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2004 Ranger Cylinder 4 misfire

Discussion in 'Under the Hood' started by Willard, April 2, 2012.

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    1. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      So I recently bought a 2004 Ranger Edge with the 3.0L in it, and for the most part it runs beautifully.

      However, I keep getting p0304 (cylinder 4 misfire) and a p0316 (misfire detected on startup) codes along with a slightly rough idle. I was only getting the codes on hot startups, and even then they didn't come around much. The plugs I just replaced with Autolite platinums, the wires test fine, they are fairly new Beldens. I cleaned the MAF with no change. While testing different things, I noticed that when sitting hot and idling for a few minutes, the misfire condition becomes noticeably worse, up to the point where it is a constant misfire and the CEL starts blinking. Rev the motor up for a minute, CEL goes out and it starts running smoother again.

      It is definitely not a complete miss, but it also isn't firing a strong as the other cylinders. I took it out for a short drive and afterwards the idle was smooth and there was no misfire, until it idled for a bit. This only happens when the truck is warm, it doesn't do it when cold. I checked the upper intake gaskets by spraying carb cleaner around the area but the idle didn't jump. There doesn't seem to be any other vacuum leaks. This truck only has 84,000 on it, and given that for the most part it runs fine I seriously doubt there is anything internal going on, especially because this truck has definitely been taken care of in it's life. Pretty much everything is in perfect shape.

      Anyways, this is bugging the crap out of me so any suggestions would be appreciated.
       
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    3. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ..Just my personal assessment on the 3.0's and this is if they do not even have the other problems that the 3.0 w/ flex fuel has..

      ..I have helped a number of people out here chasing that same problem on the 3.0 Rangers of different years..

      ...Head problems are common on the 3.0 and until they are swapped with new and not rebuilt you shall be chasing these symptoms as they keep changing..:thumbdwn:

      ...I've had Dealerships tell me this is a known issue and they have even swapped the heads under a resale warranty for the customer/ one of my friends truck...On the other hand, I have had guys from the dealership swear they never heard of head problems with the 3.0..:rolleyes:

      ..The best way to chase this is by doing compression test...

      ..This of course is only if you have already ruled out bad wires/plugs, bad ground on coil pack, etc..:hammer:

      ..:scratch:..I would also check on your header panel for the info to what plugs you are required to run..IIRC, most newer 3.0's run only the Iridiums and the single platinum will not work right and may cause misfires..

      ..If you could take a picture of that may help others to for what to look for..;)
       
    4. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      Yea I know about the head issues, it would seem to me on such a low mileage motor it shouldn't be a problem. I do need to do a compression test, just haven't been able to do it yet.

      It doesn't say anything anywhere about running Iridium plugs, so I will assume for now the platinums are fine. The coil pack hasn't been tested, I need to do that too, but I believe it is fine.

      The truck runs great most of the time, its just the hot idling its having problems at. Even still it isn't that noticeable, I've driven vehicles that idled worse when they were running correctly.
       
    5. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ..Curious but what does it say on your header panel sticker? It should have a plug number and gap on the bottom of the sticker.

      ..I was wrong on another 3.0's plug and am wondering if the iridium is a Cali only thing..:dunno:
       
    6. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      It doesn't say anything under the hood about the plugs other than the gap. However, I looked in the owners manual to see what plugs it had listed, and it just said to take it to the dealership. That kind of tips me off about the plugs being strange. I found a service manual so I will see if its in there

      Edit: I should mention the sticker on the truck says it conforms to us and cali emissions. Perhaps it is a cali truck
       
    7. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      So I looked around, the plug that is listed for my truck on the motorcraft website is a nickel plug. I looked and I can get Iridiums for my truck, but I can get all types of plugs. So who knows. It is strange the part number for the plugs is so hard to find.
       
    8. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ..I do know for sure that the 2006 3.0 cali Ranger requires Iridium plugs and it is on the sticker..

      ..The one Ranger 3.0 I was wrong about before had no plug info like yours and I had them change from the platinum to the dbl platinum and they said that helped them a lot...

      ..I am not saying it is your fix but if I had the funds and even if I did the compression test, (until I swapped the heads), I would try the DP's..
       
    9. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      I'm tempted just to throw some iridiums in there anyways since I believe they are supposed to be the best plugs.

      I drove it again just now and on the warm start there was initially no light but after a minute it came on. Ran the codes and I had one for random multiple misfires in addition to the others this time. Seeing as how it seems to be getting worse as the plugs break in I feel like they may be causing the problem
       
    10. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      What were the plugs you took out?

      ..It is not unheard of to get a faulty new wire or plug when they are brand new..;)

      ..You can easily move the #4 wire and plug over to another cylinder to see if the misfire moves with them. I wouldn't rule out firing order either.
       
    11. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      The plugs that came out were new Bosch Platinums that came in the truck, that's the main reason I replaced them in the first place.

      The wires tested out fine, but I do need to swap them and see if that's the problem. I doubt firing order is the issue, as it runs smooth as silk at anything above idle.

      Thanks for the suggestions so far Tbars
       
    12. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ..:scratch:..Did you swap the Bosch out due to the known problems in our vehicles when using them or were you already getting misfire codes?
       
    13. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      Both, actually.
       
    14. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      Okay, so compression checks out even through all cylinders, so that should help rule out a head issue. I swapped wires with no change, tested as well and they all have very low resistance.

      I looked up the spark plugs on the motorcraft website by using the VIN number and it came up with platinums and nickle plugs. However, I'm still tempted to try some Iridiums just to see what happens. I'm also starting to run out of ideas on this one. Could a camshaft position sensor be part of this at all?
       
    15. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ..Did you swap the plug and what were your compression readings?

      ..Usually a CPS just goes..Unless you know of it or other parts recently being swapped in just before purchase till now..
       
    16. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      I don't remember the exact compression readings, they were all within 10 psi of each other though. I didn't swap the plugs, I should try that and see what happens. I do know it through the same codes with the bosch plugs, which leads me to believe they aren't the problem.
       
    17. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ..This definitely tells you you have a problem with the wire, plug, or that cylinder.If it was a coil pack they usually fault on 2 cylinders at a time..

      ..I would also make sure your spout connector is in place, timing belt (chain?) and timing are good..

      ..I'm running out of ideas and would still bet on the heads but if I were you and while searching the forum, I would keep an eye on this new thread as some other ideas may come up on it..;)
      http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=351690
       
    18. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      One more thing for right now until I go tinker some more... OE plugs for this truck are Motorcraft part# 432. They are not the normal platinums, they are special ones. Maybe that is the problem.
       
    19. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Offroad/Fitness Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      ..Hopefully someone with information on that specific plug will join in here..

      ..But yes, there are several factors taken into account for spark plugs which most people do not even think about..

      ..Even though a parts house spits out a certain number for your vehicle only means it is what they are selling as a common plug for your vehicle..

      ..I believe this to be the true oem p/n for your truck..

      P/N SP-432 / AGSF32FM
       
    20. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      So I went ahead and got a set of the SP432s and put them in. For starters, somehow I had the gap about .10 too big on the other ones, so that wasn't helping for sure.

      However, the problem is still there. I drove it for awhile and it definitely felt better though. I haven't gotten a CEL yet, and I let it idle for awhile in the driveway, where I observed something else. It only has the miss when in park with the A/C off. I cranked the A/C and idled in park, no miss. I put it in gear and let it idle, no miss. So under any load the problem really doesn't exist.

      The plugs that came out all looked perfect, including the one out of cylinder #4. I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt to maybe run a seafoam treatment or at least put something in the gas to make sure I just don't have a dirty injector for some reason. I also wouldn't be against removing them and cleaning them outside of the truck.

      Is there anything else I can do to check the head out without actually removing it? If that is the problem I will probably just run it as is until it gets bad, and I could also try a little stop leak to see if that fixes things up for now.
       
    21. Runnin'OnEmpty

      Runnin'OnEmpty Well-Known Member

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      This is very strange....

      I've seen problems like this that turned out to be
      something very simple, but will drive you crazy very
      quickly.

      Maybe clean the coil pack top. Spray or pour alcohol
      on the coil top and wipe it down good. If a terminal has
      started arcing it will make a carbon track and cause a
      misfire. Clean the terminal boots. I'd also be tempted
      to change the plug wire, since a break in the insulation
      could cause the miss and the wire resistance could
      still check good.

      You can open the hood on a dark night and see if there's
      any arcings....

      The coil pack is still a suspect.
       
    22. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      Thanks, I will definitely give it a clean and see what happens. I should not I tested the coil pack and the resistance checked out fine. I'm still kind of suspicious about the wires as well, I will take a look at them once it gets dark and see if there is any arching going on.
       
    23. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      Well I may have found the issue. I finally remembered to go out and have a look with it nice and dark outside, and sure enough, I got arcing going on with that number 4 wire. It looks like a bad connection down towards the plug, that's where most of the action was. It also shot some random arcs on the other side where that wire goes around the back of the motor. I also some a little arcing on the number 1 and 2 plugs.

      Also, I revved it up while I was watching, and the arcing actually went away mostly, which explains a lot. Remember this wire tested out at less than 10k ohms resistance, which should be pretty good. Definitely didn't tell the whole story though. Whenever I get paid I will grab a set of Autolite wires and throw them on to see what happens.

      Edit: Went and looked some more, is it normal at all to have arcing right at the end of the boot where the wire goes over the plug? I ask because cylinders 4,5, and 6 all had a bunch of arcing at the actual spark plug like that. The more I watched it the worse it got on #4, too. It was shooting all the way up the wire almost. Cylinder 2 had a pretty nasty one too.
       
      Last edited: April 8, 2012
    24. Runnin'OnEmpty

      Runnin'OnEmpty Well-Known Member

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      No, that is not normal. There should be no arcing at all!

      I'm sure you've found the problem and it should run
      like a champ with new plug wires.
       
    25. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      I'm pretty confident I found the issue as well. I can't wait to get money to put some new plug wires on this thing, hopefully it helps the gas mileage on it. I've been averaging 16.5 with quite a bit of highway, and I would like to see better with this truck
       
    26. Willard

      Willard Well-Known Member

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      Well, got the new wires today and installed them and did a seafoam treatment while I was at it.

      It definitely runs better, and after a good long drive I got back and let it idle for a few minutes, and no misfire :thumbsup: :D

      It still isn't a perfectly smooth idle, but I think it's probably as good as a 3.0L will get. The torque seems to be better, I noticed it downshifted less on the hills, and it seemed to climb better overall. So I'm gonna hope I've got this kicked, and now its time to save up for some power adders for this little motor ;)
       

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