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1994 Ford Ranger Starts Sometimes

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Lisa Zoloto
New User

Aug 17, 2015, 8:11 AM

Post #1 of 2 (1839 views)
1994 Ford Ranger Starts Sometimes Sign In

Hello. I'll admit front and center that I'm definitely not a car gal. My husband does know cars really well because he was taught by his dad who used to be certified. 8/10 times my husband can work out the problems but this time we're a bit stumped.

We have a 1994 Ford Ranger XLT 2WD 6cyl 4.0 Ltr with a manual trans.

Since I'm grasping a bit at straws, I'll go back a little bit. 3 weeks ago we headed out of town on a trip that was 600ish miles round trip. We did a fluids and service check before we left where the oil was changed as well as new spark plugs because the old ones looked a little singed. We were hauling a small trailer and truck overheated. Well the radiator was original to the truck so we replaced it. It fixed the problem we had a nice trip.

When we come back, the truck was still fine for about a week but a couple of times the truck didn't want to start right up. Where we went, there was enough dust in the air that our truck was coated with probably half an inch of dust so he figured maybe some dirt got in the fuel line. We put some fuel treatment in the truck.

Then the other day we went to my nephew's birthday party. When he tried to start the truck then, it took a couple of tries. When it did get going, it was idling strangely. We took it to my sister's (she lives like a mile from my house) where he decided to pop the hood and check it out again. When he tried to crank it over again, it would not start at all. It made the usual noises, just wouldn't fire over.

He checked if fuel was getting to the engine and he wasn't satisfied with the pressure so he first tried replacing the cheapest thing, the fuel pump relay. That didn't work so we moved on to the fuel filter, thinking, again, maybe there was crud in it from our trip. That didn't work so we replaced the fuel pump. It still didn't work.

So we bought a code reader yesterday. The code reader said there was no problems. As soon as he unplugged it, the truck started up again. He tested again an hour later and, sure enough, it started up and he was able to drive it to a nearby rest stop and back. Yay! Truck is fixed! Or so we thought...

We get in the truck to go home yesterday evening and it did start right up but it idled strangely again. The smell of gas was pretty heavy. We backed it out and started driving home and it evened out and was fine.

This morning my husband is leaving for work. It wouldn't start up right away. He plugged in the code reader and it said everything was fine. Truck then started up okay again. After it started, it did the strange idle for a few moments, almost like it was going to stall, then the truck's rpms went up for about 3 seconds and everything leveled out.

I'm kinda worried about him driving it around like that. It's our only vehicle and since we live in a rural area, no public transit to get us to work so I really need to get this figured out. Any ideas on where to go on this?

Thank you so much for any help!

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 17, 2015, 9:13 AM

Post #2 of 2 (1828 views)
Re: 1994 Ford Ranger Starts Sometimes Sign In

OK - a 94 that overheated and was exposed to (1/2" did you say?) excessive dust like a dust storm of some sort?
Well - IMO the weak link to wild dust alone IMO would be air intake/filter not mentioned yet by you. Not sure how fuel would get dust in with it?

Overheats are open book on things that can go wrong alone and may have harmed more than you are checking out NOW after that.

Fuel pressure and holding is still critical new pump or not. Check that it holds just with key to run, accessories off to this spec..........
30-45 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch)Position the ignition switch and the A/C system in the off position. Install a fuel pressure gauge to the vehicles fuel rail or fuel pressure test port. Confirm that no leaks are present, and visually verify the PSI reading on the gauge with the ignition in the on position.<

Seems silly but also try since it didn't work putting the old relay back as it didn't seem to change anything suggests it's good now useful as it may use a few that are the exact same part #.

You said you smell odor of fuel WHEN is doesn't start so next step is to see if it has spark exactly when it doesn't start.

If you have both and no reaction let's take it from there.

IDK how much dust got where or if it got wet what it could mess up but would be looking around for connections to critical items everywhere - still wonder about hooking up a code reader on this doing anything so check that well for dirt,


Not sure what connecting a code reader did and not surprised in 1994 didn't do much but seems to change things just plugging that in. What might be going on in that area of wires should be checked too I guess.

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