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Intermittent mystery


rkisling1

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'95 2.3L Sporadic problem!

Hi all,
First off, thanks to all who supply invaluable information to problems in these forums. I've used a lot of the info and it's been of great help!

I have a 1995 Ford Ranger XL Sport, 2.3L DOHC (150,478 miles) that I can't seem to cure. Background on the truck: In the past 3 months, I've replaced the fuel filter, fuel pump, EGR Valve, entire cooling system, PCV valve, spark plugs and spark plug wires.

My problem started about a month ago when I ran a bottle of Lucas fuel injector cleaner through my engine. Since I've done that, the truck has slowly but surely gone downhill. I've cleared most all of it up with the recent tune up and new parts, but one problem still plagues me.

I commute about 20 miles to work daily, and while I'm on my way to work, the truck does absolutely splendid. In the afternoon however, I make the same drive back home, and when I hit my exit, it starts making a lot of engine noise. It will make a 'winding' sound that increases with acceleration, it will start making belt noises, and if I pull over while this is happening, the top end of the engine where the valves are sounds like it's running without oil.

I'm perplexed as to what this could be, so ANY help would be appreciated.
 
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RonD

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I doubt the gas treatment is the issue.

Have you checked the oil level before you leave home, then again when you get to work, after driving the 20 miles, and then check again before heading home and then again when you get home after the "noise".

Could you have clogged oil drains in the head?
so after sitting over night you have full oil pan
After driving 20miles some oil is stuck in valve cover area, only slowly draining back to oil pan from head
On the drive home you are getting very low on oil.

Just guessing of course.

Why did you try using the gas treatment?
Was there an issue or just doing it as regular maintenance.


If you get a noise when accelerating it could be engine is running lean, pinging or knock noise, can sound like valve train clatter.
 
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rkisling1

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I've only checked the oil level in the morning before I leave for work, but I'm getting off work in a few hours so I'll check it before I leave here and then again when I get home.

I tried the gas treatment because I figured it couldn't hurt anything to clean it out a bit(being a little ignorant of the proper tune-up) There were no issues before I ran the cleaner through.

A buddy of mine at work told me that it could potentially be my catalytic converter being plugged up. I'm not sure if this would cause the symptoms, but maybe it makes sense if the outside temp is higher in the afternoon?

Thank you for the quick reply Ron. If the oil drains were clogged in the head, what would the corrective action be for this??
 

Mark_88

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Howdy...as RonD mentioned it could be the cat...but the noise you mentioned sounds like an oiling issue...and the cat might be a bit more consistent...plus the engine would probably bog right down.

Recently a member posted a similar situation and his too sounded like it was running out of oil but the oil pan was full when checked...it turned out his issue was the oil pump was plugged with gasket material...but his was a 94...

The 94 and 95 pumps are different but could be susceptible to the same issue. Not sure how the 95 pickup works and earlier (pre 95) pan gaskets were prone to crumbling...

It might have been a half-year thing so you might want to check first what pump you have. The pump on the later models is that noticeable bulge in the side of the block on the drive side.

On the earlier models there was no bulge and the pump was driven by the same gear but using an auger type drive...

If you have the bigger oil pump it could be that the pump is simply failing and needs to be replaced...or could be the pickup is plugged.

Did anyone recently replace the oil pan gasket by any chance?
 

rkisling1

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Mark,
Thanks for the reply..no, nobody has touched the oil pan at all. I've had the truck for three years now and there has never been an issue with this. The Chilton manual says that I'd need to remove the engine to replace the oil pump, but I'll have to check the specifics of that when I get home. Any chance I'd be able check/do any of this without taking the engine out?? I live in an apartment complex, so they aren't too fond of us working on vehicles in the parking spots..
 

Mark_88

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It probably could be done without removing the engine...not sure TBH...I can check the posts and find a link for you but that might take a few minutes...

EDIT: Ok...I could not find what I was looking for...mostly because the back one page feature completely carped out on me...but I did watch a youtube video on testing the oil pressure...which is what you would need to do in order to determine if the pump is wonky or something else.

I also saw one post that seemed to indicate it could be done without removing the engine...reason I'm so interested in this is I have a 2.5 in my Ranger and it has the same pump...from what I can see and what I remember though...it can be done without removing the engine...

Here is the link for testing with an oil pressure gauge...on the Ranger engine the oil sender unit is at the back of the head on the driver side...there are two types but they both sit in the same spot...and have a single wire coming off the end of them running into the cab.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbXsjLMJkjk

Just copy and paste if you want to watch it...if you know how to do that then all you need is the gauge and be able to run the engine for a few minutes.
 
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RonD

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If oil level is very low when you get home then it could be a drain back issue.
You need to remove the valve cover and check the drain holes, they are larger holes and go straight down through the head and block to the oil pan.

Because you have replaced so many things recently I am wondering if this truck is fairly new to you, so you don't have a long history of engine maintenance?
If oil wasn't changed routinely valve train area(under valve cover) can get sludge build up, which can slow the draining of the oil.

Clogged exhaust(internally collapsing Cat converter or muffler) causes a build up of back pressure in the exhaust system at the exhaust valves which prevents all the new air:fuel mix from coming in to cylinders on the intake stroke of the pistons, symptom of this is loss of power at higher RPMs at first, as clog gets worse then it happens at lower and lower RPMs.
Cold engine or warm engine wouldn't matter it would be strictly RPM based, and no noise associated with this except from driver, "WTF, I can't go faster than 50MPH!!!"

Ever heard of sticking a potato up someones tail pipe :)
Engine might start but dies quickly because no new air:fuel mix can get into cylinders with completely clogged exhaust.

So you are right, it really doesn't match your symptoms.

I run gas treatment once a year in all my fuel injected engines, never had a problem I ever associated with the treatment, maybe I missed it but that's all I can offer on that.

EDIT:
One thing did just pop into my head............fuel tank pressure
EVAP system supplies vacuum pressure to fuel tank to prevent fumes from escaping, often the gas cap is vented so there can't be a build up of too much negative pressure.
EVAP is sucking out air and fuel pump is pumping out fuel, so negative pressure can build up.........making it harder for pump to push out fuel.
If fuel pressure drops at the injectors you would get a lean mix which is the pinging/knocking noise.
Try driving home with gas cap loose, so pressure can't build up.
 
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Mark_88

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I make the same drive back home, and when I hit my exit, it starts making a lot of engine noise. It will make a 'winding' sound that increases with acceleration, it will start making belt noises, and if I pull over while this is happening, the top end of the engine where the valves are sounds like it's running without oil.

I'm perplexed as to what this could be, so ANY help would be appreciated.
This is the part that I was focusing on and I had to read it again just to make sure I wasn't sending you on a wild goose chase...

This "winding" sound...does it sound sort of like a metalic zipper...for lack of better desription...I first described it as a "metalic death rattle" but my engine lost all power and I had to coast off to the side of the road...

In my case, the first time I heard it was after an extremely cold drive home (-35) and running out of oil...had to stop and top up the oil to make it home...very cold...but I heard the death rattle the next day while testing to see if it was even driveable after running out of oil.

What that turned out to be, as I learned long after my first encounter, was these engines have hydraulic lifters and if the oil gets low for whatever reason they will "float" or not make proper constant contact with the valve rockers...and it can either be a simple clunk or an orchestra of clunks in F minor (or the major F Bomb)...

RonD may be onto the actual problem, but this is sticking in my head and after dealing with it on my last head...that eventually had a major meltdown resulting in my having the 2.5 now...

I will say that my engine used WAYYYYYYyyyy to much oil and it doesn't seem like you have any problems with that...so...only thing I can suggest is at least test the oil pressure...that will eliminate one possible problem hopefully and you can get to more serious things...
 

tomw

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A whining sound could be the alternator bearings or the water pump bearings. I did not see any note of power loss, so suspect fuel is there. If you lost oil to the lifters, you'd hear a lot of tap-tap-tap-tapping as the lifters slowly bled down and allowed clearance between the lobes and the cam followers.
What are the other thing that are belt operated? Power steering, A/C compressor? Could the A/C clutch bearing be going? See if the noise comes and goes with the A/C energized, if you have it, and check the steering pump reservoir.
tom
 

XLTsplash

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I've even seen fan clutches make noise,
If you did ever want to your oil pan you can get the pan out be removing the trans. I don't think Ford that the oil pan gasket problem on the 1995 2.3L.
If you can hear the noise with the truck parked a stethoscope can help you find where the noise is coming from.
 


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