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avatar_BOOM! Tribium

Used Ford Ranger Trouble - HELP!

Started by BOOM! Tribium, October 01, 2013, 06:44:59 AM

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Hey everyone, this one mainly goes out to all the car guys around BOOM.

I recently bought a used 2002 ford ranger 4.0 off of craigslist. Everything checked out alright, no leaks, shifts well, etc. The only thing that was bugging me about the car was that it did not idle steadily...
My uncle said that it was no big deal since it passed smog with flying colors, and that it should be a minimal quick fix. The thing is, my uncle doesn't have time to help me tune it up, so I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to how to fix an idling problem.

when engine is hot or cold and in neutral or just at a stop sign, the car will idle fine for a couple of seconds then it feels as though the RPM's drop  a little. Almost like when you drive a manual transmission and you begin to release the clutch a little too fast and it feels like it is going to stall. Its not THAT dramatic, but its definitely noticeable.

This weekend I plan to get new spark plugs, plug wires, new fuel filter, get the transmission flushed, clean the throttle body and the MAF sensor, and check my vacuum hoses for cracks or leaks.

The only thing not on the list that I can think of adding is perhaps a new distributor cap. At the time of purchase I plugged a code reader into the truck and it didn't spit out any codes. The truck also only has 105k so I hope its nothing too serious. It has 3 timing chains and not a belt so I'm hoping those wont have to be replaced ever. Any other suggestions guys? Should I take a short video and upload it before the weekend so you guys can see what the issue is? Thanks a bunch guys.


This got me curious about your issue. After a few searches one of the things that keeps coming up and that sounds like your problem is that you need to adjust the idle settings in the onboard computer.

I'm Sh** with cars but if you do fix the problem I'd love to know what the cause was (I had a car a few years ago that did a similar thing but I sold it before I ever figured out the problem).



So I have not had enough time to complete everything on my list yet. So far I have cleaned the throttle body and the MAF sensor and have also swapped out the PCV valve. Already it sounds a lot better. Engine idle is not as muggy as it was . The throttle body was filthy as hell. I dont believe anyone had ever cleaned it. The PCV valve was also very dirty with almost no rattle. MAF I couldn't really tell if it was dirty or not as it was too thin to view.

The spark plugs+wires will be next weekend along with the fuel filter and transmission flush. I did put off getting a new air filter as I plan on getting a CAI and a flowmaster very soon. I will most likely be doing a quick touch up on the throttle body and the MAF sensor again when I install the intake.

I did however find a leak coming from my thermostat housing. I'm pretty sure the gasket is just worn out and is spraying a little out of there. That should be a quick fix. I'm loving the work room under a truck, the only thing that sucks is that the spark plugs are going to be a bitch to get to (at least the 2 in the far back).


My brother had a Ford Ranger around that year. Maybe 1999? It had a V-6 if I remember correctly. We did the timing chains on it if I remember correctly. It's been a long time and my Bro isn't around anymore to ask. And yes, it was a bitch.

I drove that truck quite a few times while he had it. I remember it having a similar problem to yours. The thing has a ton of power and would launch off the line once you got rolling, but when taking off in first gear from a dead stop, the engine RPMs would fall far more than expected and I always felt that had to give it more gas to get it rolling or it would stall.

I honestly think the majority of what you're seeing is because those trucks have a very high rear-end gear ratio. Starting off in first gear in one of those Rangers is like starting off in 3rd gear on the larger trucks so the engine really gets loaded down when first taking off. To test this theory, get it going about 1 - 2 miles per hour, just to the point where she's rolling, then give it gas and see how it takes off. I bet the problem doesn't occur or is almost unnoticeable then because the wheels are already in motion. That would confirm it's the gear ratio tricking you.

The work you've done is right on track Manny. I would have don't the same stuff if I was in your shoes. Regardless, it's good that you did all of that because it's gonna help the thing run longer anyway. But the problem may be a gearing design issue as I explained above so give that a whirl to see if it makes you think a little different about it.

Keep us posted!


I know exactly what you mean Mav. This is why I'm hoping the intake will improve throttle response a bit as it made a huge difference in my father in laws nissan frontier. It should hopefully get here this week and I'll report back. I've never used intakes in any of my cars/trucks so I'm excited. I'll be sure to keep you posted if it does in fact improve take off time.


So after completely destroying my fingers knuckles and elbows my truck is finally all finished and tuned up. Yesterday I got a transmission flush and service and today I installed my cold air intake and changed the spark plugs and wires. These spark plugs were by far the most difficult I have ever changed but I'm glad I was able to finish everything up.

The truck sounds great and it runs great. The cold air intake sounds pretty nice and with a flow master it will have some grrrr to it. Other than that everything else is done and up to date. I will have to change my thermostat housing soon (2 weeks) but it should be fine for now as long as I don't floor it anywhere. I'm excited to own a truck again (despite the horrible gas mileage compared to a 4banger) and it's already come in handy with 2 trips to the dump and recycler to get rid of some old stuff.

I know we are a gaming community but I just wanted to share my experience here as I know Mav has a badass truck and felt as though he would provide some good feedback. Also because I know  that ford rangers are very common so if anyone else in this community happens to own one and they needed some help/tips they would be able to ask me (or anyone else).


All sounds Good Trib. Did you get rid the stall sensation at take-off?



the stall sensation is completely gone at idle. While taking off I never really noticed it. The 4.0 Ranger is definitely tuned for towing more than anything. A couple of guys on mentioned that getting a cortex super chip makes a world of difference as it allows you to load different "modes" into your computer. I dont think I'll ever buy a tuner-chip or ever have to race someone off the line so I think I'll be okay. You are 100% on the fact that once the wheels get going, if you floor it the thing takes off though.


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