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88 Ranger wont start, please help


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My 88 ranger is no longer starting, ill try to keep this short. I don't really have any mechanic experience so please bear with me. A few months ago it began having problems starting. It would turn over but not start, but if i kept trying then after a few minutes it would, sometimes it would stay on and sometimes it would only idle for a few seconds and shut off. But if i kept at it then it would eventually start and stay on, then I would start to drive it and it would not go over like 15mph and sometimes sputter or shut off while driving and I would have to re-crank it but after a few minutes of driving it would drive like normal.So for a while I was thinking the fuel pump was going bad (not sure if it has anything to do with it but I feel like this all started to happen after I used some fuel cleaner, my thoughts were maybe the cleaner knocked some junk loose and was causing problems). Now it will not start at all, wont even turn over. Radio and dash come on in with the key in the 2nd position but in start position nothing happens. . Since it no longer starts at all I have replaced the starter(which was a pain in the ass because I didn't have a jack) and solenoid because I thought I might have burnt it out with all that cranking but that is not the problem, and tonight I went ahead and changed the ignition switch because I had problems with it before that were resolved previously with a zip tie. Tonight I went ahead and bought a new fuel pump and was just going to bite the bullet and try to look up how to change that myself also but don't have the torque bits to take the bed off which the guy at auto zone told me would be necessary to get to the tank. But then I started thinking that if it was a fuel pump issue wouldn't the car still be turning over and at least still trying to crank? So much for keeping that short but any help would be greatly appreciated.
 


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1990RangerinSK

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How's your battery? Are you able to test it? A weak battery will allow accessories to receive power, but not start the engine.

Is there a fuse or a relay that cuts power to the starter?

What condition are your battery posts and cables in? I've had corroded posts and cables, and had enough power for accessories, but not enough to turn the engine over.
 
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Thanks for the reply, I forgot to mention that as far as I can tell the battery is fine, it's fairly new and I changed the terminal clamps or whatever just a few months ago and the cables look like the aren't in bad condition
 

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If the battery is good you might put a socket on the bolt at the base of the crankshaft pulley and make sure the engine in fact will turn over with a large ratchet/breaker bar. Be sure the engine is shut off when you do this.

Does the starter do anything at all?

What engine?

If it does nothing you may have to check your neutral start switch and/or your clutch position switch too. A EVTM (check ebay) will really help with electrical gremlins.
 
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wildbill23c

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So now that you have spent a bunch of money throwing parts at an unkown problem, lets take a look at the battery. Lights, radio, etc. may still turn on, they don't require much juice. A starter on the other hand requires a lot of amperage to spin that engine. If your battery is bad, or the battery cables themselves are bad or even a battery cable being lose it can cause all sorts of operating problems, hit a bump just right, vehicle shuts off because the battery cables are lose or corroded.
 

RayInStl

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Well, that didn't work. Let's try something else!
Start by getting a digital multimeter. Harbor Freight sells a cheapie for around $10 that will serve our purposes. Read the voltage of the battery with everything turned off and post back here with the result. If you don't know how to use a multimeter, that's ok. Reply here and we'll walk you through it.

I suspect your initial problem was fuel related and is separate from your current no-crank issue. I think your battery or an ignition component wore out or overheated from the extended cranking sessions. So let's get it back to cranking before we go any farther.
 

Andy D

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Start by getting a digital multimeter. Harbor Freight sells a cheapie for around $10 that will serve our purposes. Read the voltage of the battery with everything turned off and post back here with the result. If you don't know how to use a multimeter, that's ok. Reply here and we'll walk you through it.

I suspect your initial problem was fuel related and is separate from your current no-crank issue. I think your battery or an ignition component wore out or overheated from the extended cranking sessions. So let's get it back to cranking before we go any farther.
X2 . Guys , buying a cheap multi-meter and reading the instructions
should be the first purchase when confronted with an electrical trouble. Throwing parts at the problem gets expensive and you are likely to add to the problem by messing with 30 yr old wiring. having a meter will save you lotsa money and time.
 

Mightyfordranger

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Agreed with above...but fill us in more about the truck is it manual or auto?? Is it a 4cyl or v6 itll help us better understand what your working on

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
 
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Thanks for all the replies, im gonna work on it a little bit again today and will definitely check out the battery although i dont think its the issue. It is manual, 4 cylinder, 2.3 liter. A friend of mine mentioned a sensor that detects when the clutch is pushed in order to start and perhaps this sensor is out?
 
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Ok, I am getting 12.2V from the battery, I cant test if that drops when I try to start yet because I cant read it and turn the key at the same time but have a friend coming over shortly
 
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scratch that last post, i got it. it reads 12.2V then drops to 11.7V when trying to start
 
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Ok, im about ready to roll this truck off a cliff,lol. I have checked the battery, its getting 12V,tested it with key on and it dropped to 11.7V, have replaced starter, starter solenoid,ignition switch and for some reason I am still not getting power to the starter. Thought maybe NSS, went to autozone and they didnt have the right part, in this model it is the clutch pedal position switch, went to orileys and the one they had was similar but not the same(anybody know if this is just an updated part and will work?) and was $40 so i decided to just try to bypass it to see if its even the problem before buying, looked up a video and im pretty sure im doing it right, STILL NOTHING! I dont understand how im not getting action to the starter after replacing everything that the ignition system envolves.
 
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Andy D

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12.2V isnt' a fully charged battery, 12.7 is 100%. Where the clutch switch plugs in, I just jumped the contacts. After that ,put the truck in neutral and set the brake . Next, cross the big nuts on the solenoid. The starter should engage. If it doesnt, check the connections from the battery to the solenoid (big relay) on the fender to the starter. By checking, I mean opening every connection looking for a bad one. Next do the same with the ground path from the battery to engine and fire wall.

PS, this is what you do before you spend any money. You eliminate the cheap easy stuff first. :D
 
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thank you for the reply. In hindsight I should have posted here first and checked all the small stuff like you say, but I was taking advice from a friend of mine who use to work on cars and told me this was the way to go,he came over again today and is stumped so not getting much help there. In regard to the clutch pedal switch, the video i watched said to splice two of the wires together, I instead just took a small length of excess wire from my headlight switch and connected the female ends of the plug where the 2 wires he said to splice are with this wire, should work the same way correct(this is what you mean by jumping the contacts?)
 
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also, i dont know if i mentioned it, but the first thing my friend and I did was jump the solenoid, it did nothing. So i replaced that, tried again and he said it was clicking so the problem wasnt the solenoid, but still didnt start, so I replaced the starter, still didnt work, tried to jump solenoid again and clicked, i held it too long i guess and it wouldnt stop trying to start(the engine was just turning over i guess but not starting,my friend said over the phone that if i had a second person to turn the key it should have started) i had to disconnect the battery to get it to stop,and after that if i tried to connect the battery it just shot sparks, i guess i held the connection too long and fried the new solenoid, so i swapped it out and replaced it again thinking surely this time it would work with a new starter and solenoid but nothing. so then i replaced the ignition switch because i had problems with it that i fixed with a zip tie a while back so i thought maybe it finally had it and it wasnt that expensive. obviously none of this is working and I need to just start over from step 1. My friend I mentioned earlier is saying i should take the starter and solenoid back to autozone and swap them both again, I really dont want to do that all again if I dont know what the problem is. I just dont even know where to start anymore
 


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