This has actually been a project I have been wanting to do for some time. I just haven't found a reasonable priced donor sport trac to do it with.
the v8 should fit just fine in the sport trac. The engine bay really isn't any different like you said from an explorer. As far as the electronics, I don't know specifically on the sport trac. Like I posted the 97 sohc electrical was very different from the 98 explorer harness.
The 98 would be more similar to the 01 then the 98 -97 as things changed from 97-98.