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Ford Ranger Brake Problems



  • do you have any idea where to get those parts, cause i have the same problem with my 96 bronco :(
  • dwinmacdwinmac Posts: 4
    It's hard to believe but it is over a year now since I bought the 1987 Ford Ranger in South Carolina and took it to Rhode Island to convert it to an electric vehicle. We had it running last fall but didn't do much with it over the winter. It is up and running now( registered and inspected) in Rhode Island at my brother's house. He has been driving it to work.

    We ended up putting a new master cylinder and vacuum booster as well as adding a vacuum reservoir to get it to pass inspection.

    If you want to check it out go to

    If you have any questions you can email me at
  • cuccarocuccaro Posts: 3
    After sitting for a few days my 98, 4WD Ranger would not move. It looks like the right rear brake is stuck tight. I've backed off the adjustment as far as possible but still cannot get the drum off to see if the problem is the parking brake or otherwise. How in the world do I get the drum off? Thanks for help with frustration.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Hit the drum hard with a large hammer.
  • sce_thorsce_thor Posts: 2
    I have a "02 Ranger with no brake lights. I've tested the fuses and all are ok. The two that are assigned for the stop lights are good, but I'm not getting power to either side of the fuses. I'm guessing a bad relay or a fusible link somewhere.

    Can anybody tell me where there might be a relay I'm missing or a fusible link somewhere. I really don't want to dismantle the truck to find them.

    So if somebody can please help I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Are you sure it's a power problem? And there is no power to these fuses?

    The brake lights are usually hot all the time, even with ignition off. So, you might have blown up some major power source if there is no voltage coming in to the fuses.

    The usual problem with brake lights is the switch on the brake pedal under the dash. But if it's got no power.....
  • korypylekorypyle Posts: 1
    i have a 99 4x4 ranger and when i apply the brakes and just about to come to a stop the brake pedal goes the rest of the way to the floor allowing the truck to keep moving a couple feet morE then coming to a hard stop I ALREADY CHANGED BOTH FRONT CALIPERS AND NEW SHOES AND HARDWARE ON BACK AND FRONT "ALL HAS BEEN BLEED"
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Bad master cylinder?

    Was this the original problem? Or did it start after all the other brake work? If it only started after the other work, I would think there is still air in the system, even after the bleeding.

    Maybe even got air into the ABS system while trying to bleed the brakes. If you get air into the ABS pump, you cannot get the air out with the normal, old-fashioned bleeding procedure. You are going to have to take it to a shop with electronics that can communicate with the ABS system to get the air out.
  • sce_thorsce_thor Posts: 2
    Problem solved. Power is not supplied to the fuses until the brake pedal is depressed. The real problem was a bad ground going to the brake pedal switch. There is a small plastic bushing that prevents the pedal from having a ground since there is a ground already in the plug. I simply removed the plastic bushing and now have brake lights.
  • bigzomanbigzoman Posts: 4
    recently i had to replace a brake line for the left rear brake.i lost all the fluid in the brake fluid resevoir,after replacing the line i bled all the brake lines and the following day my abs light came on.can anyone tell me what the cause might be. the truck is a 99 4wheel drive with off road and towing package.thanks for any help you can give me.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Read my post three message back. Air in the ABS system cannot be removed with the 'normal' bleeding procedure. You have to have a Scan Machine connected to the vehicle which will turn on the ABS pump, which will push the air out of the ABS system. Take it to a shop that has this equipment.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    "Power is not supplied to the fuses until the brake pedal is depressed. The real problem was a bad ground going to the brake pedal switch. There is a small plastic bushing that prevents the pedal from having a ground since there is a ground already in the plug. I simply removed the plastic bushing and now have brake lights. "

    Well, that's not how I think the brake system works. The power goes thru the fuse first (what good does a fuse do if the power doesn't go there first), then to the brake switch on the pedal, then when the brake is depressed and the switch closes, power goes to the rear brake lights, then to ground in the rear of the vehicle.

    I think you have a sticky brake switch, and when you messed with it you got it to work. I think you should just replace the brake switch, putting the plastic bushing back because this is part of the switch, Your switch will probably give you more problems in the future.

    In owning my 1994 Ranger for about 8 years, I replace the brake switch three times. This include one Ford switch and two aftermarket ones. For some reason, these switches do not last long.
  • Thanks bolivar,I have an appointment to get it done next week,thanks for the help.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    If you got the bushing out, you almost have the switch off. I think a clip is all that holds it on. You can buy them at any parts house, don't have to buy Ford.
  • Noticed smoke, then sparking which turned out to be wiring (green w/red strip) burning along steering column. Took dash panels out and found wiring was to switch on pedal. After reading postings here relative frequency of failure of this switch ... I will pick up new one in the morning.... I already cut out and replaced the arching section of wiring.... ABS light flashing and of course the fuse controlling tail/brake lights blew when the wires arched. Can get the tail lights to work with switch disconnected... blows fuse when connected and activated. Anybody else seen this ? Why would faulty switch cause wiring to burn/short out? <img src="
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    The power to the brake switch is hot all the time. And I think that green with red wire is the 'hot' wire. With ignition off, key out, you can step on brake and get brake lights.

    Are you saying you pulled the connecter off the switch, then jumped these connectors and the fuse blew? If so, then the switch is not the problem. You have a short to ground somewhere between the switch and the brake lights.

    Ok, I read your note again. It looks like you got power to the wire coming out of the switch (Light Green?) and the brake lights came on. And putting the connectors back on the switch, the fuse blew. This does seem like the switch is bad, bad, bad. In fact it seems to be shorting directly to ground. I would have hoped the fuse would have blown and not smoked the wire, but maybe someone put a larger fuse in there than specified.

    Of the 3 switches that failed on my 94, none of them did this. The just quit making good contact when the brake pedal was pushed. This is also scary in cruise control, because when the switch/brake lights don't work, the cruise is not dis-connected when you push on the brake.... This is usually how I would find out the switch was not working. And, the one time the county deputy followed me into my driveway to tell me I didn't have any brakes light.
  • Since I bought the vehicle used, actually 94 B3000 Mazda, not sure of morons that have been under the dash.... Looked to me that the wire may have been stripped or just worn from rubbing something ... causing short and the burning wire. The fuse was correct and eventually blew during the original smoke/sparking/lights out scene (dash, stop, tail and flashing ABS indicator). I 'trouble shot" the situation by first isolating the burnt wire.. got all lights except brake light (and ABS flashing). Then installed new wires to switch....still good ... activating the switch blew the fuse... :cry: Wife on way home with new switch... Hopefully installing will get us back in operation... Thanks for insight.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Yea, since that wire is hot all the time, that moron might have stripped off some insulation to power something. And when he took it out, didn't bother to put any tape on it.

    Of course, they strip the wire coming out of the switch to power electric trailer brakes. This, and more, was done on my used 94.

    Good luck. Electricical problems are tough.
  • Well does not seem that the switch was the issue... Took it to a mechanic after the new switch tripped fuse as soon as it was plugged in... Mechanic suggested new bulbs... still no stop lights ... Got everything except stop function and connection to stop switch now working..... Tomorrow we plan to attempt to eliminate the use of the light green wire (with red stripe) in harness and connect the new switch in line somewhere at firewall. Will share progress. :confuse:
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Is it still blowing fuses?

    If so, you have a short somewhere between the switch and the rear lights.

    If it's not blowing fuses, then something you have done 'fixed' this.

    I would look closely at the rear lights for corrisson, etc. Look for cutting into the wiring back there to drive trailer lights.

    If I remember right, you drop the tailgate to get to the screws that hold the rear light lens.
  • WE are both at same spot in trying to pinpoint this.... fuses do not blow until the switch is connected.... I installed the aftermarket plug in fixture for the trailer hook up when I first got the truck two years ago. Also has cap with separately wired interior light and third stop light (disconnected these to make sure the problem was not there). Really think the short is still in the line up front between point I went back to and the firewall. Raining and can't work on it today... Let you know what we find so others hopefully will benefit from my frustration :( THANKS !!!!!
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    About the same 'electrical mods' when I bought my 94. But I also had a cigar lighter plug pulled inside the cap, right off the battery, but it was fused. The previous owner pulled a little popup camper. And they had a dog because I was still cleaning dog hair out of the interior when I sold it 9 years later. I think they put a heater inside the cap for the dog when they camped, that's why there was plug pulled in there. The connections for the brake lites on the top of the cap were made with those crappy push-together connectors, under the driver sill plate, and didn't work. Took a while to find that. I rewired these and then the brake light promptly fell off. (It was at the top of the rear lift window, with a crappy bracket.) So, got to fix that. Then, it blew a bulb, with absolutely no indication of what the bulb number was. Just had to look at replacement bulbs to find one the same size with the same base. I pulled the trailer plug and wiring off. It also had terrible connections and tape. They also just cut the wire leading to what obviously was their electric brake box, on the downstream side of the brake switch under the dash. A cut-off wire, which would be hot when the brake was pushed, just hanging under there. I hate add-ons!

    Next step for you - pull the plug on the trailer wiring fixture and put it back 'stock'. If the adapter or the plug for the trailer has a short inside, this could be the problem, and removing it would stop the fuse blowing, show this has the short. As a matter of fact, pull the adapter out, and leave the stock plug to the brake lights/turn signals unplugged. Put a new fuse in and hit the brake. If the fuse doesn't blow, there is no problem from the brake switch back to that connector. Plug in the stock connector. Hit the brake. If the fuse blows, the problem is in the brake lights, fron that connection to the light lens. If it didn't blow, the problem is probably in the add-on trailer package you unplugged.

    I've unwired several trailer plugs, usually having terrible connections, on used vehicles I've bought. Only time I wired up a package, on a friends truck, it immediately blew a fuse. I made the connection ok, but I didn't successfully put the trailer plug back together correctly. Mis-aligned the plug, and the little screw in the side that held it together screwed right into a wire for the brake lights. A reason I don't like to work on other peoples cars. If I do such things for myself, it only hurts me. Don't like blowing up other people's stuff.

    P.S. I've read recently about Harbour Freight recalling fuses, China made. They would not blow anywhere near their rating. Burned some stuff up. A bad fuse might have caused your original 'smoked wire'. I think some other parts houses might have recalled some of their fuses also. Try to find some 'good' fuses. Ask at the parts house if they have had a recall or anyone having problems. You don't want bad fuses to add to this problem.
  • Some GREAT suggestions... weather prohibiting follow up since Tuesday.... on way to Harbor Freight with my fuse kit !!!! GUESS WHAT ! Exactly what I have been using for several months !!! Do have some old quality ones and will immediately change out the Made in China ones that I can find. T H A N K S !!!!
  • i have a '99 ford ranger and just recently everytime i press the brake it makes a loud rumbling sound. at first i thought it was a plane flying overhead or something... Can anybody tell me what's wrong? it would be greatly appreciated.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You need new brake pads and/or shoes?????

    The front disk pads should have a piece of metal that acts as a noise-making warning when the pads are worn down and need replacing. The noise is usually described as a 'chirping' noise, but different people may hear it differently. Or how it makes contact may make a different noise.

    Rear drum brakes that have worn down far past needing replacing, and are getting metal to metal contact, usually sound like a metal to metal 'scraping' noise.

    In any case, you will have to have your brakes inspected by a good shop. If you are hearing noises, I think you should do this very, very soon. If you delay, you could cause even more problems.
  • Hi everyone new to this!.I have a 99 ford ranger xlt my brakes seem to let go and grab and let go and grab when braking. i replaced the front pad, rotors, calipers, wheel bearings(probably not related but what the heck was already in there) lubricated the pins and back of pads. i sprayed the new rotors with brake cleaner because i was told i need to get the anti corrosion off there. i bled the brakes at least 5 times because i thought was the problem. i replaced the abs sensor on the rear differential because one day when i was driving along the light came on and it wouldnt shift out of first! and the overdrive light was flashing. that solved that problem but now if i go over 70 mph the speedometer goes nuts and the od light flashes! i cant find a speed sensor which i thought it could be.havent messed with rear drums or shoes yet.I love my truck and hate that it doesnt work right. Sorry about long post any advice would be great!! and i had that cruise control recall fixed also.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Ok, here is my standard reply to grabby brakes on a Ranger. I don't have any info on your other problems.

    Rangers across many years have grabby REAR drum brakes. When the truck sits for just a few hours, overnight is long enough, in damp or rainy weather (or I would think if coated in snow slush), the brake drums will rust up and the brakes will grab excessively when first driven. My 94 would do this even when kept in a garage. I usually could feel the grab when backing out, and then at the stop sign just a few feet down the street. I finally decided I would 'ride' the brakes slightly for about 100 yards down the street. This removed the rust buildup and heated up the drums enough that there was no more grab.

    I have read of people that changed the brake shoes and/or the drums and got relief. But other people that did this still had grabby brakes.

    Of course, you could have a problem needing repaired back there. If a rear wheel cylindar is leaking brake fluid onto the shoes, you will also get huge grabbing. And this usually continues, it will not quickly wear off. Or, if you have broken or bent holddown pins or the shoes are not centered on the backing plate (pin problems let the shoes flop around) for some reason, this will give the worse grabbing I could imagine. I drove an old Ford F100 for 250 miles where it would almost jerk me off the road when the brakes were applied. When I got into the brakes, there were several broken and bent pins. All these small parts, including new holddown springs can be bought and easily replaced. And the auto adjusters might be really messed up from a previous repair and cause problem. On the rear, anything that will allow the shoes to move around in an incorrect matter will cause grabbing.
  • ok, im gonna check the rear brakes out soon just cold here in st.louie :-). from reading through the forums and everyones advice i think there is a good chance air got into the abs pump when i bled the brakes and replaced the sensor ( its possible the sensor could be faulty also) and in order to get the air out of the pump i must take it to the shop. sound about right?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You can't manually bleed an ABS pump. You have to have a machine hookup, which electrically will activate the pump and push the air out. And you can't do this manually.
  • I have a 2008 ranger two wheel drive,I want to replace my front rotors when I do my new pads,I have read that on these trucks when replacings the rotors there are abs sensors and tone rings?I have never heard of these do they come on the new rotors?if not where are they and are they hard to change out.Since these rotors come off with the wheel bearing nut do you just take off the nut and the bearings's just slide out?Has anyone out there done this.
    Thanks if anyone has any answers to this.
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