Electrical Problems with my 86 Ranger - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 09-22-2013
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Icon4 Electrical Problems with my 86 Ranger

I'm new to Ranger-Forums, so please forgive me if this post is mis-categorized or if I'm doing anything else wrong.

I bought a 1986 Ford Ranger last weekend. It has the 2.9L V6 engine, automatic trans, and it's a two wheel drive. I drove it around all last weekend, and it preformed great. At least, until this past Monday....

My father drove it into town, and when he came back out to start it, nothing. No electrical stuff would come on, and the truck would not turn over. When he tried to jump it off, the electronics worked but the starter would only click one time, and it still would not turn over.

So yesterday, I drove over to my aunt's house to look at it, and I determined that the battery was fully charged. The truck has a fender-mounted solenoid, so I checked voltage going into the solenoid from the battery, and sure enough, it was 12.6 volts. The starter would only click when I tried to jump the truck off with my Honda, even though the battery was showing 12.6 volts by itself. When my brother turned the key, I only read 1.55 volts at the prong on the solenoid that the starter wire hooks to. So I assumed that the solenoid was malfunctioning. I replaced it, and now the starter clicks several times, as if the truck had a dead battery, but again, only when it's hooked up to my car. I still only get 1.55 volts coming out of the solenoid, so I don't know what the problem is, and it's really aggravating me.

My Questions:
-If the battery is fully charged, then why will the electronics in my truck (radio, dash lights, fuel pump) only work when I jump the truck off?

-Why am I only getting 1.55 volts being put out to the starter after installing a brand new solenoid?

-(The obvious one) What could be wrong with my truck?

I fell in love with this truck from the moment I first saw it. I've been a Ford guy since birth, mostly due to my family always buying Chevys that constantly broke down, and I was the one always having to fix them. When I bought the truck, the guy that sold it to me assured me that it needed no more than a back window and a tune-up, but I see now that it's going to be a much bigger project than that. If anyone can offer some advice or some suggestions, I would very much appreciate it, because I really want to get this truck back on the road. Thanks to everyone in advance who can give any help.
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Old 09-22-2013
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Complete guess here.... Are battery cables in good shape? I would start from where you know you have power and go from there.
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Old 09-22-2013
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I am guessing here.

Sounds funny, could be a ground problem, run a jumper cable from the negative side of the battery directly to the block as close to the starter as possible; see what happens.

Starter could be shorted but why the other components do not work when the battery is ok I am not sure.

Check any of the major fuses, or links to the interior, maybe you are actually only running off of the low voltage lead that runs stuff like the radio memory, again just guessing.

Also, check all f the connections between the battery and starter, make sure they are CLEAN and tight.
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Old 10-21-2013
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Thanks for your replies. Turns out the terminals on my battery were very dirty. I cleaned them up and redid a few grounds for the fuel pump, and the truck starts and runs great!
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