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2.3L ('83-'97) 97 ranger with many problems (has 2.5l motor)

Waldoduhh

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ok so to star'm very versed with 2.3l rangers, previously owned a 96 ranger with a 2.3. I just bought another ranger since I had to scrap mine. Im gonna start with background so there's a full understanding. So bought it from a buddy of mine, he did not notice any of this until I pointed it out. he bought this from the owner who did the following for some unknown reason: changed front clip to a 2003 ford ranger, put a 2003 full exterior wiring harness in, put a 2000 ranger ecu for a 2.5l, and a 2.5l motor in. Now when i bought it from said buddy, he had following issues: he said when he got tires changed, noticed a hard vibration in rear end at around 65mph, had a intermittent dead cylinder while driving off and on not related to tire change, whenever abs speed sensor was plugged in the rpms would get stuck at whatever you were at when shifting, and it had high idle at 1200rpm. I fixed quite a bit, but i still have vibration in rear(old exhaust was dragging on drive shaft and rubbed a bit of the drive shift off) and I pulled harness out and repaired as much as I could, and now its firing weird( no i didn't rewire wires incorrectly to what they already were connected to.) And than dies out. I did manage to get the abs sensor to work using a 2.5l sensor for a 2000 ranger, other one was 2.3l sensor so assuming thats why. I ordered a 2.5l iac to hopefully correct the high idle once I figure out this firing issue. I need to know if I can use a 2.3l harness or do I need to find a 2.5l harness for motor. I think I'm on the right track that the motor issue is electrical and I need another drive shaft to correct vibration. Any thoughts?
 


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Waldoduhh

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So I passed by the electrical section on this site and noticed, the 03 power distribution box in this truck does not offer a 2.5l motor in that model year. Could my problem be that, and therefore I need to just swap the whole power distribution box and engine harness for lets say a 2000 or below with matching ecu? I have the feeling all this janky wiring this guy did to the electrical has the ecu entirely confused causing all the problems mechanically with the engine.
 

Shran

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I can't say for sure about the misfire, does it throw any codes or anything? The 2003 would have had a 2.3 Duratec as opposed to the 2.3/2.5 Lima... for sure a 2003 computer would be tuned differently. My gut instinct is that since you've got the correct computer and assuming all of the sensors and stuff plug into the engine you've got and are working, your existing harness should be usable...it's just kind of a weird way of doing things.

That issue you are describing about the ABS sensor bumping up the idle speed while coasting between shifts sounds like a normal condition. An increase between shifts or a high idle at a dead stop is not normal. Could be a vacuum leak issue or stuck IAC.
 

tomw

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PO did this:"put a 2000 ranger ecu for a 2.5l, and a 2.5l motor in."

Makes sense as the 2.5 has different engine sensors so its engine harness would not work with a '97 ECU.
Other sensors(O2, speed sensor, ABS pickups(?), power steering pressure, trans sensor(reverse, OD, ???) may or may not work, depending.
BUT
They should not affect how the engine runs, more or less.
Vibration normally is caused by out of balance pieces. Or out of round mounts. Did the PO install the U-joint caps into the differential yoke properly? What is the condition of the U-joint? If you see rusty marks around the U-joint caps, likely the joint is failing, and can allow the drive shaft to wallow around a bit causing VIBRATION that can be felt more and less, depending on speed. IOW shake your teeth out between 32-36mph, but become almost not noticeable when traveling faster.
I would check the 'external' sensors between a 2000 (2.5l was used in 2000 models, factory) and a 1997. Not the engine sensors as they are likely still screwed into the engine, but others, as mentioned above. Actually, swapping in a 2.5 is a nice way to bump the power.
tom
 

Waldoduhh

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I can't say for sure about the misfire, does it throw any codes or anything? The 2003 would have had a 2.3 Duratec as opposed to the 2.3/2.5 Lima... for sure a 2003 computer would be tuned differently. My gut instinct is that since you've got the correct computer and assuming all of the sensors and stuff plug into the engine you've got and are working, your existing harness should be usable...it's just kind of a weird way of doing things.

That issue you are describing about the ABS sensor bumping up the idle speed while coasting between shifts sounds like a normal condition. An increase between shifts or a high idle at a dead stop is not normal. Could be a vacuum leak issue or stuck IAC.
So when I was doing the rewiring I noticed multiple wires going to different sensors tied into one wire going to ecu. This was the case for several wires going to ecu. Which is why I think the ecu might be confused as to whats going on. Even the coil pack secondary plug has been rewired very badly by PO, not sure if its even on the right wires. I took a video and sent it to a friend that has helped me before with my 2.3 I had, he thinks I'm having a electrical issue as well. I tried posting here but it said something about the format. I have 14 volts at injector for cyl 4 which is the one having issue, non fluctuating, I see spark at the coil when I pull the plug out and hold it close to the port on coil, but there's no backfiring happening, not detecting any smells in oil so not getting blowback, its just not firing it seems, or it is firing but not when its supposed to. Could it be maybe ive got a bad valve thats not operating?

As far as shift idle goes, I don't recall aver going from one gear to another at 4000 rpm for instance normal, nor have I known it to ever be normal for the rpm to not drop when you shift out of gear, unless ive just been lied to about stick shifts all my life lol. But I fixed that issue after dropping a 2.5 sensor in replacing the 2.3 one that seemed to be causing the issue.
 

Waldoduhh

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PO did this:"put a 2000 ranger ecu for a 2.5l, and a 2.5l motor in."

Makes sense as the 2.5 has different engine sensors so its engine harness would not work with a '97 ECU.
Other sensors(O2, speed sensor, ABS pickups(?), power steering pressure, trans sensor(reverse, OD, ???) may or may not work, depending.
BUT
They should not affect how the engine runs, more or less.
Vibration normally is caused by out of balance pieces. Or out of round mounts. Did the PO install the U-joint caps into the differential yoke properly? What is the condition of the U-joint? If you see rusty marks around the U-joint caps, likely the joint is failing, and can allow the drive shaft to wallow around a bit causing VIBRATION that can be felt more and less, depending on speed. IOW shake your teeth out between 32-36mph, but become almost not noticeable when traveling faster.
I would check the 'external' sensors between a 2000 (2.5l was used in 2000 models, factory) and a 1997. Not the engine sensors as they are likely still screwed into the engine, but others, as mentioned above. Actually, swapping in a 2.5 is a nice way to bump the power.
tom
Yeah ill double check those joints to be sure. With how long the exhaust dragged on the drive shaft, wouldn't that throw off balance on it as well? Ill take picture of the damage on shaft so you can see. Also yeah ive been going one by one with sensors to see if they match part numbers and swapping what doesn't.
 

Waldoduhh

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hard to tell from picture but it does go into the driveshaft quite a bit, its not just outer scuffing
 

Shran

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Well having a constant 14v at one injector is a major problem. You should only have voltage there in bursts. Should be on/off/on/off like a blinking light bulb (actually that's how you test, with a noid light.)

I think your exhaust on the driveshaft thing COULD affect the balance but it doesn't look like it wore into the metal much if at all. I'd make sure your u-joints are healthy and move on to another area... that little bit of rust rubbed off does not concern me much.

Also, about the spliced wire thing - many, many items in your harness share common grounds. The wires are spliced together inside the harness at the factory, you just normally don't see it because they're covered with tape and loom. I'm fairly sure I've seen common power and reference voltage wires elsewhere too but I can't remember where. If it looks like it's been spliced with a butt connector or something, it's obviously not factory, but some splices are.
 

Waldoduhh

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Yeah that was my thinking as well, I'd assume he spliced into the wrong wire. And ok ill play around with them this weekend. If I find the ujoints healthy, the only other place aside from the actual differential itself i should look at would be the two suspension arms coming from it yes? Suspension is the one area I'm not much versed in, so not sure if that could complicate things, but assuming it would.

The splices I seen were all non factory, alot of them and butt connectors look like they caught fire, gonna pull a harness this weekend
 

tomw

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The wear on the drive shaft should be the same all the way around... so should affect balance very little.

Injector will have B+ voltage on them whenever the key is ON. The coil(solenoid) inside will not do anything as there is no current flow. Apply ground to one wire or the other, and current will flow, and the solenoid open the squirter to flow some fuel.
Ditto with coils and COPs. Most have battery voltage on both terminals(either end of the same wire), and the computer will supply ground to energize the coil, and remove the ground to make the coil/COP fire when the magnetic field collapses.
I think(no particular reason) that the dual plug heads use two plugs to improve emissions control. I doubt there is measurable increase in power. It may also prevent pre-ignition as the 'flame fronts' will be timed so should not collide as happens with pinging.
tom
 

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