This is the second Ranger I've owned. The first was a '98 4.0 5-speed. After 175,000 miles of being reliable I bought another. The only complaint so far is that the brakes would fade when stopping quickly, especially with a load. Replaced stock brakes with EBC slotted rotors and EBC Green Stuff 7000 series pads. Stops like a sports car now. Will go through a lot when off road thanks to the limited slip rear differential. Great that the front axle is turning all the time. This eliminates the worry of tearing up a hub when on the trail.
I really like the power of the 4.0. The loss of the vacuum pulse hubs on the front are a great improvement.
I would love to see some better fuel mileage, but it is a big engine and with the front axle turning all the time, there is some extra drag.