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Old 03-26-2010
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'02 Ranger jumpy oil gauge

~100K miles. 3.0L Manual transmission. Problem started last summer. Would only do it on longer drives. Turn off truck, start back up, would be OK until driven a while. Always changed oil and filters at regular intervals. No leaks. No smoke. No rattling, grinding, pinging or other noises. No antifreeze in oil, or oil in antifreeze. Spark plugs look OK, all exhibit similar wear, and were changed at 83,000 miles.

Always only does it after fully warmed up, and only as coming to stop, and settled to idle, but intermittent.

First, replaced sender. No help. Shortly after, noticed CPS was starting to squeal. Had that replaced. Still did it.

Replaced sender again with higher quality one. No difference.

Had a mechanic temporarily connect an actual oil pressure gauge and monitor it. Said it was actually still pumping oil, and SHOULD be safe to drive. He also temporarily installed another sender, but that didn’t help.

What I have noticed, and he agreed after I mentioned it, is that after good and warmed up, and coming to idle at a stop, sometimes the tach shows the idle to drop a few hundred RPMs, and the engine seems to idle a bit rough. That’s when the gauge bounces. The slightest bit of throttle causes the gauge to stabilize. I have no idea how accurate the “tach” is (if it’s anything like the speedometer…not very) but on a cold start, it goes to just over 1000, maybe 1100 RPM. After short runs, it idles to just under 1000, maybe about 800 RPM. When the gauge starts bouncing after longer runs, it seems to drop to what would appear to be about 600 RPM, and idle a bit rough.

So, I’m starting to wonder if the lowered idle is causing the oil idiot-gauge to not see quite enough pressure to work properly, and causing the bounce? I’m wondering if something in the emissions control system is causing that?

I cleaned the IAC valve and throttle body. I also cleaned the MAF sensor. Helped smooth things a bit, but still has the problem. I suppose it still could be a bad one of those? Maybe the IAC valve isn’t working quite right, and causing low idle after warmed up?

How about the ECT sensor? Could that be fooling the engine into thinking it’s too hot, and thus, trying to reduce idle to cool down? Is that how it might work?

I’m fairly convinced the jumpy gauge is caused by the lowered idle. Does that make sense? Or, am I chasing the wrong thing?

I’d appreciate any ideas. This is driving me crazy, and I’m nervous about driving much at all until it’s resolved properly.

Thanks,

Howler
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2010
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You replaced the Cam sensor, but did you replace the whole cam synchro? Life expectancy is about 80-100k miles.

I had the same problem about 3-4 weeks ago on my 3.0 with 80k...I popped in a new oil pressure switch but I haven't been on a long trip when it's really hot out with the AC on since...and that's when the problem was occurring.

The cam synchro sits right under the cam sensor...and goes bad. You may also notice that the engine chirps when first starting up...or even chirps when it warms up.

That cam synchro, which the cam sensor reads also drives the oil pump. If the synchro goes all the way bad, parts can break off and fall into the oil pump, cause the oil pump to go bad, or cause your engine to not get enough oil and you'll spin bearings, etc...then you'll need a whole new engine.

--

edit: https://www.ranger-forums.com/f32/cam-synchro-104549/

stay tuned I guess...

Last edited by dbp02; 03-31-2010 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 03-31-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howler View Post
I’m fairly convinced the jumpy gauge is caused by the lowered idle. Does that make sense? Or, am I chasing the wrong thing?
Funny you say this because I was convinced of the same exact thing when mine was doing it...I still haven't 100% confirmed that it will not do it again on the next super hot day out in traffic.

It would do it EVERY TIME at idle that the AC compressor kicked on, when the idle would dip...the oil pressure gauge would flicker. Then it started doing it more and more.

--

But like you, I'm kind of hesitant to just set out on a long road trip. I mean I drive my truck to and from work (~4-5 miles a day) and that's pretty much it (any time we go anywhere, we take my wife's fusion because the kid is with us). This particular day, I went about 20 miles to down town pittsburgh to pick up my son who was sick at day care...and there was a wreck on the main road on the way back (was about 75 out, so the ac was on)...so it was bumper to bumper for literally an hour.
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2010
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Cam synchro unit AND sensor was replaced. Synchro unit was what was squeaking. That's fine now, but didn't fix the jittery gauge. Brand new Gatorback serpentine last fall.

As indicated earlier, I had a friend at a shop put a real gauge on temporarily, and drive it. He said it appeared it was getting OK oil pressure, and that it has to be something else.

I'm skeptical about an intermittent electrical problem causing anything, including the lowered idle, which is when it happens. I've cleaned the contacts for all the sensors, etc., and the instrument panel connections have all been cleaned. It seems a loose or corroded electrical contact/wire would do it at any random time, not just after being driven. There's just as much vibration to cause intermittent contact upon startup and driving a couple miles as driving farther, right?

This is what leads me to believe something in the emissions system...weak part, sensor, vacuum, etc...may be causing it to idle too low after a good run, and then the oil gauge isn't seeing quite enough pressure to work properly. I suppose it still could be a bad IAC valve. Cleaned, but weak, and not setting properly after warmed up?

One thing I have been noticing is that it seems to take quite a while longer for the temp gauge to come up, and then it seems like it settles just shy of normal, which was right at half-gauge, if I remember properly. It takes about 1-1/2 to 2 miles before it even starts to move. I had attributed this to possibly the cold temps this winter, until it warmed up recently, and it still takes a couple miles to come up to temp.

Possible faulty thermostat throwing off ECT readings, and causing confusion? Will change that today. 100K miles...time for a new one anyway. Why not? Cheap and quick. Plenty of good antifreeze, and water pump is working properly, circulating.

That should rule that out. Right now, I've got the lens off the instrument panel, and the minimum screws and dash panels, etc. installed. The gauge has bounced a few times all the way around, and I figured I'd just reach in and push it back over, until I find the solution and then reassemble all of it.

Driving me nutz.

Thanks,

Howler
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2010
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hrmm yeah that's definitely weird. Definitely keep this thread up to date so we can all learn.
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2010
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I have a 2002 also and has done this since new.I have always noticed the same thing,its like the engine is stalling.I think the trans is in a mid decision and the engine doesnt know what to do.I have 167k on the truck so I dont think it is going to hurt it now.It always recovers the idle on its own and runs fine.
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  #7  
Old 04-01-2010
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Does your oil pressure gauge jump around though when yours does it? I hear you on the tranny thing, but mine and his are both manuals, so I dunno if that could be the problem in ours.

But I mean I definitely felt like, that day, it had something to do with the RPM dropping a bit when the AC compressor kicked on.

Maybe our batteries are low...or our alternators aren't putting out 14.5 volts or whatever, and it's throwing that off just enough that a little dip in engine RPM makes the reference voltage to the sensor drop...no clue...but I mean I do know that of all the lights on the dash, the oil pressure is probably the one I'm most scared of.
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2010
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howler, my 02 auto is doing the exact same thing. with the whole idling at 600rpm rough after warm up, did u think to check the egr valve, cause im thinkin thats whats goin wrong on mine. i have just short of 130k on mine and my buddy thats ford certified tech said thats prolly the problem. but keep us all updated on what the fix for the jumpy oil gauge problem cause mines buggin the crap outta me lol
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  #9  
Old 04-02-2010
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I've had this happen to me as well during a long drive. Never seen any problems though
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  #10  
Old 04-02-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xXcecinestpasXx86 View Post
I've had this happen to me as well during a long drive. Never seen any problems though
well mine only does it if i drive it hard. if i drive like a paw paw its fine, but if i drive like a bad outta hell, it gets jumpy
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2010
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Where’d my post go??!! Oh well...do it again.

Anyway, changed the thermostat. THAT was fun. The geniuses at Ford apparently thought it would be a great gag to machine the centering cutout in the hose neck, instead of on the engine. So, instead of simply dropping it in, slapping a gasket on, and tightening the neck on…the thermostat has to hang from the neck with an adhesived gasket hopefully holding it in place. After 4 times falling out, 2 gaskets, and twice tightening only to discover antifreeze squirting out because it had shifted and didn’t seal properly…it finally took. What SHOULD have been a twenty minute fix took over three hours, including the hour carefully scraping the concreted old gasket off so it wouldn’t fall into the open hole.

Anyway, it does come up to temp more quickly, and reads about center…slightly higher than before the change. Apparently, after 8 years and 100K miles, it was due for a change, anyway. But, it didn’t cure the jittery gauge. I guess that actually makes sense. If the engine was running cool from an open thermostat, it MAY have actually tried to rev it UP, instead of down to keep at proper temp…if it was going to do anything. Right?

So, on to other ideas. 02xlt mentioned EGR valve. I actually hadn’t considered that, since the Haynes manual (yeah..I know) states “”Note 1: 2002 and later 3.0L engines are not equipped with an EGR valve”. I popped open the hood and looked, and unless it’s hidden under other stuff, I don’t see one. Curiously, I searched online parts stores, and some came back “part not found”, while others claimed to have one. Huh???

Will remove some parts to investigate further today, on that. Otherwise, I’m still leaning toward some kind of sensor(s) wigging when hot. Oxygen sensors?

The Throttle Position Sensor looks intriguing...maybe it's that $25-30 part? I guess that could definitely affect idle, and cause a stumble, then cause the gauge to bounce? I'll test it later.

I had noticed my throttle cable was a tad slack at rest. I doubt that could cause any low idle problem since it still let's it return completely, but may investigate a possible adjustment of that later. Going to a mechanic buddy's house in a while.

SOMEthing is causing this. And I wanna know what the freak it is!

Thanks guys,

Howler
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howler View Post
Where’d my post go??!! Oh well...do it again.

Anyway, changed the thermostat. THAT was fun. The geniuses at Ford apparently thought it would be a great gag to machine the centering cutout in the hose neck, instead of on the engine. So, instead of simply dropping it in, slapping a gasket on, and tightening the neck on…the thermostat has to hang from the neck with an adhesived gasket hopefully holding it in place. After 4 times falling out, 2 gaskets, and twice tightening only to discover antifreeze squirting out because it had shifted and didn’t seal properly…it finally took. What SHOULD have been a twenty minute fix took over three hours, including the hour carefully scraping the concreted old gasket off so it wouldn’t fall into the open hole.

Anyway, it does come up to temp more quickly, and reads about center…slightly higher than before the change. Apparently, after 8 years and 100K miles, it was due for a change, anyway. But, it didn’t cure the jittery gauge. I guess that actually makes sense. If the engine was running cool from an open thermostat, it MAY have actually tried to rev it UP, instead of down to keep at proper temp…if it was going to do anything. Right?

So, on to other ideas. 02xlt mentioned EGR valve. I actually hadn’t considered that, since the Haynes manual (yeah..I know) states “”Note 1: 2002 and later 3.0L engines are not equipped with an EGR valve”. I popped open the hood and looked, and unless it’s hidden under other stuff, I don’t see one. Curiously, I searched online parts stores, and some came back “part not found”, while others claimed to have one. Huh???

Will remove some parts to investigate further today, on that. Otherwise, I’m still leaning toward some kind of sensor(s) wigging when hot. Oxygen sensors?

The Throttle Position Sensor looks intriguing...maybe it's that $25-30 part? I guess that could definitely affect idle, and cause a stumble, then cause the gauge to bounce? I'll test it later.

I had noticed my throttle cable was a tad slack at rest. I doubt that could cause any low idle problem since it still let's it return completely, but may investigate a possible adjustment of that later. Going to a mechanic buddy's house in a while.

SOMEthing is causing this. And I wanna know what the freak it is!

Thanks guys,

Howler
ive actually found the part at oriellys for an egr valve on an 02 3.0L. its was like 53 dollars. they say that the egr valve is behind the intake manifold against the firewall. and alldatapro.com says the 02 has one but doesnt say where it is.

here is the link for the egr valve on an 02 3.0L:

2002 Ford Ranger EGR Valve | O'Reilly Auto Parts

if it asks you for a zip code type in 77707 and select the store on college st.

TPS could be the problem, and there is a mod to fix the slack in your throttle cable, i did it to mine with 3 zip ties and made a BIG difference. theres a how to thread on how to do it if you want to. all it took for me was 3 zip ties and about 5 mins to do.
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Old 04-04-2010
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Originally Posted by 02_xlt View Post
ive actually found the part at oriellys for an egr valve on an 02 3.0L. its was like 53 dollars. they say that the egr valve is behind the intake manifold against the firewall. and alldatapro.com says the 02 has one but doesnt say where it is.

here is the link for the egr valve on an 02 3.0L:

2002 Ford Ranger EGR Valve | O'Reilly Auto Parts

if it asks you for a zip code type in 77707 and select the store on college st.

TPS could be the problem, and there is a mod to fix the slack in your throttle cable, i did it to mine with 3 zip ties and made a BIG difference. theres a how to thread on how to do it if you want to. all it took for me was 3 zip ties and about 5 mins to do.
ok so i checked my truck and there is NO egr valve yet oreillys sells one (wtf) so the next thing im going to look into is the TPS since i unplugged it and the idle did not change at all (not sure if its supposed to or not)
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  #14  
Old 04-16-2010
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Hey guys... My girlfriends ranger would do the same almost stall thing.. We had a ford tech with his techy computer at the house.. In his computer it came up n said this is a known problem and is fixed with an update.. It 100% fixed the low idle/almost stalling issue.. Shes still getting the jumpy oil pressure guage, which is why im searchin around here again..
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Old 04-17-2010
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Meister...

What was the "update", please?
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Old 04-17-2010
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To be honest, I dont even know what it was called or anything.. It just updated the computer.. It was all in HIS computer.. The girlfriends in KY right now and on her way down yesterday she said the gauge flicked quite often, but never had idling problems..
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  #17  
Old 04-22-2010
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I have the same problem with my 02 ford ranger. The oil gauge will flutter from high to low real fast, it happens on take off when i dont quite give it enough gas.
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  #18  
Old 05-16-2010
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Mine 01 did that the other day but has not done it since. I also have a misfire on #1.
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  #19  
Old 05-16-2010
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ford tech told me it was the cam syncro shaft skipped a tooth. im just gonna replace mine, its like 70 bux for the part and ima get the tech to do mine on the side for 40 bux
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  #20  
Old 05-17-2010
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Originally Posted by 02_xlt View Post
ford tech told me it was the cam syncro shaft skipped a tooth.
Mine was just starting to chirp last fall, and I had a Ford dealer replace it as soon as I figured out where the chirping was coming from. Didn't fix the gauge problem. I suppose it's possible that the gear driving the shaft is a bit worn, but wouldn't an intelligent designer make the more easily replaceable gear wear easier than the "pull-the-engine" gear? Also, I've inspected the oil closely for quite a while, and have never seen any indication of metal in it.

Howler
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  #21  
Old 05-17-2010
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When replacing the cam synco assembly , be certain to use an original Ford replacement.
The aftermarket units (Dorman) have been known to fail in <20,000 miles.
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Old 05-17-2010
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mines been doing this for a year but it doesn't run different at all. only does it at first start up of the day then goes away when truck is warmed up.
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  #23  
Old 05-18-2010
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My truck has been doing this for a while, almost 50,000 miles now. The cam syncho and CPS were replaced at 62K miles due to chirping, but that had no effect on the oil gauge jumping at idle. It continues to do it with 95K miles now. I just ignore it. If the oil pump was failing or if the engine was not getting sufficient oil at idle, it would be apparent by now.
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  #24  
Old 05-31-2010
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well i took my 03 on a trip this weekend and i was cruisin about 75 or so, after about 200 miles i stopped at a red light and out of no where the oil guage started jumping, but the idle was fine.. but as soon as i go it seems to be fine.. so if yall find a for sure fix for this here issue post it up.. thanks
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  #25  
Old 06-01-2010
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change the oil sensor
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