Struggle to get truck to move when cold - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 12-05-2011
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Struggle to get truck to move when cold

My truck is a 2002 Ranger V6 3L Automatic Transmission with just under 70k miles on it.

When you move the truck from Park to Reverse, or Drive, you can feel it move into gear. When I let my foot off the break the truck just sits there. After giving it some gas and revving the engine up a little a loud thud is heard from the back end and the truck finally moves. It doesn't have problems shifting when going down the interstate (another problem cropped up at the same time and is described below), or after the initial thud.

The thud problem started today (first really cold night/day in Iowa), and is uncharacteristic of the truck.

Second problem (after reading forums, leads me to believe the alternator is to blame): When the truck hits ~4000 rpm the battery light flashes on, and the battery voltage drops to low. I had an employee of Advanced Auto Parts run a diagnostic to see if the Alternator is going bad, the test came back fine but the Amps pulled during the headlight and air on max test were borderline problematic. I purchased a new alternator and will install it tomorrow.

I believe the two problems are a coincidence and am hoping a new alternator will fix the second.

As for the first problem, what do y'all suggest I look at?
- The transmission fluid level is fine, but has never been changed to my knowledge.
- I had rear differential changed about 30k miles ago due to leak.
- Problem only occurs when the engine is cold, when warm it shifts into drive/reverse fine.
- Sound comes from back of truck.

Thanks for any advice and help you can offer.
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Old 12-06-2011
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Maybe the cold causes something to shrink up and constrain things from engaging? It's prolly not the clutch since it drives fine the rest of the time... maybe take a look at the parking brakes? I had mine get stuck on once (they like to stick when it gets real cold) and had to rock back forth to get it loose. My money would be on the parking break freezing in to place and when you hit the gas it popped it loose. No big deal if thats it.
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Old 12-06-2011
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Yeah thinking about it some more I'm almost sure it was your break frozen in place. Its nothing to worry about but is a minor annoyance.
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Old 12-06-2011
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Thanks for the reply Mcleary!

After reading your suggestion, it does seem the brakes are most likely the culprit. Would make sense they had froze because the day before it rained and moisture might have gotten between the drum and brake pad, then froze once the temp dropped.

Glad to know I shouldn't be too worried about it. Thanks again for the reply.
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Old 03-04-2012
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Any update on this. Im thinking it wasn't the parking brake.
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