1986 Ranger won't start


Mscates

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Hello everyone and thank you beforehand!

1986 Ranger
2.3L
Long bed
Manual transmission
235xxx miles

So I'll do my best to explain what's going on and hopefully i give all the info. I'm over this truck at this point and looking for help. The last time the truck ran (5 months ago) i started it for work to warm up, went out to leave and the truck had shut off. I attempted to restart the truck and all i had was cranking and no start. I figured it was a fuel issue and at the time wasn't able to work on it due to an injury.

Now that I've been able to work on it I started with the basics of checking spark and fuel. I have spark and I have fuel. I ended up replacing both the in take fuel pump as well as the high pressure pump on the rail thinking i could have a bad napa fuel pump and still no start. I tried to do a compression test but didn't have the correct adapter to thread in. (Any help with that would be appreciated) I also put a jumper wire on the fuel safety shut off below the passenger side dashboard thinking that might have went bad and no luck.
I attempted to start with starting fluid and still no start... I'm sure i could continue replacing things and burning money but i wanted to reach out and see if anyone has advice before i do that???
 


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rusty ol ranger

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Pull the timing cover, betcha inside youll find a snapped belt.

Its a 2.3 thing.
 

Josh B

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I'll stop short of assuming you've had the air intake and filter covers off, no varmits tried to winter in there have they? They can pack things in pretty tight pretty quick( I recently spent two weeks rummaging around a salvage yard, be surprised some of the things they'll do given the opportunity.
Just though I'd toss that one in, but I'm thinking Rusty probly has the best idea :)
 

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Sorry for the show response, i haven't been able to pull the timing cover but at a glance when i pull the top out of the way the belt is still where it needs to be. That's not to say it didn't break near the bottom but i have low doubts about this because i replaced the belt a year ago...

As fast as varmints go, they haven't gotten into it. I had the intake and everything else off trying to test the fuel pressure at the rail.
 

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I don't know much about those belts Msc but wonder if there's any way to simply check the timing. I'd think even if it jumped a bit it should still spit or sputter or something
 

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If the timing belt broke it'll sound really weird when you crank the engine over - it's more high pitched and sounds like it's spinning faster than it should. Still something to check.

If you've verified that the fuel pumps are functioning and you've got adequate fuel pressure, make sure it's getting past the injectors. Unplug one and hook up a test light to it, crank the engine, the test light should flash.

If that's good we'll assume you're getting fuel to the cylinders, next would be spark, you've verified that you've got spark but at the right time? Maybe the timing jumped. Did you check spark at the spark plug or at the coil?
 

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Im in the process of checking the things suggested and a clue that might help is i attempted to start it after sitting for a couple days and first crank it attempted to fire then immediately went back to just cranking. I would guess a fuel issue somewhere? Possible the pressure regulator?
 

rusty ol ranger

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Pull the vacuum hose off the regulator and see if theres gas in it, if there is its shot.

Although i doubt this is the case here.

The fact it wouldnt even fire on ether points to either ignition or compression (timing).

Does it have a TFI module on the distributor? I think it should, im not super familar with the 4 cylinders but this is a common failure point on the V6s.
 

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It does appear to have a tfi distributor. I have spark at the coil as well as the plugs. The plugs looked somewhat burnt so i replaced those.

No fuel in the hose for the pressure regulator, i haven't checked the timing but the belt is in good condition.

I haven't been able to get my fuel pressure tester to work so I'm still unsure of the actual pressure but both pumps are new as of a couple days ago.

I'm working on testing if the injectors are getting power currently
 

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So just to confirm, you are hearing the fuel pumps come on briefly when you cycle the key?

If you've got good spark at the plugs then that to me rules out most of the ignition system except timing so it's either that or a fuel issue.

The timing belt on 2.3's drives the oil pump which spins the distributor so if you've got spark at the plugs it's NOT a timing belt issue.
 

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Correct, fuel pumps come on, after turning it over it smells of gas, when I depress the schrader valve fuel sprays out. Still working on testing the injectors.
I'm trying to locate an adapter to test compression but out side of that im at a loss.
 

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I couldn't find an adapter for my compression tester so i used the rubber adapter that you physically have to hold in place. Not a big fan and not sure how well they work but the results weren't very good. So either my tester is crap or the motor is. Compression in cylinders from front of motor to the back.
51 psi
42psi
33psi
50psi

I tested each cylinder multiple times to see if i came up with different numbers and it always ended up being those.
 
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rusty ol ranger

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I couldn't find an adapter for my compression tester so i used the rubber adapter that you physically have to hold in place. Not a big fan and not sure how well they work but the results weren't very good. So either my tester is crap or the motor is. Compression in cylinders from front of motor to the back.
51 psi
42psi
33psi
50psi

I tested each cylinder multiple times to see if i came up with different numbers and it always ended up being those.
Thats ridiculiously low compression.

So since its uniformly low that rules out a head gasket.
Its doubtful all 4 cylinders magically wore themself out that fast.

Pull your timing cover. I will almost gurantee thats where the issue will be found. Maybe your belt didnt break totally, but its stretched and youve jumped a few teeth.

The low compression is due to the valves being open at the wrong time. IIRC 90psi is the minimum required for most engines to run.
 

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Timing cover was pulled yesterday and the belt was in great shape and tight. Not to say it didn't jump but everything looked to be in good shape.
 

rusty ol ranger

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Timing cover was pulled yesterday and the belt was in great shape and tight. Not to say it didn't jump but everything looked to be in good shape.
Spin the engine untill the timing mark on the crank is pointing straight up. The one on the cam should be pointing exactly at it.

The only other thing could be a botched test or a cam issue possibly.

Did you happen to try squirting some oil down the cylinder and retrying the compression test?
 


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