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  #1  
Old 08-09-2010, 02:03 PM
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Default '96 2.3L Timing Issue

Hey everyone, here is my issue... My 1996 Ranger 2.3, 2WD has about 105K on it. It runs fine, but this weekend I changed the timing belt, timing belt tensioner, serpantine belt, and thermostat (while I had it all off for the timing belt swap). I followed the Haynes instructions, everything went smoothly, but now the engine pings during high torque (acceleration times) and goes away when I reach a cruising speed. Also, at idle, the engine kind of hick-ups. Runs smoothly when driving (aside from pinging), but when at idle, it doesn't idle smoothly.

I'm certain my timing marks are lined up, I checked them 30 times. When the crankshaft is at the "TC" mark, and oil pump and camshaft marks are spot on. Could it be that the tensioner is just too loose? I only allowed it to tighten to the spring loaded tension, but keep in mind the spring is 14 years old. Should I loosen the tensioner and pry it tighter onto the belt?

The only issues I had while changing everything was getting the crankshaft pully bolt off. I first tried wedging a prybar onto a crank cog that looked to be the light-sensor crank cog for the crankshaft. (Looked like a bike gear). I used that as a means to hold the crankshaft still while I loosened the bolt. It put a couple very small grooves in the cog. Would that throw off the light-timing?

Also I forgot to plug one of the spark plug boots back onto the spark plug and when I started the engine it arced for a minute on the exhaust manifold. Could that have maybe shorted the something in the ignition coil?

I doubt that either of the latter issues are the problem. I think it's a timing issue, but I'm a welder, not an auto mechanic. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2010, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: '96 2.3L Timing Issue

Quote:
I first tried wedging a prybar onto a crank cog that looked to be the light-sensor crank cog for the crankshaft.
Sounds like you may have messed up the flag for the crankshaft position sensor. If I remember correctly they are mounted to the vibration damper, and if you used that to try to keep the engine from turning while removing the pully bolt, you may have messed up it's position in relation to the crank shaft. In which case you will have to replace it. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but you should be able to find one in a junk yard somewhere fairly cheap. Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 08-11-2010, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: '96 2.3L Timing Issue

Shhhiiiiit. I'm going to rip it apart again this weekend to inspect it. I do remember that when I have cylinder #1 at TDC (judging by the marks on the timing belt cover) that the keyhole on the crankshaft was not at 12:00 like the Haynes Manual says. It was closer to 11:57. I don't want to split hairs, but you may be right. I may have thrown it off kilter a little bit.
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  #4  
Old 08-11-2010, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: '96 2.3L Timing Issue

Yep, that sounds like a problem. Another easy way to check is to position the keyway at 12 o'clock, (if you can see it) and read where the timing pointer is on the vib damper/crank pulley. I believe it should be at 10 BTDC. If not, then you have your #1 suspect.
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2010, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: '96 2.3L Timing Issue

Mirage, you were spot on. The Cog that the crankshaft sensor reads is only pressed on, so it moved a bit. The damper is all on a keyway, but the cog is only pressed on. So everything was dead on with timing, but the sensor was reading an out-of-whack reading, so the computer was thinking the crankshaft was somewhere it wasn't. Thanks again for your input. Much help.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2010, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: '96 2.3L Timing Issue

Hey great news! Glad to hear you got it figured out. And even more happy that I could help you out. It's always a gamble when you offer help on the forums, sometimes you're right, sometimes not so much.

So is it possible to reposition the "cog" or sensor flag? (probably not recommended) or are you going to get a new vibration damper setup and try again?

Let me know how things work out!

(I love stories that have a happy ending.... hahaha).
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2010, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: '96 2.3L Timing Issue

As it turns out, while the damper is on a keyway, the sensor flag is only pressed onto the damper, which is why it was able to turn a little bit as the damper remained in position. We used a 3 jaw puller to carefully remove the sensor flag from the damper, reposition it, and press it back on in the right location. Threw everything back on and it runs like a champ now.

I'm very stoked I didn't destroy my crankshaft. I'm trying to make this truck last 200K.
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2010, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: '96 2.3L Timing Issue

That is great news. And I'll have to add the fact that the sensor flag is only pressed on to the damper, not an integral part of it, to my cache of tricks. That's for the update, and congratulations on getting your rig up and running again. Job well done!
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