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Old 07-28-2013
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Omaha
Posts: 1
Weird Electrical Issues Related to Starting

95 Ford Ranger 4.0 V6

Have had some strange electrical issue going on for a while, all of them were pretty manageable up until recently. I'll give you a little background first and then get to the current issue with not being able to start the truck.

When we got the truck, the previous owners had taken out the dome light, because the sensor on one of the doors (pretty sure it's the driver's side) wouldn't always register the door as being closed, and would drain out the battery. We've lived with it, but it hasn't been a huge deal.

More recently, the electric locks on occasion wouldn't work. You'd push them and they would be just barely move a little but but never fully work.

Now in the past week we haven't been able to start it. A few of my obersvations:

I'll turn the key partway, lights all come up on the dash as they would, looking nice and bright. Battery charge gauge right smack in the middle. Turn they key to try and turn it over, and there is a click and the dash goes completely blank. If I try and start it again, the lights on the dash won't light up and when I turn it all the way to try and start it, nothing at all. No sounds, no dash lights. Weird thing is, the radio is still working at this point.

Don't know if it's related, but at one point, I had the driver's side door open, and the keys in the ignition, was having the above-mentioned problem, and then suddenly the door chime started going, the lights on the dash came back on, and I was able to start the truck.

Also, don't know if this is related - when troubleshooting yesterday, I had the blank dash/no click problem, decided to give up for the night, and went to go shut the hood. The light on the hood was flashing, it did that for about 5 seconds and then just went out.

I'm pretty baffled. Any ideas?

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Old 09-24-2013
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Amherst, Ohio
Posts: 14
I had the click issue a while back and had starter tested found it was bad replaced it. Worked fine for a week or so and just recently had other issues and decided to trace the main lines from battery and starter solenoid ( the one mounted on the drivers side fender) ends up both were bad one corroded ends the other had multiple sections of exposed wire and looked like it over heated and was shrink wrapped where it wasn't exposed. Replaced both and she fires right up no problem. So follow those wires check any relays and ground.
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Old 09-25-2013
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The one click thing lead me to think "dirty battery terminals".
Clean the battery posts and cable ends really well and use some conductive grease on them to help conductivity and keep the corrosion down.

Check all of your wiring from the battery, to the starter, to the alternator, to the cab.
Look for bad connections and cracked or broken wires.

Check all of the grounding, from the engine to the frame and to the battery.
Also, check to see if the main body ground from the engine to cab is still in place.

If after cleaning things up and making sure all of the connections are OK, and things start to work again, look at replacing all of the main ground wires, alt/engine/frame/body to battery and add a couple, one from the alternator case to the battery and one from the starter mounting bolt to the battery.

The door/interior lights, I am not sure but the newer Ranger have the door switch as part of the latching mechanism. Spray WD-40 in the latch and work the door a few time to get things moved around, that usually works.
AND the doors tend to rust inside, some more than others but this could be a problem for grounding. Open up the door and see what is in there, if the ground wires (anything that is attached directly to a metal part) look rusted or corrodes, broken, replace the ends, clean up the mounting point to bare metal and use a GOOD dielectric grease on the connection in it as well as on it.

OK that’s it for me, I am guess on most of this but will most of it is just checking and see what happens.

Good Luck...
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Old 10-03-2013
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: arthur
Posts: 2,100
there are 3 aluminum ground straps

1 / battery to frame
2 / frame to engine block
3 / engine block to engine bay firewall

check and replace all 3 ( you will be glad that you did )

most automotive electrical gremlins are nothing more than a corroded ground strap

white powdery corrosion is a clear sign that the ground straps are gone
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