive yourself crazy trying to figure out whats wrong with your electrical system.
Otherwise, my truck has been great to me, now I just need to get some body work done and a new paint job on it.
Good luck if you decide to purchase. Sharky
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I *think* on the 4x4 it's a Mitsubishi tranny. I had the Mazda tranny in my 87, and sure enough the plastic collar on top broke. A couple weeks after I had it fixed I got a recall notice on it.
Thanks for the heads up on the brake rotors - I attributed AZ's price to the fact that this was a 4 x 4, and sure enough NAPAOnline.com lists the same parts for $45 each. That makes this deal look better and better.
If anyone else has any info on specific quirks of the 4x4 model I'd appreciate it.
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Just curious, does the 4x4 system operate with the electronic button on the dash, or the shift lever on the floor? I have heard a few complaints about the electronic button controls, but I don't think it's a really big deal. Apparently they can just stop working altogether, not sure if it is related to a vacuum or electrical problem.
Sharky
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Nope - this one has manual hubs. I don't even care that it's a 4x4 - I just want a better small pickup than I already have.
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GMach3 wrote:

on the rotors: looks like the gear ratio is the difference. 3.45 ratio is the spendy one $99 at kragen, the non 3.45 is only $34. Also, the non 3.45 looks like the popular one because they stock it in the stores. Are you sure autozone looked up the right one? There is also another one that says front, 4x4 with antilock brakes, 3.45 ratio ,its $48. Gotta love ford brakes! You can get them turned all day long around here for about $15 a piece. They just have to have enough meat left on them.
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I'd be a bit tense on using a truck this old and with this many miles on it as a work truck.... I'll qualify that with "your situation may be different from ours" regarding quality of roads, weather and other factors. Breakdowns that keep you from fulfilling your business obligations can have an impact on your profitability....
YMMV...
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I don`t know where you have been but the pkup market has tanked big time. severe drop in used prices as few want a gas hog for a driver any more and the vast maj. of them were just that. KB
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