Well the 96 fell thru. the guy wanted too much for it and there were too many things that weren't right. It had been rolled on its side (which I knew about when I went to look at it),it was the 3.0 and not the 3.5 which i was hoping for, the entire bottom of the engine was soaked in oil/PS fluid or something, AC didn't work which was important to me, it wouldn't come out of 4WD, and it puffed a big cloud of white smoke the first time I stepped on the gas (probably valve guide seals). But he didn't want to come down under $800 and I didn't want to pay much more than $600 especially seeing how I would have had to rebuild and fix a bunch of stuff.

So I might be going to the auction this morning to look at a 2002 montero sport... I am thinking if I pick up anything I plan on moving as much as possible to the truck without too much "custom" work. If that ends up being only engine/trans/transfer case. I was hoping for an older montero sport with leaf spring rear not coil so I could try swapping the montero front and rear axles/diff housing over to get the lower ratio. rear axle I could still do, I would have to have the coil spring perches cut off and leaf spring perches welded on or go to the JY and find an older sport axle housing. The front looks like it might physically bolt into the truck frame with minimal work at least from looking at pictures anyway. CV shafts might be tricky, comparing them on rock auto the outer joint looks to be the same the inner joint is 6 bolt flange truck is 4 bolt and truck OAL is about an inch shorter. As long as the center axle shaft is the same then I can mix and match front CV parts to make them work.

Or... I could just bull the body off the montero frame and throw the truck body on it... the monty is only a 1.8" shorter wheel base...