I currently use a 88 F150 4x4 with a 302 for pulling my 20 foot mowing trailer around. It is no speed demon with that trailer, but it is dependable. 110,000 miles and still going.
I also had the manifold crack problem, both on same side also, one at about 15,000 and the other at 30,000. Sounds like bad manifolds, huh. No problem since. If you do start to get a motor hestitation when taking off from a stop replace all the sensors, O2, etc. Ford tried to tell me it was the octane level of the gas I was using after they charged me about $1,100.00, took the motor completely apart TWICE, replaced gaskets, a few sensors, etc. I went down the street to Autozone, bought a O2 sensor and a temp sensor, never had the problem again. My Haynes Ford repair manual said to replace them around I believe about 75,000. All this happened at about 90,000, should have read that first.
I have lock outs on the 88, they are great! Have them on a 87 ranger, both are original equipment. Automatic hubs are the worst. I have a 94 explorer, 4x4, used very little, hubs are already shot, as well as the neat little button inside where the transfer case shifter should be. I have pulled out many 4x4 trucks and suv's that should have drove out on thier own but the auto hubs were not working anymore. Back tires just spinning along with front driveshaft. I pulled 52 vehicles out of a mud feild one day - 6 were 4x4,s under four years old with auto hubs!
West Lafayette, Indiana