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Somebody please help!!! 97 ford ranger

Killjoy99

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1997
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(Edit): Sorry I fell asleep while typing this,

Hello my name is Johnny. I seriously need help! I'm totally lost and idk what to do anymore. So I have a 1997 ford ranger 4.0 4WD. And also I should mention I am not by any means a mechanic at first I started about a year ago learning from YouTube and forums, now over time I have learned some here and there. I am not a very wealthy man, so I know somne of these choices are not always the best but I was trying to work with what I could afford. me and my wife are barely scraping by as is

I have owned this truck since February and it has been an absolute nightmare. So I have replaced the battery a few months ago. But now it is dead as of yesterday. My clutch went out in the beginning of May, I successfully replaced it and had it running off and on since then. At first I struggled with making gaskets for the seams Inbetween t case and tranny because it was my first time ever doing it, leaked alot of tranny fluid but finally got it sealed.
Then randomly my starter motor went out a few days later. Went a got a starter from junkyard 2 times and everytime I installed it had this loud grinding noise like the solenoid was getting stuck against the flywheel, burned through those two fairly quickly. Also bought a new starter solenoid and ignition switch still the same.. I was able to buy a brand new one a few days later and it was still doing it. So then, I managed to install a toggle switch to manually shut off the starter motor and finally it worked.. but my switch got burned out and melted. Grinding started up again. Later on that same day I started the truck up for the hell of it. And now my starter miracously started working properly. Don't know why or what made it start working but it ran just fine for about 2 days. Now it's seems the alternator is broken. I can jump the car and it will gradually lose power. Going to go replace the battery today and see what happens. Why is it being like this? Help me understand someone please. I don't want to keep pouring more time in money into this thing if it's shorting out somewhere or idk. HELP
 
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Uncle Gump

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@Killjoy99
First off... this looks more like an introduction... so I moved your post to that forum. Welcome to TRS,,, we're glad to have you here and many on this forum will help answer all things Ranger.

We have help forums set up for subsystems. So if you're having issue with your battery... post your help question in the electrical system subforum. Transmission... in the transmission subforum... etc...

This keeps the forum organized and more searchable.

There is also a lot of information in the Tech Library... you can look though there and it may help answer some questions.

So I suggest posting your battery question in the electrical forum and lets see if we can help you figure it out.
 

RonD

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Welcome to TRS :)

Car/Truck Batteries last 5 to 6 years, and that's all, so remember that for future reference, they just wear out

Yours is 1 year old so will still have a warranty, but shouldn't be dead so there may be an issue with alternator or something in the Ranger is stuck ON and draining the battery with key off
You can remove one battery cable when you park it overnight, then put cable back on to start it the next day
If that seems to work then you do have something "stuck ON" and will need to go thru the system's fuse with volt meter to see what on when it should be off

And you really need a Volt Meter to test most things electric on any vehicle

The alternator is the most likely issue for dead battery in a 1997, at 25 years old it is probably on its 2nd alternator and ready for a 3rd
Factory alternators last about 15 years, replacements about 10 years
But you need a Volt Meter to test it, its is not hard to do, and what you learn applies to ALL vehicles

Get the warranty replacement battery, or get your current battery recharged

Set volt meter to DC Volts, 20vDC if that's a setting on the meter
After battery has sat unused for 4 to 8 hours you can test its "at rest" voltage

New battery(not drained) will show 12.8volt to 13.0volts
3 year old battery 12.5volts
5/6 year old battery 12.3volts, and time to shop for battery sales

12.2v or less is a failed or drained battery

Turn on the key, you should see a Battery Light on the dash, this light is important since its the ON/OFF switch for the alternator
Fuse 15, 7.5amp, in the cab fuse box powers the Battery Light, check it if no Battery Light with Key On

Start the engine
Battery should now show 14.1v to 14.8v, not over 15volts as that will hurt the battery)
If you still see 12.x volts then alternator is not working, might not be bad but its not working

If you see over 14volts then alternator is working, its charging the battery
Let engine idle for 5 min or go for a drive and when you get back home DO NOT shut off the engine
Open the hood and test battery voltage again, should be between 13.5v and 13.9volt, under 14volts
This means the Voltage regulator IN the alternator is working

If alternator sends over 14volts to battery all the time it will "cook" the battery, causing it to fail early
 

Killjoy99

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Thank you very much, i guess most of that I did already know. I just do not have access to a volt meter right now. I used to have one but left it on my dash board one night and by the time I woke up it was toast lol.... BUT I do have one more question... last night as I am struggling to get the truck home, can't afford a tow truck and couldn't get ahold of a friend to tow. I'm jumping it and getting as far as I could then repeating. Anyway, everytime the truck was about dead I'd hear a ringing or beeping..? From some Google searching is that the air bag light in my dash? Can anyone elaborate how or what that sound means?
 

RonD

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Everything in the truck runs on 12volts
If engine was stalling because alternator is not working, which is what it reads like, then its all running on 10 volts or less, so chimes can activate for many many reasons, if you say its airbags then sure, they could sound a chime when voltage was too low
 

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