1996 Ranger stalls when cold. - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 01-20-2014
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 2
1996 Ranger stalls when cold.

Hi all,

I've got a problem with my truck stalling when cold. The problem is abated if I warm the truck up in the garage for about 5 minutes before driving, but when I leave work I usually run into trouble. Here's what typically happens:

The truck starts up fine, and it will idle fine while in the garage or wherever. After a minute or two of driving, when I'm coming to a stop, the truck will stall out after I take it out of gear. If I catch it, I can rev the engine and keep it alive. It will also die when out of gear at high speed (for instance, when changing lanes into an off-ramp and coasting) but it will start up if I shift into gear and take out the clutch. If it does end up dying at a stop, it will be very hard to start and will crank for quite a while (long enough that I have to throw the hazards on and crank it for a while). Once it does start it has a pretty rich smell like it is almost flooded.

I have already replaced the IAC valve and cleaned the MAF, and I'm not sure what else could be causing the problem, maybe a faulty throttle position sensor? Once the truck's been on the road for a while, it drives like a dream. The problem only occurs in the first five or so minutes of driving. Any ideas?
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Old 01-21-2014
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 7,599
Well IAC(idle air control) valve would have been my first choice as well.

Computer uses IAC valve and CKP(crank position) sensor to set idle, 1,000rpm cold and 750rpm warm
Those are presets in the computer.
All Fuel injected engines also use an ECT(engine coolant temp) sensor to get cold or warm data, this is a two wire sensor only used by the computer, dash board temp gauge uses a one wire sender.

ECT sensors rarely have a problem and I doubt it would cause the issues you describe.

Just to confirm IAC, CKP, ECT and computer are all on the same "page" the following should happen on cold start.
Foot off the gas pedal
Start engine
RPMs should go up above 1,200
Then drop down to approx. 1,000rpm
That's the computer opening the IAC valve all the way for startup, so high RPM
Then lowering RPM to "cold idle" based on ECT temp.
As engine warms up idle should start dropping until warm engine idle is 750rpm, closer to 800 on some automatics.

If all this happens the computer and mentioned sensors are all working as they should.

With engine warmed up unplug IAC valve, idle should drop down to approx. 500rpm
If engine stalls there should be a screw on the throttle linkage that will set the "no IAC" idle, this is there to prevent stalling in case IAC fails, adjust it so warm engine will idle at 500-600rpms with IAC unplugged, but not above 600rpms

The engine could be flooding out when cold, dirty injectors can cause this also older spark plugs.
Can of Seafoam in the gas tank will clean injectors, some motorcraft spark plugs will get back strong spark.

Fuel injected engines also have a routine to clear flooded engine.
Turn key to RUN
Push gas pedal to the floor and hold it there, if engine isn't running this tells computer to shut off injectors.
Crank engine, if it starts to fire then yes you were flooded out, since injectors are off it shouldn't fire at all.

Besides dirty injectors, a faulty fuel pressure regulator(FPR) can cause flooding, FPR is on the fuel rail and has a vacuum line attached, remove this vacuum line and check it for gas or gas smell, if gas is detected replace FPR.
The diaphragm in the FPR can crack and gas is then sucked into the engine via the vacuum line.

During warm up the only fuel/air mix determination the computer has is the MAF, the O2 sensors can't be used until engine warms up.
Cleaning is good but you should probably test it with volt and ohm meter.

TPS(throttle position sensor) failing probably wouldn't give you those issue, but they are easy to test with volt meter and a couple of sewing pins.
Computer sends TPS 5 volts, if throttle is closed TPS sends computer under 1volt, if throttle is wide open TPS sends computer over 4.5volts.
So it works just like a volume control or light dimmer, turn it one way for more the other way for less.
TPS will have a 5v wire and a Ground wire, 3rd wire is the voltage that is sent back to computer.
Pierce wires with pins, far enough apart so they can't short to each other, then turn on key and test voltages while opening and closing throttle, you want to see nice smooth changes, if you see any jumping up and down replace TPS.

Last edited by RonD; 01-21-2014 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 01-02-2016
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: The NH
Posts: 1
Bumping this thread up as I have the EXACT same problem on my '97 2.3L. Also replaced the IAC, MAF is squeaky clean, new plugs/wires, fuel filter, fuel pressure looks good. Spent twenty minutes with a can of carb cleaner looking for vacuum leaks and found nothing. Ran a can of Seafoam through it, and no luck.

Any other thoughts?
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