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  #1  
Old 04-26-2007, 09:18 PM
Woodtroll Woodtroll is offline
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Help! '86 2.3 Ranger broke down

Hello, folks. I'm in deperate need of some prompt advice. I have an '86 Ranger with the 2.3L EFI, 5-speed. I have owned and driven this truck for years, rebuilt the engine about 5 years ago, then took it off the road and used it intermittently on the farm for about the last three years. This truck has ALWAYS been exceptionally dependable, and I recently put it back on the road to let my newly-licensed daughter drive.

We were driving in the lot at her school yesterday evening, and she dumped the clutch, bunny-hopped a couple times, and stalled the truck. It would not restart- it had flooded. I pulled the plugs, cranked the engine, etc.- had to repeat that three times before it would start and run again. On the way home (about 10 miles), it would take spells where the engine would rev way up, like it had a vacuum leak. I thought I had probably knocked a hose loose fumbling with the plugs and wires in the dark, but when I got it home a thorough check revealed nothing wrong with the vacuum lines that I could see. I thought maybe the computer was just trying to sort things back out.

It started fine this morning, and I drove it about 30 miles to work. I work construction, and I visited a couple different jobs, and the truck started and ran great each time, with the exception of a few more brief over-revving spells. I noticed this time, though, that I could kick the throttle and the RPMs would come back down, just like kicking the choke off on the older vehicles I grew up with. The over-rev is quick and fairly high, like the cold-start circuit kicking in but much higher; it is not a low-speed meandering RPM change like a small vacuum leak might cause. The last time I started it today (leaving work, of course, and headed to a family commitment) it started fine, I pulled out, and the truck immediately bogged down and quit. It cranked and restarted, but blew black smoke like a freight train. As soon as it smoothed out, I tried to move it again, when it bogged and quit again. This happened three times; the last time it would not restart. I pulled the plugs once and dried them with no luck. I ran out of time and had to hitch a ride.

I do not think this problem is electrical at all (at least not ignition electrical) because I seem to have a good spark, and the unexpected RPM increase should not be tied to the ignition system. The oxygen sensor is fairly new. The truck runs very well except for these spells. Someone suggested fuel pump, but I've never seen a bad fuel pump cause flooding. Heck, I've never seen an EFI vehicle flood, for that matter. And why would this be tied to the bunny-hopping stall, or maybe it's not? (And believe me, this is not the first time she's hopped it!) I thought maybe the throttle plate was carboned up, and letting vacuum by, but it is clean as a whistle.

I'd appreciate your ideas. The truck is setting on the job site on the other end of the county, I hope to get it started and running long enough to get it the 20 miles home. Any input would be sincerely welcomed.

Thanks, Regan
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2007, 12:08 AM
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ford2go ford2go is offline
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Just guessing here, but I wonder if it could have something to do with the fuel pressure regulator. From what I remember, it's a diaphragm controlled by vacuum. Maybe it's leaking a little and causing overpressure and/or allowing fuel in through the vacuum line.

If you have spark, and it's flooding, it would seem like somethings allowing extra fuel. If it was leaky injectors, they would probably act up after it had been sitting a while.

good luck,

ford2go
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:37 AM
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My first thought was also the FP regulator. An easy check is to pull the vacuum hose off the regulator and check for the presense of fuel (there shouldn't be any). If there is fuel in the vaccum hose it means the diaghragm has ruptured. However, if there's no fuel there it still be bad. Next step would be to check the fuel pressure. You can buy a cheapy tester (mine was around 20 bucks from Harbor Freight) or you can make your own with a cheap 0-100 psi pressure guage from a hardware store and a piece of fuel hose. Buy appropriate fittings with the gauge to adapt to the fuel line, relieve the fuel system pressure, find the Schrader valve on the fuel rail and remove the valve core. Stick the guage with the hose on and clamp it securely and then turn on the key to prime the fuel system. You should immediately see pressure on the gauge, around 35 psi. Start the truck and watch the gauge, normal operating pressure is in the 35-45 psi range. if it's higher than that, you have a FP regulator problem.

Further notes on relieving fuel system pressure prior to working on the fuel system:

There are a couple of ways to do this. You can simply stick a small screwdriver in the Schrader valve and let the fuel squirt out, catching most of it with a rag, of course. I don't like to do it this way as I don't like raw fuel around a hot engine. Another way is to go to the Inertia switch located on the firewall under the dash by the passenger side of the tranny tunnel. You can simply unplug it with the engine running and within a second or two it will kill the engine as the fuel pump quits running. You can also trigger the Inertia switch with a sharp rap to the case with a handle of a screwdriver, with disrupts the magnet inside and triggers the switch. It's possible to crack the case of the Inertia switch this way so don't use too much force, just enough to trigger the switch. You can tell when you've tripped it as the botton will pop up and you'll hear the magnet inside rattle. It's still the method I like best as I don't have to mess with the electrical connector.

You can also locate and unplug the fuel pump relay under the hood , anything to shut off the pump and run the engine out of fuel. Be sure to plug it back in or reset the Inertia switch, whichever metod you choose.
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Old 04-28-2007, 01:11 PM
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Still need help, please

The truck started fine the next morning, and I got it home. It was still revving up intermittently for no reason, once it warmed up. I replaced the fuel pressure regulator, which made sense to me, but am still having the same problem. The engine runs to high rpm (I'm guessing 2000 or so, but have no tachometer on this truck) for no apparent reason, then idles back down eventually for no reason. If I unhook the electrical connection on the idle air controller, the truck dies. Of course, then it's loaded up with fuel and doesn't want to start again. If I take the air hose loose at the connection with the idle air controller, I can feather the vacuum with my thumb and idle it down to a smooth idle.

The problem is not apparent at first start in the morning, or when the truck has set for a long time during the day, but as soon as it warms up, it starts to rev up intermittently. It seems as though some sensor is sending a signal to the idle controller to "open up". The only other thing I thought strange is that when I went to bleed the pressure off of the fuel rail, there was no pressure on it. I had run the truck last night, and thought that there would be some pressure still on the rail. Would a single sticking injector be enough to run the engine up like this, and rev it up smoothly? Its not running rough at all, just running at high rpm.

The truck runs great when it is running, distributor clean, valve and ignition timing correct. This seems like a fuel delivery or sensor problem more than a mechanical or ignition problem. Would still appreciate any ideas.

Thanks, Regan
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Old 04-28-2007, 04:33 PM
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May be fixed (Spout connector?)

Well, I MAY have found the problem. There was a spliced-in connector down near the distributor on a yellow/ green wire that had corroded, wires about to break loose from it, in bad shape generally. I found this bad connection by manipulating the wiring harness, and gradually isolated it to this connector. I took the connector out and soldered the wires together, which SEEMS to have fixed the problem.

I've had the truck since 1994, and called the original owner, who told me that he put that connection in to set the timing. He said that there never was a spout connector there. So, the question now is:

WHERE is the spout connector on a 1986 2.3L Ranger, TFI ignition? According to what I've read here, maybe my ignition timing is not right, after all?

I tried the search function before asking here to save myself embarassment, but all I found was someone asking the same question, that apparently was not answered.

Many thanks for all y'alls help! Take care, Regan
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Old 04-29-2007, 01:32 PM
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I seem to remember that this came up before with no definitive answer. My bro-in-law has an '86 or thereabouts EFI 2.3 Ranger, I suppose I could check it out and look for the SPOUT connector, but it shouldn't be too hard to find, somewhere in the wiring fairly close to the distributor. You do know that it looks like this:

Click the image to open in full size.

This is on an '89 2.9, the distributor is in the back and the SPOUT connector is over the right valve cover so it's a good 8-10 inches away from the distributor...
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Old 04-29-2007, 06:32 PM
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Thanks, no, that wasn't what I was looking for- I assumed that it would just be an in-line connector that just broke the wires apart. After seeing your picture, though, I remembered seeing something similar, and on my truck it is on the PASSENGER side, between the engine and fender well, sticking out of the main wiring harness where it crosses under the heater hoses going to the firewall. Sure isn't anywhere near the distributor, like I expected. There are so many dead-end harness wires on this truck that I had never really paid any attention that this one was different.

Thanks again for all y'alls help. I certainly learn a lot here, even though I don't post much. Take care, Regan
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Old 04-29-2007, 07:55 PM
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Well, when I say "right" side, I mean as you're sitting in the driver's seat looking forward, so yes, the passenger side.

What the little bugger does is to disconnect the computer control of the timing, so that you can set what's known as "Base Timing" which is usually about 12║ BTDC with the SPOUT connector removed. Your underhood sticker should give you the correct specs.

Otherwise you can't get the timing set accurately as the computer is trying to compensate for the changes you make in the timing.
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:13 PM
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Sure, Dan, I understood where you meant. I just had read that on other 2.3s (apparently just a couple years later), the connector was just a few inches away from the distributor. This one being clear on the other side of the engine sure had me puzzled. Your picture helped make it clear to me what I was looking for; otherwise, I'd probably still be looking.

Thanks again! Regan
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Old 04-30-2007, 02:29 PM
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i have an injected 2.3 5 speed, 85 model with 2 feul pumps.mine has to have a fuel regulator try this
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:49 AM
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From what I have found out, the spout can be in 2 different places on mid 80's Rangers. One is near the lower intake manifold hanging out of a plastic wire loom. The other is over on the passenger side near the air cleaner box. The old style round/keyed connector was by the intake, and the newer rectangular connector was over on the pass side.
You can set the timing without removing the spout when you put the ECM into KOER mode. The ECM will 'get out of the way' for some time after it completes the Key On Engine Running test. FWIW.
By the by, unless 87's have a MAF, they will not idle up when presented with extra leaked air. The MAP sensored engines will load up the engine with extra fuel as they "think" that you have the pedal to the metal (low/zero) intake manifold vacuum, caused by an intake leak which will lower the vacuum. Possibly.
An erratic idle could be causd by loose manifold bolts, or loose throttle body bolts, or upper to lower manifold bolts. But I would not expect it to run well and instantaneously run poorly due to a loose bunch o' bolts. I'd be looking for wires that need to be connected better or tighter.
tom
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:49 AM
 
 
 
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