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Ford Ranger Maintenance and Repair



  • clintonjohnclintonjohn Posts: 99
    my 2000 ranger has a similar problem-idiot light is on, but the switch off light is off when it is supposed to be on. for a while, if i would tap the disarm housing, the light would switch on. i figure the problem is a short in that disarm switch. personally not a fan of airbags to begin with, so i never bothered to have it checked out or replace the disarm mechanism. sorry i couldn't be any help, but it's nice to know someone else out there has the same problem as me.
  • frieberg44frieberg44 Posts: 33
    I am not here to complain or criticize, only to inform and maybe add info that will help:
    I bought my Ranger 4x4 XLT extended cab new.
    It is a 4.0 liter 5 speed auto. I have had numerous problems and will soon (finally) trade in the vehicle.
    To date what I have had to have done:
    1) New Michelin LTX M/S tires to replace the Firestones (Ironically, one has been ruined because of a defective ball joint which I was unable to I.D. until too late);
    2) New drive shaft at 9K miles (aluminum..but did NOT solve the "bump-drive train lash" problem after all; it is back again);
    3) Two microswitch modules (i.e. for the wipers); one at 11K miles, the second at 29K miles. The wipers would come on spontaneously, or not work at all);
    4) One idle control solenoid at 24K miles (the engine would NOT idle unless I gave it throttle at stoplights);
    5) Sliding rear window leaked; resealed by dealer. It still leaks;
    6) Two A/C relays replaced (for some reason, the relays are failing for that circuit ??);
    7) 1 defective OE shock (left rear); replaced at 18K miles;
    8) New passenger side upper ball joint at 37K miles (NOT covered under warranty..$ 271.00);
    9) The truck will NOT track straight; it has been aligned 3 times by dealer, and once by an outfit called NTB. I suspect ball joints are the problem, but cannot verify this. It pulls to the RIGHT.
    10) The tranny is now starting just a slight shudder when shifting from 3rd to 4th, and 4th to 5th. I am very alarmed about this. The fluid WAS CHANGED as recommended for this tranny at 30K miles as per the book, by a Blue Oval dealer; the color of the original fluid was fine;
    11) This truck has CONSTANTLY vibrated since new. I won't go into the details (I previously posted them). Needless to say, I now am pretty sure it is an engine-drivetrain resonance problem, or a tranny torque converter problem, NOT a tire or wheel problem. I think the engine is shaking in its rubber mount and transferring this to the floorboard OR the tranny is inducing some type of driveline vibes.
    It appears to be incurable.
    12) Type of driving: mostly highway, light towing, and I take excellent care of my vehicles.
    Current mileage: 42, 300. I plan to trade it in on either a Tundra or a Titan. I'd love to own a new F-150 but I am afraid to take the risk of a repeat experience with dismal quality. I STILL think that Ford makes fine trucks; I got a giant LEMON. The main reason for my getting rid of it now is the excessive level of VIBRATION, which has become intolerable.
    Peace, all.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Thanks for your post. I was seriously contemplating buying a new 2004 Mazda B 4000 4X4 truck with a 5 speed manual transmission. I test drove the truck and was not impressed. The shifter feels cheap and the throws are imprecise. The ride was jiggly and jittery, and power disappointing given an engine that supposedly puts out 207 horsepower. The cloth seats looked cheap and the front hood had visible dimples and imperfections in it. And the 4 door design with the jump seats stinks.

    Your experience proves that buying one of these vehicles is a gamble: getting a lemon is probably more likely than with Japanese makes, e.g Nissan. This Mazda is not a Japanese truck merely a rebadged Ford Ranger, and nothing more.

    BTW, you should feel alarmed about your transmission. I know somebody with an identical engine/transmission setup in an Explorer and his transmission failed for good after 50K miles.

    I will keep my 95 Nissan SE V6 4X4. The 5 speed shifter in my Nissan is smooth and precise after 82K miles, ten times better than in this new Mazda (Ranger) truck. And I like the manual transfer case lever in my Nissan vs electronically controlled pushbutton system in the Mazda (I wonder how long will that work reliably?) I have had very few problems with my Nissan truck in nine years of ownership and I know people who have about 300K miles on these trucks with the original engine/transmission. I do not have time or patience to go through warranty repairs. I trust my old Nissan a lot more than I would this Mazda truck.
  • liman1liman1 Posts: 7
    but I'm very happy with my ranger. I looked at the Japanese trucks at the time, but to me there was no contest. The Japanese vehicles were too small and too expensive and too ugly. Lots of people on this board have gone many miles on their rangers with little trouble.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    It so happens that I bought a new 2 wheel drive Ford Ranger XLT supercab in 1989. I paid $8700 for this truck: 2.9 liter V6, 5 speed manual, cruise and tilt. Had no problems with the truck except with lousy Firestone tires that it came with. The transmission in this truck was made by Mazda and the shifter felt a lot better that the one in the 04 Mazda. Also, the seat cloth was much better in my opinion. The 2.9 liter engine was a gem - never had any problems.

    A friend of mine has a 2.3 liter Ranger supercab with a 5 speed manual and so far has had no problems with the truck.

    I guess I was not impressed with the 2004 4.0 liter 4X4 Mazda as compared to my 89 Ranger or the 95 Nissan.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Michelin LTX M/S are probably the best truck/SUV tires you can buy. I had a set on my 95 Nissan and they lasted over 75K miles while delivering a nice smooth ride (when properly balanced of course). I would like to point out that one source of annoying vibration on your truck could be a bad driveshaft support bearing, which is encased in rubber. If the rubber sleeve gets damaged or torn, the driveshaft will move up and down and vibrate. This happened to my 95 Nissan truck but I found it rather quickly. This is a common problem on Nissans. The bearing itself was not damaged, only the rubber sleeve was torn. Something worth checking on your truck.
  • frieberg44frieberg44 Posts: 33
    Thanks for your response, but there IS no support bearing on the one piece aluminum driveshaft (Ironically, this driveshaft was installed via a TSB that addressed issues of "thump, clunk, lash and vibration". It worked for a few thousand miles...back again. I am ready to get rid of the truck. One simply reaches a point where enough is enough. I'll get killed on depreciation (Rangers don't do well in that area !), but such is life. My mistake in buying it in the ifrst place. Four wheel drive Rangers, with the pushrod 4.0 liter, are "shakers". It seems to be an inherent characteristic of the truck (the old Explorer type "aftervibration"). So, if you test drive any used ones, MAKE SURE you get it out on the highway for a period of time to monitor the shakes; be forwarned.
  • brucelincbrucelinc Posts: 815
    I, too, had the new aluminum shaft installed on my '01 Ranger while it was under warranty. About a year later, the symptoms returned. It was out of warranty so I took the driveshaft out myself and coated the splines with the Ford recommended teflon grease. That completely eliminated the problem. I am not saying that is a permanent "fix." It may need greased again every year or two, but at least that problem is fixable. Otherwise, my Ranger has been flawless.
  • footpoundsfootpounds Posts: 22
    For all of you Ford Ranger owners, here is an observation I've made but haven't seen addressed here. Probably 90% of the Rangers I see on the road have an inoperable high mounted brake light. Maybe you guys are unaware of it but have someone step on the brakes and go take a look. Chances are, YOURS is not working! It has become a pasttime of mine while driving now. I see a Ranger and tell my wife, "watch, his brake light will not work when he comes to that redlight". I am usually right.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    i read about transmission problems on this board. but it seems that is related to V6 models.

    for 2004, are the 4 cyl/5 speed auto troublesome? looking at basic trucks, 4 cylinders with automatics. are the Ranger/Mazdas really that much worse than a Tacoma base model?
  • edwardn1edwardn1 Posts: 103
    ...THAT MOST RANGERS I SEE ALSO HAVE INOP HIGH MOUNT STOP LIGHTS INCLUDING MY 99. I will replace the bulb(s) but I noticed ford says to use a #906 in the owners manual and all the aftermarket sources recommend a #912 (sylvania and ge) Any idea as to which should be better or last longer?
  • rickc5rickc5 Posts: 378
    My 2002 Ranger XLT is now about 2.5 years old, with just a hair over 30K miles on it. So far, only one trip to the dealer for a new sensor of some sort, as the check engine light came on.

    No vibration, no poor tracking, etc. However, I do have a persisting rattle in the drivers door that "can't be reproduced". Yeah, sure.

    Not a bad truck, but it is starting to squeak, groan & rattle more than I like, and I don't drive it hard.

    I had an opportunity to drive the F150, Tundra & Titan (& Chevy & Dodge) back-to-back about 6 months ago a part of a consumer survey. The Titan came up #1 in my book, with the Tundra waaayy back on my list. The Tundra just felt dated & slow. Slower than any of the others. The F150 was my #2 pick, but the Titan was really a hot rod, with a great ride and a comfortable interior. Affordable too. Good luck with whatever new truck you decide on. You need some.
  • youwhoyouwho Posts: 1
    I see a great price on a Ranger 4 by with manual tranny. I seem to recollect that there are some problems with both the 4-by and the manual. Does anyone recall specifics of these problems? I think the ball joints are the issue with the four by's, not sure what the tranny issue was.
  • after reading the post, i checked mine, and sure enough it was out. i bought the ge 912, which the little computer at walmart indicated. i don't know about its longevity, but it fit, and fixed the problem-old bulb was burned out.
  • theflushtheflush Posts: 100
    I just replaced the front brake pads on my 99 4WD EXT SC with 85K miles and noticed that there is a bit of a groove forming on the inside edge of the driver side rotor. My question is how difficult is it to replace the rotors yourself? I don't know if the rotor can be turned, but I can get parts for half off at NAPA through a relative, so it might be just as cheap to replace than to pay someone to turn them. I will also pack the bearings while I'm replacing the rotors.

    Also, how common is it to get vastly different wear between the driver and passenger side pads? My passenger side pads were not in that bad of shape, while my driver side pads were almost completely gone. Is it simply because I drive alone most of the time and there is more weight on the driver side?
  • “Tapping” baffles Experts!

    I picked up a ’92 Ranger, 4L , manual, 2WD a couple of years ago and have been going thru it clearing up the problems (mechanic’s daughter ;-) ) but one problem remains that has baffled the best automotive minds I have access to.

    Under very specific driving conditions, I get a metallic tapping sound from the engine compartment. The sound is very similar to what you get if you shake a PCV valve very fast and hard or like the sound of an old mechanical tappet that’s out of adjustment.

    These are the conditions:

    1. You are cruising at 95 to 105 Km/Hr (58 – 65 mph) on the highway and have been at that speed for at least 5 minutes.

    2. The outside air temperature is between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius (65 - 77° F).

    3. The wind is a quartering headwind but never a strong wind.

    The tapping has never occurred under any other conditions!

    The “tapping” has the following characteristics:

    1. Pressing the throttle slightly IMMEDIATELY causes the tapping to become MUCH louder.

    2. Backing off the throttle IMMEDIATELY causes the tapping to become softer.

    3. If speed is reduced (<90 KPH/55 mph), the tapping goes away.

    4. After driving at reduced speed (<90 KPH/55 mph) for a few minutes, I can often accelerate back to 100 KPH/62 mph without the tapping recurring. Sometimes I have to repeat the reduced speed a few times before the tapping stays away.

    5. The speed (rate) of the tapping doesn&#146;t seem to be related to engine speed (seems to be about 1/4 of the RPM) but the loudness is DIRECTLY related to throttle setting

    I have tried the following:

    1. On one trip, I allowed it to knock away until the check engine light came on. When I later downloaded the codes, the only code present was about idle speed!

    2. Thinking the problem had something to do with manifold vacuum levels, I disconnected everything that was unnecessary - no change.

    3. I removed the PCV valve (because it was the only thing I could think of that might sound that way) - no change

    4. I tried a tank of 91 Octane - no change

    5. I inspected the induction system for anything loose that might rattle - nothing found.

    6. I changed the air filter (to change the induction characteristics) - no change.

    The Ranger uses a multi-coil ignition, so there is no distributor or vacuum advance.

    I have consulted the best Ford minds in the area and all my mechanically inclined friends and this has everyone puzzled!

    The Ranger is a nice riding truck with lots of jam and was bought as my long-trip vehicle but I won&#146;t really trust it until I know the source of this tapping, so it either gets fixed or SOLD!

  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    I have this exact same problem with a 1979 Ford F-150 with the 5.0L 302. I have had it looked at NUMEROUS times without any luck. So far it's at 130,000 miles and runs excellent (side for the annoying noise). It doesn't get driven very much these days, my everyday vehicle is an Expedition. I have given up on it trying to figure it out. I feel like I could through money at it all day and still not get it fixed. Anyway, I hope that you have better luck than I do in figuring it out.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Sounds like pretty basic "part-throttle pinging" to me. I'm surprised higher octane had no effect, usually it will quiet it. How is your fuel economy? I ask because the cause of pinging on a late model fuel injected vehicle is usually a lean condition (high air/fuel mix) due to a failing metering device like 02 sensor or Mass-air sensor. You can only do so much by pulling codes with your laptop, there are a lot of devices on modern engines that can be out of adjustment enough to cause a driveability problem without setting a code.
    I would try gently cleaning the MAF sensor (between the air cleaner and upper intake) with some electrical parts cleaner. Also consider pulling the O2 sensors and giving them a visual inspection, looking for severe contamination.
    Also try spraying around the upper and lower intake gaskets with some soapy water while idling, if the idle speed fluctuates or you see soap bubbles forming around the gaskets then you have an intake leak. This was a common problem on that 4.0 engine, revised upper and lower gaskets will solve that problem. Beyond this you'll have to take it to a dealer who can monitor fuel trims with the big-bucks diag equipment. Good luck.
  • Thanks for the tips wijoco - sounds like a logical approach.

    Don't know what the mileage is - haven't checked it - but I am now hearing from others who found the MAS to be the source of identical problems.

    I have some electronic parts cleaner on hand and will clean the MAS first because it's easy to get at ;-)

    I've heard lots of pining before but never as strange as this! Of course, when you get computers involved, strange thaings happen.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    -Clean the MAF. This is a good 'maintenance item, in any case. (There are 'security' screws on this. You may need a special thorx wrench for this. I drilled off the inside 'nipple' with a very small dremel drill and used a 'regular' thorx drive.)

    -Tighten the lower intake manifold bolts. Loose bolts is probably your problem.

    As wijoco said, both of these are usual, known problem areas to cause pinging on the 4L. My intake bolts were loose on my 94 model 4L. As I understand, this allows additional air into the fuel mixture, leaning it out, and causing the pinging. You will need a 1/4 inch socket with a flex extension. Some of the bolts will still be tough to get to.
  • andyman73andyman73 Posts: 368
    I wanted to add a few things here. My father-in-law has 00 4X4 w/4.0 and 5a tranny. 21K miles, no problems, upper break light still working on factory bulb. He has owned 3 other Rangers and 1 F150 with I6. His 1st truck was a Datsun 4X4, best he ever had, couldn't get out of it's own way, but couldn't get it stuck, either. His only problem,ever, was on F150, exhuast rusted out after 7 years. Traded it on the 00, in 99, still had factory battery, was 92, by the way. Only complaint on 00 Ranger, bed is too small, after coming from F150 what did he expect? I have driven and ridden about 2500miles in said Ranger, and I love it. None of the aforementioned problems. No driveline shaking or thumping, tires spin freely with lead foot. Truck works well in Pa mountains during hunting trips.

    Speaking of Lemons, growing up, we had a 78 "Dodge"(no nasty grams please, just making an observation) van, with 5.2l V8 and 4 on the floor manual. No power steering or anything else except the go pedal. Lasted 19.5 years, only replaced clutch and installed bigger carb. Went nearly 300K miles, and survived 3 teenage boys learning to drive. Dad did all maintenance and servicing himself. Just an observation, Domestics can be good vehicles.
  • Anyone out there know how to diagnose and fix Ranger cruise control? I have looked at the Haynes manual, and it wasn't very helpful. I have a 1994 Ranger supercab STX 4X4 and the cruise starting working intermittantly a few weeks ago, and now won't work at all. Otherwise it has been a great truck for 10 years. Not a single other problem. Thanks
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    -Just a chance here - but is it possible your brake light switch has failed in the 'on' position? This would disable the cruise. The usual failure is in the 'off' position, in other world it doesn't turn the brake lights on. If this happens, the cruise, when engaged, will not disengage. I've had 3 switches fail on my 94 in the 7 years I've owned it. I realize the switch if failed when my cruise will non disengage. Of course, this would also mean your brake lights are on all the time, because the switch is 'always hot'.

    -Go to ebay, under autos, literature, manuals. There is a guy always selling the factory manuals for Ford Truck, etc on CD. It is for something like $8.95 plus $2 shipping. I've bought one - it looks like it is a complete factory manual. Buying the complete manual is easier than me trying to copy it into this discussion area.....
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I've looked at my manual on CD. The speed control's tests/diagnostics are complicated, as I expected.

    Here are the main components of speed control:
    -Servo. This is the vacumn unit that pulls the throttle. It has electrical connectors to it also. Check electric and vacumn connectors.
    -Speed sensor. I think this is on the end of the speedometer cable where it goes into the transmission. It has an electrical connector you should check.
    -Switches, etc. Those on the steering wheel and the brake light switch on the brake. If a manual transmission, there is a switch on the clutch also. Check the brake/clutch switches. Those in the steering wheel would be tougher.
    -Speed Control Amplifer. This is a 'box', the brain of the speed control. (I think the main 'computer' controls some of the cruise control also.) This amplifer, I think (not sure about this) is found behind the folding jump seat in the rear of your extended cab. I think it is on the passenger side - in with the jack.

    You could check the electrical connectors on all the above components that your can easily reach, such as the servo, speedometer cable, amplifier, and brake/clutch switches. Maybe something is knocked loose or dirty/wet.

    Othere than this, buy the CD and buy a good multimeter and start reading the CD and the tests. One thing, for some reason, the speed control is in the 'Fuel' section of the manual, not the electronics????????
  • We have a 1995 Ranger XLT longbed, 5 speed, with about 90,000 miles on it. This has been the best little truck. We have replaced the original tires, but other than that, everything is still great. Still have the original brakes... NO KIDDING! And still have the original battery... SERIOUSLY! I keep waiting for the shoe to drop and something to break or a major repair, but this one is a gem.

    However, the back top brake light is not functioning.....not because the bulb is burned out, it still works. But because the plastic clip broke and it is just hanging there, but it works.

    We also hear the pinging noise, but figure it is nothing major, just the nature of the beast.

    FYI- our baby is the Cayman Green model. Where do they come up with the names of colors?

    Greetings all.
  • I am looking to buy a 2003 rwd pickup. Have a '94 S-10 Chevy. Hear the Ranger 4x4 extended cab still has drive shaft,trainy problems. Need helpful info. Have looked at S-10 and Dakota. Hear that Dakotas have ball joint problems. Need info.
  • Get a Toyota Tacoma. You'll be much happier since you'll be driving it instead of waiting to have your Ford or Dodge repaired.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I'm not aware of significant transmission problems.

    There does seem to be some noise problems with the split driveshaft. I think for the trucks with the problem, if you push enough, Ford will replace the driveshaft with an aluimum (SP) one that is a 'cure'.

    Buy the Ranger. Enjoy several thousand dollars left in your pocket over the Toyota. And, you get a nicer looking truck.
  • I had the same CONSTANT vibration in my 2000 ranger also. One day I went over a bump and the steering nearly shook out of my hands. I took the tire off, the brake rotor off. I took a look at the hub and pushed on it from the top and the bottom. It rocked back and forth. I popped the cap off the hub, pulled the cotter pin out, took the safety cap off the nut. I then could tighten the nut by hand. I was able to turn it at least two full turns by hand. I got a 30mm wrench out and tightened it as much as I could, probably another half of a turn. I backed it off and then tightened by hand. The hub didn't move anymore and it still spun freely. I re packed the bearing with grease and put it all back together and I have NO MORE VIBRATION. It was the front passenger side wheel. This may be something you want to look at.

    At least lift the wheel off the ground and press on the top and the bottom to see if the tire moves in a way that it shouldn't. Try it with both front tires. I would be surprised to find out if it was the passenger front as in the same with mine. I would then wonder who was working on the line at the plant tightening that bolt.

    I've also have a problem of not being able to idle when it is first started each day, especially if the A/C is on.

    When that happens, I pop the hood, take a hammer or similar tool and tap lightly on the Idle Air Control Valve. It will either die or idle right up. If it dies, the next start idles right up. This lasts for 2 to 3 days, then I have to get the hammer back out. But, at least it will no longer die sitting at a stop light and refuse to start again.

    I hope that helps.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Take the IAC off and clean it. Use carb cleaner. Be careful and do not get cleaner into the 'electrical' part, keep the electrical part pointed up so it does not run down into it.

    Just clean up the carbon in the valve portion, and clean the passage in the intake. Be careful removing and not damage the gasket.

    This should help idle problems. A new on is about $60 at part stores.
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