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Old 01-16-2017, 01:49 PM
do_will do_will is offline
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Angry 1999 4-Cylinder Starting Trouble in Winter

First, glad to be here in the group !

My 1999 4-Cylinder Ranger is my secondary vehicle and gets very less miles, less than 2000 miles a year. It has a total of 110,000 miles now.

Over the last 2 years, it has occasional difficulty getting started. These are my observations -

- Had the issue occasionally during last winter. After that it was fine during the summer. Issue has started again this winter. A bit more frequent this this year. So, it is progressively getting worse, but it is still not completely dead.

- When I turn the key, I don't hear the usual fuel pump hum. The fuse clicks fine. While trying to start, engine turns, but doesn't start. Most of the times, after turning the key to all the way off and back on, it starts. This year, I had a few occasions when it wouldn't start even after several attempts like that.

- Once it starts, it runs fine. I haven't had any instance where the engine stopped after it starts. That makes me think the fuel pump is fine. (?)

- Mostly, when I hear the fuel pump hum, it starts. There were a few occasions when (I think) I heard the hum, but it didn't start. It may have been a partial hum.

Could it be an issue with the ignition switch/key? Or, could it be the fuel pump itself? Looking for inputs before I start throwing parts at it.

Thank you in advance for the help.

Last edited by do_will; 01-16-2017 at 01:50 PM. Reason: Adding notification
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:10 PM
whiskeymike whiskeymike is offline
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Default Re: 1999 4-Cylinder Starting Trouble in Winter

Sometimes when a pump is going bad it will either run or it won't. Once it's running it's good until the next time.

If you don't hear it run, smack the bottom of the tank and see if that starts it.

Does it crank fine? Check all battery connections, wouldn't hurt to load test the battery either.
97 xlt stepside
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Old 01-17-2017, 06:46 AM
tomw0 tomw0 is offline
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Default Re: 1999 4-Cylinder Starting Trouble in Winter

With that usage, the battery charge level likely needs to be monitored a bit.

If you do not hear the fuel pump run, cycle the key from ON to OFF to ON, and leave it in the ON position for a few seconds, listening for the pump whine. Repeat until you hear the pump run a couple times.
It is possible the fuel pump relay is on its last legs, a simple and relatively inexpensive repair item. I think you have a PDB-Power Distribution Box - under hood where all the relays and fuses reside. Look at the underside of the cover and determine which relay is for the fuel pump. Find a duplicate you can do without for a while (A/C likely or blower motor??), and swap the two. Do the ignition key cycle and observe if the pump runs more reliably. Replace the relay if that fixes the problem.
The pump may be on its way out. A 'current draw' test will determine how much juice the pump is drawing when running. A worn pump will draw more current, I think, or none of the brushes are worn out.
Either way, you will find it starts better if you wait for pump noise before turning to START as the pump is needed to get injector pressure so the engine can run. No pressure == no fuel injected == no run.
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:06 AM
do_will do_will is offline
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Smile Re: 1999 4-Cylinder Starting Trouble in Winter

Thank you for the replies.

Even though the mileage is less, I keep the battery well-charged. I have tried with another battery too. So, I think it is not the battery. I have also tried with a different relay....with no luck.

So, sounds like it may be a faulty pump, after all. I wish it would just die completely and take the doubt out of the equation.

To start, I currently do what tomw0 suggested. ON-OFF-ON until I hear the pump whine. I haven't tried leaving the key in ON position for long. I will try that. I will also try kicking the pump as whiskeymike suggested.

Thanks, guys !
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cranks, fuel pump, ignition

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