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Ford Ranger Maintenance and Repair



  • solis3solis3 Posts: 1
    anyone have any insight as to how best and quickest to replace the lamps in the instrument cluster? my 98 ranger XLT's have gone out one by one until there are none left. also why does the dome light stay on? I can't see a switch on the door to adjust. greatly appreciated.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    The dome light switch is inside the door. Inside of the outside door handle. The linkage in there activates a push switch.

    Some people say WD40 or electrical cleaner sprayed into the latch can free it up. Most people say you need to pull the door panel off to actually get to the switch and give it a good spray, or replace it.

    Dash light going out, one by one? Whoa, this is kind of scary. I've never seen all of them go out. This looks like there might be some bad grounds or bad leads somewhere to cause this, a problem with the circuit board of the instrument panel. You probably need a manual to tell you how to remove the dash trim and instrument panel to get to these. You have to get the panel out to get to the lights which plug into it.
  • goldrangergoldranger Posts: 54
    quickest and easiest is to add a rear sway bar. you can get aftermarket for around $130 I think or check out a junkyard for a late model Explorer Sport. They have a rear sway bar and should fit. Be sure you get all the connecting parts. I'd like to do that for my 01 4.0 extra cab,m just haven't found the time
  • dchinndchinn Posts: 64
    Thanks for the advice. Will check into it. Would the Explorer rear sway bar fit the Ranger? Is it the same type axle?
  • goldrangergoldranger Posts: 54
    not sure of part #s, but I believe the the explorer sport's frame a& rear axle are pretty much the same. You would want to stay with a 99 or later. Check internet for a company called ADDCO. They make after market suspension parts. I've used them a number of years ago and quality and performance were excellent.
  • sambojohosambojoho Posts: 14
    a lot of problems with the newer Rangers. I just wanted to say that I have a 94 Ranger with 170k miles on it. I have had no problems with it at all. So, for anyone considering a good used truck, I would strongly recommend the 93-95 model years, especially with a 2.3L motor and the Mazda 5spd.
  • frey44 or anyone that may know----

    I have a 1995 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L, auto, 130,000 miles, that experiences the same description in TSB 01-11-11 --- Driveline-Thump/clunk Noise on initial acceleration or coming to a stop.

    The TSB mentions that it is for Ranger years, 1998-2001. Is there a separate TSB for the '95 or would it possibly be the same?

  • tgordotgordo Posts: 6
    I thought I got a Good price on a Trans Fluid Flush at one of the "lube N Tune Shops.I insisted in the MerconV for my 02 Ranger as Factory Spec.They said it WAS Mercon with an additive to make it Mercon V!I haven't had any problems,YET,but I guess I'll get what I pay for!Has anyone heard of any of these Mercon/Additive Ford Equivalents?I'm trying to save money on Disability,and I sure don't need a Trip to Small Claims,if I have trouble.Just wish I had some reassurance as to anyones knowledge of Mercon being made into Mercon V,with their additive.Should I file my Fraud Claim Now?
  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    I had my tranny power flushed and refilled at a local Pep Boys abut 2 yrs ago on my 98 XLT 4X4 and I have had no problems. I was told the same thing that its Mercon fluid with specified additives added. Basically its a synthetic blended fluid. Went to the dealer and talked to the parts guy I knew and he said samething. In fact if they don't have the MerconV in stock they use the regular Mercon and add the additives as well. Another opinion I went to a local tranny shop, not Aamco but and independent and he said the same so I feel confident about it. Just save the reciept of the work in case something does go wrong.
  • mytidawgmytidawg Posts: 2
    Hello y'all

    I have a 96 xlt 4x4 Ranger and when the weather seems to get really hot and i'm running the AC my engine at idle makes a loud humming noise.....augh...when I start driving the sound goes away…also it used to stop if i would turn off the ac

    And now it seems that it is doing it more so , even if i turn off the ac and even the fan it still humms...i do have an airfilter on there, took the stock one out and put in a K&N Air Filter

    my mechanic buddy told me THIS was the problem....does any else out there experience this weird humming sound......kinda sounds like ALiens are landing or as one guy asked me "hey got a blower on under the hood?!"

    pls email any response to me at


    San Jose CA
  • shaggszgnshaggszgn Posts: 1
    Hi there. I am current looking into buying a small pop-up camper trailer, and I was woundering if my 97 Ranger (2.3L I4, Auto w/OD, 56,000miles) can handle it for 2-3 trips a year. The camper wieght is somewhere around a 1,000-1,500lbs.(with in spec. according to the manual.)

    Also my check engine light likes to comes on and stay on for awhile. It'll stay on for a couple days, then the light will go off for 3-4days. It dosen't come on while driving, It'll either stay on or go off like it should when I start my truck. The engine itself is running great, no problems there. Any suggestions?

  • tgordotgordo Posts: 6
    Thanks Man,For Helping ease my mind a bit!You said exactly what I wanted to hear!I had 3 different answers from the folks at Econo Lube.And with their Reputation,I was a bit Sceptical.They did really check and recheck though,to get the Dipstick reads within limit.Thanks for your input! Tom
  • dchinndchinn Posts: 64
    Forgot who asked the question about military rebates earlier. I finally had the time to call Ford Motor Customer Relations. They do have a rebate for military members which will expire within the next two weeks. They notify all dealers. The rebate $$$ comes from Ford and not from the dealership which does not hurt the dealer's bottom line but help bring in more potential customers. When I bought my Ranger from the dealer this past June, the salesperson and the assistant sales manager knew nothing about it and said it was a GM thing. As I investigated further with Ford, they gave me the scoop. Not all dealers sign up for it as it's more paperwork??? Anyways, I called the dealership up again and asked for the sales manager to check into it for me and he was surprised (after he checked into it 30 minutes later) that they were participating in the program. All he needed was my military ID which I faxed to him to get the paper processed. I believe the rebate is $500 but I'll be happy in getting something back. BTW, this info is not on the Ford website (they just have the overseas Military Purchase Program).
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    A/C humming - have you heard the noise just after you shut the motor down when the air cond is running? This is the freon moving around in the system from high to low pressure areas.... Any chance this is what you hear? At idle I can sometimes hear the freon making noise in my 1994.

    Otherwise, if there is humming without the air cond runnning - probably the ICV (Idle Control Valve), think this is the name for it. This controls the idle speed. It's a black and silver cylinder on the side of the intake with two wires into it. Its a valve and solnoid thingie that meters air into the intake at idle. When it's dirty, it can hum. It can be removed (careful with the gasket), two screws, and the valve part cleaned with carb cleaner. Don't get this into the solnoid part.
    When its dirty you will also have an unstable idle - too high or low or surging.....

    Something to check anyway.
  • jtc411jtc411 Posts: 15
    hey guys, i have a 98 ford ranger xlt 2wd 2.5l 4 cylinder...i dont have a problem but wonder if you guys knew anything about horsepower...i know im running at 119hp right now...but what do you think the most i could max that out at, with mods not overly expensive? i was hoping to get it higher...and the next thing im doing is putting a dual pipe flowmaster exhaust system...i dont know if that adds much if anything...but say i was to do a K&N airfilter...with a homemade cold air intake much do you think that would all ad up to hp wise? and any other suggestions im open too...but not looking to spend alot alot
  • Well it's hard to say exactly how much you will gain, but with a true cat-back system, K&N air filter and cold air kit, you should probably see about 10-15 hp increase. Just remember that is Peak Horsepower, not mean or average horsepower. You will probably lose some low end torque, with a radial K&N and dual exhaust, but you will feel benefit at the higher RPMs.

    Other things to do, remove air snorkle from air box, replace intake tube with smooth metal, possible MAF modification or throttle body upgrade, upgaded spark plugs, new plug wires, underdrive pulleys, lower weight synthetic motor oil, port matching of head, header, and a cat-back exhaust.

    With all of the above done, I think figures over 150 hp are reasonable, and it would feel like a new engine.
  • jtc411jtc411 Posts: 15
    how much would all of this cost? because i am so mad at myself for not getting the 4.0 trying to compensate my dissatisfaction for the 4 cylinder with some horsepower...though my 4 cylinder because of the weight of my truck, it feels very quick...i have beaten a v6 f150 before...question remains...if i were to put some pipes on there and take off the woudl that sound? also prices on performance upgrades...THANX!
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Trade for a 4L.

    Since you already bought used, I would think you would not lose the kind of money as if you traded an almost-new 4 cylinder.

    In my opinion, you have a 4 cylinder, and it will always be a 4 cylinder. If you are worried about the cost of power upgrades, I don't see you ever 'getting your money's worth' by pouring money and upgrades into a 4 cylinder. You really will not get anything back on them when you sell the truck. Many people will run from a truck with extensive mods, thinking it probably was abused also.

    When looking at used Rangers, I drove a 4 cylinder - and it was seriously underpowered for me. I drove a 3L and thought that was a little more like it. I drove a 4L manual and burned the tires starting off. I said 'wooo' what's happening here. The salesman clued me in about Rangers having 2 V6's, which I didn't know. That's when I decided the 4L was for me.

    Bottom line - If you want fast, buy fast. Don't try to build it, unless you have a lot of money you are willing to put into a vehicle and never get much of it back. And also remember, these are trucks, they are designed for torque, not speed. And milage will also be low since they are shaped like a rolling brick.
  • jtc411jtc411 Posts: 15
    well its a 1998 with 56k miles on it...and i just bought it about 6 months ago...its not that i dont like it...and its a quick little truck...but for me i dont really plan on getting rid of it for probably atleast 3 not trying to make it quick so i can make some money off of just doing it to give it a little more running at 120 hp right now..and am hoping to get it in the 150 range with some minor modes...such as the jet 2 mod chip(15 hp)...flowmaster exhuast with no muffler(15hp) and a K&N airfilter and home made cold air intake(10 hp) basically i can get 50 hp for about 500 dollars...where i would have to take a serious loss for my truck and spend another 2 grand to get a 6 cylider which is only 20 more hp
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You are hoping for a 25% increase in horsepower with 'mods' on a 4 cylinder engine. You are not going to get it. Period.
    The manufactors of these devices lie, you will not get this kind of increase with whatever a 'chip' can do (mainly increase the timing advance, which may make it run hot. They usually recommend a 160 degree thermostat to conteract this. Which may put the engine management computer into 'open loop' process, especially in the winter, which will reduce milage.), minor increase in intake air flow, and minor increase in exhaust flow.
    Save this money toward a 4L purchase in the three years you talk about.
    Buy a 4L OHC which is a factory rated 205+ HP(something like this number). These are 2001 and later models, and they are much stronger than my 94 4L.
  • There are much better Ford Ranger forums out there which contain lots of enthusiasts who have done lots to their Rangers. Like a 3.0l Ranger pulling in low 16 second quarter miles. It all depends on how far you want to go.

    Have you ever looked at the exhaust ports, or your exhaust manifold? There is clear oportunity for improvement, but it will cost money and time.

    But the point that should be brought up is if it is important to you. Yes, it's easier to start out with more cubic inches, and then you can do performance mods to add more power. This would be the best way to go, but if buying a new(er) truck is not feasible, then why not?

    It is not just a small increase to your intake and exhaust. While it can start out that way, there is a sum whole to what you can do, and it can make a big difference over time. Plus some people just enjoy working on their truck, or trying something new. But you are right about the manufacturer claims. My 3.0l makes an advertised 154 horsepower. My gibson cat-back advertises 10-15 hp gain. I figure 5 horsepower is a safe and realistic claim, so I figure I'm at around 160 now (also with a airbox modification).

    Also, jtc, remember I mentioned "Peak Horsepower, not mean or average horsepower" which is basically what you will be affecting. Its not like the 2.3l 4 cylinder can't be fast (Anybody remember the 84 SVO 2.3? While not the exact same block it was the same displacement)

    But to answer your question JTC, it depends on the pipes you put on. I just put a Gibson cat-back on my truck and love it. Not much louder, but definitely more of a growl. Flowmasters would be more throaty, but it will still sound like a 4 cylinder. Hopefully other 2.3l owners will chime in with their experience with certain exhausts.

    But also just remember that you will have a very stout 4 cylinder motor. My 1993 2.3l was still running great after 140,000 miles, and that included many years of teenage abuse.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You said "It all depends on how far you want to go..... There is clear oportunity for improvement, but it will cost money and time.'

    That is exactly what I am saying - If you want fast, buy fast. If you don't you are going to pour money into what you initially bought to get fast. And many times you won't get as fast as if you spent that money to initially buy fast.

    And I am not talking about people that like to work themselves on their vehicles. I personally understand the feeling of satisification that comes when you've done something successfully yourself, with your own hands.

    But many of the people you see posting on these message boards can't do their own work. They are on a limited budget buying into a vehicle, but then are willing to feed additional money into it as time goes by. I just feel this is false economy all the way. If you can't buy fast at the first, save more money before you jump into the first purchase, then buy fast initially. You will always be ahead of the game - in my opinion.
  • It is more cost effective to buy your power off the showroom floor. That also comes with the nice warranty. But if you can't afford a new vehicle, you can improve what you have. Granted, any big gains will cost big money.

    And one thing is for certain, rear wings, stickers, lowering kits, body kits, cutting springs, and 500 pounds of audio/visual equipment does NOT make your car fast... :)
  • jtc411jtc411 Posts: 15
    well im not trying to be in fast and the furious 3 or just looking for some extra performance...not looking to spend a grand...besides a minor idle problem...i have never had a problem with my 2.5l 4 cylinder...and honestly its no v6...but its quick for only being 119 yeah...i appreciate your help but i have decided to go open element k&n airfilter, and a magnaflow cat-back exhaust system with 3" pipes...whatya guys think?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    ...Buy a nice evening out with your girlfriend.

    Or, open a savings account with that $200-500 at a Credit Union. Then, in three years, this Credit Union might be giving better loan rates than the dealerships (you can't beat their 0% right now, but who knows what the future holds). And, you've got that $500 + Interest (even a little will help) and maybe more because you've gotten into the practice of saving a little each payday....

    And you will have a much better chance of BUYING FAST!

    Keep this outlook for the next 35 years and you can have a nice retirement.

    Otherwise, in 3 years you have a nasty, oily air filter and a rusted out exhaust which will probably detract from the resale value of your truck.

    Yea, I know, this is your grandpaw talking to you...
  • Being my first new vehicle purchase at age 25, I got my 2003 Ranger Edge 3.0l reg cab. I had to get a v6, but couldn't find a 4.0l in a regular cab (fleet order only). Combine that with a manual transmission and it's not slow, but it's not gonna beat up a mustang. I put the Gibson Cat-back on it, but it is stainless steel, so it'll last a good while. 2.5" all the way back, I believe. That and a little airbox modification is all I have done, so it's not fast, but it was a cheap vehicle to begein with, and the upgrades have definitely helped in terms of sound (/appearance) and performance. Soon I will be opening up my MAF sensor which basically entails removing the plastic shielding around the actual sensor. That is supposed to be really noticable during the higher RPMs. So it's stuff like that, that can be done to increase your satisfaction with your vehicle.

    But nothing too drastic or bank breaking because I am really curious and tempted to see what the 2005 (or 2006? remodel) of the Ranger will be. If Ford gets off their butt and finally puts in the 4.6l v8, you know what I'll be getting.
  • deuskiddeuskid Posts: 20
    a used ranger and wondered if the 2.5 is adequate w/ manual transmission or do I need the 3.0? Will need a/c to survive summers in St.L. Is either superior from a maintenance point of view?
  • jtc411jtc411 Posts: 15
    hey man, i have a 98 2.5 auto...and i dont mind it...its not as fast as i want it to be...if you are looking to be fast then go with the 4.0...if you just kinda want something that moves and does whats needed...then the 2.5 is the way to go
  • dslexikdslexik Posts: 1
    Have any of you had problems with your air conditioning.

    I have a '97 Mazda B-2300 (a Ranger) with 47,000 miles and can't get my AC to work. I'll turn on the AC and will hear it click in and then stop. 10 sec later it tries to kick in again and nothing.
  • silvercoupesilvercoupe Posts: 326
    I am currently driving a 2000 Ranger with the 3.0 engine (company vehicle) with 100k miles. Valve clatter is awful when engine is under load. Any suggestions?
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