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2.3L ('83-'97) Rough idle/engine shake/stalling


martinglen

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Engine sputter/Shake/Stall
I cannot figure out this sputter/stall issue. My truck is a 1997 Ford Ranger 2.3L Manual Transmission with l97,000 miles.

Here is the problem:

1. When I start the truck and begin driving and come to a stop sign, the engine will begin to sputter at the end of deceleration. If I sit at the stop, it will work itself out and run smooth after about 10 seconds. (Only happens during the first 2 minutes of driving then the problem goes away.)

2. When I start up the truck and begin driving and come to a stop sign quickly, the engine will stall out at the end of deceleration. If I try to start it back up, it won´t turn over until about 10 seconds later. Then it runs kind of rough then smooths out again.(Only happens during the first 2 minutes of driving then the problem goes away.)

3. When I start up the truck and begin driving and push in the clutch and coast then come to a stop sign quickly, the engine will stall out. If I try to start it back up, it won´t turn over until about 10 seconds later. Then it runs kind of rough then smooths out again.(Only happens during the first 2 minutes of driving then the problem goes away.)

4. When I start up the truck and just let it idle in place, it runs smooth, but when I accelerate it, it begins to sputter at the end of the deceleration. The higher the deceleration the more likely it will stall out. Then I wait 10 seconds and start it back up to find it running rough for another 10 seconds and then its smooth again.

(Note: Engine is less likely to sputter and stall if I use engine braking by down shifting and using the foot brake just at the very edge of the stop.)

What I have done to try and fix this:

1. Replaced Coil Packs, Spark Plugs, and Spark Plug Wires
2. Replaced Fuel Filter
3. Replaced entire EGR system
4. Replaced Throttle Position Sensor
5. Replace Idle Air Control Valve
6. Replace cracked EVAP hose to Canister
7. Replaced Engine Coolant Temp Sensor
8. Cleaned MAF
9. Cleaned Intake Air Temp. Sensor
10. Cleaned Throttle Body

CEL code prompts if I decelerate fast enough to have it stall:
Throws a cylinder 2 or 3 misfire.

Something about driving seems to help it. Does anyone have any idea what this may be caused by?
 


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MDeBo

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I've got basically the same problem with my 2.3 95 with 372,000 mi, except I've got a number four cylinder misfire, and have pretty much changed everything you have, plus a compression check. Mine runs great when you first start it and when its warmed up, but cycle throttle and it runs like garbage until its warmed up. Gonna check my catalytic converter to see if its obstructed as I'm running out of options like you. So that may be worth looking into.
 

martinglen

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Thanks for your response. My cat. Is about five years old. I got a cylinder 3 misfire code today. I was thinking maybe it's a fuel injector but it runs fine after warm up. I would think it would run like crap all the time if it was an injector. I am at a total loss now. I'm going to bite the bullet and take it to the shop. Let me know if you get it figured out. I will post what I find out when I take mine to the shop.
 

MDeBo

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I changed the injectors in mine and you're right, were the injector bad you'd think it would run like crap all the time, sort of the same thoughts about the converter too. I changed the upper and lower intake manifold gaskets too. I'll let you know if I find anything out. Good luck.
 

MDeBo

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Just thought I'd let you know my catalytic converter is in perfect shape so I'm at a total loss.
 

martinglen

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I'm taking mine to the shop next week. I will definitely let you know what I find out.
 

martinglen

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I took my truck to the shop today. They ran a diagnostics and said according to the fuel trims, the truck is running really lean. The mechanic suspected a vacuum leak but couldn't find any. He inspected the timing belt and said it could be stretched causing timing issues. He said it was frayed and cracked pretty bad. So he's going to replace the timing belt Monday and said that may be the problem. If not, he will continue further. I will post future updates as this saga continues.
 

Shran

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Keep us posted. This is a very common issue with Lima 2.3s, my old '96 did it and my '88 has similar issues. I have my doubts about the timing belt causing the issue but I suppose it's possible.

This was an interesting thread I found a while back:

 

martinglen

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The latest update: I picked my truck up from the shop yesterday. After 4 days, mechanic still couldn't find the problem. Suspects it's a vacuum leak or a computer issue. After 4 days I figured the problem would be resolved. He ran a diagnostics but still couldn't resolve the issue. I'm taking it to a highly recommended repair shop Monday. Maybe they have better equipment to diagnose the problem. This is getting really frustrating. I will post the outcome when I find out. In the meantime, if there's any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them.
 

MDeBo

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The latest update: I picked my truck up from the shop yesterday. After 4 days, mechanic still couldn't find the problem. Suspects it's a vacuum leak or a computer issue. After 4 days I figured the problem would be resolved. He ran a diagnostics but still couldn't resolve the issue. I'm taking it to a highly recommended repair shop Monday. Maybe they have better equipment to diagnose the problem. This is getting really frustrating. I will post the outcome when I find out. In the meantime, if there's any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them.
I'm kind of down to it being a computer issue with mine too despite the fact that the only fault I have is the number 4 cylinder misfire. What's strange about my problem is when I cycle the gas pedal to make it run like crap when it's cold, if I shut the truck off for thirty seconds and start it back up it runs fine, until I throttle up. It's been cold here in Georgia the last few nights and when leaving work if I let it run for five minutes I have no issues. Just adding more to your thread as I didn't want to start a new one for what appears to be a common problem. I'm not buying the vacuum leak scenario either. Thanks for the update.
 

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Well, here's the results from shop #2 findings. Mechanic said I had a fuel injector problem. I was skeptical about it because it runs fine after 5 minutes of driving. He said a bad injector would do that. He said the injectors had a lot of carbon build up. I had him change the injectors, plus had a machine run to clean out the fuel lines along with cleaning the intake manifold which he said had a lot of carbon also. We'll after all that, still no change. I'm going to replace the PCM tomorrow. If that doesn't work I am completely out of options. I don't know what to do next. I will just drive it until it quits. I will give a final update and let you know if it worked.
 

MDeBo

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I was looking at PCM's and didn't pull the trigger. After reading the link to the thread that Shran posted here, which was a good post, I can't see it being a valve train problem either. Granted, a head rebuild for me at 373+ thousand miles probably wouldn't hurt. Letting it warm up for five minutes or so to avoid running rough isn't such a big deal, I just hate not knowing why something isn't working like it should. Thanks for the update.
 

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In my current case I'm dealing with a rebuilt engine that has had a similar problem since day one... the machine shop said the head checked out OK but they also gave me plenty of reasons not to trust their work. I think I am dealing with something else but I always like reading these threads - they rarely seem to be resolved. Hopefully someone will pull their head off and add further confirmation to my suspicion that cracks between the valves are a common thing.
 

MDeBo

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At this point we'd probably have more success finding Atlantis or Jimmy Hoffa than what curses our 2.3's
 

martinglen

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Well, I replaced the MAF and pcm and still no change. I've been monitoring the live data on my scan tool and it seems to smooth out and drive ok when it reaches 150-160 degrees. I have no idea what to do next. I will keep searching.
 


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