(96 Ranger 3.0L V6 gauge and light problems


98v70dad

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My 96 ranger has been treating me like crap lately. 3 weeks ago it needed a new alternator - fixed it. While I was at it I replaced the serpentine belt. Then 2 weeks ago the new belt started squealing - fixed it. I drove it maybe 150 miles (2 days) and today the speedometer stopped working (all other gauges seem OK except odometer) and the interior lights went out.

Any ideas on where to start? I see there's a speedometer post right below mine as I type this - I'll start by reading that but could use any info anyone wants to provide. Well, I read that other post I mentioned and it gives a good item to think about but my symptoms are different so ideas for other things to check out would be helpful.
 
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98v70dad

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Went out to the pharmacy tonight and decided to do some troubleshooting with the truck when I got home. Fuse 25 is blown so that explains why I have no speedometer and maybe the dome light and maybe the windshield wipers and maybe the odometer since its also the fuse for the GEM. Ford was thoughtful enough to provide a spare fuse for everything except the one I need, 7.5 amp. That defies any logic that I can think of - provide spares for almost everything except not quite everything. How much could a 7.5 amp fuse cost Ford in the quantities they buy? Tomorrow I'll have to buy a pack of 25 or 50 for 10 bucks - enough for several cars and several lifetimes.
 

98v70dad

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I'm hoping that someone other than myself will comment on my post because I could use some help. I mentioned that fuse 25 was blown (7.5 amp). It took me a few days to find the right fuse since everyone was sold out of the. I replaced the fuse and it blew immediately. I actually expected that but was hoping for the best.

What should I check next? My dome light, speedo, chime and wipers are't working. The electrical system hasn't had any big mods done to it other than a new head unit and backup camera. I put those in over a year ago with zero problems. Those things are still working fine.
 

Bgunner

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As a quick check make sure the door jam switches are still intact. Depending on the style, since your truck is a 96 and the same cab as mine I don't believe they changed the style of the switch, they use the A pillar/door jam as a ground and if inner parts hit the body it will cause a short. You defiantly have a short some where but as to where will take some trouble shooting with multimeter and wiring diagram.
 

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You could unplug the GEM and replace the fuse. If it blows again, the supply is shorted somewhere between the fuse and the GEM. Make sure you don't have any wet or corroded connections at the GEM.
 

98v70dad

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As a quick check make sure the door jam switches are still intact. Depending on the style, since your truck is a 96 and the same cab as mine I don't believe they changed the style of the switch, they use the A pillar/door jam as a ground and if inner parts hit the body it will cause a short. You defiantly have a short some where but as to where will take some trouble shooting with multimeter and wiring diagram.
Thanks. When this first happened I looked for the switch because the dome light was out. I couldn't find it but I was looking on the B pillar side where its been located on every other car I've owned. So, the switch is located on the front side of the door?

I'm hoping for something simple because I hate working on electrical problems and I'm not particularly good at finding shorts.
 
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98v70dad

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You could unplug the GEM and replace the fuse. If it blows again, the supply is shorted somewhere between the fuse and the GEM. Make sure you don't have any wet or corroded connections at the GEM.
Thanks. I know that the GEM is on the circuit but I don't know where it is. Where do I find it?
 

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Here's what I've done to troubleshoot with no positive results.

1) put in a new fuse without turning the key - fuse blows almost immediately.
2) took out the bulbs in the dome light and put a new fuse in without turning the key - fuse blows almost immediately.
3) disconnected the wiper motor and put a new fuse in without turning the key - fuse blows almost immediately
4) took the radio out, disconnected and removed the GEM and put in a new fuse without turning the key - fuse blows almost immediately. Took the gem apart and it looks fine. My truck has power nothing so the GEM doesn't do much in my vehicle.
5) looked for the drivers door switch - can't find it - guess that its built into the door latch. blasted it with wd-40 in case its corroded - put a new fuse in without turning the key -fuse blows almost immediately

The only clue I got from all of this is the burning electrical smell each time the fuse blows is coming from under the dash.

The only other clue I can think of is that back in July I had to take the dash gauge unit out to replace the check engine light bulb in order to pass smog inspection. I remember that the space for the wire harnesses was tight, all of the structure back there was sharp and I didn't have much control over where the wires went after I slipped the gauge unit back in its space.

Anyhow, the one DIY project I hate the most is wiring problems on a car. I'm not good at it. Any help or advice you can give would be appreciated. Telling me to find the short isn't really helpful because I don't know how to do that other than looking for cuts in the insulation.
 

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Light switch should be located in the door jam by the fender, screwed in to the body A piller. It is a push switch.
 

98v70dad

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Light switch should be located in the door jam by the fender, screwed in to the body A piller. It is a push switch.
Nope - nothing there unless its inside the rubber boot with the wires.
 

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4) took the radio out, disconnected and removed the GEM and put in a new fuse without turning the key - fuse blows almost immediately. Took the gem apart and it looks fine. My truck has power nothing so the GEM doesn't do much in my vehicle.

The only clue I got from all of this is the burning electrical smell each time the fuse blows is coming from under the dash.
If it blows like that with the GEM disconnected, then it really sounds like the wire from he fuse to the GEM is shorted to ground. The burning smell confirms this.

As frustrating as it is, we can’t tell you where the short is. You can either look for cut/melted insulation on the wire or you can disconnect that wire at both ends and run a new wire to bypass it. If it was mine, based on the burning smell, I would want to find the problem at its source and repair it. It could also be damaging other wiring which will cause more problems in the future. First place to search would be around the instrument panel where you say you have worked previously.
 

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The first thing you should do is take a deep breath... and find some electrical diagrams to study.

Study the diagrams and develop a systematical approach for finding the short. Most times you won't find these shorts in a loom wrapped in tape. Rather where the loom crosses a bracket or body panel and creates a rub spot.

Seems I found a shorted door jamb switch on my 94 that caused a similar situation somewhere back in time.
 

98v70dad

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The first thing you should do is take a deep breath... and find some electrical diagrams to study.

Study the diagrams and develop a systematical approach for finding the short. Most times you won't find these shorts in a loom wrapped in tape. Rather where the loom crosses a bracket or body panel and creates a rub spot.

Seems I found a shorted door jamb switch on my 94 that caused a similar situation somewhere back in time.
Where is the door jamb switch on a 96. I've looked three times and can't find it. Usually its obvious. I'm told its on the A pillar but I've looked twice and don't find it.
 

Bgunner

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After searching for about 3 mins on Google, your switch is located inside the door at the latch mechanism.
 

98v70dad

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After searching for about 3 mins on Google, your switch is located inside the door at the latch mechanism.
Thanks. Google is what I was going to do next. I should have searched first before asking but I haven't had good luck searching on google for ranger infrmation in the past because there were so many variations. Even the people at the dealership have given me bad info. A young woman at the Ford dealer parts desk once told me there was no such thing as a 96 ranger xlt 3.0L. She was very confident of it.
 


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