General Ford Ranger Discussion General discussion of the Ford Ranger that does not fit in any other sub-forum.

1997 Ford Ranger 2.3 liter

  #1  
Old 02-27-2019
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1997 Ford Ranger 2.3 liter

Ok I have a 97 ranger 2.3 liter 5 speed with around 275000 miles. It's had 2 owners my dad and I. It's been maintained properly and not abused for the most part.

I've recently started to have a problem with it were it will loose power and I have to pull over to the side of the road. Kinda does the jerking were it will want to go then die want to go then die. Once I pull over I can rev it up but as soon as I let off the clutch it doesn't have any power to move. It doesn't die but acts like it wants to. AFter butterflying the gas pedal for a bit it will decide it wants to run and I can go on for a bit more.

I've replaced the iacv. I've replaced the fuel filter, fuel pump and the coil packs. The coil packs were replace 6 months or so back. They were a rock auto special.. Feal like they could be the problem now. Of course I thought the same thing of the fuel pump.

After replacing the fuel filter it ran fine for around 100 miles and then started acting up again. Same thing with the fuel pump. Very frustrating obviously.

Anybody got any ideas on what it could be?
 
  #2  
Old 02-28-2019
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Spark is either on or off so doesn't read like a spark issue, engine would cut out then come back on, which would be "jerking" but no loss of power in between
With the 1989-1997 2.3l Lima engines BOTH spark plugs fire at the same time, either will ignite the air/fuel mix, dual spark plugs give better MPG and lower emissions

In 1995 to 1997 you can unplug either coil pack's 3 wire connector and then start the engine, this can tell you if one of the spark plugs on the working coil pack is misfiring
Repeat for other coil pack
Its a good diagnostic tool to see if all 8 spark plugs are firing, and its FREE, lol.

Lower fuel pressure can cause loss of power, but you should get a LEAN Code from the computer, may want to have the codes checked, any auto parts place will usually check them for free, WRITE DOWN ALL CODES, "I think code was..........." is worse than no code at all, lol

Couple of things it could be
Clogged exhaust, Cats and mufflers can rust out inside and parts shift around so you get a partial blockage(which might be cleared by REVing engine), if all the exhaust can't get out then all the new air/fuel mix can't come in, so you get lack of power without alot of misfires

You can test for blocked exhaust with $20 Vacuum gauge, still one of the best diagnostic tools for any gasoline engine


Leaking FPR(fuel pressure regulator), longer shot but free to check
There are 2 fuel lines coming up on the drivers side of the engine bay
One goes to the Fuel Rail, it is the Supply line coming from fuel filter
The other goes to the FPR, its the Return fuel line, sends extra fuel back to gas tank

Locate the FPR, it will have a Vacuum hose attached, remove this hose and check it for gasoline
If FPR leaks then the Vacuum will suck extra fuel into the engine, flooding it which causes a loss of power, REVing engine clears extra fuel until enough fuel leaks out again
 
  #3  
Old 02-28-2019
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Here's the codes I've pulled.

P0135 O2 heater circuit (bank 1, sensor 1)
P0171 system to lean (bank 1)
P1132 lack of H02S11 switches sensor indicates rich
P0172 System too rich (bank 1)

Not really sure if any these are new except maybe the P1132. I know I have issues with the o2 sensors but just ran with em because they never really gave me any running issues.

Thinking it's the maf sensor is dying at these point..
 
  #4  
Old 02-28-2019
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Check the fuse for the O2 heaters, should be fuse #20 in engine bay fuse box, 15amp fuse
Since the one fuse powers BOTH O2 heaters it could be wiring issue at upstream O2 sensor, sensor 1

Repairing this may clear O2 codes

But O2 sensors use a chemical reaction to detect oxygen so they run out of chemicals just like car batteries do, usually around 100k miles they are used up
So they do need to be changed unlike other sensors which are just electronics so don't "wear out", TPS is the exception because it is a moving part not just electric

You clean MAF sensors, no moving parts in these and no chemicals, they can go bad but clean them first
And MAF sensors are also tested by the computer for errors in air flow using throttle sensor, computer "knows" how much air should be flowing past MAF sensor at any given throttle position and RPM, it "knows" its running a 2.3 Liter engine, so it "knows" how much air should be coming in, MAF sensor is there to fine tune the WEIGHT of that air

And with the exception of the Heater circuit code both the lean and rich codes can be caused by plugged exhaust
 
  #5  
Old 02-28-2019
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Oh I forgot that I have replaced the tps. That was actually the first part I replaced in attempt to fix.

Can't imagine a exhaust so plugged up that it would cause this and if it did why would I still be able to run it afterwards? Seems like a plugged exhaust would not be intermittent..
 
  #6  
Old 02-28-2019
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It can be if parts inside are shifting around with air flow

You can hit Cats and muffler with a piece of wood and see if you hear rattling, not definitive, lol.

Vacuum gauge would tell you many things about engine condition, including if exhaust has flow issue


If you replaced the TPS then why not the upstream O2 sensor, especially since you are seeing O2 codes, and didn't see TPS code, which computer would set if TPS voltage was out of range
 
  #7  
Old 02-28-2019
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I tried to replace the upstream o2 sensor. Got in there and found out that as some point someone tried to splice a sensor that didn't have the correct harness on so I was going to have to get in there with the correct. the problem was that the wires were so dirty I couldn't tell what the colors were..

Also from what I've gathered tps can be bad and not throw a code.
 
  #8  
Old 02-28-2019
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???
O2 sensors come with wiring attached, its a universal plug so wire colors are not needed
The difference in part numbers for O2 sensors is for the length of the wire it comes with, otherwise they are the same

Follow the O2 sensors wires up to the main wiring harness and find its connector, new O2 will plug in there
 
  #9  
Old 02-28-2019
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Right, it was actually cut before the harness. So I would have to get wire connectors and connect a new harness for the o2 sensor to have something to plug into. I have no idea why someone would do that but who knows. Its kinda in an obscure location, in another words a bit hard to get to especially if your going to re-connect wiring.. The universal o2 sensor would not plug into the harness at all. it was a completely different plug. I thought I had the wrong part at first but turned out it was the right part just wrong plug coming from the computer.
 
  #10  
Old 02-28-2019
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Are you sure that was the O2 sensor plug?

There is a round plug near firewall for automatic transmission it would be unused in manual truck and should be empty

You will need to fix this,
Diagram below
Light Blue/orange stripe wire is the 12v from Fuse for the heater
Red/white stripe wire is the heater Ground(in computer)

Orange wire is the sensors Reference, it is spliced to grey/red wires at all the other sensors
Grey/light blue stripe wire is the actual sensor wire, it runs to the computer, this is the upstream O2
 
  #11  
Old 03-01-2019
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Well looks like I'm going to have to take a look at it again. If I remember correctly I ran the wires from the upstream o2 sensor up to the connector and there it was when attempting to replace it that is.
 
  #12  
Old 03-01-2019
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Harness plug in should look like this: http://i.fixya.net/uploads/images/7_...9_24_36_pm.jpg

Red/white stripe wire = HO2S HTR
Light Blue/orange stripe wire = VPWR

Orange wire = SIG REF
Grey/light blue stripe wire = HO2S SIG

O2 sensor wires will have 2 white or 2 "any color" for the heater, HO2S HTR and VPWR

Then 2 other colors for the sensor part, SIG REF and HO2S SIG

Sample of O2 colored wires here: https://www.aa1car.com/library/o2_wire_chart.jpg

As said the O2 sensor and its wires and connector are universal
 

Last edited by RonD; 03-01-2019 at 08:25 PM.
  #13  
Old 03-01-2019
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Interesting.. Didn't realize they were universal. Again I'm going to have to get under it and look at it. It's been awhile. My thoughts on it are why has it ran fine for so long with these being disconnected and all of a sudden causing major issues? I mean I'm sure it will help to get them fixed and sending proper signals to the computer and all but the cause of the current issue? Not seeing it..
 
  #14  
Old 03-02-2019
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If you are talking about the Rear O2 sensor, downstream O2 then yes it would take a while to effect engine operation

If its the upstream O2 then computer would have been running in Open Loop this whole time, CEL(check engine light) would be on full time
Open Loop is fine unless things change in the system, fuel pressure changes a bit, vacuum leak or outside temp changes more then 50deg

Open Loop means computer is using Ford's air/fuel mix it came with from the factory, so it has no adaptive method to adjust for changes in the system

With working O2 sensor it can adapt, thats called Closed Loop

And may be O2 has been working, but is not any more
 
  #15  
Old 03-02-2019
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Oh I see. No that you mention it, it does seem to act up when it get cold out. I don't it might be my imagination. I just replaced the map sensor, seems to be running fine but won't know for sure until I drive it a bit.
 
  #16  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Here's an update. So I cut the cat off and had a straight pipe welded in to replace it. Shined a flashlight through it and couldn't see any light through the other side so it was definitely clogged. I also measured the temp before and after the cat with a infrared gun and it was over 400 before and around 240 after.. I've driven around 80 miles at this point and haven't had any issue so will see. So far so good.
 
  #17  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Good work

Yup, clogged exhaust will give you all sort of problems, because the loose pieces inside a bad cat or muffler can shift around, clogging and unclogging exhaust flow
 
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