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  #1  
Old 07-03-2011, 09:47 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Smile '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

Hi Everyone!

First off, I intended my username to be zgoodman (my first initial and last name--not zgodman... hmm... oh well.

I just bought an '89 Ranger STX 2.9L 4X4 the other night as a light-duty work truck. I think it has 137k miles on it; that's what it was sold to me as (can't tell as the odometer doesn't count passed 99,999 =)).

The kid I bought it from just wanted to be rid of it; he doesn't drive anymore (student with a bike now) and he didn't know how to fix the cooling problems it was having (it was the thermostat--at least mostly. It still runs hot but doesn't "pin" like it was within a couple minutes; I'll take the radiator to get diagnostics on it later).

Anyway, it's a project for sure. General interior and exterior will need a little TLC, the cooling system needs some troubleshooting, the 4X4 isn't turning on anymore (worked a few months ago was the claim), the kid before this kid chopped the exhaust too short as well as took out the cat converter (what the..?), the hinge on the driver door is busted (making it a pain to close as well as getting "stuck" on the fender), the oil pressure gauge is pinned at high (must be the sending unit), and.... well, small things you would expect from a truck 22 years old and not enough attention =). Basically, I'll be a regular visitor here for the next little while; hopefully to answer some questions as well.

I'm not helpless/brand new when dealing with autos; I rebuilt my little Geo Metro engine a few years ago with the help of another forum as well as having taken an engine theory class during my college days--but I still need lots of help sometimes =).

So, most of this stuff I think I have figured out or can find my way through online guides/previous posts, but on some stuff I get pretty stuck.

Anyway, I was killing a few hours today and decided to get some stuff ready for the junk yard run in a couple days. I pulled the driver side fender off and the door (to replace the hinge), pulled the exhaust/muffler (getting a new cat converter as well as pipes from the junkyard--gives me some validation for my welder purchase finally =)), and checked the air filter. After all this, I tried starting the truck to move it out of my garage and... nothing... I am getting some movement on my gauges but the starter wont engage (no clicks or engine turning over). I cleaned the battery terminals and tested the voltage on the battery (12.35volts) but cant get anything out of the engine. Starter seems to be still connected in with no breaks in the line (will check tomorrow with the multimeter-- too sad to keep working tonight =)), and checked the main fuses under the hood.

Now, what seems the most interesting to me--though--is when I pulled the driver side fender off, there was a pack of electrical lines running along the side that were cut (seem cut, not broke). It is a pack of 11 (if I remember right) wires. I can't see where they lead to... hmmm... did I accidentally cut these when I was pulling of the fender? (I don't see how, but stranger things have happened). Maybe I knocked a ground loose somewhere? Any ideas would help before I go blindly prodding with my multi-meter and scratching my frustrated head for hours on end.

Anyway, hope this wasn't too long. I truly appreciate any and all help that anyone can give me =) - Zach
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2011, 10:41 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

After posting this, I looked at some electrical diagrams. I should have looked at the starter relay first thing, right? This would make sense as I was messing with the air-intake-filter-housing and could have just knocked something loose on the relay.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:55 PM
HazardousRanger HazardousRanger is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

sounds like a project! someone will reply...good luck man
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:43 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

Okay, so after prodding around a bit with my multimeter and trying to follow some electrical diagrams, I have some more info that might help the people who actually know what they are doing narrow it down a bit.

One of the previous owners changed some wiring around and added new wiring I think; it seems it was for fog lights and/or trailer light switches/brakes and such. I looked at some of the wiring coming out of the ignition and a few wires seem to have been cut...? hmmm, this makes it fun indeed...

Anyway, when I press the brake, I get a clicking sound coming from the relay (I think/assume. Cant really tell from inside the cab). I have a connection along the fat black wire going from the relay to the starter. When I test the connection between the relay power input (from the battery--sorry I don't know all the technical terms) to the other terminal that goes out to the starter, it closes (allows power through) when I press the brake. I get a 12v reading when I turn the key to start try and start the motor from the little terminal at the top of the starter relay... hmmmm... I hope this all makes sense.

Under the steering wheel there is a pink wire that is cut (according to my Chilton, I think this is supposed to be my clutch triple function switch). There is also a black wire that runs from the ignition (not with the other wires, comes from the top of the ignition where the key goes) and goes down to a plug that is unplugged (doesnt seem long enough to plug in anyway).

Any ideas out there for me?
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:47 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

So I thought it may be the solenoid for a second and I swapped that out but that didn't work. I tested to see if the voltage is getting through the solenoid and it is not (hooking up my voltmeter to the starter terminal and ground; trying to start engine--no voltage). Yet, the ignition wire ("S" terminal on the solenoid) is getting juice when I attempt to start it (~12volts). This is why I thought it was the solenoid, but to no avail. I tested the 10th (60 amp) fuse connections (the fuse itself and the plugs that it plugs into) and I am getting a hot wire when the ignition is in the "on" position... don't know if that is relevant or not.

So, why wont the solenoid give me power on my starter terminal when I try to start?

This is starting to look more like a blog/journal. I think everyone is busy having fun for the holiday =)
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:04 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

And if I "short" it with some jumper cables (from the battery to the starter terminal) I get the engine to turn over fine and strong (it would start if I had the key in). Everything points to the starter relay/solenoid again, but its brand new. What are the chances I bought a DOA starter relay?

I guess I could try new wiring and terminal connections next from the battery all the way to the starter.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:22 PM
2000ranger302 2000ranger302 is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

this might be obvious but do you have the clutch depressed when you try to start the truck?
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  #8  
Old 07-04-2011, 10:33 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

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Originally Posted by 2000ranger302 View Post
this might be obvious but do you have the clutch depressed when you try to start the truck?
Yeah, both the clutch and the brake. Oddly, the voltage in the ignition wire (that connects to the starter realy/solenoid) changes when I push in the brake, rather than the clutch as I expected it would.

If I knew where to find the connections on the clutch function switch, I would check those out with a multimeter. I'm going to get all new wiring between the battery, solenoid, and starter tomorrow (the one between the battery and solenoid looks pretty worn) and if that doesn't work, then I'll dig deeper under the steering wheel to try to find that clutch switch. Although, I don't think changing the wires/cleaning connections will do anything because when I shorted/bypassed the solenoid, it engaged the starter and turned the engine over.
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Last edited by zgodman; 07-04-2011 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:53 AM
Psychopete Psychopete is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

Look for a R/LB wire in the cut harness you were referencing to. Need to chase that down and see what the issue is. Hook up a test light to the R/LB wire on the S terminal to verify whether or not power is making it to that point when you turn the key on start. Don't replace anything until you know what the issue is. I would sure rather use a Helm Inc. Electrical Vacuum TroubleShooting Manual (EVTM), diagrams are vehicle specific and enough info in one to chase wires wire down (it tells you what connectors they run through, and where the connectors are located). I have been burned on a Chilton's diagram, they are trying to cover way too many years in one book and overall I have found them to be pretty useless except for a basic outline of how a circuit works.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:18 AM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychopete View Post
Look for a R/LB wire in the cut harness you were referencing to. Need to chase that down....
Psychopete-
Will do as soon as I get home from work. Thank you for some direction; I am running out of ideas.

I think I want an EVTM; $17 is great considering the hours and frustration it may save me in the future. Is there anywhere I could pay to download it ASAP?

So, what happens when you put the ignition in "start"? The ignition in the "on" position sends some juice to the solenoid relay; I would think that that would complete the circuit between the battery and the starter (like I did when I "shorted" it with jumper cables) and I would engage the starter, but that is obviously not right. What extra "umph" does the "start" position on the ignition do to the starting system?
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Last edited by zgodman; 07-05-2011 at 08:38 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:06 PM
Psychopete Psychopete is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

AllDataDIY you can get you good diagrams ASAP, but I've never used the service, so I am not sure how it compares. It's just too expensive for me to justify it. It's probably not really worth it as these trucks are mostly strait forward on most of the repairs from what I have run into. Library may have the EVTM, and a lot of libraries allow you to search online. Ford dealership will also print off copies of pages from the manual for you, it is what they use at the dealership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zgodman View Post
Psychopete-
So, what happens when you put the ignition in "start"? The ignition in the "on" position sends some juice to the solenoid relay; I would think that that would complete the circuit between the battery and the starter (like I did when I "shorted" it with jumper cables) and I would engage the starter, but that is obviously not right. What extra "umph" does the "start" position on the ignition do to the starting system?
IIRC When you put it on start, power is killed from accessory fuse box (the one in the truck cab, not under the hood), then power is switched on to the R/LB wire and R/LG (R/LG is hot whether the switch is in start or run),

then it will run through a switch near attached to the clutch pedal, but the details on this are murky for me, for a manual transmission as I have only dealt with the automatic transmission NSS. This is positively where I would start, the safety switch. This will tell you if the problem is under the hood, in the column, or a problem with the switch itself.

Once you made it past those safety devices, it finally gets to the starter solenoid S terminal - All the relay is doing is routing current, you wouldn't want all of that juice running to the starter to run through the ignition switch. And there is power to the cab???

Basically the R/LB wire is a low current 12v source that energizes the starter solenoid and I believe it does something with the TFI module (my best guess it is that it tells the TFI to not allow the computer to control the timing advance when cranking), but just speaking from memory and the TFI I wouldn't think would contribute to this, but I suppose it's worth noting.

From your description, it sounds like the PO has done some of his own wiring. If not done well, it won't last. While it's slow and tedious, I solder and shrink wrap all automotive wiring I repair and have yet to have it fail like those stupid crimps.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:47 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

Lol, yeah there are a lot of "stupid crimps" under the steering column and a couple in the engine compartment.

I know there is juice getting to the starter relay when I have the ignition in the "on" position (about 6 volts) and then when I push in the brake I get about 10.5 volts to the S terminal--this is without turning the key all the way to the "start" position. How much power does the relay need to close that switch between the battery and starter?

I'm going to need a good wiring diagram for the whole truck--the 4x4 isn't working and I'm sure it has something to do with this wire harness that got snipped (wth was this guy doing?)

Oh well, I just got in my dirty clothes and will try the R/LB wire to see what is happening with that and if that doesn't work, i think i'll try getting into the ignition switch to see if I can follow where the "start" wiring goes. What's frustrating is that it was working fine until I pulled the fender, grill, and door; reason would say I just knocked something loose =(.

I truly appreciate any and all help. I'll report back soon.

Edit: Oh, and I am not sure if I'm getting accessory power in the cab or not. The gauges are moving when I put the ignition in the "on" position as well as jumping when I try the "start" position. The cab map light hasn't ever worked (at least since I've seen it). I guess I can try to cig lighter to see if its hot or not.
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Last edited by zgodman; 07-05-2011 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:30 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

Hmmmm, we might be getting somewhere.

So I thought the clicks I was hearing (when I pressed the brake) were from the starter relay/solenoid... well, I reconnected my battery to try and get some readings from some other wires, and this click kept going off (every second or so) without me touching anything and without the key being in...

I finally located it under the power distribution box (big fuses). Under this box is three more relays, and the middle one (after a bit of research, I'm pretty sure it is the EEC relay) just kept clicking. I narrowed it down to this one by pulling the all of them, one at a time, to get this one as the culprit. Now, the question is whether other faulty wiring gremlins were making this thing go weird or if it is the relay itself. The numbers on it are E3AF - 12A646 - B2A. What makes me think it is the EEC relay is that when I pulled the fuses in the dist. box one at a time, the clicking stopped when I pulled the EEC fuse (7th one I think? In the office inside and should have written in down).

Any thoughts before I head down to the parts store? (luckily, I'm less than two miles away--not a big deal) Can/Does this relay go bad, resulting in my starting problems? Or is it other wiring that is causing it to be weird? It's just really strange because I didn't have the ignition on and I didn't change any wires around. Maybe I knocked something loose or back in place? I did pull the steering wheel and ignition cylinder out for a second (thought I might be able to better see wires if I did, but no).

----------

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Originally Posted by zgodman View Post
Oh well, I just got in my dirty clothes and will try the R/LB wire to see what is happening....
I'm not a car techie, so I assumed R/LB was red with light blue? But I don't have a wire like that; so is it red with a line of black? I do have one of those. Should I test for voltage in the line (with all ignition positions) or a closed circuit, or....?
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:54 PM
Psychopete Psychopete is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

It's red and light blue. It is on my truck, my 1993 Tempo, my old 1988 Mustang, etc.....

There shouldn't be anything on the S terminal when it's on run, good to use a test light - that should only have power when the key is on start.

Like I said - the solenoid is just a "switch." The solenoid gets a low current voltage on the S terminal (battery voltage), and it routes the power from the battery directly to the starter. If you run that kind of current to a switch, it will fail in short order.

Try new grounds (alligator style jumper cables will work for testing) and try from the battery to the chassis and the engine.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:24 PM
zgodman zgodman is offline
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Default Re: '89 Ranger - Will need lots of TLC

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Originally Posted by Psychopete View Post
It's red and light blue. It is on my truck, my 1993 Tempo, my old 1988 Mustang, etc.....
This is the harness running along the driver side of the truck under the fender, right?

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Originally Posted by Psychopete View Post
There shouldn't be anything on the S terminal when it's on run, good to use a test light - that should only have power when the key is on start.
That is what is so weird to me. The "S" terminal gets about 6 volts of power when in the "on" position, and 10.5 volts when I press on the brake pedal in the cab and then no change when I try the "start" position on the ignition.... that is why I have been so confused. How many volts are needed to close the solenoid? When I short the two terminals, I get the engine to turn over.

I don't have a test light. Isn't a voltmeter doing the same thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychopete View Post
Like I said - the solenoid is just a "switch." The solenoid gets a low current voltage on the S terminal (battery voltage), and it routes the power from the battery directly to the starter. If you run that kind of current to a switch, it will fail in short order.
Yep, totally understand the theory of relays. Again, this is why I am so confused as to why--in my truck at this moment--current is getting to the S terminal (when the ignition is in the "on" position and fluctuates when I press the brake pedal) but not closing the relay and turning the engine (as happens when I bypass the solenoid; that's why I replaced it). As I understand it and assume, current should only run to the S terminal when in the "start" position on the ignition and close the switch to engage the starter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychopete View Post
Try new grounds (alligator style jumper cables will work for testing) and try from the battery to the chassis and the engine.
You mean test to see if my components are grounded correctly? I'll check between the battery, chassis, and engine with an ohmmeter.

I have some strange gremlins amok in this thing. The EEC relay is now clicking on its' own fairly rapidly (even after I replaced it), and I'm getting blinker noises (clicks) in the cab--even when the key is out of the ignition.... What the heck?
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