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  #1  
Old 04-10-2010, 08:55 AM
snatiep snatiep is offline
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Default 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

Hello Everyone!

I'm having a problem that just started a few days ago with my 1996 2.3L ranger with 125,000 miles on it, 5 speed manual transmission.

It starts and idles fine, I can hear an occasional miss at idle, I put it in first or reverse give it a little gas and it sputters, once it gets past that throttle position it runs fine. When cruising in 5th or any of the other gears, at that minimal throttle position, just off of idle, I can feel it very minimally missing or jumping again.

I have also noticed it pinging under load more than usual.

There is no check engine light on.

I replaced the fuel filter. I cleaned the IAC valve. I cleaned the mass airflow sensor with electronics cleaner. I checked the TPS with my ohm meter and I get a nice smooth sweep. I ran 3/4 can of seafoam through the brake booster vacuum line. I replaced the spark plugs and wires roughly 1 year ago.

I have not yet checked the fuel pressure as I don't have a gauge, and I separated all of the spark plug wires to eliminate any shorting through the wires.

I'm going to go now and get a bottle of heet, another can of seafoam and fill it with premium and see if that helps any.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be tremendously appreciated!
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Last edited by snatiep; 04-10-2010 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:45 AM
snatiep snatiep is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

Well, I added a can of HEET, a can of Seafoam, and filled it up with 93 octane premium fuel. Lets see if that helps.

Would a bad TPS sensor trigger a check engine light?

I just wish the truck would light up a check engine light so I would have somewhere to start looking for the problem.

I think I'll go buy a fuel pressure tester and check the fuel pump.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:55 PM
snatiep snatiep is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

Well, I think the fuel pump is OK. With the key on engine off it is at 39 pounds.

With the key on engine running it is at 31 pounds.

I looked up the fuel pump pressures on alldata and these are within range.

I also swapped the spark plug wires from one coil to the other and it was still missing.

Now what?

All of the additives and premium gasoline got rid of the engine knocking.
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Last edited by snatiep; 04-10-2010 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:56 PM
fordnut71 fordnut71 is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

id say check your coil packs. sounds like a termal is jumping to ground somewhere
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:10 AM
snatiep snatiep is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

Thanks fordnut71!

What is the best way to check a coil pack? I did switch the wires from one coil to the other, but maybe I should switch the coils themselves from one spot to the other?

I pulled the intake spark plugs again and they are all a uniform tan color so I don't think any injectors are bad?


Thanks again! I sure appreciate the help!
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Last edited by snatiep; 04-11-2010 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:52 PM
fordnut71 fordnut71 is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

switching the coils from 1 place to another wont correct it.you would have to replace both of them to see. what you are looking for is a crack in the housing of the pack, so it could be anywhere.
pull the wires off an check for a sooty terminal or blackness in the boots or area. you could try spraying a mist of water at night on them to see if it arcs.
if this dont work youll have to get the multi meter out an check them to see if they check out ok.
i went 3 weeks with my explorer shutting off trying to find out y, threw parts at it hoping. then i some how spotted the soot under it an there was my problem.
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:49 PM
87xlranger 87xlranger is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

It could also be a TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) Just throwin' ideas out there.....
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:17 AM
snatiep snatiep is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

I still don't have a check engine light on........would a marginally faulty TPS sensor trigger a check engine light?
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:31 PM
87xlranger 87xlranger is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

I think so.... but I don't know if it's going to set a hard fault (Turn on the light) or just store the code.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:48 PM
fordnut71 fordnut71 is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

obd2 will trip for the littlest thing some times. if it was picking up a miss fire it would trip the light.wifes explorer has a miss fire in the rain anoff it goes once its been started a few times without the miss fire off it goes.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:16 AM
snatiep snatiep is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

Well it is definitely missing or cutting out, I wonder why the check engine light isn't coming on?

It seems to get a little better when the engine warms up.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:56 PM
87xlranger 87xlranger is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

Check your EGR, Pull off the EGR and look in the port, I found my EGR port COMPLETELY Blocked by carbon gunk and after I did that my rough idle went away it could cause a misfire....
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  #13  
Old 04-26-2010, 01:42 AM
fairmont fairmont is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

This really sounds like a throttle position sensor. I haven't priced them lately, but I'm thinking $60 to $70.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:15 AM
snatiep snatiep is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

Thanks for the help everyone!

It is still missing occasionally and still no check engine light.

I hesitate to just buy a tps in hopes it will fix it, but Autozone has one for $29.99. Maybe I'll just buy one and put it in.

Even without a check engine light on, would any of you just buy a tps and put it in?

Thanks very much for your help.....I greatly appreciate it!
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:53 AM
fairmont fairmont is offline
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Default Re: 1996 2.3L Ranger missing only at specific throttle positions?

There are a couple of ways you can check the throttle position sensor. Both require a voltmeter. One is with the power off, the other, key on engine off. If you discount the connector to the TPS, with power off, you can check the three leads with the voltmeter set to ohms. Of the three leads, one is ground, one is power or 5 volts, the other is the potentiometer, or the feedback to the computer as to where the throttle position or you foot is at. If you check the feedback with one lead on the ground, and the other on the potentiometer, a good TPS will show a smooth transition of resistance, the voltmeter should not jump or show OL, or an open or bad transition. The same will show with a voltmeter set to dc voltage, or 5 volts dc. With the power on, and the connector connected, and the leads inserted into the back of the connector, with possibly a paper clip or other small diameter lead, the voltmeter should show a smooth transition between aproxiamately 1 volt dc at idle, to 5 volts at WOT or wide open throttle. Or just spend the $25 bucks and try a new TPS. You can adjust the new TPS and set it at 1 volt at idle. Hope this helps! Sometimes it is cheaper to buy the part and try it than to take it to a shop where they will do the same thing.
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