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Old 12-12-2011
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94 ranger problems

Hey guys, first off, great info on this forum, Ive been lurking for a while trying to sort out my ranger woes. A little backstory; I purchased my 94 ranger 3.0 auto about a month ago. The truck was a advertised as a "show truck" that was taking up garage space. It had new paint, shaved handles, custom sounds, and interior paint. It had "54k" miles, and "ran great". So I took it for a test drive, drove alright, with the exception of the brakes being light and the exhaust sounding, "rattley". Agree on a price with the guy, 1k less than what he was advertising, so I thought I got a good deal. Drove it home. The next morning, I started it up, and started to notice a couple things were a miss.
1) Brakes weren't just light as I thought with my short drive around town, they were almost none existent when going down hill.
2) On start up, it stalls first 2 times, unless you get on the accelerator right away. (only cold starts)
3) Idle is way high.
4) Shifting in and out of park/into reverse or drive is noticeably rough shifting.
5) What I thought was a loose rattle, upon further inspection sounds more like something jingling around the exhaust
6) Found 2nd previous owners registration for the truck with mileage reading of 198k, my speedo doesnt have a 6th spot, did the guy pull a fast one when he re-registered it?
7) CEL came on later that day
8) Coolant was low when I bought it, filled it up, within 2 weeks reservoir is empty

Contacted the guy, he said its been sitting a while, it just needs to be worked out, and said the CEL is from the egr, "just clean it". Didn't get much further than that with him.

Needless to say i feel pretty worked over right now, and stupid for buying it on the spot. With that said, I'm trying to fix this up and getting it to good condition again.

What I've done/fixed so far;
1)Brake turned out to be nonexistent vacuum lines coming out of the reservoir and going to the pass. door. (3 way splitter was missing two lines to it) That also improved my idle. It is still real poor and shaky, however after fixing that, it now at least "hunts" after the first two starts.
2) It turned out he had cranked down the idle screw down so it wouldn't stall. Set it back to "normal". Changed the fuel filter, cleaned the egr, cleaned the iac, idle is still rough and hunting just lower with no real effect.
3) Shifting isslightly better now that the idle has come down some, but still makes the clunk sound and jerks the truck while shifting. Far from perfect.
4) Checked my exhaust and y pipes and all connection points for anything loose, yet found nothing, all tight. Noticed a hole in my muffler cover, and couldnt determine if there was a hole in my muffler itself. Took it to a chain muffler shop, asked the mechanic about why it sounds as bad as it does (almost like a hole in the exhaust pipe, with **** rattling around in it) guy puts it on the lift and proclaims I see a hole in your muffler, must be that. So 400$ for the new muffler install and I get it back and it sounds exactly the same as it did before. When I ask to speak to the mechanic who said it was my muffler, hes nowhere to be found, the most I get out of the counter is "we can take another look and see what else it could be". So needless to say I was done there.
5) Bought a code reader and these are the codes it threw
332- Insufficient egr flow
172- HEGO (H02s) Sensor fault/lean
176- HEGO (H02S) Sensor fault/ not switching
6) Ive just been keeping the coolant topped off,as I cant seem to pin point where its all leaking from, it seems like everything is just wet on the underside of the engine. Ive changed my oil, and no increase in level despite losing more coolant, transmission level has remained the same as well, both look to be good color. Nice green color in the coolant at the top of my radiator. Exhaust isnt white except during first 20 sec of start up.
Theorys so far
1) Could be yet another vacuum leak somewhere, I'm in the process of replacing all lines to eliminate that possibility
2) Clogged cat, could be responsible for the shitty exhaust sound/ bad idle

At this point I'm low on cash, and even lower on ideas. I would greatly appreciate any input from anyone on any of my problems thus far. Sorry for the long post, just wanted to be thorough. Thanks again -Erik

Last edited by AlohaRanger; 12-12-2011 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 12-13-2011
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It looks like you have replaced and addressed the same things I would have. The coolant loss indicates that there might possibly be a head or head gasket issue, and getting blown out the exhaust rather than getting into the oil at this point, though I think you would have noticeable white smoke.
You are right in continuing to check for vacuum leaks, check the condition of your spark plugs, and do a compression check while you have them out.
It is unfortunate that you encountered a dishonest seller, I hope you didn't pay a premium price based on "low mileage", for it appears that you have 254,000 miles.
About all you can do at this point is to correct the deficiencies, hopefully without spending too much money, keep us posted and we will help all we can.
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Old 12-13-2011
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Thanks for the reply shovelmike. At least I'm on the right path, slow progress is still progress, right?. I am still hoping its not the head gasket though, as that is out of my budget for right now.

I did some more investigating yesterday. I used an old piece of garden hose (3 foot length) as a stethoscope and disconnected one of my vacuum lines so that I could identify the leak "sound". It was quite noticeable on the line I disconnected when listening through the hose, however after reconnecting my "control" vacuum line, I could not find any more sounds of a leak. Could a pin hole leak that I couldn't hear cause that much of a rough idle problem? If my problem was in fact bad cat/cats has anyone ever heard of them causing a rough idle? I'm tempted to cut my pipe before the cats as a test to see if idle improves. My hope is that If I fix my idle I imagine the transmission will shift much smoother as well? I got underneath the truck again and although quite a bit of the underside is damp/wet, I actually had small droplets forming on my oil drain plug. I'm not sure if that's the natural path for liquid travel or its indicating my leak might be above the backside of the pan? I did my best to decipher code 172/176 and what I took form it was that, the engine is running lean, which could indicate a vacuum leak going to the intake? Which could be responsible for the 332 code as well? I plan on checking compression as soon as I can get around to it, and I'll check spark plug condition as well. I'll keep you guys posted.
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Old 12-13-2011
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dont cut you pipe before the cat its a 94 if you dont have tail pipe emission inspection then just punch the cats and see if it helps it wont set off a cel

have you changed the plugs yet?
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Old 12-13-2011
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A pin hole vacuum could have some effect, though most drastically affected idle is usually a large enough leak to hear. I believe the 3.0's have the PCV line under the throttle body like the 4.0's, kind of hard to see and inspect, make sure that hose is OK.
With regard to the dampness under the truck: Is it water or oil? If water/coolant make sure the water pump, hoses, and freeze plugs are not leaking. If you can buy or borrow a cooling system pressure tester it would let you pressure it up cold and not running so you can comfortably and safely look and feel for leakage that might not be readily apparent, as well as pressure testing the radiator cap.
Again, keep us posted, we'll help you straighten things out.
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Old 12-13-2011
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Your antifreeze leak could be your timing chain cover. you could either get it pressure tested, or put some dye in there and then look at the engine with a black light.
A pin hole air leak won't effect your idle drastically. Check your MAF and EGR valve, Maybe your IAC if you haven't done any of those either.
As for the transmission, dump some seafoam Trans-tune in there.
It is ok to Cut your cat out if you want to go that route. but i'd do that as a last resort.
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