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Welcome, I'm Chris (aka Moose) I prefer working afternoon till just after midnight.
I am finding the same information from Ford that the 01-03 in the Ranger and Mazda B are direct replacements. The sport trac should also work (based on my experience rebuilding them, not based on Ford info). The newer models have different gear ratios which will effect the way your computer controls the transmission.
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That is correct. If you get outside of that range you are going to run into issues where as the computer controls it wrong and stores codes.
If you want to try a non compatible year, that is your choice.
Hello again Chris here,