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Ford Ranger Known Problem Areas
Note: Check out our 'Ford Ranger Buyers Guide' for more current and detailed information
Some 2.3L engines (especially 1992-1993) have knocking on the lower left side of the engine. The cause is oil pressure problems. The solution is a revised oil pump and a gallery plug with a pressure damping rod.
Oil Pan Leak:
A leak from the pan of a 1990-1992 2.3L engine can be stopped with a 1993 2.3L gasket.
A sticky idle air control valve on 1995-1996 Rangers can cause hard starting.
Early Rangers with the 2.8L engine can have tapping that's audible in the cab. The noise is most noticeable in below freezing temperatures. The condition may be caused by the EGR solenoid assembly, which is in the engine control housing that's mounted on the right hand fender apron. Ford has a replacement solenoid assembly. All vacuum and wiring connections should be checked as well.
This has been an ongoing problem with Ford's 3.0's and 4.0's for a long time. They have recently released a TSB on it. It requires a new coil giving a hotter spark. Evidently the current coil was just giving enough to ignite, and not explode. If the TSB doesn't apply to you, check your base timing and your timing advance.
Hesitation and Stumble:
Engine stumble in early carbureted 2.8L engines can be caused by low fuel bowl level or insufficient accelerator pump plunger-to-housing clearance. Adjusting the fuel bowl level or enlarging the plunger hole should solve the problem.
Exhaust System Rattling:
A rattling or buzzing noise coming from the exhaust system can be caused by a loose heat shield on the catalytic converter. Worm clamps can relieve the noise.
Excessive Exhaust Smoke:
The 2.8L is known for wearing out the rubber valve stem seals in the cylinder heads. They can be replaced by removing the valve cover and applying compressed air to the cylinder with a special fitting. The compressed air will keep the valves from falling in to the cylinder while you remove the valve springs and replace the seals.
There was a recall for 1990 4.0L V-6 equipped Rangers. Sometimes the throttle would stay open after the gas pedal was released. A new air inlet tube with increased throttle lever clearance should be installed.
A bad seal between the radiator tank and core can cause leaks, especially in cold weather.
Cracked Cylinder Heads:
Signs of coolant in the oil of 2.9L V-6 engines can mean cracked cylinder heads. Severe damage can result. Aftermarket replacements are available by World Products.
Slipping Out Of Park:
Some four speed automatics have been known to slip out of park. It appears that the transmission is in park, but the parking pawl doesn't always engage the parking gear. There was a recall that called for a new park pawl. Use the parking brake to avoid this problem.
A4LD - Problems:
Premature wear or a repeat failure of the converter hub, bellhousing bushing, converter seal and/or pump assembly may be caused by a broken or worn crank shaft pilot sleeve. Located between the flywheel and the crank-shaft, the pilot on the front of the converter is centered on the hole in the sleeve. To avoid these come backs remove the flywheel and visually inspect the spacer on every 2.8, 2.9, and 4.0 engine that may be suspected of having this problem. NOTE: If the original bellhousing bushing is not worn, reuse it. Converter hub to bellhousing bushing clearance should be .002"-.003" Converter depth from the front of the pad to front of the bellhousing should be 1 5/8" to 1 3/4"
A4LD Seal Blow Outs:
If you have repeated front seal blowouts on A4LD's it may not be a problem with the seal or the quality of your work. Your could have a bad bellhousing. The bushing used in the A4LD is finished in place. Because of this the bore that the bushing fits into doesn't need to be in the center of the bellhousing, and in many cases it isn't. When you're working on an A4LD you need to check the bellhousing bushing to see if it's the original factory bushing. If it is, and it's not worn (no more than .003") converter hub to bushing clearance), Don't Replace It! If the bushing needs to be replaced, you need to make sure the replacement bushing will fit in the center of the bellhousing. To do this bolt the torque converter to the flex plate. Turn the engine over and check the runout of the converter hub. Now bolt the bellhousing to the engine. If the Torque converter is contacting one side of the bushing excessively, the bushing is off center and the bellhousing MUST be replaced. However, a slight amount of contact is acceptable. By checking the bellhousing first you can avoid repeated front seal blowout.
Chassis & Suspension:
Rangers equipped with a Traction-Lok differential can have a chattering noise during tight turns. The condition is most likely to occur after extended periods of highway driving. The cause is a lack of a friction modifier or too many shims in the clutch packs. Ford offers a revised clutch pack replacement kit with improved friction material.
When shifting from park or engaging the clutch a creaking or pinging sound can be caused by an incorrectly tightened yoke nut. Apply Locktite Quick Metal Retaining Compound to the splines and retorque the yoke nut.
Steering Wheel Clicking:
A clicking noise can be heard when turning the steering wheel of Rangers with nonsilver plated upper steering column bearings. Ford offers an upper steering column bearing kit with silver plated bearings to fix the noise.
A creaking noise coming from the NO. 1 crossmember can be attributed to loose or damaged frame rivets. Approved service bolts should be installed. Welding is not acceptable.
Over tightening, under tightening, or poor torque control on front lug nuts can result in rotor distortion, which leads to brake shudder. Improper tightening is usually caused by air impact wrenches. The solution is to tighten the lug nuts with a manual torque wrench.
Loose Master Cylinder:
There have been recalls related to the potential cracking of studs that attach the master cylinder to the power brake booster assembly. Corrosion over an extended period is often the cause.
Body, Interior & Miscellaneous:
Tilt Steering Rattle:
This is caused by a dislocated tilt lever spring. A new spring and spring cup will fix the problem.
Whining In Speakers:
1990-1998 Rangers with in tank fuel pumps can have a whining noise in the radio speakers. An electronic noise filter for the fuel pump will cure the problem.
Interior Light & Chime Stay On:
The most notorious cause for this/these problems is the switch in the door jam. The reason for the things to stay on is usually a short in the switch or wiring. The switch is on the ground side of the loads, so if the wire chaffs, it gets grounded and the things go off. The reason the things don't come on is probably the switch has frozen in the circuit open position. A little electrolyte contact cleaner usually does the trick though. Note: on 95 and newer models, you have a GEM to diagnose too.
Look closely for rust in the rear cab corners, bottoms of doors, drivers floor board, the front of the fuel tank where the plastic skid plate is, above the plastic liner in the beds wheelwells (Rusts heavily in the bed side above the wheel wells), the rocker panel behind the rear wheel near the rear bumper, the lower corners of the radiator support under the radiator, under the rubber window sills, in the corner of the floor and the rear cab wall, the bottom of the tailgate, and the rear spring shackles.
A couple more spots that are prone to rusting are the roof corners, under the gas pedal, the seam where the cab floor meets the firewall sheet metal, and right smack dab in the middle of the doors, look for rust bulging/bubbling. Check the floor for wetness on either side of cab floors, and down beside the fusebox/kick panels/computer for water dripping, signs of a poorly done windshield, or one that leaked a bit and was sealed up with silicone.