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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 11-09-2004
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I installed new spark plugs and wires last weekend when I hit 30,000 miles. I used Motorcraft plugs and wires. I looked up the part number for the plugs on motorcraft.com and went to Autozone and picked the plugs up. Then proceeded to the Ford dealer to get a new set of wires. So it ran fine for a week. Then when I was at work on Saturday I noticed that when I was in low RPM's (1000 - 1500) my truck would sort of sputter when accelerating (in 1st and 2nd and Reverse) as if it wasn't getting enough spark. So when I got home that night I let my engine cool down for a couple of hours and then checked to see if I had the correct wires on the correct plugs. The new wires that I purchased from Ford were not labeled 1 through 6 like my stock ones were so I lined them up on the ground and matched their lengths accordingly. Now I believe that I did that correctly but I'm not sure since my truck is acting up. On cylinders 1 - 3 the wire boots are colored grey and on cylinders 4 - 6 the wire boots are colored black. I was wondering what the lengths are all of the wires for all 6 cylinders? Maybe I got one of the wires on 1- 3 or 4 - 6 on incorrectly. And also what else could it be? Once I am sure that the correct wires are on the correct cylinders I am going to take out the plugs and make sure the gap is correct (0.44 right?)
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Old 11-09-2004
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I would not confirm correct wire placement by length.
Verify the firing order and work from that.
Do one wire at a time in the correct firing order.
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Old 11-09-2004
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Well how would I know what wire goes where then? Not sure what you mean...sorry. The firing order is 1, 4, 2, 5, 3, 6.
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Old 11-09-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXtremePC
So it ran fine for a week. Then when I was at work on Saturday I noticed that when I was in low RPM's (1000 - 1500) my truck would sort of sputter when accelerating (in 1st and 2nd and Reverse) as if it wasn't getting enough spark. ....Now I believe that I did that correctly but I'm not sure since my truck is acting up. On cylinders 1 - 3 the wire boots are colored grey and on cylinders 4 - 6 the wire boots are colored black. I was wondering what the lengths are all of the wires for all 6 cylinders? Maybe I got one of the wires on 1- 3 or 4 - 6 on incorrectly. And also what else could it be? Once I am sure that the correct wires are on the correct cylinders I am going to take out the plugs and make sure the gap is correct (0.44 right?)
If it ran fine for a week, you definitely did not have the firing order wrong. I would look for a cracked porcelain insulator, easy to do when installing plugs, especially if your spark plug socket has a worn or missing cushion inside. You did use a dedicated spark plug socket, right?

Your spark plug gap should be on your underhood emission compliance label.
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Old 11-09-2004
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I'm not sure if it was a "dedicated spark plug socket" or not but it was long enough to fit over the spark plug and it didn't slip or nothing. It fit the plug just fine. And if the firing order was incorrect wouldn't it be doing it all the time instead of just around 1000 RPM's?
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Old 11-09-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXtremePC
And if the firing order was incorrect wouldn't it be doing it all the time instead of just around 1000 RPM's?
Yes.
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Old 11-09-2004
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If you know where top dead center is on the distributor you set the #1 firing cylinder there.
Take off the distributor cap hopefully there is a nick in the metal rim of the distibutor this is TDC or Top Dead Center and that tells you where the #1 piston spark plug wire should go.
Then place the plugs in the firing order.
I have not worked on my Ranger to this degree, but trust the distributor turns clockwise.
TDC spot to the #1 cylinder, then skip a post for the next three by the order you posted.
Do the odd side first, then go back and do the even side.
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Old 11-09-2004
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There is a hole where the distributor used to be... These days it is home to a camshaft position sensor.
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Old 11-09-2004
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Well I'm pretty certain that I have the firing order correct and that the wires are on correctly. I went to check just now if I had a cracked porcelein insulator. Nothing looks cracked whatsoever and the plugs seemed to be just fine. I started it up this time and it didn't sputter. But I know when I get out of my class it will. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't. But it does it most of the time.
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Old 11-09-2004
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An insulator can be cracked electrically without you being able to see it visually.
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Old 11-10-2004
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well rwenzing, you hit the nail right on the head. I thought it was the wires at first. So I took them back to Ford and exchanged them. Didn't work. Then today my Check Engine light came on. I ran the code. 0301 = Cylinder 1 Mis-fire. Then I look at it when it was dark and there were sparks shooting. Took the plug out and saw this:


Replaced it and now it runs like a charm. Thank you all very, very much for all of your help. I truly appreciate it and probably would have spent a lot more money than I should have to fix it. Thank you all!
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  #12  
Old 11-10-2004
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I'll be awarding Bob 10 Cool points for the correct answer... :) Good job man!
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Old 11-11-2004
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Plus 10 more from me :)
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  #14  
Old 11-11-2004
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You need to be delicate with spark plugs or this happens. I wish they would just break in two when they crack like some of them used to. It was pretty obvious when you had a cracked insulator that way.
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Old 11-11-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXtremePC
I'm not sure if it was a "dedicated spark plug socket" or not
If you plan to do your own plug changes, it would be a good idea to add a quality spark plug socket to your tool box. Although it looks similar to an ordinary deepwell socket, the spark plug socket has an internal cushioning sleeve to help prevent insulator damage. Many also have an external hex to allow a wrench to used for access to tight places. While it can't prevent damage entirely, it is certainly a big help.

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Old 11-11-2004
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I'll have to get one of those next time I change them. Thanks again for all of your help.
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  #17  
Old 11-11-2004
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It also holds the plug in there for you so you don't drop it in the well and mess up your gap.
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  #18  
Old 11-11-2004
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Well I put the plugs in by hand as tight as I can and then use the socket to tighten it down.
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  #19  
Old 11-11-2004
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You still need the spark plug socket.
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  #20  
Old 11-12-2004
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Well not for awhile, lol. I don't plan on changing them again very soon.
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