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  #1  
Old 10-13-2014, 04:17 PM
igmo igmo is offline
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Arrow 2004 4.0 ignition timing observation

I'm fighting a extremely poor gas mileage issue (8-10mpg) on 4.0 2004 XLT. It idles smoothly enough and under load it has a faint pinging. I connected the Actron scanner to it and found no error codes, however, it did initially display 10d TDC then all the way to 35 degrees BTDC. It seemed to settle out at 19-25 degrees. I've never seen any engine run at those readings but then I'm old school (points/condenser).

So, what should the spark advance or ignition timing be for my Ranger? And what controls it? Is it the electrical block all the plug wires route to? It just doesn't make sense to me the timing is all over the place on its own free will...

Knowledge does not offend me but stupidity...
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:14 PM
cowboybilly9mile cowboybilly9mile is offline
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Default Re: 2004 4.0 ignition timing observation

Quote:
Originally Posted by igmo View Post
So, what should the spark advance or ignition timing be for my Ranger?
Whatever the PCM calls for at the moment. It's not a user adjustable item, don't worry about it, and your numbers are similar to mine, drive on.

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Originally Posted by igmo View Post
And what controls it?
PCM and the data fed to it as well as the operation conditions the vehicle is experiencing at that particular moment in time AND what the manufacturer has done in the programming of it.

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Originally Posted by igmo View Post
It just doesn't make sense to me the timing is all over the place on its own free will....
Back in the old days (you did say old skool...) we had static, vacuum and centrifugal timing advance. Yes, there were three, remember? Didn't you ever tweak the centrifugal advance on one of your distributors on one of those fancy schmancey Sun Distributor machines? You changed the springs on your dist in quest of the best centrifugal advance curve. Then you changed the weights. And you finally got a timing advance curve that worked for you.


Welcome to the year 2014.

If that made sense to you back then, or something along those lines, then the fact that the Engineering Department at Ford (and everyone else and for decades) has replaced all that antiquated, mechanical vehicle technology with modern, reliable and long lasting technology and equipment. No more need for timing adjustments. No more 12month/12,000 mile tune ups (and depending on how you built your engine, it probably REALLY needed it at 12K, or less miles).

Think back.......70's.......if modern EFI hadn't come about, in part compliments of cheap microprocessors, we'd all be driving cars with 110 HP and with 1/4 mile times that were best measured using a calender. Like people did back in 1976, when they left the showroom in their new car.

*Technology = good. BTW, there are no points anymore either, because there is no distributor, so you can toss the old dwell meter or stop wondering if that matchbook in the glovebox will be used to set the points. Also, and before turning the key and attempting to start the engine on a cool morning, you don't have to push the gas pedal to the floor to set the automatic choke anymore. Just had to throw that in.
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Last edited by cowboybilly9mile; 10-13-2014 at 05:31 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2014, 06:07 AM
igmo igmo is offline
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Default Re: 2004 4.0 ignition timing observation

Wow, things have indeed changed since I had my back turned all those years. Thanks so much Bill for taking the time to respond the way you did! Everything you mentioned, including the matchbook in the glovebox, is familiar territory. It's all good and makes sense.

No fault codes, new plugs, new wires, smooth idle and acceleration is what I'm facing here but still a lousy 8-10 mpg. It does ping under load (almost undetectable). Btw, it has 117k. I guess I should consider trading it or selling outright for a new 150. I bought it as a vehicle for our granddaughter but the gas mileage is killing her purpose for working two jobs while going to college.

What's the "norm" mpg for these 4x4's?
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:22 AM
Vogenitz69 Vogenitz69 is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by igmo View Post
Wow, things have indeed changed since I had my back turned all those years. Thanks so much Bill for taking the time to respond the way you did! Everything you mentioned, including the matchbook in the glovebox, is familiar territory. It's all good and makes sense. No fault codes, new plugs, new wires, smooth idle and acceleration is what I'm facing here but still a lousy 8-10 mpg. It does ping under load (almost undetectable). Btw, it has 117k. I guess I should consider trading it or selling outright for a new 150. I bought it as a vehicle for our granddaughter but the gas mileage is killing her purpose for working two jobs while going to college. What's the "norm" mpg for these 4x4's?
poor gas mileage can result from a clogged catalytic converter. Also keeping her "foot out of the carburetor" will help significantly with a 4.0. Average 4x4 stock is about 14city 18 highway. Have you tried cleaning up the MAF? Also what kind of gas are you using? Have you used any type of gas treatment/fuel system cleaner?
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:35 AM
igmo igmo is offline
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Default Re: 2004 4.0 ignition timing observation

Her foot may certainly be a contributing factor. Of course since I have no college degree and I'm not 19, I have to be wrong.

Yes, I just sprayed the MAF today. We have been using Exxon regular and no past gas treatments used. The cat converter seems to be clear with no weird audibles or smell (I know..not very scientific).

14/18 mpg isn't a good benchmark but it beats what we are getting right now.

One last note: I did detect a deep pronounced tick only under load. The last time I heard that type of tick was a piston collar bearing getting ready to spin.
Thanks!
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:16 AM
cowboybilly9mile cowboybilly9mile is offline
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Default Re: 2004 4.0 ignition timing observation

Quote:
Originally Posted by igmo View Post
Wow, things have indeed changed since I had my back turned all those years. Thanks so much Bill for taking the time to respond the way you did! Everything you mentioned, including the matchbook in the glovebox, is familiar territory. It's all good and makes sense.

No fault codes, new plugs, new wires, smooth idle and acceleration is what I'm facing here but still a lousy 8-10 mpg. It does ping under load (almost undetectable). Btw, it has 117k. I guess I should consider trading it or selling outright for a new 150. I bought it as a vehicle for our granddaughter but the gas mileage is killing her purpose for working two jobs while going to college.

What's the "norm" mpg for these 4x4's?
How are you calculating gas mileage? Over what distance and how many tankfuls? Have you ever verified that your odometer is correct? As for knocking, I've never worried so long as it is faint and while under load. Didn't you used to set timing on your your old skool engine builds until it knocked a bit, then back off until it was barely heard? This because, there was no book spec for what a guy built, so experimentation was the solution.

If the vehicle is in good condition, then the biggest thing that will influence gas mileage is your right foot. Also, axle ratio and where the vehicle is driven most of the time will factor in to the mileage. FWIW, I've got 4.10's and I've seen mileage from 14 up to 23. Over 60 MPH comes with a MPG penalty, as does bucking a headwind. This particular Ranger I have now is like no other vehicle I've owned, other than a modest, expected drop in winter it's been consistently inconsistent with mileage since it was new. Go figure.
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