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

Electrical issue... HELP!

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Old 02-15-2013
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Electrical issue... HELP!

This problem started three days ago.

I go and start the truck (can't remember if I attempted to use the remote starter or just the key) and the truck is acting like the battery is drained. When I say "drained", I'm talking there's enough juice to DIMLY turn on some idiot lights and you can BARELY hear some relay clicking somewhere (I believe it was coming from the remote starter?). I popped the hood and was about to connect my jumper cables to my truck, when the radio turned on (the key was in the ignition in the ON position). I decided to skip the jumper cables and try the key again. It started up with no problem.

It happened once the first day, once yesterday, and four times today. Today, the truck actually lost all electrical power WHILE I was on the highway going almost 70mph. When I decided to slowly brake and pull over to the emergency lane, I noticed the power came back. I put it in neutral while still coasting at around 50 and it started up fine.

The second time it happened today, I had just stopped and turned off the truck. I opened the door and hit the lock button, but nothing happened. When I noticed the loss of power, I popped the hood and was about to connect the negative terminal to the chassis to determine if the problem was a bad ground, but then the truck turned on all by itself (I had left the key and remote start FOB inside the truck while I was outside).

This lead me to believe the remote start module was damaged, so I flipped the valet switch to disable the remote starter. It still happened twice with the remote starter disabled.

Details on the truck:
2003 4.0L SOHC
Battery recently replaced with new battery about 4 months ago.
Hella lights installed behind grill, but can only be turned on while the key is in the ignition in the ON position (I tapped into the power wire going to the radio).
Avistart remote starter (I believe it's model 4103)

Can anyone shed any help? I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what it could be:
  • Bad battery, but Autozone already tested the battery
  • Bad alternator, but that wouldn't cause this, right?
  • Bad starter, but that would only affect starting... not overall power, right?
  • Bad ground, but which? I've heard there are 8 grounds on our trucks.
 
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Old 02-16-2013
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No suggestions?
 
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Old 02-16-2013
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Disconnect the Remote Start System and see if it happens again.
Problem is it might be within the System and all wiring will need to be disconnected.
Start with the main power wires.
 
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Old 02-16-2013
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Poor connection at battery posts? Any corrosion?
 
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Old 02-16-2013
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Originally Posted by Scrambler82 View Post
Disconnect the Remote Start System and see if it happens again.
Problem is it might be within the System and all wiring will need to be disconnected.
Start with the main power wires.
I've already planned on taking the remote starter out tomorrow to see if this is the issue.

When you say "system", do you mean the remote start system or the truck itself?

Originally Posted by rolsmojave3 View Post
Poor connection at battery posts? Any corrosion?
Nope. All tight and clean. This is baffling me.
 
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Old 02-16-2013
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i had very similar issues with my truck a while ago, truck not starting one second then it would crank the next, battery acting like it was dead, gauges not working, blower motor not working, foglights not working. i spent days working on the truck off and on trying to figure out the problem. i pulled out the starter and cleaned the connections and bench tested it (at this point it was only starting issues), load test the battery and alternator. cleaned my grounds. it was nt until i had gauges start going out that i got into the dash. i had the cluster out and steering column apart because it still wouldnt start. i was testing the clutch switch (which now doesnt work lol) when i bumped a large connector in the driver side lower dash. the connector fell right apart, there is a J style clamp used to keep the connector together that came loose. plugged it back in and EVERYTHING worked again.


electrical trouble shooting stumps a lot of people and i know a lot of mechanics will not even touch it if it is more than a simple issue.

it doesnt matter how difficult the problem may seem, there is always a simple solution for it. bad ground, short or open circuit (could be a pinched or cut wire) corrosion, bad power source.
just make sure you start with the basics before you get in over your head.

to me it does sound like either a bad connection in a harness like i had or an ecm problem, but without actually working on it i cant give a very good diagnosis
 
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Old 02-17-2013
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Well, I didn't expect it to be as cold as it was, so nothing got done to the truck.

Originally Posted by ranger4.0 View Post
i had very similar issues with my truck a while ago, truck not starting one second then it would crank the next, battery acting like it was dead, gauges not working, blower motor not working, foglights not working. i spent days working on the truck off and on trying to figure out the problem. i pulled out the starter and cleaned the connections and bench tested it (at this point it was only starting issues), load test the battery and alternator. cleaned my grounds. it was nt until i had gauges start going out that i got into the dash. i had the cluster out and steering column apart because it still wouldnt start. i was testing the clutch switch (which now doesnt work lol) when i bumped a large connector in the driver side lower dash. the connector fell right apart, there is a J style clamp used to keep the connector together that came loose. plugged it back in and EVERYTHING worked again.


electrical trouble shooting stumps a lot of people and i know a lot of mechanics will not even touch it if it is more than a simple issue.

it doesnt matter how difficult the problem may seem, there is always a simple solution for it. bad ground, short or open circuit (could be a pinched or cut wire) corrosion, bad power source.
just make sure you start with the basics before you get in over your head.

to me it does sound like either a bad connection in a harness like i had or an ecm problem, but without actually working on it i cant give a very good diagnosis
Holy crap Batman! Where you the previous owner of this truck? lol That is the exact issue. As to the solution being the same, idk yet. I was able to test out the ground theory today. When the problem arose, I took my jumper cables and connected the negative terminal to the chassis. If it were a grounding issue, it should have seen SOME improvement, but the condition stayed the same. FML
 
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Old 03-20-2013
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UPDATE:

I switched out my remote start unit about a month ago, and it has NOT done anything strange at all. I guess it was a defective unit.
 
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