No ign lights, Not cranking, batt ok, but Nothing happening - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 06-10-2012
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No ign lights, Not cranking, batt ok, but Nothing happening

Hi there, I have a Ranger 1986, 2.9l XLT, It has been unused for a while, but would start up ok. Now, when the key is turned, there are no ignition lights, and the engine won't turn over at all. The battery seems ok, it is less than a year old, but I recharged it just in case. The fact that the truck is completely dead suggests it might be down to a connection failure, or failed component. Where should I be looking for the most likely cause?. The battery positive terminal seems ok, and feeds the solenoid on the inside fender, the battery negative has two earth cables, one to engine, one to chassis, and another thin diameter cable which has a connector midway, then goes into a bunch of wires in the loom. What is that likely to be for anyone?

Is there any kind of main fuse that may have blown? Like protecting the ignition circuit, that would lead to opening the starting relay, for instance. Any suggestions appreciated, thanks JonO
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Old 06-10-2012
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Do any other electrical components such as the head /park lights or interior lights work?
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Old 06-10-2012
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WHem I first saw the title I immediately thought something to do with the spark plugs and a distributor (Im guessing based on year). Then as I read I thought starter. But now I have no clue man but I want to see what it ends up being.
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Old 06-11-2012
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Do any other electrical components such as the head /park lights or interior lights work?

Hey ther Rev and Willn, re the above question, No, there is nothing working. I'm beginning to think it is probably something obvious, or simple. I was wondering about the earth between the engine and the chassis. The battery has 2 cables on it, one leads to the engine, one leads to the chassis. Hmmm, it was like that when I bought the truck. There is a small cable off the negative terminal, dissapears into the loom, dunno where it goes though, maybe that is a cable that is important to complete the main circuit? Anyway, I think I will check out the engine earth, see if that is ok. Thanks for the responses in the meantime,
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Old 06-11-2012
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If you’re handy with a volt/ohm meter you can perform whats called a volt drop test to pinpoint the problematic circuit. Ref this thread https://www.ranger-forums.com/sohc-2-3l-2-5l-lima-engines-135/97-2-3-wont-start-turn-over-133396/
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Old 06-11-2012
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If you’re handy with a volt/ohm meter you can perform whats called a volt drop test to pinpoint the problematic circuit. Ref this thread https://www.ranger-forums.com/showthread.php?t=133396
yeah, I have a multimeter, bit basic, but will do. Doubt I will get a reading turning the key, there is no power to the ignition lights at all, not even a dim glow! Good post though with all the directions. That negative cable the small wire that leaves the battery and goes somewhere, is that likely to go to the solenoid? Also I was looking at the solenoid, the positive side and a small brown wire that was attached just fell off! It goes into a smaller loom, not sure where it goes, do you know what that might be for? Might be a previous owner though, that is always a problem with older trucks, you never kow what other folks have been up to with their tool box and a bucketfull of good intentions and enthusiasm!
Will report on any further developments. Thanks again.
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Old 06-11-2012
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yeah, I have a multimeter, bit basic, but will do. Doubt I will get a reading turning the key, there is no power to the ignition lights at all, not even a dim glow! Good post though with all the directions.
You can conduct a simple test of the starter circuit as follows. (Ensure the battery is fully charged) At the solenoid you should have either one or possibly two smaller terminals with a single wire connected to each terminal. One of those terminals will be marked with a capital I for ignition. Disconnect the wire off this terminal. Utilizing a jumper wire, connect one end to the battery positive post and momentarily touch the other end to the post on the solenoid that you disconnected the wire from. The starter should crank. If so the solenoid as well as the power feed and ground circuit to the starter are good. Reconnect the wire you removed from that terminal. Post back whether this worked or not.

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That negative cable the small wire that leaves the battery and goes somewhere, is that likely to go to the solenoid?
No, it wont go to the solenoid.

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Also I was looking at the solenoid, the positive side and a small brown wire that was attached just fell off! It goes into a smaller loom, not sure where it goes, do you know what that might be for?
If this wire is attached where the positive cable from the battery connects to the solenoid, it more than likely is a fusible link. It would supply power to the the fuse block and other electrical components.

Last edited by Rev; 06-12-2012 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 06-19-2012
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I thought I had written a response, but can't see it now? Anyway, Have tested battery and starter system. The battery is definitely needing replaced. Using a booster battery connected, I could check out the solenoid. Connecting power to the ign terminal on the solenoid, I could hear a clunk, I think that might be the starter throwing out the pinion/starter cog. But the starter does not spin as expected, I connected 12v direct power to the 12v red lead exiting the solenoid, I presume this goes to the starter motor? But there is no reaction at all when this is done. No clunk or spinning of starter motor. Does this imply a faulty starter solenoid, or is it more likely to be the starter motor that is at fault.
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Old 06-19-2012
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I thought I had written a response, but can't see it now? Anyway, Have tested battery and starter system. The battery is definitely needing replaced. Using a booster battery connected, I could check out the solenoid. Connecting power to the ign terminal on the solenoid, I could hear a clunk, I think that might be the starter throwing out the pinion/starter cog. But the starter does not spin as expected.
The clunk you heard was more than likely the solenoid energizing not the starter.

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I connected 12v direct power to the 12v red lead exiting the solenoid, I presume this goes to the starter motor? But there is no reaction at all when this is done. No clunk or spinning of starter motor. Does this imply a faulty starter solenoid, or is it more likely to be the starter motor that is at fault.
If you applied power to the battery cable going down to the starter motor and it did not engage, I'd suspect the stater motor is shot. You'll need to pull the stater and either bench test it or take down to the auto parts store and see if they can test it for you.
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Old 06-19-2012
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yeah I think you are right on that for sure. It could be a bad connection down there, she's an old girl, and age can cause problems in the electrics. I don' t know if the starter has ever been replaced either, if it is the original one, it has done a good job. Has the starter motor got a solenoid on it as well? I wonder if the earth is ok at the starter motor as well. It used to start ok 4 months ago, no bad noises from the starter, the time it was dormant might just have been too much for it, but if it is the starter I am suspicious about the connections. Oh yeah, it would have been the solenoid that was clunking, that makes sense, didn't know it did that. Is the starter fairly straightforward to remove? Thanks for your help btw
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Old 06-20-2012
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yeah I think you are right on that for sure. It could be a bad connection down there, she's an old girl, and age can cause problems in the electrics. I don' t know if the starter has ever been replaced either, if it is the original one, it has done a good job. Has the starter motor got a solenoid on it as well? I wonder if the earth is ok at the starter motor as well. It used to start ok 4 months ago, no bad noises from the starter, the time it was dormant might just have been too much for it, but if it is the starter I am suspicious about the connections. Oh yeah, it would have been the solenoid that was clunking, that makes sense, didn't know it did that. Is the starter fairly straightforward to remove? Thanks for your help btw
I believe you'll find whats called a movable pole shoe type starter motor. It does not have the solenoid mounted on top like a GM starter motor. Hence the remote solenoid.

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