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1997 Ranger Starting Issues and Power Loss

blastthexradioo

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City, State
New Hampshire
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Ford Ranger
Hi guys, this is my first post here as I've run out of hope with this dang truck. It's a 1997 Ford Ranger, 2.3 liter 4 cyl standard. I've been using this truck as a daily driver for over a year now. The other day I jumped into my truck, everything ran fine, ran to the store and came home. The next day I get in my truck to go to work, turn the key, nothing. I know I didn't leave my lights on, and I have the fuse for the dome lights pulled so it couldn't have been my dome lights. I figured it died because I left my radar and GPS plugged in, forgetting that I had just driven it the day before with no issues. I was able to get the truck jumped, drove 20 minutes to Walmart, parked and when I came back out it was dead again. Forgot my radar was plugged in yet again, figured that killed it. So I get it jumped, after about 5 minutes it starts. So now, I drive 30-35 minutes to a gas station, doesn't start yet again. This time it's taking forever to jump. It'll try to start when it's connected, but just doesn't seem like it's getting the extra umph it needs to start. After finally getting it started I drive it 30 minutes back to my house, nothing plugged in at all to draw from the battery. I park it and it's instantly dead, no sounds at all when trying to turn it over. I figured my battery was just bad, so I got a battery and the new post connectors. Still can't get it to start. Stepdad checked the wiring, everything seems to be connected fine. I'm weary to think it's the alternator because when I was driving it there was no lack of power and the battery gauge didn't drop. I didn't think it was the starter because it does try to turn on when it has the cables connected to it. Any ideas?


Also as a side, possibly related problem - When the truck was running sometimes it would idle really really roughly. It would usually happen when I first turned on the car, and started in the winter. Thought maybe it was the cold Maine winter, turns out it still happens in the summer. It got to the point where if I was driving under 25 mph and decelerating, decelerating ONLY, it would die while driving. Not jumping or stalling, it would just shut off. Brakes and steering would get hard. I think my steering wheel might lock sometimes, but honestly when it happens my first priority is to start the truck ASAP and control it. This doesn't happen all the time, there are times I can start the truck and have no issues with it. Usually when it happens I can get my truck to start right away, but sometimes I have issues and it won't start until a couple of clicks. Any idea if this is related?
 






Tbars4

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95 ranger 4x4/ 91 X 4x4
...One of the things you can do for free is swap the coil packs with each other..

..One of the coil packs is the primary and is used to start the vehicle...Sometimes, this will go bad on it's own with no other sign than not starting..;)

..I'm not saying this is your problem but it's worth a check..

...I was having a similar but not as extreme issue which finally resulted in a flashing CEL and finding the cause and being able to repair it..
http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=238991&highlight=coil+pack
 






blastthexradioo

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July 25, 2013
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City, State
New Hampshire
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Ford Ranger
Hmm, I wonder if this is the issue I'm having when it dies. I did finally get the truck to start! Turns out there's a short, somewhere behind my speedometer and it was drawing so much that my truck didn't have enough power to turn over. So now my truck starts, but the fuse for the odometer is pulled.
 






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