Let's face it, Ford made a terrible shifter for the Ranger. Unless you were fortunate enough to purchase an FX-4 edition Ranger, you got stuck with a terrible shift arm. It is big, heavy and lacks any feedback required for smooth shifting. But there is a way to fix the problem and make the inside of your truck look much better.
You will need to gather a few parts and tools, so let's get to it!
Make sure you read the whole instructable first, so you know all the parts and procedures.
Step 1: Step 1 - Remove the Shift Console and Shifter Arm
First remove the console that holds the shifter and shift boot. There are two screws under the front lip of the shift boot that hold it to the floor. In front, there is a large protrusion that goes into a slot on the floor. We will have to pull the locking cam out of the shifter in order to remove the whole thing. The locking cam actually works by tightening the nut until the cam is pulled out of position. The pictures will give a better understanding of how it works.
Step 2: Step 2 - Separate the Shifter From the Console
This is a destructive modification, so stop here if you are afraid. The rubber shift boot is attached to the console with plastic knobs that will break when you try to remove it. You may be able to save some of them, but I cut them off. They will need to be removed anyway, so I wasn't worried about breaking them.
Step 3: Step 3 - New Shift Boot
Next comes a new shift boot. I purchased a black & gray leather shift boot from JC Whitney. The have multiple colors, but this one seemed to match my truck the best.
The shift boot is JC Whitney part number 47ZX5929P
The boot will attach to the console with office binder clips. I used these because they are sturdy and can be removed if necessary. Once installed, I removed the silver handles and kept the black metal spring clamps. This reduces any chance of noise.
Adjust the boot so there is some overlap on the bottom to cover the console hole and provide flexibility.
Step 4: Step 4 - New Shift Arm
The new shift arm is a factory Ford part from their Ranger FX-4 Level II. Here are the part numbers:
FX4 arm: 1L5Z7210BC
Shift ball: 1L5Z7213AA.
The new arm attaches exactly like the old one. It will be easier to install because it is not attached to the console and you can see the cam. After installation, make sure you can move the stick easily and shift correctly.
Step 5: Step 5 - Reinstall the Console
The console will slide down over the shift arm. You may want to widen the hole in the shift boot so the shifter arm will easily slide in. You don't want to pull out any binder clips.
The console has a protrusion in the front that attaches to a slot in the plastic floor plate. Make sure this is attached first, then re-install the two screws in the back.
Adjust the shifter booth for best look and then add the shift knob.
Now enjoy your new shifter.