'89 Ranger/Wont crank/electrical issue?


Texican65

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Hi guys,

My '89 Ranger 5 speed 4x4 with 2.9, 220,000 or so miles....daily driver the last 10 years...minor issues and repairs, as well as regular maintenance. Well, its having an electrical issue now. About 2 weeks ago, I got in my truck after a shift at work, and started it up, went to turn on the radio...and all my "pre-set" channels were gone, like the battery had been disconnected. Didn't think anything of it, drove it home, and back and forth for a few more days, no issues. Well, after about a week, I went to get in to go to work, turned the key, and absolutely nothing. Interior lights, dash lights, door ajar chime all going, but no attempt to crank, no clicking. I jump started it with my wife's car, and it ran fine to work. I jumped it again to get home, no problems.

So I pulled the battery and gave it a 12 hour charge, re-installed. Opened the cab door, interior lights and door chime on...insert key in ignition, dash lights, blower motor all come on...turn the key....ZILCH! Everything shuts off. Now even with the key removed from the ignition...door chime very weak, cab light barely visible as being on. Tried to jump it...same thing...NOTHING.

Bought a new battery....just installed.....same exact scenario....all appears normal until I turn the key and everything goes DEAD. What gives? Faulty ignition switch? I took the column guards off to get at it...and I can't get the switch out for nothin!

Please advise experts...I need my truck running again.

Thanks,

Dow
 


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Paulos

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There should be just two screws (probably security torx) holding the ignition switch in place. Are you talking about the ignition switch, or the ignition key/lock cylinder?
 

Texican65

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Hi Paulos,

What I’m calling the ignition switch is the part I insert the key in and turn....is there another switch somewhere else?

Thanks,

Dow
 

Paulos

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Hey Dow,
The ignition switch is just to the right of the ignition key cylinder. It has two screws at the top of the switch (mine are security torx T27), and two electrical connectors on the bottom. Sometimes the switches start to come apart, as the tabs holding them together start spreading apart. The key cylinder wouldn't cause your problem. It either turns and locks, or it doesn't.
 

Nez'sRanger

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I had a buddy with a similar problem on a Tacoma. Long story, but it ended up being the battery cable terminals were bad and didn't allow a good connection with the battery. I'd at least check that out.
 

Texican65

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Hey Dow,
The ignition switch is just to the right of the ignition key cylinder. It has two screws at the top of the switch (mine are security torx T27), and two electrical connectors on the bottom. Sometimes the switches start to come apart, as the tabs holding them together start spreading apart. The key cylinder wouldn't cause your problem. It either turns and locks, or it doesn't.
Hey Paulo, this is what I’m working with. I don’t see a switch like you’re talking about.
F448F549-309C-4A18-BC83-36BA440F9724.jpegD8AAE22E-63B7-4391-A22E-E2C8A9498AFF.jpeg
 

Paulos

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Hey Dow,
I see what you mean. I assumed that since the replacement switches look almost identical that they would be in the same place.
igswitch.jpg87igswitch.jpg
It must be farther down the steering column, with two bolts or nuts mounted to the column.
 

Texican65

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Oh boy! Ya, yours must be pre—1989...I traced the wires all the way down the column, and they just go to a huge taped wire harness behind/under the dash. From there...I can’t find the switch. What a pain, there’s plenty of room to have put the switch right by the key like yours.

Could it be in the engine compartment?

Thanks man,

Dow
 

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No, it has to be somewhere on the column. When the key cylinder/switch turns, it slides a rod that runs down the inside of the column and the end pokes out of the column into the back of the ignition switch. So when the key moves, it changes the position of the contacts in the switch. It HAS to be on the column. At least you know what to look for, based on the picture of the switch I pulled from RockAuto. I can't imagine that they designed it so you had to drop the column to access it. It looks like there are 11 terminals on the replacement switch, so you have up to 11 wires going to a single connector. And yeah, the '87 is nice and easy to get to.
 

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Check the battery cables... both cables, both ends. It sounds like you have a bad connection at a main power or ground. It could be the cable ends or the cable itself.

Try hooking a jumper cable from the negative post to something metal on the engine. That's the easiest way to test if it's a bad ground cable.
 

Texican65

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No, it has to be somewhere on the column. When the key cylinder/switch turns, it slides a rod that runs down the inside of the column and the end pokes out of the column into the back of the ignition switch. So when the key moves, it changes the position of the contacts in the switch. It HAS to be on the column. At least you know what to look for, based on the picture of the switch I pulled from RockAuto. I can't imagine that they designed it so you had to drop the column to access it. It looks like there are 11 terminals on the replacement switch, so you have up to 11 wires going to a single connector. And yeah, the '87 is nice and easy to get to.
Thanks Paulo..I found it. It's right inside the dash directly on top of the column, below the speedometer and gauge assembly. Looks like a pretty crummy spot to put it, not easily accessible by any means. I'm going to try other options at this point, before I try getting to that switch.

Any idea where the starter relay is? My Haynes manual doesn't show any of this stuff.....and all the old 70's trucks had all these components right close together, easy to find.....I can hardly trace any of the stuff out on this ranger.

Thanks,

Dow
 

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Check the battery cables... both cables, both ends. It sounds like you have a bad connection at a main power or ground. It could be the cable ends or the cable itself.

Try hooking a jumper cable from the negative post to something metal on the engine. That's the easiest way to test if it's a bad ground cable.
Well...I went out to try the jumper theory....but the (new) battery is completely DEAD. It went from being brand new and just sitting in the truck for a few days to completely dead.

And How can you tell if a cable is bad? They look fine to me, everything nice and tight. The positive wire goes right from the battery to one side of the ignition solenoid I believe it is...looks clean and tight on both ends. And the negative ground cable goes from the battery, to a clip on the side of the frame, to a bolt on the block down by the oil filter, everything is tight..but, there's dirt and residue oil on the attaching end on the block cable. This is nothing new though...been that way for years.

And the other wire from the ignition solenoid goes down to the starter solenoid on top of the starter. That wire also has oil on it where it attaches to the starter solenoid...but..been that way for years.

What ever it is that killed this truck happened sudden....and I'm perplexed...makes me think its a switch or something that wore out.

Thanks,

Dow
 

Paulos

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If the battery was connected when it went dead (I'm assuming), I would definitely check the starter switch. I know it's a pain to get to, but it sounds like you've got a short somewhere, and that would be a good thing to check off of your troubleshooting list. At least you would know either way. Like I said before, I have seen the switches start to come apart, and as a temporary fix you can squeeze the metal tabs on the corners to pull it back together. If you pull the switch out and it comes apart in the process, you'll know.

Like snoranger said, the battery terminals can cause problems if they're really bad. But I think it's more likely to be at the battery side of the cables than the engine block side. I'd say that if you tug on the negative cable to check how solid it's connected to the block and the cable doesn't pull off , you should be okay there. The battery side is usually the problematic side. I've never had a cable go bad at the block, but I don't live where they salt the roads very often, and I suppose that could have an effect on it over time.

You need to find what is drawing power with everything off. That could be what's causing all of your problems. A bad negative/ground cable won't cause a power draw when the truck sits. Actually, if that negative cable to the engine was bad, you would probably have starter issues, as the starter would not be getting a sufficient ground to operate properly. I don't think there's any other good reason to have that large of a ground going to the block.
 

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Charge the battery and have a buddy put a voltmeter on it. Start pulling fuses till you lose your parastetic draw. Then youll have a good place to start.
 

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Check the battery cables... both cables, both ends. It sounds like you have a bad connection at a main power or ground. It could be the cable ends or the cable itself.

Try hooking a jumper cable from the negative post to something metal on the engine. That's the easiest way to test if it's a bad ground cable.
Agreed. Mine used to do this. My grounds were just rotted enough to make it "push start only" at one point.
 


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