in my experience:
My 95 leggo was a 3.90 5MT stock. MY reverse gave up the ghost and I swapped for a 99 OB 5MT (4.11).
I'd've preferred a forester (better overdrive 5th gear in the fozzie), but the OB one fell in place at the right time AND was local (w/i a 1.5 hour drive) AAAAND was the right price including the diff. The thing drives like stock now even with 27" tires!!! With my ATs and I've got acceleration and pep that I don't remember ever having (I've been on 27" ATs for nearly as long as I've owned the car). I can't imagine daily driving with 4.44s
It'd just be changing gears all the time with a 4.44 stick... Off road I'm sure you'd LOOOOVE it, but honsetly most (if not all) of your miles are pavement, right?
I doubt (not from experience or seeing the guts of an auto, just from knowing their WAAY different beasts) you can swap an auto's front ring and pinion into a manual. I KNOW the auto's front pinion shaft is longer than a manual's so you'd have to cut, weld then grind and hope it's straight, aligned and balanced.
FWIW, you'll be giving up your 2K lb. towing capability with a stick!! I burned up my clutch hauling a thousand pound camp trailer for a few months (actually only 4 trips and one maneuvering backwards up a slight grade in the driveway).
Largely toasted it backing it up the gravel pad in my driveway... Maybe 15K on the clutch, probably not even that much, and it was done!!!
My wife's 03 (EJ25, 5MT) OBS could pull waaay better than my EJ22 5MT could, and they're both 3.90 [then]
I'm just sayin' . . . . . . .
If you like towing (and I know you do, get a newer 4EAT (4.44) or if you want a stick, get a forester 5MT and you'll be psyched!! No rear diff stuff, better highway 5th (than an OB's 5MT). It'll be easy, cheap and good! I'm pretty sure manual 4.11s drive differently and are more responsive than auto 4.11s.
it's our problem free philosophy, hakuna matata!!
Edited by superu, 19 January 2012 - 11:47 PM.