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Ford Ranger Maintenance and Repair



  • x1x82x1x82 Posts: 6
    My Ford Ranger (see subject for specs) has a considerable change in engine noise under load. I would describe it as a fast 'chatter'. It usually happens at modestly higher RPM ranges when going up a hill, but also will happen on the flats when the vehicle is heavy. I did try adding a bottle of octane boost, but the 'chatter' was still present. It doesn't sound like a 'knock' or 'ping' anyway. Sounds more like a noisy valve train.

    This sound may be normal, so I thought I would ask other owners for their opinion.
  • frey44frey44 Posts: 230
    I think the noise you're hearing is what I heard test driving a 2002 4.0; I think it is valve gear noises. This engine is "busy" sounding. Instead of knocking and rapping like my pushrod 4.0, it clatters, whirs and rattles. I think it is all normal and you will have to get used to it. I wouldn't worry about it. I have heard 4.0 pushrod motors "knock" like they had a bad bearing for 150 000 miles !! With no trouble !! All engines create noise. Your 4.0 won't come apart. It is a fine, strong motor, one of the best for a small truck. In fact, it is probably all around the best small V6 out there for a truck or SUV, one of Ford's "crown jewels". (An equal to this Ford motor is the NISSAN Pathfinder V6 motor: Awesome. And much quieter).
  • x1x82,

    I have the same engine/trans/4dr/xlt. You may be hearing a timing chain. This is the 4.0 that was optional in the 97 Explorer. The SOHV cams are chain driven. there is a chain from the crankshaft to a shaft where the cam usually goes and a chain off that shaft on each end to the cams on each head. From the cutaway it looks like there are three chains in the engine. I've seen on other sites this is a know source of noise. I have 8800 miles on mine and like it. Try www.therangerstation or the Ranger site listed on
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    have a 2001 ranger 4.0 4x4 off-road with auto. as well. i have no noise at all. what oil are you using? i use havoline 5W-30 since first change and motorcraft filters. AND i had a '97 explorer sport 4x4 with the SOHC 4.0. it did have engine noise and it had the ford recall repair done on it. this new ranger engine is supposed to be a little different as in valve and cam designs. it's supposed to be improved a little, how i dont know. but i usually always get 20 mpg with my oil and filter setup. i have 7000 miles, and its almost always in 4x4 doing something. these trucks climb like a mountain goat (w/locking diff.) and a set of BFG a/t 265/70-16's. love it.
  • 427435427435 Posts: 86
    Just finished replacing the 3 grade 8 bolts that hold the steering box to the left front frame rail. The truck is a '96 2wd with the 4 cylinder and it's driven by my daughter-in-law who is a pretty easy driver. The reason I replaced them is that 2 had broken (one some time ago by the looks of the piece left in the steering box) and one as it was being backed out of a parking spot. The 3rd bolt stretched and bent a little (really sloppy steering and wouldn't hardly turn right) but my son nursed it to my garage.

    Has anyone else had this happen? It could have caused a bad accident if it had happened at speed after hitting a bump.
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    the truck may had been abused by the previous owner. that, or foul play.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Posts: 1,611
    I would go first with the Teflon white tape, give it a couple of wraps. Also, along the rim of the plug, put some Permatex gasket sealer, #2, maybe 1/8th inch deep. The object is to put the gasket seal on the mating surfaces of the plug and bottom of the oil sump.

    You have to really drain the oil fully and clean the mating surface before you do that, get it real clean.

    I would try this first before I put a new oversized plug in. On the next change you have to scrape the old gakset sealer and tape, but it should work.
  • I own 2000 Ranger xlt 4x4 4.0 engine auto with a 7'bed. I am told there is no replacement driveshaft for this model truck,just for regular cabs and extended or supercabs. I seem to have the same problem as these trucks and ford seems to neglect this model.Has anyone with this type of truck had the driveshaft replaced please let me know.
  • Do you guys have the copper washers that you use with your drain plugs? That's what my truck uses, and it never leaks any oil out from the plug area. Give that a try. Also, when you use teflon tape on the threads, you don't worry about the tape coming off and getting into the oil?
  • jrush3--->I think a user here named Frey has that same vehicle. Either '00 or '01, but he had a vibration problem at highway speeds. It has to be the related to the driveshaft or axle splines. Even though your dealership says there is no replacement driveshaft, that could me a new product or fix to replace it. More than likely your driveshaft is either A. Has out of phase U-Joints, or B. Improper weight balancing, or Both. See if he comes back and replies, or check out the TSB's for some help on dealing with your dealership.

    Pluto--->Crush washers work fine, but need to be replaced every time you do an oil change. I know the older Rangers don't come with one. Teflon won't be a problem if you know what you're doing. I don't have a leak, so a normal drain plug works fine with no fixers. Also helps if you cough up the $1.25 every year or so and just buy a new one. But as discussed above, the most likely reason for this oil leak to occur is improper tightening of the drain plug.
  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    I have a 98 3.0l and the drain plug used to leak all the time. It was the same style used on the Taurus 3.0l engine. The plug has an O ring washer built in the flange part of the bolt head that after several times the washer just gave out. So even after buying new ones and having them leak as well I tried adding a fiber washer bought a Pep Boys and no more leaks. No I use a Fumoto Drain Valve. Best thing I ever did. Just reach under the pan unlock and twist the lever and oil rushes out. No more burnt hands or dropped plug into the oil. Best 25.00 I ever spent.
  • At 207 miles (yes, brand-spankin new, 3 days off the lot) the intake hose to the transmission oil cooler blew off the line feeding it, under the front bumper. the hoseclamp that holds the hose to the line appeared to be clamped above the nipple on the line, instead of below as it should be. Ended up losing about 5 quarts of trans fluid all over the road and the truck. Anyway, if anyone has seen anything like this, please let me know. Is there a recall or TSB? I haven't seen one. Any info would be greatly appreciated.


  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    4x4, and i haven't had any problems yet. yours sounds like an isolated incident. they can't make them all perfect(not that it is that big of a deal anyways) it could be worse. dont lose faith.
  • My 98 XLT Ranger has been a real brick, but yesterday the heat came on full and is not affected by the temperature control. All positions of the control directing air flow result in hot air, even a/c position.
    Any help with this???????
  • mjbwrtrmjbwrtr Posts: 172
    what kind of mileage do you get with your 1998-2000 Rangers with automatic and four cylinder? mine seems to average about 23 or this typical?
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    How's the pickup on your pickup? I could never have a 4-banger without the manual.
  • mjbwrtrmjbwrtr Posts: 172
    i had an S-10 with the 2.8 liter V6 and the 2.5 four cylinder outruns it easily. i said exactly what you did... that i would never ever drive a four cylinder truck, especially with automatic. then i drove the ranger, and it has adequate power for what i do with it. i drive looong distances with it and i needed mileage along with the ability to pull a 1,000 trailer, or fishing rods, or a deer in the bed now and then when i get
    but anyway, the point is that the test drive showed me that 146 foot pounds of torque in the right place, can move a shortbed regular cab Ranger pretty quickly.
  • sunfish--->Turn the knob with the blue and red indicators from the red side to the blue side. Otherwise you have to refrigerant, or other mechanical falure. Might just be a switch that is missing a wire or got one unplugged. I think the A/C controls pnumatic? Never had to take mine apart so I don't know offhand.

    Yes you can blow hot air with the A/C on. But it will be filtered through the A/C system with less humidity.

    mjbwrtr--->If your engine is broken in, and that milage seems a little low for your driving habits, just try the old standby's on increasing performance. K&N Filter, Removing the air silencer/snorkle, using zmax, getting a cab or tonneu(sic) cover. Heck, during the winter I remove my A/C belt and enjoy 22-23 MPG on my old '93 2.3l with auto and 138,000 on the ticker.

    eharri--->There's not much on the street 4 banger wise that can lose me. (Pickup on the pickup wise). Of course I talking automatics vs Automatics, or something with more than a coffee can for an exhaust tip.
  • mjbwrtrmjbwrtr Posts: 172
    i was driving down the highway tonight and i remembered that someone told me to shift to neutral in my automatic Ranger to get better mileage. i wanted to see if there was truth to it so i shifted. well...the gearshift slipped past "N" into REVERSE. the truck made a "wham" noise and acted as if it had hit a bump, in the split second it took me to return to "drive."
    no strange noises since and no problems. i am sure someone, somewhere else, has done this before...any advice? i am under warranty...should i take it into the service department on monday and admit what a retard i am?
  • Anyone with 3.0 RANGER engine problems, especialy banging sound as if the engine had very low oil or the main bearings are banging on crank. Could it be the drive shaft? This is a 5 speed truck. Please write......
  • Does it happen only under heavy load, acceleration, or grades? Do you have an extended cab? Does premium fuel lessen the problem?
  • Yes, this is a extended cab. It happens only upon acceleration, and only when in gear. I can put the truck in neutral at 70mph and no banging, it was pinging also but after 4 months of phone calls and letters to FORD they have clean the valves and it's not pinging any more. As for as this noise goes the Manager at the local FORD dealership told me it was my tire that is making noise. I felt like punching the guy but.....
    I should mention that back in July they also tried to fix the problem by re building the transmission. I really think they don't know what the problem is, or just don't want to fix it. I am so sick and tired of this truck it gives me headache every time I drive it.
  • Fellow ranger owners:

    This august I purchased a 2001 4x4 4.0L 5sp auto 4door ranger. I like it overall except for annoying sounds/rattles:

    My engine has knock/rap/ping when accelerating hard (see messages 241-243). Had a Ford shop foreman test drive it. We then drove a new 2002 same model ranger and it had the same noise. I also drove my friend's ranger with the same engine. his too has this characteristic noise. dealer said to drive it - he didn't think it was a problem.

    There is a loud noise in the headliner in the area of the passenger sun visor. sounds like crackling glue.

    There is a noise in the drivers door that sounds like something metal hitting the glass of the window. (when window is closed)

    The worst noise is coming from below or behind the cab and somewhere along the drivetrain. It sounds like a metallic pinging/ringing and is evident at speeds of 45mph and higher. Real annoying on the highway. Its going back to the dealer for a second try at fixing it.

    There was also a rattle from the glovebox - maybe a hinge/bracket or something.

    Anyone else heard these?
  • longboarder,

    let us know what you find, I'm looking for the noise you mention behind the cab, but only when the left side hits a bump. I found both the cables on the tailgate rattle when you hit a bump, inside mine is very quiet. I do however have the engine noise under acceleration. I don't think it will hurt anything. If it does before 36K its Ford's problem. Again, let us know if you find the under body noise.
  • tbundertbunder Posts: 580
    i too have an '01 ranger 4x4 supercab 4 door off-road 4.0 auto. i too have the little cable banging on something noise from the glovebox. but your rattle on the driver's side door, i just figured mine out today. you know the little lever you pull down to adjust the shoulder part of the seat belt? you know, the lower or raise part? that little black lever is not on there tight and it is making noise, a very minute and fine one, but i narrowed it down today on mine. i hate rattles, but there is no way that you can build something like a truck, and have NO rattles at all. those are the only two i have. i too have the engine sounds from hard acceleration, but its natural for that engine. my '97 explorer did it too, and my parents '99 explorer does it. dont you love how it feels like a turbo kicking in when you floor it at around 60 mph? amazingly fast for a little truck. again, let me know about your rattles if they find them. hope i helped you out.
  • jackkajackka Posts: 25
    I'm considering replacing my '89 Toyota with a new Ranger equipped with 2WD, 4.0L, manual tranny.

    Reliability is my main concern.

    Will it be as reliable and maintenance free as my Toyota was.

    No anti-toyota lectures, please; your candid observations about the Ranger will be much appreciated.
  • ...before purchase. That way you'll know if anything is out of wack, like highway vibrations, noises, or other mechanical problems. Turn the radio off, only test it in the parking lot... :) and keep your ears and senses open.

    Rangers can last a good long time, given proper care. My 93 is still ticking away. Regular cab with 2.3l 4cylinder, and A4LD 4 speed automatic. I have 138 thousand miles, and the drivetrain is still under warranty... But that's because I use zmax. I have never had to take the valve cover off for maintenance or repair, and still get over 21 MPG in the city(slightly more if I remove the A/C belt during winter). I had this truck since I was 16, so you know it's seen it's share of abuse. I did replace the auto trans at about 115 thousand miles, but that's what you get for drop shifting it at 4000 RPM to do burn outs at the high school parking lot. Plus I never changed the trans filter till afterwards. Only other things replaced were was the Radiator waterpump and thermostat at about 125 thousand miles. Original alternator still powers my 650watt stereo system(I did upgrade battery to 1045 CCA). But I still get 5 quarts out with each oil change (no oil burning, rings still good) and still feel motivated to wax it because it's held up great over the years.

    To sum up: Ford makes some of the toughest trucks around. As I've matured and been through a few mechanic jobs I know what to do to keep it running pretty much like it's new. And it's soo nice not having car payments for the past 4 years. Just be picky when buying, and do all you can preventative maintenance wise and you'll have a loyal dependable truck.
  • kbf2kbf2 Posts: 1
    Drove me crazy. Tracked it down to a sticking lock which would ride up when the cab flexed and suddenly snap back into position producing the metallic noise. Lots of lubrication tried but the cure for me was to clean lock well and pack the lock with lithium white grease. Do not use WD-40 in the winter- it freezes! No reoccurances in 2.5 years. I put it down to close tolerances in the new lock. My passenger door also did the same to a lesser degree. Windy days also increased the noise frequency as the cab was buffeted by winds more and so the cab flexed more.
  • Thanks for your resopnses. Picked my Ranger up from the dealer on Saturday and both the drive train ping and the door noise are still present. They fixed the headliner...but it came back after about 10 miles of driving, so I'm back to square one. I'll try out some of your suggestions.
  • Earlier I posted a heater problem........ heat stays on high and cannot be adjusted.
    The local Ford dealer diagnosed it as a Blend Door problem ($75 to find this out), and tells me it will cost $625 to replace the Blend Door because the entire dash has to be dismantled. I am quaking at the thought of all the problems these guys will introduce by dismantling my truck.
    Ever hear of this problem?? Any tips?? I am trying to find out more about it or hope that God makes it start working again.
    Oh yeah....... Merry Christmas!!!!
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