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Gremlin in my fuel system. Gizmo or Spike?


Old 03-26-2015
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: San Dimas, CA
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Gremlin in my fuel system. Gizmo or Spike?

Hi everybody!
So I decided to search before the usual "newbie to forum post" about my issue and getting the "search it cuz we've covered this already somewhere bub" response. As of right now my truck is happily running. But I actually didn't do anything.
The truck: an unmolested 94 ranger xlt 4.0l 5spd manual with 173k on her.
The issue: truck wouldn't start.
This has happened a few times before. Battery charged, starter going for it, just not turning over... I figured the factory dual 12 gal tanks at 1/4 tank full, each time it hesitated to start, were the culprits, starving the fuel pump for fuel. ( my rationale being that 5 gal of fuel in a 24 gal system would be rather shallow).
So I would jack up the rear end a few inches, sloshing the fuel toward cab of truck, and bam it would start. I would then Drive right to the gas station and fill her up, resulting in happy starting, indefinitely.
Today was different. My red neck maneuver did not do the trick. So I got 5 gal of gas and put it into tank on top of 1/4 capacity it was already at. No dice. Jacked up the rear end on top of nearly 1/2 tank of gas. no dice.
I Convinced my wife to help me push her into the garage, while comical, I advise my fellow men, and in some cases women, against such actions for reasons well known but that's for another thread She was a good sport about it.
That's when I started surfing the inter-webs. I Found a lot on these trucks but not my particular problem.
Enter the trusty and rather greasy chilton manual. So first things first. No air sucking at filler hose when key turned to on, so fuel pump not energizing. Then onto fuel pump relay. Pulled it and got voltage from the plug site. Next the inertia switch. Connection is good, reset button had not "popped".
Okay great. Plug the relay back in and try it after charging the battery, ( I ran it low doing the "please start" repeated attempts), it doesn't start.
Pull the relay again to get the numbers on it, then plug it in back in as to not lose it. Turn the key on to plug in diagnostic computer and I hear suckage from the filler hose! Wait, what?!
Wham bam it starts! She's been running for a few minutes now. Shut her down and restart, bam, she starts again.
I'm going to replace the fuel pump relay, it looks factory, an oldie, but.... If it was truly the relay, have they been known to almost, "Peter out" with intermittent periods of work vs not work? I haven't been under the hood for a time 'cept to top off motor oil, more Lucas oil additive than 10w30 haha you all know the struggle, and no rough roads or dirt for it to rattle loose. I am "knocks on wood" never lucky enough to just have to plug it back in and she's fixed.
I fear the gremlin will come and go as he pleases and leave me high and dry somewhere at 2am.

Any advice, ladies and gentle-dudes?

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Old 03-29-2015
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if you constantly run the fuel tank near empty

then your fuel pump has run dry several times , your fuel pump is on its way out to failure

never ever run a fuel injected engines fuel tank below the 1/8 fuel level rule

fuel pump burn out will occur , it is the fuel itself that keeps the fuel pump cooled at all times

Last edited by cheese_man; 03-29-2015 at 07:57 PM. Reason: added missing wording
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Old 03-29-2015
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There should be a WOT(wide open throttle) relay near the fuel pump relay, they are the same part/relay so you can swap them around for testing.

Yes, the contacts in the relay that close together to pass power to the pumps may be worn out, or the coil is.

Never come across a factory dual tank ranger in the 1994 model year?
Could be the switch on the dash as well, that should switch power from one pump to the other and also the solenoid for the fuel lines, and fuel gauge

Last edited by RonD; 03-29-2015 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 03-29-2015
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dual fuel tanks on a 94 ranger were a special order back then
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