Roger nailed the [b]manual-versus-automatic issue in general. In the 2007 Ford Ranger specifically, as published by Ford, there is a difference (yes, 7000 lb manual versus 9500 lb auto, or 2500 lb) only with the 4.0 L. I suspect that the same transmission comes with both V6 engines, and its clutch can only withstand the stress of getting 7000 lb moving; that's not an issue with the 3.0 (the engine is good for only 6000 lb anyway), but becomes the limiting factor with the 4.0.
Thanks Roger and Brian for the explanation!
The question has been plaguing me since seeing the difference printed up in the owner's manual of our - you guessed it - manual trans 4.0 L Ranger. We did lots of research before buying it, but somehow never realized the manual trans would make a difference in load capacity.
The good news for us is that we are within our GCWR with our loaded Casita
(just barely!), and the good news for me (but not Steve) is it offers a solid reason why we shouldn't bring so much stuff!
less stuff, more fun