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98 Ranger Problem! AGAIN! Please Help!!!


Ranger4x4.0

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So, recently I posted on here about the same issues as I'm still having- http://www.therangerstation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=163872 and thought I finally found the problem, but I didn't...

Details about the truck itself (if any of this matters?). : 1998 Ford Ranger XLT Ext. Cab, 4x4, 4.0 ohv, 5 spd. manual, 177,653 miles

Sorry this post is stupidly long, just wanted to put every detail in it, so maybe some of you can help me.

Here are the problems Im having: It will hesitate, buck, spit, sputter like crazy, and sometimes just die and not start at all, acts like its running on fumes one day, then another day and its like it never had a problem and drives like new. It will do it in any gear, any speed, any rpms, whenever it feels like it. Sometimes at highway speeds, 70mph, 5th gear, 2500 rpms. Sometimes 30 mph in 3rd gear. Wet conditions, dry conditions, just whenever the hell it feels like it. Im a little P***ed off at the thing:annoyed:..

So, let me go over everything I have replaced that has not helped this symptom, or seemed like it for a day or two and then back to my mom making fun of me cause I own a F.O.R.D. :idiot:..
Might wanna sit for this one, This is gonna be a novel:

1- MAF sensor: Bought new and installed, SEEMED like it helped... No, it didn't.
2- Coil Pack: Didn't do squat.. Not a single thing.
3- Fuel Pump #1: Didn't need one, but why not... Wasn't my idea, my dads.:annoyed:
4- Fuel Filter: Nope, nothin'.
5- Oxygen Sensors: Pulled codes and said they were bad. Maybe they were my problem all along? Yea right...
6- Fuel Pump & assembly #2: Well, the aftermarket pos pump I put on it quit within a month.:icon_confused:
7- Another fuel filter: No, but why not.
-----Now I'm really just throwing parts at it and hoping for the best.-----
8- Cleaned IAC: Cause you know, that would really fix this..
9- PCV Valve: A whole lotta nothing.
10- Spark plugs: Seemed like it helped, but maybe it was just that new plug smell.:D
11- Throttle Position Sensor: Acceleration seemed like it responded quicker. idk.
12- Plug Wires: eh..
13- Upper Intake Gasket, fuel rail gasket: FINALLY!!! :yahoo::yahoo::yahoo: I FIXED IT! No rough idle, no check engine light, no bucking!!!!!!!!..................... Until last night that is.

So, yeah, #13. I wanted to just burn that d*mn thing right there in the middle of the road, collect the insurance, and buy a Chevy. It quit, just died, right there, literally in the middle of nowhere, and it was pouring its ass off, lightning, tornado watch etc. Same old symptoms, sputter and die. Crank no start, then backfire that scared the sh*t out of me. Start, just barely run, and die. Over and over. Its done it before, but NEVER this bad. Checked everything under the hood, fuses etc, Inertia switch, banged on fuel tank thinking it is the fuel pump. Nothing. Got it started for a few seconds, enough to tell that the cel is back on, and the guages were all good, exept the tachometer bouncing everywhere, then died. Few minutes pass, and got the idea of banging on the fuel filter, banged on it, punched it, called it bad names, got in the truck, and it started, coincidence? Probably, idk, its done it before, when the engine cools for a while, it'll start. I was 7 miles from home down a dirt, now mud, road so i floored it, still jerking and bucking like hell, trying to get it home. Going 45-55 down a really muddy road while pouring was not easy, but i didn't care, i wanted to get the pos home. Finally made it home, my truck wasn't green anymore after all the mud holes i hit going 45. Yeah, should have taken it easy but i didn't want to be stranded in that.

And sorry again this was long!

Ive done a crapload of research online and again came up with the crankshaft sensor. Symptoms of a bad crank sensor is the same as what its doing. Also the fuel filter, if its clogged, it causes similar symptoms. Ill be replacing both today.

So, What can this be?! Can the bucking, jerking etc. be ANYTHING else?!? If anyone has ANY idea, or has had this problem, i'd like to hear it! Thanks y'all!
 


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BlackBII

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Did you replace the crank position sensor?

I had this same issue on a 4.0 I had; it turns out the crank position sensor plug had some loose wires, and so when the truck would go over a bump or something the wires would lose contact, and it would lose spark which of course would make the truck buck and jump. I fixed the wires and it fixed the problem.

I would check your crank position sensor wires and plug, and maybe try replacing it. However, if the crank sensor isn't working at all, then your truck wouldn't even start.
 
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RonD

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It would be helpful to know the exact code numbers that have come and gone, and their order, during this "adventure", you could be looking at a computer issue and just chasing your tail because computer connector has moisture inside or computer itself has circuit board damage.
Computer is well out of warranty so you can remove the top and look at the circuit board, if that is the problem you will see blacken areas from capacitors leaking and/or shorts.
The newer(1985 and up) computer controlled systems are much easier to diagnose than you are experiencing, Chevy or Ford, lol, but it can depend on the sanity of the computer.

Fuel filter starting to clog up usually has the symptom of lack of power at higher speeds/higher fuel demands but idle and lower RPMs would be fine.

I think your changing of the intake gasket and temporary relief of all the symptoms should have you redirecting your attention to a similar leak.
A good test is a Smoke test.
Just need a cigar and bottle of Scotch.
Pull off the air plenum(big air tube from MAF to intake), intake end, seal intake with plastic wrap and rubber band.
Pull power brake booster's vacuum hose off and use that port to blow smoke into intake.
light cigar, pour a glass of scotch, this can take some time, thank god :)
Start blowing in smoke and watching for it coming out.
Throttle body and gasket are leak points

Also just to take it off the table, loosen the gas cap for a few days, with a faulty EVAP system you could create a high vacuum in the fuel tank this in effect slows down the amount of fuel the pump can send out, like a pressure lock in the tank.
But this takes time for negative pressure to build up so if symptoms are there when first started it shouldn't be this, and it acts more like a dirty fuel filter, i.e. loss of power at higher demand first.

Also a fuel pressure gauge can be helpful, '98 Ranger should be 30-40psi at the rail, I think '99 and up went to Returnless system and 65psi.
If you hook up pressure gauge and turn key on and off 3 times you should see 30-40psi and it should hold that pressure for a few months, not minutes or days.
If pressure drops down to 0psi then you have a leak in the system, if you don't smell gas then leak will either be the Fuel Pressure regulator or the Check valve in the Fuel pump.

If pressure holds above 25psi then start engine and raise RPMs to about 2,500 and hold that RPM, watch if pressure is slowly dropping, if so then fuel line clog or fuel pump can not maintain volume of fuel needed.
 
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Ranger4x4.0

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Did you replace the crank position sensor?

I had this same issue on a 4.0 I had; it turns out the crank position sensor plug had some loose wires, and so when the truck would go over a bump or something the wires would lose contact, and it would lose spark which of course would make the truck buck and jump. I fixed the wires and it fixed the problem.

I would check your crank position sensor wires and plug, and maybe try replacing it. However, if the crank sensor isn't working at all, then your truck wouldn't even start.
No, not yet but i plan on replacing it today. i will definitely check the wires. did your 4.0 ever not start bcuz of it?
 

Ranger4x4.0

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It would be helpful to know the exact code numbers that have come and gone, and their order, during this "adventure", you could be looking at a computer issue and just chasing your tail because computer connector has moisture inside or computer itself has circuit board damage.
Computer is well out of warranty so you can remove the top and look at the circuit board, if that is the problem you will see blacken areas from capacitors leaking and/or shorts.
The newer(1985 and up) computer controlled systems are much easier to diagnose than you are experiencing, Chevy or Ford, lol, but it can depend on the sanity of the computer....
i wish i had a scanner, same w/ fuel pressure gauge but i don't, i hate having to take it to auto zone! especially now since i don't trust it to go 10 feet.
i hope its not computer related. so where would the brain be on it?
 

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No, not yet but i plan on replacing it today. i will definitely check the wires. did your 4.0 ever not start bcuz of it?

Yes. Sometimes it would not start for after cranking the starter for a minute or two, and then would magically start like 10 min later.

Replacing the sensor may not fix it; if the problem lies between the sensor and the coilpack.

 
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Andy D

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Could there be crud/water in the tank? Something that would block the pick up when the engine ran. The engine runs out of gas, the obstruction drops off, allowing gas to pump until the cycle repeats
 

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Bluetooth scanner is $30-$40
Fuel Pressure gauge is $25
Vacuum gauge is $25
Volt/OHM meter is $20-$40

These will save you literally hundreds of dollars in new parts you don't need.
And pretty much any engine problem can be diagnosed with these
Compression gauge would be another, but not a must have like a volt meter.

And they work on any vehicle.
Scanner on any vehicle 1995 and up.

8 out of 10 sensors or controls replaced by DIYers were not bad, but don't feel too bad.
5 out of 10 sensors or controls replaced by Professional Mechanics were not bad either, lol.
People are people and we have become a disposable society, easier to replace it than check it.
Although some Pro Mechanics replace sensors to pad the bill, still................

And computer codes do NOT mean what they say 9 times out of 10.
Example: P0171 = lean on Bank 1
That does NOT mean engine is running lean on passenger side(bank 1), it actually means the computer's calculation for the fuel needed on Bank 1 is off enough for the computer to notify the driver by turning on the CEL(check engine light).
At no time was bank 1 running lean.

When looking at codes you have to think like a programmer or computer, neither is very smart, lol, well they are fast with calculations but not very good at real world communications, i.e. saying the things in a way we might understand
 
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aspevacek

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ok in the other post you stated the mechanic said it was the upper gasket was leaking. So if they went after the gaskets did they do the upper and lower fuel rail gaskets? The lower goes between the lower fuel rail and is a rubber embossed paper gasket. the upper should be rubber that is set up in pairs of runners.
You have said it fixed it for a while but then the symptoms returned. is it possible there is still a leak there may be the fuel rail has a minor amount of warpage to it, or the bolts holding the fuel rail to the lower intake were not properly torqued, if the mechanic did not remove the rail and swap out that lower gasket and properly tighten the bolts the leak could have been sealed then after a set amount of time loosened back up enough to create the leak again.

The bolts securing the fuel rail to the lower intake have a torx head on them and then the nuts that secure the upper intake tighten down on those bolts.
 

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I changed out the fuel filter and the old one was clean as can be. So its not that. I'll be changing the crank sensor tomorrow, maybe, it looks like a pita. It's all rusted with mud and road grime all over it. Hope I don't strip a bolt, because it is in a really tight spot. I don't even know if I can get to the top bolt, the way it is positioned.

BlackBII:
Well, lets hope not! I wouldn't know where to begin if it's between the two

Andy D:
I don't think it's water, I've thought the same thing in the beginning, putting a bunch of heet and seafoam in the tank.

RonD:
Yes, I need a scanner, I'm going to try and borrow one from a friend tomorrow. Just about everything I replaced were not bad,and half were done by a 'pro' machanic!

aspevacek: the machanic said he replaced upper intake, upper and lower fuel rail gaskets and something else, idk. I will fog engine again tomorrow, let you know.
 

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Sounds like fuel pressure issue...and that could be from a blockage in any of the ten or twelve feet of hose that runs from the tank forward...but do what the others suggested first and if that still leaves you bucking and under powered you might want to check the fuel pressure while driving.

Unfortunately, when we are in the throes of trouble shooting we (I, in particular) have gotten to the point of doing similar things like pounding on something out of frustration...and only to result in damaging either one of my body parts or the truck. Relax a bit and seek a tranquil mind set before acting on impulses...I tell myself this all the time...sometimes it works...lol

Anyway...if you can get a fuel pressure gauge on the system and leave it in place for a few hours/days you will be able to see if the pressure drops suddenly...the 1998 uses a much higher pressure than previous years and if that pressure backs off you will get bucking, low power and the truck will die even at highway speeds...I know this because my Tempo went through 5 fuel pumps over 14 years (first five years, actually, were the primary problem)...with the exact same symptoms...especially the no start for a few minutes and then mysteriously start and run like nothing happened.

Just because the pump is new or recently replaced does not mean it is working perfectly...

The flaw may be in the pump itself or the fuel lines "may" be sporadically plugging with debris from the lines themselves deteriorating internally...causing TEMPOrary blockages...but I suspect the fuel pump as the primary...

I also went through a $2,000 engine swap due to my fuel issue....the last time it happened, actually...and that was eventually found out to be caused by the inertia switch (in the trunk on those cars) to be fried...not enough to completely kill the circuit...just enough to cause sporadic and TEMPOrary fuel outages...

So...many of us have been there...you have done quite a bit of work and cost is probably up there as well...so hang in...it is the challenge of a lifetime to teach you something about life...or whatever...so go for the win...:)
 

aspevacek

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Another thought have you looked at the EGR valve cause it can also give some of the symptoms you are describing if it is not properly opening and closing.
 

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Well, i couldn't get to fogging the engine yesterday, or changing the cnk sensor, i can't get the wire off of the sensor for the life of me. Imma get it towed to the shop, at least towing is covered on insurance! They said they will try to find the problem, hopefully cheap since they are the only place i take it to, so they've gotten a lot of money from me in the past year lol. Ill check the egr again but i don't think its that. Sometime, I'm going to seafood the engine, see if that helps any.
So, any other advice would be great y'all!
 

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Okay guys, i think i got it fixed ( knock on wood )! The mechanic put it on a dyno and computer thingy and he found the problem! It WAS the crankshaft sensor. Its running better than ever!!! :yahoo::yahoo::yahoo:
I hope there won't ever have to be another post from me about this problem ever again!
And my last post i realized imma put seafood in my engine, tf? No, that isn't healthy for it i would think!:D I meant seafoam.
Thanks y'all for all the advice and help!!!
 

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Hope you are right and thanks for the followup. A lot of the time we are just left hanging.
 


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