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2.9L & 3.0L V6 Tech General discussion of 2.9L and 3.0L V6 Ford Ranger engines.

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Old 04-16-2015
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Marietta OH
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88 Rnager wont start.

Hello, I am currently working on my 88 ranger 2.9L and am failing to get it running. it was running fine the same day then it just died and haven't got it to run since. i have done many things to try and fix this problem such as check the inertia switch, change the solenoid, check the coil, check the ignition module and even bought another one, i am getting the proper fuel pressure and can here the pumps running. I even went as far as to change the ignition switch and still nothing. the starter will crank all day long and nothing will happen. now it currently quit getting spark but i actually had it running last night after all day of working on it. I really am at a loss and cant afford to get this thing towed and sent to the shop im not even out of high school yet.

Last edited by 88 Ranger XLT; 04-16-2015 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 04-16-2015
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Big 3 for gasoline engines are:
1. spark, at the right time
2. fuel, mixed with the right amount of air(14:1, air:fuel)
3. compression

Compression is the most reliable to test since it can't be intermittent, you either got it or you don't, so once tested it can be taken of the table.
Compression is needed to pre-heat gasoline/air mix, a spark won't ignite gasoline unless it is pre-heated, despite what you may have seen in movies, lol.
But lets assume compression is good, since engine recently started, unless you have a pressure gauge to test it.

Fuel is the easiest to test, get a can of Quick Start starting fluid(ether), this is a good thing to have around, ether has a lower ignition temp, so even weak spark should ignite it with moderate compression.
Spray some in the intake and crank engine, if it fires up and then dies, your fuel system is the problem.
You can also use gasoline, put some in the intake(table spoon) and crank engine.
PCV Valve hose or power brake hose is a good way to get fuel into the intake on fuel injected engines, remove hose from intake spray or pour fuel in, replace hose, crank engine.

If engine doesn't fire then spark is the first issue to address.
Ignition systems have varied over the years, but they all still work the same way.
A Coil generates a high voltage low amp spark.
It does this by getting 12volts and then losing 12volts, each time power is cut the coil generates a high voltage discharge on it's secondary output(spark plug wire)
In the past this was done by Points in the distributor, when points opened power was cut to coil, when they closed coil powered up again.
Negative(-) connection on the coil is used to cut power because it is easier to use than (+), tachometer is hooked to (-) on coil to count each time power is cut and returned.
After points a sensor was used in a distributor, these didn't wear out like points, the sensor was used to control a "transistor" that cut power to the coil and then repower it.
That is what you have now, TFI system uses a sensor in the distributor and a TFI module to cut power to coil.
Later systems use a Crank position(CKP) sensor in place of distributor, and ICM(ignition control module) to cut power to Coils, either coil pack or COP(Coil On spark Plug).
So it is all basically the same just less parts that can wear out.

So start with the coil, it is the easiest to test, with key on it should have 12volts at the (+) terminal.
Now get a spark plug and wire and hook it directly to the coil.
Make sure spark plug is grounded to engine.
Remove the wire(s) on the coil's (-) terminal, spark plug may spark, depends on TFI module.
Now use a jumper wire that is grounded to engine and touch other end to coil's (-) then pull it off, you are "the points", when you pull it off you should get a nice bright blue spark, yellow is a weak spark, repeat it several times as fast as you can, even at idle that coil is sparking 300 times a minute(600rpm).

If you are getting a good bright spark coil is OK, but coils can change when they get hot and they do get hot, so if it passes the test it will start the engine but doesn't mean it is 100%.

A 12volt test light is also a good tool to have, hook it up to the wire(s) that came off the coil's (-)
Hook up other end to battery +
Crank engine
Light should flicker if TFI module is cutting ground.

Good read here on TFI module testing: Ford EEC-IV/TFI-IV Electronic Engine Control Troubleshooting
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