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85 Ranger Spitting & Sputtering

Southernfarmer

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I have an 85 ranger 2wd with the 2.3L in it and I've been having problems with it for awhile. It was running good and then all of a sudden it started spitting and sputter, so I changed the plugs, wires with motorcraft, and replaced the IAC, it ran good for a day or two and started acting up again, when I come to a stop I gotta hold my foot on the gas just a hair to keep it from wanting to cut off, when I let off the gas it starts sputtering and the oil light flashes on and off. The other day it just cut off on me at the store and wouldn't start, after an hour it started on to cut off 40ft further, after 45 mins it finally started and I made it 1/4 mile down the road and it cut off and I couldn't get it started and had to get it pulled home. I replaced the fuel filter thinking maybe it was clogged but it wasn't, I got it started and it cut off a few driveways down. I pulled the wire on the coil pack off and it had a blue arc to it I was wondering what this meant. Is my coil pack bad or injectors clogged? I have tried several different things to try to make it run better, injectors cleaners, seafoam, and they haven't done nothing. Usually when you start it up the rpms keep going up and down constantly. I'm stumped anybody have any ideas?

:icon_confused:
 


JayTee

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With 99% certainty, this is a faulty ignition coil.
 

RonD

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'85 2.3l should have the TFI ignition system, so one coil not a "pack" just FYI terminology, newer engines do use coil packs, 2 or 3 separate coils in one case.

The TFI systems are known to have problems as the get older usually wiring related.
Have a look here and do print out the Worksheet:
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/TFI_Diagnostic.html

TFI is almost always the problem, and these systems can overheat the coil which causes it to mis-fire and then over time fail, also check the distributor rotor shaft, when they get older the bushings can wear out and they wobble, especially at lower RPM.
Give a good pull and push, it shouldn't move in any direction.

The '85 2.3l would have Batch fire fuel injection, this is one step above a carb, but not sequential injection.
Batch fire means, in a 4cyl engine, 2 fuel injectors open at the same time, next time the other 2 open, what this means is that the intake is kept full of fuel/air mix all the time, like a carb did, any open intake valve pulls this in.
So 1 faulty injector might cause a leaner mix but not really rough running or stalling.

If you have an EGR(exhaust gas recirculation) system your EGR valve might be stuck open a bit, this would cause rough idling and stalling but at higher RPM it would be reasonably OK.

When you start a cold fuel injected engine, the computer should open the IAC valve all the way, so high RPM, then it should drop down to about 1,000 rpm and then when warmed up 750 rpm.
Engine temp is very important, engine should run at 200deg, that's usually just below 1/2 on the gauge, if you are running cooler then replace the thermostat.
 

Southernfarmer

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Changed my ignition coil today and that didn't do nothing still the same problem.... I checked my distributor rotor shaft by pulling & pushing on the distributor it didn't move at all. I'm completely stumped and I need this truck running by Sunday night so I can go to work.
 

RonD

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Print the TFI work sheet and follow it step by step
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/images/tfi_worksheet.jpg

You shouldn't have replaced the coil without testing it first, it's like buying a new car when the old one runs out of gas, yes it fixes the "out of gas" problem but did you really need to spend the money, lol :)
In this case you bought the new car with a dry tank so same problem.
 

Southernfarmer

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The parts that have been replaced since I've had the truck is:

Alternator
IAC
Spark plugs (Ford Motorcraft)
Wires (Ford Motorcraft)
Fuel filter
Ignition coil

I haven't replaced the distributor or rotor button yet. This thing is stumping me. I knew when I got it it was going to need some work cause it was not maintained at all for a year and a half. It didn't even have any oil in it when I got it.
 

Southernfarmer

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Print the TFI work sheet and follow it step by step
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/images/tfi_worksheet.jpg

You shouldn't have replaced the coil without testing it first, it's like buying a new car when the old one runs out of gas, yes it fixes the "out of gas" problem but did you really need to spend the money, lol :)
In this case you bought the new car with a dry tank so same problem.


I see what you saying, I didn't really have to money to buy it anyway just thought that may had been the problem cause it was kinda dirty and had oil on it from an on going oil leak from a hose behind the alternator and was thinking that may have had something to do with it but I guess not cause I'm still getting a blue arc from it
 
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JayTee

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Is there any gas in it?
 

Southernfarmer

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I thought about taking the coil back and just getting a distributor cap & rotor button since I didn't replace them when with the plugs & wires, and I'm getting the same blue arc with the new coil.
 

JayTee

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Hmm... never heard of anyone taking electrics back after they have been installed.

What is happening when you are turning the vehicle over now? It runs but won't stay running, or it won't even start?
 

Southernfarmer

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Its not starting at all now, I replaced the distributor cap and rotor, I pulled the fuel pump off thats close to the motor, its pumping but I'm not getting gas up to my fuel rail. There was a small brass tube that sorta looks like a filter on a hose coming from the pump. How much pressure is these trucks suppossed to have?
 

Southernfarmer

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Hmm... never heard of anyone taking electrics back after they have been installed.

I took it back because I don't have money to spend on a part that is already working when I need the money for another part
 

Southernfarmer

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I found online that the reset pressure is 35-45 and the PSI is 25-35
 

Kenneth S

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The TFI ignition module that screws to to the side of distributor is probably bad (that's a pretty common problem).
 

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