1998 won't start (electrical) - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 06-12-2015
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1998 won't start (electrical)

I picked up a salvage title 1998 (in signature) mostly for parts. I'd like to get it running now. PO didn't speak much English, but was going to sell it to family in Guatemala or something. They said it may have a bad fuel pump (only about 88K on the truck). It looks like it may have had an aftermarket alarm in it at one point. It also had aftermarket fog lights hooked up at some point too. It had no battery when I got it. It is also missing the driver side inner fender and the radio. I'll give a list of what has happened, and some pictures.

- At one point we tried starting it off a jumper box. It turned over, but wouldn't fire. I chalked it up to the fuel pump being dead and didn't touch it for a while. I did not know the clutch harness was not plugged in at this point.

- I looked at it all again much later and I saw an odd, lone gray wire under the hood going through the firewall at the clutch. Went inside and popped off the knee panels to get a better look. It ran up and spliced into the red/light blue wire coming out of the ignition module (I guess that's what it's called). The other end of that wire had a purple wire crimped to it, but that went to nowhere. There was also a yellow and a green/gray wire with tape on them. I noticed the clutch harness was unplugged so I plugged that back in. I got a battery and tried starting it with no luck. All it would do was click once and blow a fuse. I replaced the fuse and walked away from it for several months. I'm looking through the owners manual trying to jog my memory and I think it's the 7.5A fuse in slot 24: clutch pedal position (CPP) switch, starter interrupt relay, anti-theft.

- Found the EVTM I bought for my 2000 2.5L 5-speed. Everything looks the same so far. The red/light blue wire that's cut on the C213 ignition switch (page 13-21) is in PIN STA, circuit 32 and is labelled as Hot In Start Output. Everything else looks in place. That wire feeds the clutch position sensor directly (and the GEM and radio, I think).

- I got the Red/blue wire crimped back together. It was running from the ignition module all the way to the starter motor. I'm not sure what the point of doing that is, other than to bypass the clutch safety switch maybe. Whatever the reason, it's all pulled out and corrected now. The yellow and green/gray were stripped a little, but never severed. Next step is to find a battery or jump box and see if it wants to fire.

-I was given a weird little jump box for Christmas. I decided to hook it up and see if the truck did anything. Nope. Deader than a door ****. I'm not sure if the jump box couldn't handle it, or if I just need to get a legit battery. Figured I'd tried this first to save $115 on a battery if I could... assuming more things need to be done before I can make real use of a battery.

-Got the battery installed. I got inside the truck (key was already in it) and didn't hear a chime or anything. Turned the key to "on" and the gauge cluster lit up. Turned the key to "start" and I heard a click, then everything was dead again. Key off, out, on, start... all dead. The click sounds like it's coming from behind the dash. There's no radio in it, so I could hear the click pretty well. I didn't hear or see a mini-fuse blow this time. I noticed another wire was tampered with to the right of the steering column. Looks like a very small yellow/green wire, patched up with black electrical tape. I also saw a white/gray wire going to a plug that had nothing plugged into it. I'm not sure what that's for either. (Picture below.) The battery is disconnected for now.

I'm guessing there's a relay or fusable link behind the dash somewhere. I'm not sure why it's being tripped though. I'm also curious as to why all this botched wiring was done.

Clutch harness plugged back in. You can see the gray wire coming through the firewall.


You can see both ends of the red/blue wire here. One end is crimped to a black wire, which is the same as the gray wire, they just extended it by twisting it together with the gray one.
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Overhead shot, where you can see the gray wire I first spotted it. (I figured out where that yellow vacuum tube connects to as well.)
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To the right of the steering column. Haven't figured out what the yellow/green or white/gray wires are for yet.
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Old 08-09-2015
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It's been a while since I could work on the truck. Life stuff. I think I'm a smidge closer to getting it solved...

I wasn't sure about the clutch safety switch and wanted to rule it out, so I jumped with 14ga. wire it like so...


Hooked up the battery, cranked they key, dash lights flashed and I got a single chime, heard a click, then... dead. Nothing would come back on at all. Same as before.
I unhooked the battery and turned the key to the on position. (Don't know why I never tried this before. Derp.) The chime rings (not sure if for the door or something else) and the gauge cluster lights come on. Right after the second chime, I hear the click, but the truck doesn't die. I turned the key off and back to on a couple times and notice that the ABS light turns off when I hear the click. So I go through ALL the relays in the box under the hood, taking one out at a time, and it changes nothing. All the relays look original. I had dad help me out and we can't tell where the click is coming from, other than it sounds like the driver side. I don't see any more spliced wires. In the engine bay. It could be behind the dash, but it sounds like a relay clicking. I had lost my help at this point so I tried unplugging the harness going into the RABS control block. Started it and everything was the same as before except the starter did try to bump the motor for a split second after the click, then everything completely died again. It seems very bizarre that the entire electrical system completely shuts off until I disconnect and reconnect the battery.
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Side note: This might be totally unrelated, but the PO's son is such a hack that it wouldn't surprise me if he mangled something important while installing this... It had an aftermarket crappy fog light kit wired into it. The only places that harness was still attached were at the marker lights, and one of the fog lights that is still on the truck. It looks like they set the fogs to come on with the driving lights. The rest of the fog light harness was already cut or detached. I was hoping to find a relay improperly spliced in somewhere random, but I don't see anything unusual in the engine bay.
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Old 08-09-2015
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The 1998 with anti-theft has 2 relays, starter interrupt relay and starter relay

Here is the wiring diagram for manual trans for the colors.
The red/light blue splice could have been an attempt to by-pass anti-theft or the clutch switch?
In theory you could splice into the red/light blue wire coming from ignition switch and run that directly to starter relay's tan/red wire(or pink wire at #5 on clutch switch)
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Old 08-09-2015
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I I don't think the 2.5L truck were offered with PATS. There was a link somewhere... here: http://www.bsecorp.com/files/techtips/FORD%20PATS.pdf on page 14. The 2.5L didn't have the option for anti-theft.

Thanks for that diagram though. Do you know where those two relays would be located, just in case anything looks off when I check it out?
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Old 08-09-2015
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It say engine compartment fuse/relay box in the diagram

If you don't have PATS then the other one won't be found anywhere.
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Old 08-10-2015
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I wasn't entirely convinced the click sound I've been hearing is coming from the engine bay, so I started digging into the interior this afternoon. I started with the radio bezel, which was just resting in place and originally came from an Explorer. After I pulled that out of the way I only noticed what I had seen before: the radio wires had been cut from the connector. (There is something else wrong here, but I didn't notice it yet.)
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Since I didn't notice anything unusual, I moved on to the gauge surround panel and steering column cover. Holes had been drilled/punched in them so I figured I might find something. NOPE. Then I pulled the cluster out and saw a large wire that looked out of place. I started pulling it out and found an antenna of some sort.
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I followed the antenna where it split into a Y about dead center of the dash, between the firewall and the defrost duct. I can't tell what it's spliced into below, but I followed the other wires around and back towards the hole where the radio should be. Two wires were spliced into a plug towards the passenger side of the radio bezel area. I'm not sure what that plug is for, but it's wires were black and the other was dark gray/magenta.
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That's where I hit a stopping point. I probably have to pull the dash back a bit to see what else that antenna is spliced into, and if any of the original harness has been damaged or disconnected because of it. I'll probably be able to work on that Wednesday.
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2015
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sounds to me like you're losing body ground when you turn the key. run a ground wire from battery ground to a good ground on the body. also check the ground connection at the engine block.
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Old 08-10-2015
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Thanks. I'll give that a shot. I need to move the truck around so it's easier to work on. I'll be able to get a better look at the ground on the block then.
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Old 08-11-2015
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Here is a Radio wiring diagram for 1998 Ranger: http://www.therangerstation.com/tech...dio_Wiring.pdf

In the first picture in post #6, I see the antenna wire, and what looks like a vacuum line(90deg rubber elbow)
A Ground spade.
Not sure what the connector with the spliced wires is for, larger gauge, could be radio but colors don't match that I can see.
I assume it is 12v and Ground, you could put a meter or test light on them and see if they are live with key off or key on, and then pull fuses until power goes off, then look up fuse # to see what it powers.
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Old 08-11-2015
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I'll have a look through there and see if I can find something. If not, that'll help me sort the butchered radio wires.
I've seen connectors like this in other trucks when searching through the junkyard, either laying loose or plugged into the plastic bezel (for neatness, I assume). I've also seen similar connectors running to buttons and switches on that side for the fog light button, rear defrost button (Explorer), or something similar. I don't know what all the various radio bezel button options are. The 1998-2001 2.5L trucks didn't get things like fog lights or PATS. It could be part of the fog light circuit that wasn't removed from this part of the main harness. (These trucks are devoid of the rest of the fog light circuit.)

As for the spade connector and 90 degree rubber elbow on the left side, that's for the cigar lighter.
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Old 08-11-2015
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the ranger has a aux power point in the area where the harness Is spliced. the fact it had a explorer bezel would explain why it wasn't hooked up.
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Old 08-21-2015
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Yup. It was the 12v power source. I feel like an idiot for not remembering that.

I finally got a chance to dig around on the truck after a week of family emergencies. Other than losing my 7mm socket (in the defroster duct, I think), I tracked down those mystery wires. I had to unbolt the dash to lean it back far enough and found what appears to be a LoJack box. So that's another wiring trail run cold. I'll attempt to get the truck moved to were I can see underneath it better this weekend.
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Old 01-11-2016
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So I listed the truck for sale just to get it out of my hair. Then I remembered to take a peek at the negative terminal at the motor mount. I looked above and below and didn't see it. Walked away. Decided to trace it from the battery to the motor mount and noticed a tie down clamp on the driver side had been removed at one point and not retained with a nut when put back on. (First picture, from under the truck.) So You kind of lose sight of that wire bundle along the cross member, but on the other side it looks normal from above going up to the alternator. However from underneath... not so much. I don't recall the factory using any white tape. I also got a shot of the starter, because I'm not sure what wires are supposed to run where and I don't have my old truck to reference. Something could be very wrong here...

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I figured I'd ask what this was supposed to look like before tearing it apart, in case someone comes looking to buy it and gives me enough money to not care anymore.
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Old 02-22-2016
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Well, that was a dead end. I started pulling that harness out and found a Ford tag on it. I'm stumped on this truck. Might just look for a truck with a blown motor, swap in this one and scrap the rest.
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Old 04-17-2016
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Finding a used truck in need of an engine is a competitive sport around here, and I'm not fast enough.

It was pointed out to me that the yellow wire on the starter looked wrong and that Ford typically uses a red/lt blue wire there. I went out to the junkyard looking for an underhood loom to pull and swap into my truck. I only found one truck, and it was botched up as well, but I did verify that the wire should be red/lt blue. I should probably pull as much of the harness out as possible and trace that to see where the circuit has been altered.
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