So, here is the real solution to bolting up a bulletproof 5 speed tranny behind a H.O. 2.6 liter. You need to obtain a bellhousing from Ford Ranger 85-87 Diesel, which are rare and somewhat hard to find. Then mate a Toyo Kogyo TK5 transmission using the starter, clutch, flywheel, slave from a 85-87 2.9 L Ranger. I know it sounds wacky and complicated but it will bolt right up and you would also get a BW 1350 tcase with a 2.48 and fixed yokes which is a huge improvement over the KM100 TCase. The TK5 is also capable of being mated to the Atlas II Tcase which I like.
I am going with the FM145 for now because it has a .79 overdrive campared to the TK5's .84 which gives me a bit more top end on the interstate. I need all the help I can get because I am running 5.13's. But if my FM145 prematurely fails I will swap to a TK5 in a heart beat.