I have a 2003 Ford Ranger with 4WD. Can I remove the 2 front drive axles during the summer months to get better gas mileage? Has anyone ever tried this? what improvement does it make? Thanks!
If I remember correctly, the front CV joints are always turning in the 97-up 4WD rangers, even when you’re in two wheel drive. But I really doubt you’ll gain much in way of fuel mileage. At any rate there’s about a 1 MPG difference (overall) between the 2WD Ranger and 4WD Ranger. It’s not worth the effort IMO.
If this was an '83, I’d say you probably could, but an '03, no. There’s too many electrical connections at work underneath all the hardware that you’d probably mess something up and/or not get any better mileage.
What would probably be easier would be to remove the front drive shaft, but I don’t think it’s going to make a difference either way. The real difference in mileage between the 2x4 and 4x4 version of the truck is weight, not only with the addition of the 4x4 components, but also generally beefier suspension components. The 4x4 truck also usually rides higher off the ground, which makes it less aerodynamic.
If it’s possible to swap on some manual freewheeling hubs, that might get you some fraction of an MPG and be somewhat workable.