2.3L '94 Ranger won't start in freezing temps - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 01-29-2014
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Icon4 2.3L '94 Ranger won't start in freezing temps

Hey guys, new user here. Just got my 2.3L '94 Ford Ranger about 4 months ago and it did great for a few months, but once the temperatures dropped down below freezing, I started having issues.

When I tried to crank it, it would turn over normally, but just wouldn't start. I noticed that the voltmeter was only reading around ~10V. So, I kept trying to crank it and eventually it did start up after about an hour's worth of trying. When it finally cranked, I took it to the auto parts store and got them to replace the battery. The terminals were slightly corroded but the guy assured me they were fine. So I took it home, cranking just fine. I should note that it was probably just over freezing that day, maybe 40F.

The next morning, I go out to crank it (probably 28 degrees F) and it won't start again. I get my friend to install new terminals. Still won't crank. So he then tells me it's probably the crankshaft position sensor and replaces that. Does fine for a couple warm days. As soon as it's cold again, it won't crank.

So now I'm at a loss. What would cause it not to start in cold temperatures? Could it be a bad wire between the battery and the starter? The voltmeter being at ~10V puzzles me, since the battery and terminals are brand new.

Any suggestions? I could really use your expert advice!

Sincere thanks,

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Old 02-27-2014
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nothing, really?
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Old 02-27-2014
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If cranking speed sounds normal then it could just be the volt meter.
But the colder it is the thicker the oil is and the batteries chemical reaction that creates the AMPs slows down.

The colder the air the denser it is, so the more fuel it takes to start engine.
You also need a good strong spark when the fuel/air is that rich.
So cold starting really puts all the systems to the test.

One thing to try is to turn the key on, count to 3 then turn key off, repeat 3 times then crank engine.
This primes the fuel system 3 times, this ensures fuel system is up at 40psi.
If this works then the Fuel Pressure Regulator(FPR) could be leaking, check its vacuum line for gas smell.
Or fuel pump is starting to go out.

Also swap coils, the dual coil setup only uses 1 of the coils for startup, I think it is the exhaust side coil.
But you can test it by unplugging one coil at a time(on a warm day, lol) and cranking engine.
Also check the plugs for proper gaps.

It could be a voltage issue, I would get a real voltage meter and test the voltage at the battery and see how it compares to dashboard gauge.
Newer battery should be 12.6v or higher, I wouldn't think it would drop below 10v when cranking.

One other thing, when engine starts cold(even when outside temp is warm) does the idle go up to 1,000rpms and stay there, then as engine warms up does the idle slowly drop down to 700-800rpms when warm.

If not there is a TWO WIRE temp sensor called the ECT sensor, I think it is on the drivers side front of the block, below intake manifold.
The ECT sensor tells the computer the engine is cold, it sets the "choke mode", so computer runs engine rich, advances the timing AND raises the idle to 1,000 until engine(coolant) starts to warm up.
The ECT sensor is NOT used for the dashboard gauge, that gauge uses a 1 wire sender located elsewhere.

Last edited by RonD; 02-28-2014 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014
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as to what RON D stated

i always replace my spark plugs every year before the cold weather comes

this always ensures cold weather start-a-ability

carbon build up on the spark plug electrodes will prevent cold weather starts
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