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Common Ranger Problems


(For other known problems, click HERE)


Here at The Ranger Station, we see a variety of issues being discussed by our members. Here is a list of some of the most common problems and their cures:




Problem: "My dome light won't go out and the door ajar chime goes off."

Solution: This is caused by the door contact pin sticking. It's an easy fix and can be found in our Technical Library HERE.

Problem: "Air bag light comes on."

Solution: This problem is caused by moisture/corrosion in the wiring under the seat. Cleaning the connectors should solve the problem.


[Wipers / Washer Fluid]


Problem: "My wipers are possessed! They come on by themselves or just don't work right sometimes!"

Solution: This can be fixed by cleaning up the switch. Click HERE for details.


[Heater/Air Conditioning]


Problem: "My heater doesn't blow warm air and or there is water/coolant on my floor/carpet."

Solution: You may have a bad heater core. Especially if your floor is getting wet under the passenger side of the dash. Click HERE for information on replacing the heater core in '83-'92 style Rangers. Click HERE for information on  removing the heater core on '93-'97 Rangers, and HERE for replacing the heater core on 1998 and newer Rangers.

Problem: Either no heat, or no air.

Solution: The 1993-1997 Ford Ranger has a known blend door problem. The blend door opens and closes to either allow heat or air. The blend door is plastic, but uses a motorized actuator. Ultimately, the plastic breaks from the force of the actuator and the door can no longer be controlled. You can more information on this problem HERE.


[4-Wheel Drive]


Problem: "The hubs on my 1998-2000 4x4 Ranger don't lock in."

Solution: The PVH Hubs on 1998-2000 Ford Rangers clog up with dirt and stop working properly (It's actually the rear knuckle seal that causes them to clog up). The vacuum lines are problematic as well. Click HERE for information on inspecting and repairing your hubs. Click HERE for information on replacing your PHV hubs and axles with locking hubs and axles from an Explorer. Click HERE to learn how to permanently lock the hubs in place.

Problem: "My electric shift 4-wheel drive transfer case doesn't shift."

Solution: The electric shift 4WD has a module that controls it. There are three different systems that you could be dealing with. To diagnose the 1994 and older systems, click HERE. Information on the 1995 and newer 4WD control modules can be found HERE.

Problem: "My push button 4WD doesn't work"

Solution: Throw away those automatic hubs and get a good set of manual hubs. Seriously. You can find articles on this swap HERE and HERE. There is also a Jeep hub that's suppose to offer a slightly stronger hub than the Ranger hub. You can find information on that HERE.

[Drivetrain Noise]


Problem: "I hear a 'thud' noise when I start and stop."

Solution #1: This is caused by a driveshaft slip-spline that was inadequately lubricated at the factory. All it needs it a sufficient quantity of Moly-type CV joint grease liberally slathered on (and inside) the spline (it's probably about a 20 minute job to pull the driveshaft, lube it and then reinstall it). Some have drilled the slip yoke and put a grease fitting in to grease it during regular maintenance. 

Solution #2: It could also be a u-joint going bad in the driveshaft. Put the truck on flat ground, CHOCK the tires from rolling forward or backward, put it in neutral, and check for sloppy/loose parts while your under there. You'll have to really jerk the driveshaft in different directions and watch/listen for movement.

Problem: "I hear hear a knocking sound in the front end that is consistent with the wheel speed."

Solution #1: If it's a 4-wheel drive, check the u-joint in the axle stub shaft. There is a joint right before the axleshaft enters the steering knuckle to allow the axle to turn. The u-joint caps are held in by a c-clip. If the cap has fallen out, the u-joint (trunnion) will move and hit the yoke causing the knocking sound. There is a good article on u-joints HERE and HERE.

Solution #2: Sometimes the lugnuts can loosen. Especially on aluminum wheels. That's why it's important to recheck them shortly after mounting wheels back on the vehicle. Loose lugnuts can cause a knocking noise in the front end if loose.

Problem: "I hear and feel a knocking in the drivetrain with every rotation."

Solution #1: This can be caused by a broken gear tooth in the trucks rear end. Click HERE for more details.

Solution #2: If you have an extended cab, this can also be caused by a bad carrier bearing. Look HERE for information on replacing it. Look HERE for information on lowering the bearing on lifted vehicles and HERE on how to replace the 2-piece shaft with a 1-piece shaft to eliminate the bearing.

Problem: I feel a vibration from the rear end at speeds over 65MPH. Actually seems more like a buzzing sensation in your @$$ and in the gear selector. Tires and wheels are new, true and balanced. No one can seem to figure it out. U-joints appear to be in good condition and the bearings are good.

Solution: This can be caused by a worn out ring and pinion. You'll have to remove the differential cover and inspect it. It may be cheaper to buy a used rearend from a salvage yard than to pay to have a new ring and pinion installed by a professional.


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