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Old 02-25-2017, 06:05 PM
Jagetsu Jagetsu is offline
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Default No Crank, No Start - Loud Ignition Buzz

99 ranger, 2.3L, 5spd manual, 2wd

Hey, everyone. Today, out of nowhere, my Ranger died on me in a very strange way and I've been unable to diagnose why. My current belief is that the initial problem could be tied to the starter, but I've had no way of testing that and haven't been able to find any threads or information on the sound that I'm hearing or on the events that led to the issue.

Until this morning, the truck was running fine, chugging along feeling strong. Then today when I turned my key, the engine sounded very loud and a higher pitch than normal as if it was strained or hadn't fully been initiated. I reversed a bit and, the noise not going away, immediately stopped the car and tried to turn off the car. When I did this, the engine wouldn't stop, despite removing the key. Also, despite not engaging the clutch, there was no stall out. I found that I couldn't get the Ranger to turn off and if I took my foot off the brake pedal, the car would lurch in the direction I was in-gear (reverse or first).

Having this happen, I put the key back in and tried to ignite again, but the engine wouldn't fully engage. Regardless of the key's position, it seemed to have no impact on what the truck was doing. Removing the key, I just sat there with my foot on the brakes, pumping the clutch with no change until finally the Ranger died with a light "clunk". When this happened, the rpm gauge went to max. At this point, trying to start the Ranger would only light up the dashboard lights and turn on the radio - no crank at all. Also, this is when the buzzing occured. Instead of hearing the 'click' that I would associate with a faulty starter, I hear this loud buzzing noise coming from under the hood (right behind the battery). To try and elaborate on the buzz, it sounds like a lower pitched "the most annoying sound in the world" from Dumb and Dumber, similar to the tv-doorbell buzzer sound you might hear in a film from around the 50's.

The buzz changes pitch based on how many times you try it and how long it's held which made me think maybe the battery was weak or dead.

I thought the battery might need to be replaced, but jumping it didn't change anything. To try and get more information, I took the battery to AdvanceAutoParts and they told me it was fine then charged it, but afterwards that didn't change anything. The battery connectors look fairly new and I can't see any signs of corrosion on them, as well. The headlights work fine, as well as the radio and all other interior lights...

Taking the steering column cover off, I can see that when I turn the key, it pulls the ignition switch cable. Though I've only owned the truck for two weeks, it's been my daily driver and I haven't had any problems starting the car until now which leads me to think it isn't the ignition switch, as (to my understanding, at least) that's something progressive.

I don't know the last time the oil was changed, but checking the dipstick I see that it's at a reasonable level and doesn't look dirty.

Maybe it is the starter and I've overcomplicated things, but if it is the starter, wouldn't I be getting that click? And would a starter issue really have caused the lurching I experienced before losing the Ranger? And what's with this buzzing noise instead of a click? Maybe my description of the problem isn't clear enough for Google, but I haven't been able to find anything on it online so I don't know what to think.

Has anyone experienced this or have any ideas as to what it could be?
1989 Ford Ranger
5 Speed Manual, 4 Cylinders
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buzzing, ignition, lurch, starter

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