Nothing from the ignition - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 06-14-2016
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Nothing from the ignition

Okay, a 1991 Ranger XLT 3.0 engine that will not start. Issue began when teaching my 16 year old to drive a standard, he tried starting the truck with the clutch out, transmission in gear and the brake pushed to the floor, which did not work. When we went through and pushed the right pedals and turned the key there was just a clicking from under the hood. As we were on a hill, I jumped in the drivers seat and got rolling, dropped the clutch and the truck started fine. We went home, parked facing downhill, and tried to start the truck and got just some clicking once again. As it was evening, I put off till today to look at the truck. There are no lights illuminating on the dash when the key is turned, there is no rotation of the starter motor when the key is turned to start, the only lights that I can see that are working are the dome light and the under hood light. No other accessories will power up: tried the fan, the radio, the headlights, the blinkers and got nothing. The starter was removed and tested and it operates fine. Glancing at the wiring diagrams that I can find, it appears to me that the issue is in the steering column, probably the ignition switch. I am not sure about the relays located under the power distribution panel, could one of them be causing all the issues? I can't really locate any of them in the wiring diagrams I am accessing from the AutoZone site. I now have absolutely no clicking from turning the key, just silence and the dome lights dim. Any assistance with this would be greatly appreciated, I want my old baby back.
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Old 06-15-2016
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First remove and clean battery terminals, if you have a volt meter test battery voltage, 12.3v or higher is what you should see.
Your battery could just be bad, they last 5 to 7 years

The battery powers all the systems until engine is running, then alternator takes over.
Which is why "bump start" got engine/truck working, alternator was powering everything.

If it was the ignition switch then "bump start" wouldn't have worked.

After cleaning battery terminals follow each cable, GROUND TOO, to its connection, loosen and clean, make sure each has good connection.

As said if battery is older and your son was learning to drive a stick then there could have been many stalls and restarts, older battery, or corroded connections, would drain the battery of power fairly fast with several 150amp restarts per hour

Battery cables do wear out, they get corrosion under the plastic/rubber coating, this increases the resistance in that cable, so what starts off as 12volts at one end ends up as 8volts at the other end.
Ground cable carries same voltage as Positive cable, same amps, power must flow equally, bad connection or corrosion on either + or - lowers the voltage and amps
You can get some electrical tape and a razor knife, cut back cable cover, 1" to 3", and check it for whitish residue, if it looks good tape it up, look at BOTH ends of cable.
If you see the whitish corrosion, replace that cable


Look here for electrical diagrams: http://www.therangerstation.com/tech...rams/index.htm

Last edited by RonD; 06-15-2016 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 06-15-2016
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Thanks Ron, I was scanning the diagrams again this morning and doubted myself with the ignition switch. Battery started my 2006 expedition so it is good. Gotta check grounds after work today. Just finished head gasket replacement and don't recall removing the ground wires but it may be that I did and didn't get it tight. Back to chasing wires I guess. ]
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Old 06-15-2016
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The positive battery cable runs to the Starter Relay on the inner fender, loosen that connection and clean all wire ends.
That is the Main Power Distribution point for the vehicle.

Larger battery Ground wire is connected to Block or Starter motor bolt usually, starter motor and alternator use highest amps.
There will also be a ground strap on the back of one of the heads that goes to firewall, that is the MAIN ground for the cab electrics, usually drivers side head.
Also a second smaller ground wire from battery to Rad support, that's the head light ground, then an jumper from there to inner fender to ground electrics there, like starter relay

Last edited by RonD; 06-15-2016 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 06-15-2016
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Icon11

Ron, thanks for the link to the schematics and the breakdown of the grounds, it will help greatly this afternoon. Bet I was stupid and missed tightening the ground to the engine.
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Old 06-15-2016
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Well, mystery solved, the positive cable was kinked and broken as it passed under the engine to the starter, replaced it as well as the negative battery clamp and a few other terminals that didn't look real good and the truck cranks better than ever. Bought the thing fro $900 this past January, did the head gasket replacement and the distributor replacement and now I have a good truck that gets 18 mpg back and forth to work!! Will be visiting this site often as this is #2 Ranger, #1 is a 1994 STX with a 4.0 that also needs the head gaskets done and work on the valve train and exhaust!!
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Old 06-16-2016
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Good work

Thanks for the follow up post and the "fix"
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