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88 ranger, multiple issues


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In order to get the full scope of the problem/problems with my 88 ranger I think I need to start off talking about a different less immediate problem. a few months back I started having a problem with my windshield wipers, radio, and gas gauge simultaneously not working. It happened to me in a sudden rain storm and I had to pull over, didn't know what the issue was so I checked some fuses, that was not the problem. I didn't figure it out right away but noticed that sometimes when I started my truck those 3 functions I mentioned would work and sometimes they wouldn't so for a long time i just made sure to start my truck as many times as needed for them to come on and they would stay on. It wasn't til recently that my truck started having more severe issues sometimes turning off while i was driving it, it never had a problem starting though. Then I realized one day after my tuck would not stay on for more than a couple seconds after starting that it was simply just the position of the key, if I held the key in a certain position my truck would stay on and if in the perfect position my truck would stay on plus the windshield wipers,gas gauge and radio all worked too. During all this I have had intermittent issues with the headlights, I.E flickering,not coming on at all. Now that I got all that out of the way I can talk about what exactly is going on now and what I have tried that has not worked. For the truck dying/key problem I bought a new lock cylinder and replaced it, that was not the problem. So for the past couple weeks a shoelace tied tight to my headlight knob holding the key in a forward position keeps my truck on, take the shoelace off it dies immediately. I have replaced both headlights and the headlight switch and this has not fixed the headlight issue. I think it is worth noting that I noticed one day that punching my steering wheel turns off my truck, and on a few occasions giving the steering column a few hard bumps gets the headlights working, but not nearly reliable enough for me to drive and it is my only vehicle and need it to get me to work. So both issues seem tied to something in the steering column, but I have little to no experience working on vehicles. If anybody can help with any of these issues I would greatly appreciate it.
 
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jeremysdad

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Please paragraph.

Too hard to read.
 

aspevacek

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I would look at swapping the ignition switch on the truck since that is the common source for power for all that. I am betting there is play in the switch and by holding tension on it the rod is staying at the location needed to keep shit working.
 
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You are exactly right, the ignition switch was loose, I zip tied it and all is well, thank you. That definitely fixed the problem with the key so no more shoelace haha,and the headlights are also working for now. Do you think that was the problem with the lights also or should I expect them to go out again?
 

aspevacek

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I do DBS Sat install and diagnostics for a living. Customer Service leaves me notes in accounts that are less then informative. I always ask a few key questions. Is it everything in a system having an issue or just 1 set area.

The reason that is the most important question to ask is it will give you a starting point for diagnostics. One key arera means look at that section of the system, whole sytem issues means go to the first common location and work from their. Some times it is be issues with multi parts of th system at one time but most it is that common point where the problem lies. I will say that my repeat trouble call rate for last year was well under 2% I average about 70 jobs a month so that averages out to about 16 or 17 issues reoccurring over the span of a year and I can live with that rate.

That diagnostic routine can be followed regardless of what you are working on. On your listed issues and trouble shooting over the internet I picked the most likely common source of the issues. I am willing to bet that is 99% of what is wrong with what you explained.
 

RangerDange

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I had the exact same thing happen on my truck. I zip tied it and haven't had any other issues with lights or radio, that was 3 yrs ago.
 


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