1997 ford ranger 4.0 plz halp - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 07-16-2016
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1997 ford ranger 4.0 plz halp

I have a 4.0 1997pos it wont start, happened gradual. all lights come on engine clicks once then nothing. I can clutch jump it. replaced battery connections and starter still same problem. Is the solenoid attached to starter on this truck? Is there anything else to check/replace? I am getting ready to set myself/truck on fire, i am not a mechanic just poor and this has been the most problematic auto i have ever bought. I have bought many.

sorry for being so cynical just tired and currently working on 2 cars(this perpetually being one of them) and like I said this aint my trade so

PLS HALP
thnx in advance
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Old 07-16-2016
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Welcome to the forum.

Yes, on a 1997 Ranger the Starter relay/solenoid is on the starter motor.
You can try tapping on the starter motor and see if it starts working again, if it does then solenoid or brushes on the motor are failing, replace starter.

Could just be a bad cable to the starter motor or starter motor is bad.

The Click from the starter motor area when key is turned to START usually means the signal from the key is getting to the starter relay on the starter motor, but starter doesn't have battery power or motor part is bad.
There is also a Safety Switch to prevent starter motor from working if truck is "in gear", but you would hear no "click" if this was the problem, it blocks signal from key to starter relay, this switch is on the clutch pedal pushrod.

Negative battery cable is very important as well, it must carry same amps as positive cable, find where larger cable attaches to engine and make sure it is making good connection.

The cable from Battery to starter motor can get corroded under the insulation, this could be the "gradual" problem.
Disconnect battery
Remove the larger cable from starter motor, use a razor knife to cut insulation off, go back about 3 or 4 inches, if you see whitish discoloration then cable will need to be replaced.
Use electrical tape to re insulate it if wire looks good

Pull out starter motor to test it

Yes, when a vehicle gets over 15 years old it can get loads of problems, really depends on previous owners.
Starter motors, water pumps, brakes and tires seem to wear out no matter how careful you are, lol.

Last edited by RonD; 07-16-2016 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 07-21-2016
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continued

thanks for your response but i need some further help

the starter is brand new and im fairly sure it was installed correctly

the battery looks good, all lights come on and are strong, the neg cable looks slightly corroded at where it connects to the frame but i really dont see that being the problem. I will cut it back after making this post but i seriously dont see that fixing it. like i said battery seems strong otherwise with lights and all.

what is the next step? something to do with the ignition switch maybe? im going to check all the fuses under the hood and cut that old ground away but if that fixes it i will be amazed. please help me i am going insane
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Old 07-21-2016
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The larger Negative battery cable MUST go to the engine, usually to the starter motor bolt or motor mount bolt on the block side, but it can be a separate bolt on the engine block.

Some have a ground strap from Engine Ground(above) to the Frame.

The engine has the starter motor and the alternator, these are the high AMP users, so has to have a large ground cable, same size as Positive cable to starter, or you don't get the full AMPs.

Engine and trans sit on rubber mounts so are isolated from the frame and body.
Grounding the frame doesn't ground starter or alternator, it grounds the tail lights.

Electricity is like water in some ways, if I am sending water down a 1/2" pipe and it then changes to a 1/4" the flow will be less than if it was 1/2" all the way.
So battery cables are the 1/2" hose, you have 1/2" for starter and then 1/4" back to battery instead of required 1/2" to get full flow out and back

Last edited by RonD; 07-21-2016 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 07-28-2016
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ok i have new grounds and battery upgrade, new post connectors, new starter, i have thrown every part at it i know.

Good charge, good starter, good lines, fuses look good, is there ANYTHING else I should be checking or replacing? relays or ignition stuff? WHATS NEXT I am running out of patience and money and time to spend on this flaming fail-mobile
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Old 07-28-2016
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There is a smaller Red/blue stripe wire on the starter motor, that wire will have 12volts when key is turned to START, that's what activates the starter motor relay/solenoid.

That 12volts comes from ignition switch, under steering column

12volts---Ignition switch---------Clutch switch-------------------------Starter motor

The clutch switch must be closed(pedal to the floor) or that 12volts won't go to the starter.
Prevents starting engine while in gear

Google: Ford ranger clutch switch

You can bypass this switch

You can test if this might be the problem by MAKING SURE TRANSMISSION IS IN NEUTRAL!!!!!!!

Then use a jumper wire from battery + to the smaller terminal on the starter motor, the one with the red/blue wire
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Old 07-31-2016
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i actually had a problem with my clutch switch so in wired it to be in a constant 'pressed in' condition then shoved it back under the dash. like with actual wire wrapped around it so the spring stays pressed in. but im fairly certain thats not it because it was a gradual decline in starting instead of will or wont. But I will go ahead and recheck it....

but ignition switch is next? how would I go about checking that? is there common symptoms of failure similar to what i have described?
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Old 08-01-2016
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Ignition switch is a Slide switch located under the steering column above brake pedal area.

Yes, they can wear out or the key cylinder mechanism can get loose.

When you turn the key it moves a long rod that runs down steering column, the rod slides the ignition switch into its 4 positions.
ACC, OFF, RUN, and START

If the key mechanism is loose it might be moving the ignition switch all the way to START.
If it feels tight then it is probably OK.

Ignition switch is not too hard to get to or change if needed.
Video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3I2oye8OpQ
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Old 08-24-2016
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ok I have replaced everything. I am getting the same signal on my voltage meter going into the starter as I am at the battery which I am assuming is enough since it is a new battery. Lets try this......

What would happen if i just made a jumper from the battery side of the starter to the solenoid? If everything is kosher it should just start up right?

and if this works could i just make a relay with a toggle switch in the cab and forget about it? I mean assuming this would work at all? its no different signal going to the solenoid as it is going to the battery side on the starter itself right?
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Old 08-24-2016
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Yes, that's what the ignition switch does, passes 12volts to Starter Relay on the starter motor.

Use a spring switch, like a push button, push and hold, switch, not an on/off toggle switch or it will get turned on when engine is running and there goes the starter gear :)
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