Join Date: May 2009
Location: Los Angeles
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Use a tape measure to find out the measurements of the stock OEM Bronco 2 axles, measure the Explorer axles and then measure the Ranger axles; then swap in the widest ones that are closest to your OEM vehicle specs.
If I am not mistaken, I believe the axles out of an explorer --------
(Dana 35 front/8.8" rear)will swap in place of the bronco 2 axles ------
(Dana 28 front/7.5" rear). The benefit, of course, is strength!!. It's best to look for a cheap donor vehicle, than to scrounge looking for parts from different vehicles. If you want to keep a manual transmission, I suggest looking for a 4.0/manual trans/ 91-94 explorer and buy the whole vehicle, then you can swap in the required components at your leasure.
The other option, is as you state, keep your current rig and swap gears, do a lift and add larger tires....my opinion; yes, this is the best method...but ultimately it's your decision. Late.
I need a bigger engine!