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2.3L ('83-'97) Need a little insight y'all.

88rangernoob.

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So I have a 1988 Ford ranger XLT, it is a 5-speed two wheel drive 2.3 l with four plug head. So the problem I'm having is I had to get an exhaust manifold that didn't have any gr valve port because the EGR valve tube was completely broken and I could not find another one that was in a condition to actually remove anywhere so I just didn't EGR block off no big deal.
But ever since then I've been having everything seemingly go bad, ignition wise I've replaced plugs with motorcraft platinums I've got build your own wire so that the 180° boots don't burn up with boot covers on top of a brand new rotor and cap new coil brand new distributor because my pickup was bad and so was the gear and a icm. (Fuel filter was charged along with compression and fuel pressure and vaccume all is good so far on checks and stuff, however stumped on the problem, maby no muffler is an issue maby dirty injector or 2 crap in the tank blocking the sock?)

Now for the more interesting part the header I have is a pacesetter with a 2.5 in collector it opens it up it runs really peppy with it it's not very hot with it at all in order to make it not sound like it's really freaking lean (according to plug reads)I had to disconnect the O2 sensor and take out the spout connector and then it stops doing whatever the hell it was doing. above a thousand RPMs it would pop and sputter like it was running a little lean and also on time it was bouncing around 25° or so and seeming like it was just having an issue with it I know it's on time I've been checking it regularly but for some reason this little ranger likes to run without its spout and it's O2 sensor I have not increased the injection size to compensate right now it is open header because I am having a lot of problems trying to get exhaust on the little thing cuz I am broke as hell and don't have the tools to bend up and over the transmission mount it.
The thing is not a daily driver and I'm just trying to figure out what's going on with it cuz it's it doesn't like the header I know that much but I want to try to make the header work but I don't know how to squirt more fuel in without taking out the O2 sensor now without the spout connector that's a little weird I don't know what's going on with that but it almost seems like the computer can't keep track of timing or something, honestly I don't know this is my first time with a ranger and first time with a fuel injected vehicle that has a like barbaric fuel system but it's a good little truck and I like the little guy just trying to make a run right.
anyway any help or constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated and if need be I can try to find a way to post pictures of what I've got going on.
thank you very much and have a great day.
 


RonD

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Welcome to the forum

You didn't really describe your running issue?

In any case the EGR removal is fine as long as the intake port is blocked off so NO air can leak in

The TFI module on the distributor does RPM spark advance
The Computer does Load spark advance, thats what SPOUT connector is for, its the same as Vacuum Advance was on a distributor, you remove SPOUT connector to set base spark timing at 10-12deg BTDC when engine is warmed up, then reconnect it, and it should go to 20-22deg BTDC when you do that

So with SPOUT disconnected you only have RPM spark advance, so engine should be slow to accelerate, not responsive to throttle input because richer fuel mix(load) needs a change in spark timing

A computer that would normally have EGR valve control can run a more aggressive spark timing, because the exhaust gases reduce the chance of pinging/knocking
So you could expect a little pinging but not all that much, and almost 0 on 89octane gasoline
I would try 89 octane just as a troubleshooting method

What were the compression numbers, 160+ psi would be expected
If in the 140s then timing belt may be stretched

Open headers(no Cat or muffler) wouldn't be an issue, 2.5l headers would be fine on a 2.3l, they used the same heads

O2 sensors only last 12 years or 100k miles, only sensor that actually wears out for sure
They use a chemical to detect oxygen and it just gets used up

O2 is a very important sensor after engine is warmed up

ECT(engine coolant temp) sensor is as well, its sets Choke and No Choke modes
ECT is not for temp gauge on dash, that's a sender

MAP(manifold pressure) sensor is also important, has a vacuum hose and 3 wires, make sure the hose is not cracked and unplug 3 wire connector and look inside at the connections, clean and dry

Fuel pressure should be 30-40psi at injectors, raise RPMs to 3,000 or so, and hold it there, if pressure is slowly dropping then you have a bad pump or clogged filter

2.3l Distributor gears did have issues, a known issue, when they wear out you will get spark timing that jumps around
So you may want to have a look
 
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88rangernoob.

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1988
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It's hard to describe what it was doing but as it was driving along anything higher than 1800 rpm it would feel like a dead miss or violent jolt and it was baaaad.
I did change the fuel filter but you bring a good point with the map, a 12" length of wire was all burnt up and chipped away and I had to address that.
I am going to drop the tank and see what's going on there but I'll try to test 3000 rpm pressure didn't think about a weak pump problem idle was around 32 psi and I did touch the gas a bit and it slightly went up as I did it. Is it a possibility a pump could be worn and not providing open throttle pressure anymore? I thought they just went wen they went.
 

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