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2.3 litre 4 cyl dual coil 1992 engine problems

Discussion in 'Under the Hood' started by Lenry, October 27, 2008.

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    1. Lenry

      Lenry New Member

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      City, State:
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      Year and Model:
      1992 XLT Ranger
      Hi.

      My 1992 XLT Ranger (almost an Explorer) has the check engine light on most of the time for over a year. Occasionally the light is off after I start up, but nearly always comes on and usually stays on, for over a year. Still, the engine ran fine, most of the time. Saturday I changed one coil after I would drive and the engine would cut out, then go again. Old coil had a hole in the insulation on the bottom. So I have one new and one old coil. Auto parts store guy read the code and said it was a coil problem, one new coil now, same light. Didn't read the code again yet. Engine ran fine yesterday after the new coil. It has been hard to start for awhile, occasionally, some days worse than others and many days no problem starting.

      Today engine ran rough, no power, backfired through the exhaust and blew out the muffler. I thought someone was shot when I heard it, very loud. It will do 55 but it takes a long time, even in first gear it accelerates quite slowly. And it's loud due to the 'sploded muffler.

      Because I haven't done it in a long time, I changed the 4 easy spark plugs tonight and 3 plug wires, one of which was bad, the wire plug side came out of the boot, fell apart. So I don't hear the spark ticking, but it doesn't run better.

      It almost feels like the spark is super retarded, but I hear engine pinging sometimes.

      3 plugs looked good, gray with some buildup and wear. Rear plug was darker. Haven't touched the other side yet. I do have to add oil every month or so, I see smoke in the exhaust when idling.

      I took off the snorkel from the air cleaner to the intake on the top of the engine to get at the wires, and ran the engine that way. Same problem.

      Ideas? This very low power problem happened once before, and corrected itself in a couple days. I'm not thinking I will be so lucky this time, 172,000 miles. Timing belt at 80,000.

      Engine will run with front coil disconnected, but not the rear one. Front one is new. Local tune up mechanic says spark fires in intake and exhaust. I wouldn't think it would fire on intake stroke, compression yes, BTDC but why exhaust?

      What should I try? Same guy wants $75 to diagnose and $750 to change timing belt, plugs and wires.
       
      Last edited: October 27, 2008
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    3. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ...Welcome here..:D

      ...This will probably get moved to the Ranger forum...

      ...First, go and get your codes read for free at a auto parts store and bring them back here...Wait, there is a link somewhere and I'll find it and post it here how to do it yourself...
      Edit: here you go...
      http://www.fordfuelinjection.com/?p=13

      ...In the Haynes book it says if you are only going to change four plugs, it must be the uppers...:dunno:..I'm not sure of the reasoning but I know it was important...
       
    4. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ...Even with your newly added info to the first post, you could of had something as easy to do as clean your MAF...Until we get the codes we can't even try to guess since it's been running bad for so long and only has gotten worse...:dunno:

      ...Get your codes and bring them back here and we will be more than glad to try and help you...:D
       
    5. Lenry

      Lenry New Member

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      runs fine most of the time

      Actually, most of the time it runs fine. Sometimes it was hard to start, and a couple days ago it started cutting out, so I changed the coil and that cutting out stopped. I'll go the the auto parts store and get the code, see if it is different than a coil problem.

      What/where is the MAF and how do I check/clean it?
       
    6. Lenry

      Lenry New Member

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      Maf

      Ok, I googled MAF and see I should clean it with some electrical contact cleaner. That's quick and easy.

      Thanks for your help and I'll get to the auto parts store asap.

      I'm not sure about the "upper plugs". 4 are on one side of the head, and 4 on the other.
       
    7. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ...I was just guessing at the MAF...Your codes will tell us more...Also, I put a link in my first post yesterday that should help you read your codes..

      ...The upper plugs are under the intake manifold.
       
    8. Lenry

      Lenry New Member

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      City, State:
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      engine code 224

      Code is 224, auto parts guy said it has something to do with the ignition coil.
      I did replace one coil but the light still comes on.

      Then I switched the coils.

      I noticed before that I could unplug the front coil, and the engine would run, but roughly.

      If I unplug the rear coil, it won't run at all or start.

      Right now it seems like one cylinder isn't firing. No power at all. Accelerates like a slow dog even in first gear.

      I'm going to try to change the other plugs and wires.

      I squirted some CRC MAF cleaner on the open end, after taking off the hose.

      Didn't remove the MAF yet, so I don't think it did much cleaning since there is a plate or something covering the important area.

      Have to change the last 2 rear drivers side plugs and wires. Wire obviously defective. Still, there seems to be another problem, but those 2 plugs and wires are hard to get to. Any tips?
       
      Last edited: October 28, 2008
    9. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    10. Lenry

      Lenry New Member

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      more no spark problems

      I pulled off two of the wires from the front coil. 2 are sparking nicely, 2 have no spark at all.

      Not sure about the rear coil, haven't tried that test yet.

      So apparently I have a bigger problem than the coil, since the coil in question is new.

      Still messing with the rear 2 plugs and wires, drivers, side, can't reach them easily. Bought a special spark plug insulated pliers but they don't reach the plugs.
       
    11. shazaam

      shazaam New Member

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      Just a thought...

      You have checked the wiring for resistance?

      I have replaced a " faulty" coil before only to find out that the wires were the culprit.

      Once the resistance through the wire was so much that it caused the coil to arc from the housing to the mounting hardware.

      Whoops just re read and saw that you are already looking at your wiring. Still don't under estimate the power of a faulty wire.
       
      Last edited: October 29, 2008
    12. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ...I'm hoping he will read the link in post #8...I think he will find his answer there...;)
       
    13. Lenry

      Lenry New Member

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      still a problem new wires plugs

      Still no spark from 2 of the plug wire connectors that go into the front coil. I pulled out the boot and a long spark comes from 2 of them, none from the 2 others.

      So that other link seems to say that the ignition module is faulty. Oh happy day. Wonder if there is a way to check it before replacing it.
       
    14. Lenry

      Lenry New Member

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      Well.....I decided to take it to Gainesville Ford, our local dealer because I assumed the dealer mechanics would be able to accurately diagnose. So I paid $90, waited 2 hours and was told by the service writer that I needed to replace both coils, the ignition module and the computer at a cost of about $1000 before they could diagnose it further. After that it was likely more parts would be needed. I questioned the service writer as to the necessity of changing all those parts at once, and asked her for a print out of the diagnosis. She said their machine didn't print out any codes. I asked her what the codes were, and she wouldn't tell me. So I asked for the mechanic and talked to him. The mechanic said they didn't have any diagnostic equipment for my truck as it was a pre 96 model and he just pulled the wires out of the coil and saw that both coils sparked on only 2 of the 4 wires.

      He told me a couple of the plug wires were loose, and when asked said he didn't plug them in. So for $90.00 I got something I already did myself, and actually told that to the service writer before I made the appointment.

      I was not sure if the wires were in all the way when I replaced them because they were so inaccessible. The mechanic said they didn't have any diagnostic equipment, that what they used to have was not supported by Ford anymore. He also suggested that I take it to another mechanic who had a shop nearby.

      That guy looked at it, and after some discussion about coils, wires and modules, firmly seated the plug wires on the plugs after I asked him to. He used a very long pair of pliers to do that.

      So, in short, no parts were defective (despite the Gainesville Ford service departments recommendation to replace about $1000 worth of parts) and now the truck runs great after previously replacing one coil, the spark plugs and a set of wires. The insulation was missing from a large portion of the plug wires that ran along the valve cover and one wire on the exhaust side came loose from the boot and spark plug connector.

      I got my all money back and the other shop wouldn't accept any money at all.
       
    15. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      You Could Take 20 Bucks And Become An Elite Member Here...;)
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