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Mystery: My ranger is stalling. Help!

ocelotl

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hi guys i sure hope you can figure out this mystery for me. first off the basics:
i have a 1986 ford ranger, 4x4, 2.9 liter EFI, with manual tranny.

the problem:
whenever i drive her for an extended period of time (stuck in traffic for example), she begins to die out as if she is running out of fuel. odd thing is that if i leave her alone for about 5-10 minutes, she starts right up again no problem (unless i get stuck in traffic for another while). i can only assume this has something to do with the temperature because it only occurs when she has been on a while and is better once allowed "cool down".

what i've done:
at first my power brake booster had a vaccume leak so i had that replaced after being told that this was messing with the engine air/gasoline intake mixture. DID NOT solve the problem. not that big of a deal cause it needed to be replaced anyway.

then i was told it was the ignition control module. just replace that two days ago (i greased it up like i was supposed to) and replaced the spark plugs, spark plug wires, and distributor cap as well. did NOT solve the problem. it just now died on me and after waiting 10 minutes drove home no problem.

i was originally told it was a fuel pump problem but wouldn't that be problematic ALL THE TIME? not to mention, why would it "fix itself" after cooling down? so i don't think its the fuel pump.

the solution:
you guys! help a brother out. i want to be able to enjoy her without fear of her leaving me i a time of need. i thank you in advance for reading this long message and for any responses you have for me.

thanks!
 


BRUTUS_T_HOG

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sounds like the fuel pump or fuel pump relay to me. they do shut off when they get old and hot, then allowed to cool they will work again.

test this by seeing if the truck will start and run with starting fluid sprayed into the intake.

you should also be able to hear the fuel pump run when you turn the key to the on position, if you do not hear it you need to check the fuel relay before condemning the fuel pump
 

ocelotl

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Sorry - jumped the gun

hey sorry guys, i'm brand new to the site and was excited to write down my problem! later i got the intro email about researching previous posts! i just did that nd it was pretty helpful. if anybody has any more info i appreciate it. i'm finding out way around this forum a little better now.

and brutus_t_hog: thanks bro i appreciate your response:icon_thumby:
 

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First and foremost, it sounds like a cracked coil. When they heat up, the crack expands and kills the engine. Once cooled off, they function normally.

Let your truck run(or take it for a short drive down a NOT busy road) until it dies, then test the spark on the spot. If it's the coil, you'll have very little spark or no spark at all.

If you suspect fuel pump/relay, drive/run it until it dies, then check fuel pressure in the lines. There should be a shrader valve (looks like a tire valve) on your fuel line under the hood. Use a key or something that can push the valve in to do a LAMENS version of a pressure test. Otherwise, rent a fuel pressure tester and do it that way. Not too sure how much pressure there's supposed to be in the lines tho...you'll have to check that one out.

Another thing that just came to mind...watch your temp guage when this is happening...you could be overheating the engine just enough to stall it out. :dunno: Not sure about this one tho...maybe someone can chime in on this?

EDIT: on that last one, if it is overheating, make sure to check your radiator, your coolant level and fan...if it's only happening while you're stuck in traffic, that could mean that there's not enough air running through the radiator(bad fan clutch or semi-plugged radiator) or it could be that you're VERY low on coolant or maybe an air lock in your coolant system.
 
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RustedRanger

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99 the first thing I thought other then the TFI module was getting to hot. When my fan clutch went out the gauge barely went past half way up but I noticed it was higher than normal and it started running crappy. I noticed this while driving in town on one of the first 80 degree days summer before last.
 

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Start by pulling codes man. My 87 was doing the same thing, and it threw DTC 31. Turned out to be my EGR, and EGR solenoid. BAM! Problem solved.

-Denny
 

ocelotl

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thanks guys

Start by pulling codes man. My 87 was doing the same thing, and it threw DTC 31. Turned out to be my EGR, and EGR solenoid. BAM! Problem solved.

-Denny

hey bro i'm not sure what 'pulling codes" means or how to go about doing it. could you explain that? that would be most helpful.

also thank you guys for all your responses. 12 hours ago i felt helpless.

now i feel empowered!
 

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He means, get someone to do a diagnostic on the trucks computer. Is or was your check engine light on at any time?

All garages can do this. Or maybe you can find someone that has a diagnostic computer that you know?

Either way, if there's a trouble code in your trucks computer, that may help find/solve the problem.

Good luck
 

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You do need to determine if it is fuel or spark related.

If it turns out to be fuel (low pressure at the schraeder valve on the fuel rail) AND you can hear the fuel pump on the driver side frame rail run for a couple seconds each time you turn the key to Run, then I suspect that the lift pump inside the tank has quit.

It supplies low pressure fuel flow to the high pressure fuel pump on the frame rail.

You should also suspect that the fuel filter is clogging, which is also on that frame rail, IIRC.

FP relays are a common failure too, as noted. When it fails, you won't hear the FP run when the key is turned to Run (don't crank the starter). It's the green one, next to the brown one.
 

'99 EB Explorer

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The only reason I can't see it being fuel related is because he said it runs fine for a while...then dies....then comes back on just fine. If it was fuel, it would either not run at all, or run like complete ass full time.
 

naford

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I would venture a guess I say fuel filter. It's cheap and easy.
 

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He means, get someone to do a diagnostic on the trucks computer. Is or was your check engine light on at any time?

All garages can do this. Or maybe you can find someone that has a diagnostic computer that you know?

Either way, if there's a trouble code in your trucks computer, that may help find/solve the problem.

Good luck
What he said.... It's just a hand held mechanism that you plug in to your OBD1 plugs (located near the fire wall on the passenger side). It takes about 3 mins to do, and is really easy. Pretty much all automotive stores will do it for free. If you take it to a shop, they will charge you $80-150, but will give you a definite answer.

-Denny
 

ocelotl

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thanks for all your help guys!

The only reason I can't see it being fuel related is because he said it runs fine for a while...then dies....then comes back on just fine. If it was fuel, it would either not run at all, or run like complete ass full time.
hey bro thanks for your response! i too don't think its a fuel prob but i'm not a certified mechanic either!:icon_confused:

as far as how to pull the codes, i didn't even know my little dolores had that in her because she doesn't have a check engine light anywhere! (at least not one that i've seen). if i pull the codes, will a bad coil come up?


also, for everyone reading the temperature gauge NEVER gets any higher than normal AND its working fine (i know cause about a month ago it was reading really high cause it was running really now on coolant).
 

'99 EB Explorer

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if i pull the codes, will a bad coil come up?
I'm not sure if it'll tell you about a cracked coil or low spark...depends on the model of computer. Some are really specific and others are generic at best.


a month ago it was reading really high cause it was running really now on coolant).
Hmm...could your problem be a symptom of what you're describing here? Maybe worth checking into?
 

ocelotl

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What he said.... It's just a hand held mechanism that you plug in to your OBD1 plugs (located near the fire wall on the passenger side). It takes about 3 mins to do, and is really easy. Pretty much all automotive stores will do it for free. If you take it to a shop, they will charge you $80-150, but will give you a definite answer.

-Denny
thank you very much bro! great idea. i'll do that soon and see how it goes. just to be sure: the '86 ranger has that obd1 plug?

thanks!:icon_hornsup::icon_cheers:
 

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