96 Ford ranger 2.3L 4 cylinder acceleration hesitation


haizrail

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Hello, My 96 ford ranger has been in the shop for about a week now and they still can't find the reason behind it having acceleration hesitation issues.When I first took the truck to the shop they called me back within 6 hours saying that the pcm was faulty. so I had them replace it and I picked it up the next morning With the truck still doing the same thing. So I immediately turned the truck around and took it back to them. when they drove it their only response was to but higher octane fuel with no ethanol at all with cleaner. I did this and the problem got better but not fixed. so a few days later I took it back after creating several videos with my digital camera. once they drove it and watched the videos I had created they told me to leave it and they would start looking at a list of possible causes. So I told them to check the timing because I had a feeling that the last mechanic didn't do it right which was less than 2 years ago.So they did and came back and said that the crank position senser and timing belt were bad. So I had them save the belt and senser so I could see them when I got there. Once I got there I the senser was clearly faulty and the belt was not the belt I had bought to fix the timing so I'm assuming the previous mechanic had pocketed the money and didn't do the job. with them fixing the timing that set me back 400 bucks. and that fixed the stalling and the long starting and going dead the truck was doing. But the acceleration hesitation was still there when you press the gas simi hard. so it's been a week since then and they have lifted the truck to look at the following, manifold, vacuum lines, catalytic converter, Throttle position senser, cleaned the Throttle body, have cleaned the mass air flow senser and have changed the air filter. have checked all the wiring, and haved checked the ignition.and the entire fuel system beside injectors have been replaced. have also, checked the plugs and wires, and I replaced the coil packs 6 months ago but they checked those anyway. This morning I went down there and payed them for the work they had do on the timing, and I asked them to run a compression test on it because the owner of the shop thinks it may be a valve problem. I found the information about a compression test though a friend. and after I got back from the shop this morning I started looking up video's on the subject and if it's loosing compression should I tell them to perform a leak test on it.

I have several questions

what is the likely cause for this problem.

and if it's motor related what is the likely cause.

and if the motor comes back bad or failing what kind of motor can i replace it with.

I really like the ecoboosts that are in the new mustangs could I put one of those in my 96 ranger and if so what would I need to change in order to get it to run properly. I would need to know what kind of transmission, motor mounts, oil pan etc. but my real conser if I was to do this is since the truck has to be put on the computer for inspection and the vid numbers need to mach would this cause a problem.Lastly, I'm disabled in my left hand and can't drive any vehicles that are stick shift. thanks
 


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Mark_88

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Hi and welcome to TRS...

First up...there was a member on here who replaced their engine with a newer 2.3 and was relatively happy...although the cost was quite high because it included a transmission and some wire modifications...I can't remember his name but i think he still comes on here once in a while...

The site is searchable so you can try that if you feel comfortable.

The only thing I can think of after your list of changed parts is...the throttle cable may have some slop in it...and there is a cheap enough fix...just put some zip ties around the end of the cable to remove the slack...other than that...I see RonD is looking at this so maybe he can offer something more technical...

The zip tie fix is in the Tech Article section near the top...I will try to find the link...

http://www.therangerstation.com/Magazine/Summer06/throttlecablemod.shtml

This might be cause for hesitation...more so for lack of power because the cable does not allow full wide open throttle...but it may be binding or the slack may give you the feeling that there is hesitation because the engine doesn't respond immediately...
 

haizrail

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To Mark_88

Thank's I didn't think of that neither has the shop so I'll call and ask them to check it thanks.
 

RonD

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The 2.3l SOHC Lima engine is a very reliable engine, outside of changing the oil, and timing belt every 80k miles, belt not oil, lol, they just keep running and running.
They were used in Rangers from 1983 to mid-2001, then Ford switched Rangers to the 2.3l DOHC Duratec engine, more horse power.

Reads like mechanics are not familiar with your vehicle, and in these types of circumstances it is often better to spend a little more at a Ford Dealers shop at least for the diagnoses.
If you are just getting brakes or spark plugs then almost any shop can do a good job.

Compression test should have been done first, that would tell you if timing belt was off and also if there was any mechanical issues, i.e. rings and valves.

Leak down test is ONLY done after a compression test, and only if WET compression test wasn't definitive as far as rings or valve being the problem.

1996 2.3l SOHC should push about 165psi average on compression test
Range of 155psi to 175psi would be normal
One cylinder being near or below 140psi would mean a closer look at that cylinder, a WET test, to see if rings or valves are the issues.

Hesitation on acceleration can be quite a few things, vacuum leak, Cam Position sensor, or Throttle position sensor, but these would all cause CEL(check engine light) to come on and a code to be set in computer memory.

Same as a Bad PCM would cause.

And you have not mentioned getting Check Engine Light or any Code numbers if you did?

Nice thing about computer controlled engines is that they will tell driver if there is a problem with the system, and if computer doesn't see a problem, and there is one, then you KNOW it is a mechanical problem, not related to computer or sensors.
 
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haizrail

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to RonD

Thanks for your information. I forgot to mention it but the only code the truck is producing is a evap code. it keep's poping up after I get it fixed I've fixed this issue 3 times already. and the shop did say they replace the evap canister. Speaking of which do you know of any other reason it would be throwing this code. thank you
 
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Mark_88

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The evap code can be thrown if the ends of the hoses are not fitting properly. You would need to inspect the connections all the way back to the tank and cut/replace the hoses as needed.

The 96 has a switch between the intake and the canister in the engine bay (I know this because I had a 96 with the 2.5 engine using the 96 wiring) that you can also check for leaks on the connectors. It could be the switch itself that is not working but that would require a trip to a junkyard to find one and try to swap them out...I would not recommend buying one as the cost is usually high.

I was also going to mention this...my 96 had a 2.5 swapped in by the previous owner. The 2.5 was from a 98 and had very low mileage...ran like a top but I never did get to drive it on the road due to losing my right leg to a blood clot. I understand your position about not being able to drive a standard and I tried to find a decent auto for mine...if you have one that's great...just baby it to make it last...

Anyway...the 2.5 is a direct bolt in replacement for the 2.3 and will take/use all the sensors...

However...I don't think you need to replace your engine...it does sound like something minor that is being overlooked...
 

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To Mark_88

thanks I called the shop and told them to look at the cable to make sure it was good or not.and I will also get them know about the evap as well. I think I'll print this form post out and take it with me.The last thing I want to do is have motor work done to the thing, but if that is the case I'll have it done.
you don't know how many people have told me to sell it and get another truck but I guess what they don't realize is it's not that simple. because when you buy another truck or car you have to make the payment's to the dealer and then if something brakes then your responsible for paying to get that fixed as well. and not to mention the car or truck taxes I would have to pay each year and the collision insurance. Once you add all that up it's cheaper to get something you own fixed. thanks again.
 

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What you just mentioned is exactly why I bought a Ranger. It was an old beat up thing that a guy at work left sitting in the parking lot more than he drove. He was always having problems starting or driving it and his father in law was a mechanic...who butchered the emission system so bad I couldn't get it to work right...

But the point was to me it was a project to work on. I learned more about fixing things from people on here than I would have learned at any school or a few years of apprenticeship in a shop. Practical things that helped me take it from being a joke to a running and more often than not a reliable and enjoyable ride.

I moved up with upgrades and swapping this and that and the other things on it until its final version that I ended up selling...but it was a joy to work on...a joy to see the fruits of my efforts...and I leaned to appreciated the people on this site. Many of whom have moved on to other things...but TRS is still a great place with many helpful people.

Anyway...I hope that helps you a bit...it is probably more challenging to work on things with one arm. I was able to complete my Ranger in my driveway wearing a prosthetic leg that was quite unsuitable for the task...lol...

They didn't give me a swivel knee that would allow me to sit down properly and I couldn't even get behind the wheel to drive it if I wanted to...although once I got the swivel knee I was tempted to keep the manual transmission and fit the accelerator with a hand control...

I just decided it was safer to simply sell the Ranger (I miss it very much). A relative helped me find an automatic that I have been driving for two months now...love the freedom...hang in there...and I'm sure this will be corrected...:icon_thumby:
 

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To Mark_88

If I could work on it I would because lord knows that would be cheaper. I forgot to mention that I've owned this truck for about 6 years and I bought it for 1000 dollars and with 174,000 miles on it give or take 1k or 2 and the the mileage part of the speed o domator broke about 3 years ago with 215,000 on it. When I bought it it had been setting for a few years because of a bad transmission. I drove it without overdrive until the trans went out and I payed 1700 to but another one in which was 2 years ago, it had 107,000 on it when it was put in. I've kept the oil changed every 3 months because I can't monitor the mileage.before it broke I changed it every 3000. Also, I've had the front calibers, upper and lower ball joints replaced and the back brakes as well. If I had to guess at how many miles is on it now I would guess about anywhere from 240,000 to 280,000 would be a safe bet. When I bought it it had a lowering kit on it which I didn't like but that I've grown to like it because I don't have to lower or raise myself in the truck and it also take corner's a lot better as well. I thought that the lowering kit was a after market add on but what I've found out is that it was ordered directly from ford that way. The reason I found this out is by contacting a ford dealer and having them look up the vehicle's vid. I was in a small bump up with it and the other insurance company wasn't going to pay to fix it because they said it was aftermarket. well 8 months and documentation from ford proved them wrong. thank you very much I'll return to let you and anybody else know what the problem was. so that way if anyone is having the same issue maybe they can have a solid lead on where to start looking.
 

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Yes, by all means let us know as it really does help others when a solution is posted...especially after you've gone through all the parts you replaced...most of which might have been responsible for the hesitation you mentioned.
 

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oh, the only part of the fuel system I haven't replaced is the injectors. is there any kind of test that can be performed to see if they are preforming properly.thanks again
 

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Yes, there are a few tests you can do to determine if they are working...running a can of sea foam through them might help clean them out if it is a dirty injector...just don't do it in a populated area because there is quite a bit of emissions when you do this.

I did a search on Google and this site and came up with quite a bit of information...you might want to narrow it down to the Tech Articles on TRS for now...then do a wider search on other sites...

https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=partner-pub-5354086480683247:rc95zhwn0br&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=testing+fuel+injectors&sa=Search&siteurl=www.therangerstation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=167996&highlight=fuel+injector+test&ref=www.therangerstation.com/forums/search.php?searchid=2391613&photoplog_searchinfo=1&photoplog_searchquery=fuel+injector+test&ss=13505j7266643j54#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=testing fuel injectors&gsc.page=1
 

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Three things come to mind when hesitation on acceleration is the reported problem.
The first is the MAF, as it monitors air coming into the engine. Air can move faster when you open the throttle, and that cools the heated wires to indicate air flow.
The second is the fuel pressure regulator. Most Rangers have a vacuum modulated fuel pressure regulator. When you step on the gas, the vacuum in the intake manifold falls, and the regulator bumps fuel pressure. The bump helps send a bit more fuel to the engine to account for the slow acceleration, due to density, of the liquid fuel. It will not get moving as fast at the air can get moving. The bump in pressure helps squirt more fuel right now, without the computer having to do anything.
The third thing would be the TPS, or throttle position sensor. The TPS tells the computer the position of the throttle plate, how far open it is. If the TPS did not report the throttle opening, due to munged up resistance, the computer would be taken by surprise at the increased air flow (reported by the MAF), and have to figure out the proper ignition timing, fuel spritz time, etc based on partial information.
I am not too impressed with your 'mechanics'. Recommending replacement of the computer is one of the LAST things you do, especially with a Ford. Their ECMs are not really failure prone unless abused. I hope they took the new one back when their REPAIR did not solve the problem. They mis-diagnosed, and they are 'professional', and should stand behind their work. Did they have an explanation of what was 'wrong' with the original? Why was it replaced exactly? I guess it is a live and learn, but you should not have to learn from people who don't know what they are doing.
You should NOT have to instruct them from postings on the web how to do their job. They have not earned all the money you have given them.
tom
 

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tomw, and others

All the vacuum lines have been checked and replaced the faulty one's. Moreover, the Mass air flow and air filters have been replaced. they have checked the fuel pump and fuel lines, they has also cleaned out the entire throttle body. They've also, have checked the ignition. Moreover, they have checked the plugs and wires, coil packs.

The reason they replaced the power train control module is because I asked them to test it to see if that was the problem. And it came back with a rev limiter problem. they actually connected the old one up and and showed me what the that the old pcm was producing the rev limiter code. they then connected the new one up and verified that it was the old pcm.

And the reason they addressed the timing was because I asked them too. about 2 years ago the timing belt broke and we got a back yard mechanic to do the timing because at the time he was in our debt, after he had done the timing it started skipping and cutting off, and stalling. I told this person all of this and they said it would clear up. Which he never fixed it, so we quit taking stuff to him.

within 2 years it's been in two different shops and neither one was willing to work with me and verify what was wrong with the damn thing.

So when I put the truck in this shop they done the regular tests and could not find anything wrong with it. So I started looking up on youtube and other websites that could cause skipping, stalling, truck going dead and loosing power. But it was only doing at random. So I decided to get in it and run it about 90 mph for about five miles to see if it would do it, and sure enough it did, so I went back home and got my grandfather to hold the digital camera
while I drove the truck. and we got it on film.

After we had done this I transferred the videos over to a flash drive and took them to the shop where it's at currently. While the shop was viewing the footage and looking at the more common causes I was searching myself and the first thing that popped up was the timing and cam senser, So I drove down their and asked them to check the timing because to be honest I forgot about the other timing job done on it, but I did tell them all this. Well they called back the next day and told me that the senser was bent and that the timing belt was 3 teeth off. because that first mechanic didn't install it right and that the belt it's self was missing a tooth. Furthermore, they said that the timing belt was also loose as well. So I asked them if the missing tooth had broke off and they said no that it was made with a missing tooth. So I asked them how much they were going to charge me and they said if I wanted it done it would be 387.00, so I said that I did because I thought that that was the problem, meaning it fit all the trucks symptoms and since there was a problem found who would of knew that that wasn't the problem entirely. however, when I payed they only charged me 380.00 and I thought that was fair.

The Problems of the truck stalling, not starting, going dead and idling rougher than normal is all fixed. And also, when they changed the pcm that also fixed my turn signals from blinking really fast.

Now they are ruining a compression test on it and I did call them and told them to check the throttle cable that mark88 mentioned. neither the shop nor I thought of that one. And Monday, I'll go down there and see if they checked the fuel regulator. The reason I need the acceleration hesitation is because when I have to merge into traffic on the highway. If it wasn't for that I could just poke around on it and it would be fine all day long.
The reason the valve came into question is because they put, I can't remember the name of the stuff, in the oil and that cleared a lot of the hesitation up but not completely, That's when he told me that he would change out the TPS and if that didn't fix it he'd take it off and reinstall the old one. Well it actually made the truck run worse. and I can valch for that because I was getting out of the car when they left on the test run. that's when I went into the shop said good morning to the owner and he informed me of what I already knew. that's when I asked him if he could perform a compression test on the truck. And I asked him how much it would be and he said that he'd only charge me a half hour for it.

Note: The timing belt came from AutoZone.

I think I've covered everything.
 

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This just popped into my mind, around 2 weeks after I had bought the truck Me and a friend went to go pick up a refrigerator for another friend and when we got to the location my ranger quit running. it was in the middle of july and it was around 104 degrees out side. needless to say it was the hottest day of the year. well me and my friend spent all day working on the truck trying to figure out what had happen for it to quit running. we made countless trips to the parts store on foot and we replaced the following, coil packs, mass air flow, plugs and wires. and the parts store was kind enough to take the parts back for a full refund. But long story short when none of that worked we pulled the air duck from the throttle body and opened the throttle all the way up and looked down inside of it and it was nasty I mean dirt caked on. so my friend at the time was a certified gm mechanic said lets take a look at the air filter and we opened it up and their was no air filter. just a lot of leaves was in it's place. Could this of caused the problem I have now, because I don't know what was sucked up into it. and there is a round disc looking thing that bolts up to the back of the throttle body, well he took it off and it was completely clogged so we went and hiked to the parts store and bought another one of those and the new one made no difference. we finally got the truck to run by removing the entire air duck and by disconnecting the mas. it didn't run good but ran good enough to get it home. it turns out in that case it was the fuel pump.
 


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