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From the previous posts I've read on here, it appears my Ranger (1999, 2WD, XLT Sport, 3.0L, automatic) has all the makings of a problem with its rear vehicle speed sensor (VSS), but I'll post some info about my specific problem in the hope someone here will say for certain if that's what it appears to be.
As I was leaving work today, I drove the truck about 1/4 of a mile and all of a sudden the ABS light came on, the speedometer went dead (pinned at zero), the "O/D off" light kept flashing on and off and the truck would not upshift. I checked the trans fluid to make sure something was not amiss there, and everything was OK. I was able to drive the truck home (very slowly).
I decided to try and see if the truck would drive in second gear, and it did, but as soon as I did that, the "Check Engine" light came on and has stayed lit ever since.
My questions: Would it appear to be a malfunctioning VSS, as I've read in so many other posts? Why am I able to drive the car relatively normal in second gear but not "D"? Finally, if a new VSS fixes the problem, how do I go about resetting the "Check Engine" light so it turns off?
It will drive in second because you're commanding it to and it listens. In D it won't because it's not sure when to shift.
Has all the makings of a defective VSS. I'd go to your local auto parts stores and have the codes pulled. Bring the codes back here and don't let them sell you anything. Just let us see the codes and we can go from there.
You can pull the codes but I will bet the farm replacing the VSS will fix you up. The part is about $25 and the replace only takes a few moments. When mine failed on my last Ranger (with all the symptoms you describe), the parts guy at the dealership said, "they all fail, it is just a matter if when". Search VSS here. Good Luck.
I agree, it sure sounds like the VSS, located atop the rear differential housing.
Remove one 9 or 10 mm bolt & one electrical connector, to replace it.
Probably a 30 minute job, counting the time it'll take to get the wrench, block the wheels, put it up on jack stands, cawl underneath to change it & put everything away.
You might first try inspecting the VSS electrical connector, to make sure it's plugged in good, it's wiring & pins & sockets condition.
If all that checks out ok, then it's likely the VSS has gone belly up, as has been suggested & your favorite local autoparts store should be able to scan the computer for trouble codes to confirm the VSS suspect.
To answer your question about the CEL, you can have them turn the CEL off with their scan tool, AFTER you've replaced the VSS, or you can do it yourself, by removing the battery negative cable, or pulling the computers power fuse, BEFORE you begin to replace the VSS.
This might cause it to idle & shift abnormal for a few times, until the computer relearns things, or you can speed the relearning up some, by going through a particular warm up & driving sequence that's listed in a thread in the "Technical Information" section, located atop this forum.
I've successfully used my 94 Taurus relearn sequence, which has me reconnect the battery after a repair, start the engine after it's completely cooled down, let it's cold idle return to normal, then SLOWLY shift into ALL gears, including reverse, then return to "N" or "P", let the engine fully warm up, then SLOWLY shift into each gear again, as before, then it's ready to dive. This has worked just fine for me, on my 99 4.0L, with 5spd auto tranny.
Let us know what you find & how your repair goes.
99 Ranger XLT 4dr 4x2 4.0L 5spd Auto 3.55L/S Payload Pkg2 Tow Pkg
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I'm happy to report that it was indeed a bad VSS that was giving me trouble, but I nearly had a catastrophe on my hands trying to get the old VSS out of the axle housing! Getting the connector and the bolt off were pretty easy (ended up dropping the spare tire and came at the thing from the rear of the truck so I could see up and over the axle - worked for me), but I tried to remove the old VSS from the differential and the plastic sheath covering the lower part of the VSS snapped off and stayed in the axle! The piece snapped right at the o-ring, so all the plastic below the o-ring stayed stuck in the differential hole, below the surface of the hole. Man, what a bitch getting that broken piece out, but I did, and in one piece, too, thankfully.
Disconnected and reconnected the battery, started the truck up with the new VSS, and behold, the truck runs again. Thanks to everyone here who helped with this problem.
As an aside, this truck is still the best vehicle I have ever owned - 136,000 miles and the CEL light that came on associated with this problem was the first time *ever* that it's ever come on. All maintenance associated with this truck has been minor and expected (ball joints, shocks, etc.), nothing catastrophic. I'd buy a Ford truck again in a second!
136 and no CEL is good news, I'm at 141K and haven't had one. The guy who owned it prior to us said he'd never had a problem from it, was in great shape, no problems.
Over Christmas when our Silverado popped a CEL at about 125K, it was it's first. Got me to thinking maybe I should check the one in the GMC. I mean seriously...over 230K, by now SOMETHING had to make that light come on.
Pulled the panel and replaced all the light bulbs...that one looked brand new. Makes me happy.
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