1996 Ranger 2.3 power issues.... - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 06-11-2016
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1996 Ranger 2.3 power issues....

I have a 96' Ranger with approx 240K miles on it. Recently the Timing Belt broke and i had a mechanic replace it..and while he was at it he replaced the lower pulley on Harmonic Balancer.When the mechanic put it back together the engine started right up ,but does not have much power.Mechanic unbolted exhaust at the manifold to see if Catalitic Converter might be an issue but mech said that was not the problem.Checked compression and that was not an issue.Mech also replaced Cam shaft sensor.
The Mechanic says he "thinks" that its an electrical issue...what would the next step be if it was your truck?
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Old 06-11-2016
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Welcome to the forum

I assume the power from this engine was OK prior to timing belt change, right?


What were the compression numbers?
2.3l should be in the 170psi range

Cam sensor will effect MPG not power.

And you test for exhaust blockage with Vacuum gauge while engine is running, not sure how you could test it by removing an exhaust pipe?????
You also test engine condition in general with a vacuum gauge, this $25 tool can help you alot.
Mechanic should know this???

Crank sensor will effect power, it runs the spark timing.
Crank sensor is working or engine wouldn't start, but it reads a tone wheel that was removed when timing belt was changed, and it is a VERY precise timing.
A little slop in the tone wheel means spark is happening too early or too late, which lowers power.
This is a long shot since it should be obvious if tone wheel was loose, but have read of it happening.
Check spark timing with timing light, not OBD2 reader

This is a picture of 2.3l harmonic balancer with tone wheel on the back: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Engine-Harmo...FWe7yw&vxp=mtr

It looks like a gear, but has 1 missing tooth, at 1:00 in picture
The missing tooth tells computer when #1 cylinder is at top dead center, so that sets up the spark timing for all 4 cylinders, it can come loose from the balancer, so shifts slightly one way or the other.

Last edited by RonD; 06-11-2016 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 06-11-2016
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Power was good before belt broke.the compression tested approx 180 psi in all 4 cylinders.
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Old 06-12-2016
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bent valve(s)
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Old 06-12-2016
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you would think bent valves but if compression is truly that high and equal in all cylinders then it couldn't be.

I'm convinced the timing is off, perhaps by one tooth of the belt. Intermittent electrical problems are hard to track even for good mechanics but the fact that it was running good before and not now should lead to something obvious. I hope you are not related to your mechanic and have the ability to upgrade :)
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Old 06-12-2016
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have you done a complete compression test with the new belt installed

i would pull the harmonic balancer off and hear for any noises coming from inside the balancer

my step fathers car had running issues , the magnet inside the balancer had broken free and was just spinning inside when the engine was running
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Old 06-22-2016
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The mechanic took it back apart to see if all marks were lined up and he says they were and that he is certain it is not timing that is the problem...what do I need to do? I am in a big jam here..this truck has been setting for 6 wks and I am walking and borrowing rides to get from A to b....please help
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Old 06-22-2016
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although the engine is not interference fit

it is not uncommon for a valve or 2 to remain fully open during crankshaft rotation and have the piston contact a valve(s)

while either slightly bending that valve or punching a hole in the piston head

i am riding on bent valves

but do a compression test first ,to determine the cylinders present compression psi
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Old 06-22-2016
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With 180psi compression test I think valves and cam timing are OK.

That leaves spark timing and that is set by the harmonic balancer...........
"...and while he was at it he replaced the lower pulley on Harmonic Balancer"

There is a "gear", tone wheel, on the back of the harmonic balancer that sets the spark and fuel injector timing.
It is a press on fit, so they have been known to move......if it did then spark timing would be off.

Check spark timing with an "old time" timing light.

Also check Fuel Pressure just to take that off the table.

You say it idles good, what RPM cold and what RPM after warm up?

Is it a manual or automatic trans?
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