When first bought:
Engine would rev/surge when in gear or neutral (3-4000 RPM).
Heat didn't work.
Driver's seat bolts broke so the back didn't stay up.
Battery cables rusted and came apart at the connections.
Front drivers side bearing went bad.
Tie rods and ball joints :-(
Door ajar light stayed on.
Passenger side door lock. Key couldn't turn it.
I have a 2000 Ranger XLT (2.5l, I-4 manual 5 speed). I bought my truck used. The previous owner did very little maintenance. Hence, some of the above listed issues. However, after some "babying", and getting and keeping the maintenance up to date, I have to say I have not had any issues with this truck. My current mileage is 138,000.
The only annoying issue I initially had was the engine would rev when I was in gear or in neutral. I used to have to turn it off and restart it (frequently). It sounded like the space shuttle when I was at stop lights. I think this is why the previous owner sold it so cheap to me... (Although he never mentioned that little issue when he sold it to me). Anyway, I changed the spark plugs, IAC, PCV... you name it, I changed it. I finally inadvertently fixed the problem when I changed a bad A/C low side pressure switch. Why did this fix the problem? I don't know. I assume the low side switch raises the idle when the A/C is on, and mine was raising the idle even when the A/C was off. However, this is just a guess. Even though I do my own maintenance and some repairs, I'm no mechanic. I do hope this helps someone with the same problem. BTW, the low side pressure switch was real cheap (not even $20), and takes a few minutes to change (make sure no refrigerant is in the system first... for me, that was easy since I had a leak, no refrigerant in the system, and was working on the A/C anyway).
Also, heat wouldn't work until I replaced the actuator that opens the blend door. The actuator sits on top of the heater core chamber. Again, a cheap $25 part, and only took 3 hours to replace (there is hardly any space above the heater core... LOL).
As for the seats, it was nothing my drill and some bigger bolts couldn't fix. I just had to remove the seats, which was easy with a little WD-40.
Now, I keep the oil changed every 3 months, and change the antifreeze every other year.
The battery cables are another cheap fix.
No transmission issues, however I do have a stick.
You will have to replace tie rods and ball joints, but when you do, don't go cheap. Spend some money on the good American made brand (seriously), and you will not have any problems. I don't think I can mention brand names in the review, but stay away from the made in China stuff... unless you just like replacing tie rods and ball joints all the time.
The timing belt is non interference. So if it breaks, you will still have an engine. I had this replaced at 120,000. The previous owner didn't do it at the recommended 60,000 miles.
The door ajar light stayed on because the passenger door didn't completely close, and the lock didn't turn. Again, I got out the WD40, sprayed it in all of the locking mechanism, and problem solved. I actually did both doors as a "just in case" measure. It's been 4 years, and no lock or door ajar problems, and the dome light now goes off when I close the door.
I currently use the truck as a daily driver. I have even driven it in snow and ice. I just keep a couple of sand tubes in the back, and drive with the sense God gave me.
I will say that this is not a fast vehicle, but, it is a 4 cylinder truck. It moves good enough for me. But, I don't have a need for speed. If you need to go fast, don't buy this truck.
Anyway, if you find a Ranger with the 2.5 Lima and it's a stick shift, jump on it. Make it a project. They are easy to work on, low worry, highly reliable, truly hidden treasures. I know my problem list looks bad, but these were all problems from not being properly maintained... and they were fairly inexpensive fixes.
I hope anyone reading this finds this review helpful.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 2nd April, 2013