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Old 09-25-2012, 01:56 AM
bozo4ford bozo4ford is offline
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Default 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

Hello fellow ford rangers out there..... we go again. I'm still having issues, but it's intermittent.
1986 Ford Ranger / 2.3 EFI / 140 CID OHC /4-Cyl/5 speed

So the last time I was here, I was having doggy issues which I thought were fuel related. I'm still having issues, although it appeared to cleared up a bit.

When I start the engine, it cranks over, I'd give it some gas, it would rev up, then suddenly die, no matter if I pressed down on the gas pedal or not. After two or three times doing this, it would turn over and maintain a steady idle, then off I go.........

The problem now?
Well, late today I tried to get it going, and after about 15 times, I gave up. It would not stay idling, it would crank over then die. I did not want to ruin the starter. It seems the gas pedal is worthless after the engine decides to conk out, and no matter how many times I step on the gas pedal, nothing happens.

It would be so pleasant if I could get close to pinpointing this cause, instead of playing the expensive process of elimination game. I DO realize what a long shot that would be, for someone to just tell me, "Hey, dude, check your ##$@&&, that's definitely your problem!", but life never seems to be easy.

Has been replaced within the last few months:
Fuel filter regulator,
Inline fuel filter,
Cap and rotor,
Lucas fuel injector cleaner,
ECC computer, and Fuel pump relay switches, (multi-function relay/connector switch)
Idle Air Control Valve - Removed and Cleaned.
Checked all vacuum hoses.

Has not been replaced: Map Sensor, (never)
EGR Valve and sensor, (never)
Throttle Position Sensor, (never)
EVP sensor, (never)
Spark plugs, (two years ago)
Plug wires, (two years ago)
Ignition control module, (replaced about six years, or more)
Timing belt - Several years since I replaced it. Was told it needed to be replaced. No Money!
Starter - Several years ago

So, I can sure use some help from anyone who experienced these symptoms, and what did you do to correct the problem?

With trying to keep the gas going to turn it over, it does not, so to me, it seems to be more of a fuel problem than electrical, but I'm no mechanic. Thank you for any help! :-)


Maybe it's the pump. I only had the inline fuel filter changed out, and at that time, he noticed shavings in the filter, which suggested the pump was breaking down, but only he told me two weeks later, not at the time of repair. Otherwise, I would have done that too.

So with not much money and no ride, I'm going to first remove the EGR from the engine, remove the sensor, and clean all parts with carb cleaner. I will also remove, clean , and replace the Air Control valve (AIC)

I am not in any position to nickel and dime myself into oblivion, and play this dangerous game of "process of elimination" until I find the real cause(s).

So when you climb into my truck and try to turn it over after about three or four times, then it actually does turn over, idles and runs, what would be your thought?

Last edited by bozo4ford; 09-26-2012 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:25 AM
tomboy tomboy is online now
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

Your truck has two fuel pumps, supply pump in the tank, a high pressure pump mounted on the frame under your feet, check the pressure at the fuel rail, the hp may be weak.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:10 PM
bozo4ford bozo4ford is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

1986 FORD RANGER 2.3 EFI / 5-Speed / 4 banger / SOHC / 140 CID
Present mileage - 155,801.8

1) Replaced Spark plugs, and wires two years ago.
2) Replaced Ignition switch about five years ago.

June 4, 2012 -
Replaced In-line fuel filter and removed IAC valve, cleaned out.

Since then, I've replaced, or cleaned the following:
1) Replaced Cap and Rotor

2) Replaced Fuel pressure regulator

3) Replaced corroded Fuel Pump relay switch/connector to the harness.

4) Replaced corroded Multi-Function ECC/EFI Fuel Pump Relay
Switch/connector to the harness.

5) Replaced Battery - within a few months.

PROBLEM: I have experienced rough idling and when I came to a stop light, I'd have to rev up the gas to keep the engine from dying.

Thinking it was the filter, I replaced that in June, which seemed to help, but in the last couple months the engine will crank only a few times, then it would turn over on the third or fourth try.

The other day, I tried it and now it only cranks, and does not remain idling.

So, would it be safe to assume that if I smell gas after trying to start the engine several times, that would indicate a fuel problem, ( ie: clogged injectors, bad fuel pump) BUT if I don't smell gas, that would most likely be a starter, bad plugs/wires, TFI, relays, etc.?

I pulled all four plugs out today and number #1 Cylinder's gap was about twice the size if the recommended .044. The other three were close to the gap, but all had carbon at the tips.

On one of the plug wires, when I removed it, the inside round metal contact separated from the cable, and stuck on the plug....It's been a few years since I bought plugs/wires, so maybe new plugs and wires would be nice, regardless if it's been less than 3 years.

If I have this truck towed o the repair shop, he will charge me $$100.00 to diagnose the problem(s). I am trying to replace the most obvious repairs myself, BEFORE he tells me all it was bad plugs or wires. DOH!

In 26 years, I have never replaced the fuel pump, but last June of this year, I replaced filter. It was still running doggish even after this, but now nothing.

So basically, when I crank the engine, it just dogs out, and when I try to accelerate the gas, nothing happens. I turned the key on accessory and then tried to listen to the fuel pump initiate by listening with the gas cap off, but I did not hear anything at all. Maybe it is the pump.

Thanks for any insight!
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:53 PM
bozo4ford bozo4ford is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.


I'll have to go rent a pressure regulator tester first. Is it 35 or 40 psi's? What am I testing for...a bad fuel pump, or clogged injectors? I replaced the Fuel Pressure Regulator about two months ago. I also replaced the IN-LINE fuel filter, which had metal shaving from the pump, but after 26 years, that's normal, I've been told. I should have that replaced while it was up on the lift.

The TFI I had tested at Autozone was a MOTORCRAFT part and it tested BAD. I also had two extras I had laying around, and one of those tested GOOD. So I bought the TFI Duralast Module for $46.00.

I got it home, installed it (using the supplies dielectric grease) and I'm back to the cranking a few times, then it starts and maintains an idle for a few minutes, then stalls out. Sometimes it wants to idle, most times it only cranks.

I located my EEC-IV on the inside cab, passengers side kick wall, behind that plastic cover, (one Phillips screw, and another on the metal floor door trim) that loosens up this cover.

I DO appreciate the feedback here and those who suggest me testing codes or checking fuel pressure, but I have no tools like that, so I'm trying (wasting my time) to figure out what's causing this. I am tempted to save time, and have it towed to a repair shop that can do diagnostics on this...(cheaper than Fords prices) Being disabled with Cancer, I just needed to try to save money that I don't really have.

I smell gas when I crank, so fuel must be getting to the injectors. Spark is there, Distributor coil also tested GOOD.

When this was idling that one time, I removed the vac line from the VAC Hose tree, (that connects from the Fuel pressure regulator) and there was a lot of suction over the metal tube on the tree.

EEC-IV, I was told, don't go out as much as the TFI (Ignition control Module )

I also replaced my Pickup coil some years ago.

So does everyone still think this may be a fuel pump problem? or an electrical?
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:19 PM
bozo4ford bozo4ford is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

I guess I'm discussing this with myself.

So here is the update:

This is so crazy! I still could have engine problems like fuel pump, electrical, or emissions, etc., but all this time I was chasing something that was probably causing these problems....... on my steering column.

About three years ago or so, I replaced my key cylinder from FORD, and it was really easy to do, because (as I try to remember) the original switch had a tiny pin hole that you poke a wire in, then it releases. (...or I'm dreamin')The replacement I bought does not look like it has anything to push in to release, so if it is a faulty the switch, then I'll need to find out how to replace it.

I also replaced my TURN SIGNAL SWITCH last year, (left side with Hazard light, turn signal, and bright lights) so I hope this has nothing to do with the key cylinder on the other side.....

Anyway....I removed the two sided Column pieces from steering column, gave it a once over and used Co2 air to blow any dust out. I screwed the two phillips screws back in, I even used 2 zip ties to get a nice solid tight column, the key in the ignition is no longer loose or causing the engine stall, no matter how I played with it.

and......guess what? It started right up! I shut down and restarted several times without it stalling. UNBELIEVABLE! I would have NEVER thought it could have been my switch. Good thing I waited and did not have my truck towed to the repair shop.

So that was yesterday, and today I drove it down the street and all around and it did not once stall, also kept a steady idle.

So I certainly hope I'm out of the woods and all the other components are still good. I turned the key and hear the pump priming so that's still ok. (fingers crossed )

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:10 PM
bozo4ford bozo4ford is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

Here we go once again!
Well, I thought everything was peachy-keeno and the truck ran for a couple of days after I replaced the TFI module (below the distributor) and fiddled around with the cylinder switch which actually, when placed in a certain position of the key, the truck would actually crank, turn over, idle, and run, like nobodies business.

But now, it's the same problem I had before all this. I know some of you suggested a pressure regulator gauge tester, but now it does not start over at all.

I suspected the EEC-IV located passenger's side, kick-wall behind the plastic shroud. So thinking I can have this diagnostically tested, I removed it, and the place that told me they could test it, no longer can do this. Now they tell me they don't have the equipment.

I called a local Ford dealership, and they wanted me to reconnect the PCM-EEC-IV, drive it in, or tow it in, and they would charge me $225.00. Plus repairs.
Sorry, I don't have that kind of money.

Anyone living in the Southern California Area of Orange County that knows of a Auto Electric Rebuilders, or can do a Diagnostic on this EEC-IV PCM computer, please let me know.

I already called Pep Boys, AutoZone and O'Reilly, as well as a place in Santa Ana , but that person will be back in two weeks.

Sure, I can sink about $200.00 including tax and Core charge and just order a new one, but at this point I'm driving in the dark. Where will this end? Fuel pump or Sock in tank clogged? I don't know.

Thanks...I'm just venting.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:46 PM
dannynils dannynils is offline
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Check for fire to the plugs, take off a fuel line and turn the key or just listen to the pump to see if the fuel pump is good. Clean aic and egr valves and clean egr ports all with break cleaner see if that helps.
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:11 PM
Psychopete Psychopete is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

it's pretty strait forward to pull codes from your computer.

I don't know if your model was equipped with a functioning check engine light (the 1986 V6 models did NOT), but you can use that to blink out codes if it works. Otherwise, you have to hook up a test light from the diagnostics port to the battery to blink the trouble codes. Search on Youtube for pulling codes from EEC-IV. There are diagrams around on that will get you in the right direction to get it hooked up. But this can be done for free, you will have 2 digit codes, not 3.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:29 PM
Doc32469 Doc32469 is offline
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It sounds like the fuel pump is on its way out cause ur engine is starving for fuel!!!

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using FRF App
1998 Ford Ranger 2.5
How To: Dual ignition Plug mod (Dual plug 2.3/2.5L only)
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:57 PM
bozo4ford bozo4ford is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

OK, well I figured it out. (OCT. 27, 2012)
I thought the accentuater pin from the column fits right into the small hole on topside of switch with the Key in the "Lock", or OFF position.

What I did, was turned the key just after the START, and to CAREFULLY slide the white top of starter switch to where the accentuater pin is stationed, then push up and re-screw the two screws, hooked up the Neg. battery cable, and VOILA! it started right up, and even sounds better than before with a good strong idle.

If anyone is familiar with my previous postings on my troubles trying to figure out if I'm having Fuel or electric problems, I hope this Started switch replacement will have done the trick.

In assessing my troubleshooting, and without running any codes, I ended up having to replace a bad TFI MODULE, and a bad STARTER. I thought my EEC-IV PCM was to blame, but that either works or does not, but now it works with the original PCM. I'm returning the one I bought, just to have on hand, in case

I also replaced outdated and old battery, Spark plugs, Plug wires, Cap and rotor,, Fuel Filter, Fuel relay, and ECC relay (both located on fender, pass. side, engine) I also replaced my Fuel pressure regulator, and so far, so good.

For my 1986 Ranger 2.3L
*PCM EEC-IV Computer bought at AutoZone Cardone ( # 78-4323) $130.00 + Core
*IGNITION STARTER SWITCH bought at Pep Boys ( BWD # CS96) $10.00

So in closing, I think I had a few problems all along. I could not afford a repair shop. I still may need a Fuel pump, (found metal shavings in the old fuel filter)

So far I have not replaced my EGR, EGR Sensor, Fuel tank sock, which I'm told, can get clogged, MAP sensor, or had fuel injectors professionally cleaned.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:47 PM
mazdadave mazdadave is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

Ok , Bozo4ford, I may be an idiot, because I read your post but did not see any comments about your MAF sensor.....did you clean it? or replace it? That little thing controls everything it seems.......I had similar problems and cured them in 10 min in front of pep boys by cleaning my maf....
mazdadave-2300 in the OC too!!! HA
1996 Mazda B2300....
Stone Stock for now.......
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:08 PM
bozo4ford bozo4ford is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

I don't even think this 86 has a MAF, but it does have a MAP SENSOR, located on pass. fender wall opposite the AIC. I have cleaned my AIC and the internal plunger with carb cleaner, but never replaced it. The EGR has a nut on the back end of the tubing (26 years old) that may present problems when trying to untighten, I may spray some liquid wrench, after i down some liquid courage, and hope all loosens well, because even though it may not be a problem, I should replace it.

Now after I installed a badly needed new starter, and the $10.00 ignition starter switch, (back on my steering column), it starts right away, but sounds a little funny when engine cranks like it's getting too much power,meaning it's not starting easy and smooth, but a little rough, but once it starts, it purrs. Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:15 AM
mazdadave mazdadave is offline
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Default Re: 86 Ranger 2.3 - Gas will not keep engine running.

you need a new IAC, my truck did the exact same thing, I cleaned mine, but the problem came back last week.....I plucked down 40 for a new IAC and all is good......
1996 Mazda B2300....
Stone Stock for now.......
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