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Ford Ranger Starting Problems



  • ok i hit a BIG pothole and my 94 ranger 4x4 died, had spark fuel pump wasnt working. I took the fuel pump relay apart and manualy activated it the fuel pump worked , then with the key on i started "wiggling wires" . I found the problem almost instantly by having the cover on the relay off i could tell when it engaged, to the drivers side of the under hood fuse box is a large wire harness that had rubbed against the steel mount and had wore a red 10 gage wire in two. I put a butt splice on it and also added a piece of rubber innertube around the bracket. my problem sounds like so many others on here i thought i would try to help
  • do you have a underhood fuse box, if so check the wire harness next to it mine had worn into the steelbracket that holds the fuse box and mine had the same symptoms
  • Try putting it in neutral. Mine is finicky about the switch that recognizes that the truck is in park. Seems to have plenty if battery, but try to start it and nada. Lift on the shift lever or put it in neutral and it starts fine.

    Sometimes its the simple things.
  • drew57drew57 Posts: 2
    My Ranger is having some of the problems others are having, but not others.
    It won't start occasionally. Turns over, but won't fire. Leave for a few minutes and most times it will start. The other night, it wouldn't start after trying for over 20 minutes, but when I returned next day, fired up immediately. It doesn't seem to affected by cold, as sometimes it happens in the garage and other times out in the open. A couple of times, it has happened after initially firing, it stalls and then won't refire. Wait 5 minutes, it starts ok. I have started to charge the battery every few days, as this seems to keep it working okay. With the battery fully charged, I can go almost a full week before it won't start again.... the battery is good, new last year and checked 2 weeks ago by a mechanic. I had fuel filter changed when I sent it to mechanics 2 weeks ago, as it wouldn't misbehave for them, and I was desperate to try something, but it didn't solve the problem... Any suggestions? The mechanics are of little help.
  • sager2sager2 Posts: 1
    next time it wont start try spraying a little bit of starting fluid into the air intake. If it starts and runs for a several seconds at least youve narrowed it down to a fuel or a spark problem?
  • drew57drew57 Posts: 2
    Thanks, I'll try that
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You've narrowed it down to a fuel problem. With no spark, it still wouldn't start.

    What about fuel pump pressure. Has a mechanic put a pressure gauge on the fuel line while cranking? Not sure of the pressure needed, but it's probably 40 pounds or more.
  • Its the crank sensor
  • jharmjharm Posts: 1
    I am having this exact same problem on my 94 ranger except it's on a 4.0 liter . Just one question. What is the "insultaing jelly" or grease that's taked about here. Are we just talking about grease like you might put on a battery post, or is this some kind of special stuff I'm not familiar with??

    Any one with an answer?
  • Di-Electric grease should do the trick.

    as far as the starting problem goes; i was recently in cold weather with my 93 mazda b2300 (same engine as a 94 ford ranger 2.3 L SOCH) and i started it up, ran fine for about 5 minutes. Stopped at an intersection; went to disengage the clutch and the truck died. I tried cranking it over; but it wouldn't start. I have been in weather below 0 degrees with this truck and its started up and ran perfect every single time; so this would be kind of alarming to me at first. I have spark; my fuel pump works and i have pressure going to the fuel rail. So; what I did was went to the parts store; got some starting fluid and HEET. Get this, I walked back to the truck, took off the intake thought, "hmmm..maybe it will start" and you know what? It started; but it was shakey to hold idle at about 800 rpms, so i poured the whole bottle of heet into the full tank of gas and it took about five minutes for it to work through the engine to remove all the possible moisture that might have condensed in the fuel system.

    Also, under heavy acceleration I hear what sounds like a knocking noise coming from the engine compartment. I think it has something to do with the cold start system taking air from the exhaust and blowing it into the air intake; could it be a short causing the cold start intake system to engage when the engine is running?

    Any suggestions/ thoughts?
  • blue95blue95 Posts: 10
    My '94 2.3 liter 5 speed manual Ranger is starting to do the same thing i've read in several posts here. For 15 years I would turn the ignition switch and BOOM it was running. Now, in the past few weeks there have been a couple of times i had to grind on it for 5 seconds to get it to start. Today, after driving up to the store, I came back out and it wouldn't start at all. The engine is turning over fine, i have a healthy battery but it's like it has no spark. after about 20 minutes I tried again and it immediately started. Just before it started i had removed and re inserted the fuses and relays in the fuse box. Maybe a dirty connection on one of he relays but thanks to the info i read here i think I'll start by replacing the fuse box relays.
    One other thing. about two months ago i tried to start it and i would just hear the starter solinoid go clunk. I finally got someone to push me and it started right up. Haven't had that problem again....Yet. Side note: Both times it wouldn't start was in the same grocery store parking lot almost in the same parking space! HHmmmmmmm...ain't gonna park there no more!
  • drewrangerdrewranger Posts: 2
    edited August 2011
    I have the same exact truck and recently have had the same problem. Its crazy, its like it has a life of its own. It decides to start when it wants. I took it into the shop about a month ago but the mechanic couldn't figure out the problem...Two days ago i unsuccessfully spent an hour trying to get it to start. I let it sit for a half hour, came back and it still wouldn't start. Then I unplugged the battery to reset the sensors, let it sit, but it still wouldn't start! So I had it towed to a mechanic shop. When we took it off the tow truck I tried to start it for ***** and giggles, and of course it fired right up. cost me $100 to get it towed.. Anyways, its sitting at the shop right now and the mechanics are clueless. Did replacing the fuse box relays help you in the long run? Does you truck always start now? does this starting problem happen more often when you are low on gas? Could it be the fuel pump? sorry for all the questions. I'm trying to point my mechanic in some kind of direction. Your input would be much appreciated.
  • blue95blue95 Posts: 10
    edited April 2011
    I figured a good place to start was to replace the relay packs. Relays are mechanical devices and after 15 years of service it's logical that they may be failing. I found a place on line where you can buy them for only$2.25. I replaced all three of mine for under $14 shipped. Haven't had any problems since but it was an intermittent problem and i don't know for a fact that it's fixed. Time will tell.
    I'll look up the website and part # and post it later.
  • blue95blue95 Posts: 10
    The website is Their part number is RLY-455. These are Ford Manufacture OEM relays.
  • i replaced by relays all three of them and havent had a problem in many months now whereas before i was dealing with it once a week. autozone only had the fuel relay so i sued three fuel relays to replace the three relays and it worked fine, im sorry to see so many still struggling with this problem when its a simple ten dollar fix. mine is a 94 ford ranger.
  • I have a 1991 2.9 l 4wd manual ford ranger that i bought couple of months ago to save the miles on my diesel truck. Last week i couldn't get it to start so i replaced the battery and had the alternator rebuilt. I drove it to work last nite with no problems whatsoever, today i went out to start it up to head back to work and it turned over but then wouldn't stop trying to start even with the motor running, it was making some god awful noises. I turned the key off and it still wouldn't stop, (even when i took the key out) the only way i could get it to stop was to disconnect the battery(nice spark show). Every time i touch the cable back to the battery it does the same thing immediately. Any one have any ideas what is causing this, Starter? Ignition switch? Take it to the junk yard lol?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I think the first thing the positive battery cable goes to is a starter relay. A black box. I would think this might be stuck in the start position.
  • blue95blue95 Posts: 10
    edited April 2011
    Sounds like your starter solinoid is stuck closed. There's a set of contactors inside the soliniod that slam closed and connect the battery to the starter when your ignition switch is in the start position. Sometimes when they get old the contacts get so pitted that they can stick together. If you have an ohm meter you can test it by removing the battery cable from the solinoid terminal, then put your meter acrossed the battery in and out connections on the solinoid. It should be open (infinite). If it's closed( 0 or very low ohms), replace it. The starter solinoid is inexpensive and easy to replace, you can do it. It's the round black part located on the driver side fender well right next to the fuse box.
  • ok that i will do, i found the selenoid this morning when i was fiddling with it before work, it is located in front of the fuse box, but on the passenger side fender. I do have an ohm meter, so just to make sure i'm doing this rite, i want to disconnect the possitive cable running from the battery to the seloid terminal. Then place the ohm meter on the two posts on the selenoid? Does it matter if the key is on or anything? That is the nice thing about older trucks is that they are a heck of a lot easier to work on, compared to my new diesel that its like doing brain surgery on. Im going to plan on doing this in the morning as long as i don't have to work, gotta love 30 hours of overtime a week..
  • On second thought, is that the actual selenoid or is that just a relay? Shouldn't the selenoid be mounted right on top of the starter?? Going to dig into it and find the starter as well, as long as i've get it opened up mite as well have the starter checked and take it in and have it rebuilt if needed.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Fords don't have solonids on top of the starters. That 'relay' is the solonid.
  • I have a 1988 Ranger V6 Manual I bought new with 170K miles now and it just developed this not starting thing when the weather is warm last summer. All winter it started right up. Only when the weather is warm. It cranks but won't turn over. If I touch the gas at the right time it starts and runs fine. Logic tells me something is expanding when it's warm causing the problem. Does that make any sense to you car guys? I remember a bunch of years ago had trouble starting and someone mentioned changing the inertia switch and it fixed the problem. It's been too many years to recall if it was the same problem. I have a Chilton guide for '83-91 models that I can copy pages for anyone if it helps figure out the problem. I'll be watching this for information simple enough us amateurs can fix it. :confuse:
  • Hey, I just wanted to thank you for your help. I changed the relays and she starts up every time now!
  • schoonover2009schoonover2009 Posts: 1
    edited May 2011
    about 6 months ago my truck died and it wont start unless i put it on a battery charger for a little while and then it will start and hold a charge. if i leave both battery cables on over night the truck drains and i cant start it again. i have replaced the starter solinoid, battery and the alternator. the motor, starter and the ignition all work fine, im thinking that theres a short somewhere but i dont know how to find it. i know that when i get it started if i turn the radio on that my volts drop way down and also my tail light acts up sometimes, but i dont know what to do?? any ideas?
  • Ford Ranger XLT, Standard Cab, 2-wheel drive
    Year: 1991
    Engine: 3.0L, EFI
    Manual transmission

    The engine cranks good, but does not start. There is no fire at all.

    Back story:
    I had a bad alternator, which I changed a week ago or so. After replacing the alternator, everything was back to normal...engine started and ran as it always had...a little rough.

    So, I decided to change the distributor cap, rotor, plug wires, plugs, and coil, since they are all so cheap. After changing everything, it started and ran exactly the same as before changing everything. FYI, the old plugs on the passenger side had the electrodes missing, lol. I replaced the wires to match the exact order of the old cap.

    Anyway, after looking at the manual, I noticed the wiring of the plugs was incorrect on the passenger side, so I fixed that, and tried to restart, but the engine would not fire. It would crank fine, but no fire.

    Okay, so that is how I got where I am now.

    1. Engine cranks, but will not start. No engine fire whatsoever.
    2. I can smell a small amount of fuel odor as I continue to crank it. This makes me think the fuel system is working, and I'm just getting a build up of unburnt fuel in the engine.

    Fuel pump: I can hear the pump start like normal. I don't have a fuel pressure gauge, but I did press down on the Schroeder valve with the key on, and fuel sprayed out. I may run down and get a gauge later to test it.

    Spark: I tried grounding the plugs on the driver side and saw spark while cranking. I can't really tell if the spark is strong enough to ignite the fuel, but it doesn't seem like it would take much.

    I have spark and fuel, so why won't 't it start?
    I tried squirting a little fuel into the intake while cranking, and still no engine fire.
    1991 Ford Ranger XLT
    3.0 engine
    manual transmission
    2-wheel drive
    standard cab
  • jaystarkjaystark Posts: 1
    I have the same truck as you do and i'm having the same problem as you are but I had to put a clutch in first ans found out that was not the troble so I put in a slave cylinder and then I had to put in a tranny 3 time's and that fixed that problem so I could drive the truck. So I got the truck running but it rain real bad like it had a vacuum leak. but a couple of plug wiers fell off when we took the dis cap off so we put them back on and then check the firing order and every thing was ok.did you every find out what was wrong? and if you did would PLEASE let me know what the problem was and how you fixed it.
  • bessie5bessie5 Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Mazda B4000 that just developed problems starting when the engine is warm. It starts up beautifully first thing in the morning, but once it's warmed up, I'm doomed if I turn it off. Makes it hard to get gas and groceries. It can be kick started, but not jumped. It seems that the starter relay is a little loose in the power distribution box when this has happened. The safety switch under the clutch seems to be working, or at least I can hear it operate when I push on it. I'll get some new relays, but any other suggestions welcome.
  • jayhonjayhon Posts: 1
    unhook the battery, and hook it back truck has done it a couple times just needs to be reset, im assuming i have a short somewhere which could also be your problem
  • on the drivers side witch is witch? on the relays?
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