88 Ranger 2.9L starts then dies suddenly after 5 min - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 05-18-2016
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88 Ranger 2.9L starts then dies suddenly after 5 min

I'm about to pull the rest of my hair out. The truck sat idle for 2 years without being driven, with a quarter tank of gas (stupid choice on my part, didn't even think to put stabilizer in it). I've been trying to get it going again to sell it, and it seems mostly OK, except that it started and drove OK (after the clutch t/o bearing hung up, but got it freed) for a brief while, as in a few trips around the neighborhood (less than 5 miles), and then after a short stop at the store, it died only a minute after re-starting it, acting like it was out of gas. I put about 5 gal of fresh gas in with a bottle of Heet, plus a bottle of injector cleaner, but nada. Towed it home, checked plugs/spark (plenty of fire), and put a new fuel filter in. Air filter is good too, can still see light thru it. It started right back up, ran for a few minutes, then acted like it ran out of gas again. Thinking it was water in the gas, or maybe more gunk from the tank clogging the filter, I unhooked the inlet line from the filter and tubed it into a clear jar, and ran the fuel pump until the jar was full. Gas looked clear and clean, normal yellowish color. I did notice occasional air bubbles in the tubing as the jar filled, but may have been leaking in around my makeshift connections for the tubing. After I hooked line back up, truck fired right up but then quit again after 5 min or so. One other thing that was a problem was the O2 sensor connector - it got against the exhaust pipe and got totally melted. So after finding out that you can't get a new 3-wire harness connector that fits the connector on a new 3-wire sensor, I simply patched a new section of wiring into the place where the connector used to go, being careful to keep the black signal wire from the sensor going to blue signal wire on harness, and I read here that it didn't matter which harness wires the white power/ground wires (for the sensor heater) were connected to.

So, I've got fire, air, and clean fuel. What gives??? It's driving me nuts. Is it possible it's just slugs of water still in the gas, even though there's a whole bottle of Heet in a half tank (now) of gas? This is making me remember why I stopped driving it to begin with! Anybody have any ideas, please?

UPDATE: I cracked the gas cap open, truck still does not start. Truck is stone cold, still will not start. Perhaps a squirrelly fuel pump? Anyone ever have a similar problem?

Last edited by Chrome Eternal; 05-19-2016 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 05-18-2016
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If your selling the truck, sell it as is and let these problems be for someone else to deal with.

Why spend a bunch of time and money getting it running when a 1988 Ranger has little value even in running condition?

Spend your time cleaning it and making it look good.

Short of this plan on pulling the tank, cleaning the tank, replacing the fuel pump, filter injectors etc.
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Old 05-18-2016
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Leave gas cap loose and see if it runs longer, EVAP system may be stuck open so tank is getting air locked, pump can't push out enough fuel.

The sock in the gas tank may be clogged up.
The sock is around the fuel pump and acts as a pre-fuel filter, it does get clogged up over the years but if enough fuel can flow in you never notice it, until you do, lol.

TFI modules(spark) are known to get heat sensitive, work great until warmed up then die, then work fine again after they cool off

Last edited by RonD; 05-18-2016 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 05-18-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EaOutlaw View Post
If your selling the truck, sell it as is and let these problems be for someone else to deal with.

Why spend a bunch of time and money getting it running when a 1988 Ranger has little value even in running condition?

Spend your time cleaning it and making it look good.

Short of this plan on pulling the tank, cleaning the tank, replacing the fuel pump, filter injectors etc.
Thanks EA, I appreciate your advice. I'd be happy to do exactly that, and tried it already, but it's hard enuf to sell an 88 Ranger w hi miles when it's RUNNING, let alone not LOL I'd practically have to give it away I'm afraid :-/
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Old 05-23-2016
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Wiring problem suspected

Well, the fuel pump is putting out good pressure, WHEN IT RUNS. Which isn't always. And I cannot correlate it to the engine being hot or cold. It ran great Fri evng, drove it almost 15 miles r/t to fill the tank w premium, ran like a champ. Guy bought it, drive it a half mile and it quit. When I checked it out, the fuel pump would not run, period. Towed it home, refunded his money. Tried it again the next morning, stone cold. Nothing. No power going to fuel pump, although I think I could hear the relay clicking. Tried it again yesterday afternoon, and fired right up. So if the fuel pump was bad, it wouldnt run at all. If clogged, it would try to run maybe, but wouldn't be dead and then fire right up. So I am left with it being a wiring problem, probably an intermittent break or short in the wire coming from the relay. If it was a bad ground in the high pressure pump, at least the low pressure booster pump in the tank would run, which it isn't. So I'm thinking bad power wire from relay. Does that sound reasonable?
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Old 05-23-2016
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There are two relays that "click" when key is turned on, EEC Relay and the Fuel pump relay, they are right next to each other in the engine bay.
Brown base is EEC
Green base is FP

relays are about $6, get another one and replace FP relay
It is a standard 4 or 5 connector automotive relay, nothing special, 4 connector is what you have but 5 will work and fit the base

If it was a bad pump then you would still hear the good pump, so...................probably not one of the pumps

Diagram of where relays are on an 1988 Ranger: http://www.justanswer.com/ford/3nj3m...ine-every.html
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