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1992 2.3 8 plug running like crap and then driving normal


Kc

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As said in the title, I have a 1992 2.3L 8 spark plug ranger
Truck ran fine for a while until one day it was hard to start, then when it finally started it was loping as if it was missing hitting the gas would make it spit and sputter and pop and when you let off the gas the rpms would drop to far and the truck would shutter and go back to loping. When I tried to drive it like that it wouldn't hardly do 50 mph going downhill but here's the kicker after driving it like that for about 10 minutes something popped and the truck took off and drove faster than normal and ran that way for about 5 minutes and then slowed down to driving like it used to before all this happened. In stumped and I've dumped too much money into this truck to sell it. Nobody knows that's wrong with it can someone help me?
 


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RonD

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Welcome to TRS :)

3 things make a gasoline engine work
1. gasoline :)
2. spark
3. compression

When was fuel filter last changed?
Should be changed every 5 years
On the fuel rail there is a Fuel Pressure regulator(FPR), it will have the Return Fuel line and a Vacuum line, check the vacuum line for gasoline, if found replace FPR
Unstable fuel pressure would have symptoms you describe

1989 to 1994 Ranger 2.3l used an ICM(ignition Control Module) located on the front of lower intake, these could cause problems you describe, they can be tested at most auto parts stores.
ICM is connected to Crank sensor for spark timing, and both the coils
The trucks wiring to the ICM could also be brittle and frayed, so check connector and wires.
ICM would be my "guess" because of the "it ran better than ever for 5 min" comment.
The 2.3l runs much better with BOTH spark plugs firing in each cylinder, runs OK with just one spark plug working, if ICM is failing then you may only have 1 coil pack working
After engine is idling, unplug each coil packs 3 wire connector, engine should stay running with either coil pack unplugged, RPMs will drop slightly but it should stay running

2.3l uses a timing Belt, this sets the compression the engine needs to run well
It needs to be changed every 80k miles or so, along with its tensioner.
Changing compression would also have symptoms you describe
 

tomw

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toenails of foothills NW of Atlanta
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1985
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ford
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2.3 (4 Cylinder)
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lima bean
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2WD
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vertical and above ground
I have yet to see a failed timing belt function enough to allow the engine to run. I suppose it could happen, but while out looking for hens teeth, pick up a new belt.
tom
 

Kc

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The fuel filter was the first thing I've changed I'll try the other things you said, also it does this every single time I start it up if it has set for a few hours. If I let it run until it starts running normal and then shut it off and turn it back on again it starts up like it's supposed to. I don't know if that leads to any other conclusions or not but thank you guys for the help
 

tomw

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Location
toenails of foothills NW of Atlanta
Vehicle Year
1985
Make / Model
ford
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
lima bean
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
My credo
vertical and above ground
You can try cycling the key from OFF to ON, pause, then cycle to OFF, ON, pause again, and repeat 4-5 times. Each time the key is ON, the fuel pump runs to pump fuel to the fuel injector rail. If you have leakdown, causing hard starting, this will demonstrate the problem is a lack of fuel available for the injectors to dispense. If the engine starts and runs better after doing the 4-5 cycles, it is a pretty good indicator that fuel was not there for use.
tom
 


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