Some general 2.3 Q's - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 07-10-2008
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Some general 2.3 Q's

Hey guys I got a few random questions that deal with my gf's truck. It's a 97 mazda b2300 2wd with the 2.3L and 5spd manual 130k miles. She's had the truck bout 7 months. Just repalced the timing belt and plugs/wires about a week ago.

The problem... now its running like crap at low rpm's. It shakes like its missing at idle and misses really bad up to about 2k rpms, if I give it some gas it'll run ok but like in a parking lot its really bad, and it will clear up above 2k rpms. I read on here (search button lol) about a few people replacing coils. Think that'll do it? I think I'm guna try it tonight after work.

Also abs light is on. I'm going to replace the sensor on the rear diff 2nite.

Now to the meat... Is there any timeline as to when the cat's on these motors will plug up? the truck has 130k on it, and is a gutless wonder, has to be damn near floored to stay at 75 on the interstate. But combined driving it gets about 20mpg, so idk what the heck to think.

If it is clogged will it run better without a cat, or just with a new one? I have a exhaust shop that'll do either for me (under the table cash sorta deal lol)

On to the A/C... its got a leak somewhere, I know that. Is there any common place for it to leak on these a/c systems?

Thanks for all the help, you guys have been great with my other probelms, and I thank you in advance for any help you can give me now.
ps. sorry for the long post.
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Old 07-10-2008
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Sounds like the timing isn't perfect from the timing belt change. Could also be a bad plug, bad plug wire, or wire not fully seated on plug or coil.

Sensor on the axle is a good bet to fix the ABS light (and cheap).

Check for cat blockage with a vaccum guage.

"Exhaust Back Pressure
Starting with the engine at idle, slowly increase engine speed to 3,000 RPM, engine vacuum should be equal to or higher than idle vacuum at 3,000 RPM. If vacuum decreases at higher engine RPM's, an excessive exhaust back pressure is probably present." from:
http://autorepair.about.com/cs/troub...a112401a_2.htm

or "Low vacuum also can be an immediate clue to a plugged exhaust. To check further, run the engine at about 2500 rpm for about 15 seconds. If vacuum drops during this period and does not increase when you close the throttle, you're almost certainly looking at a restricted exhaust. " from:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...g=artBody;col1

AC leaks always show some oil with dirt collected on it. Look at all the disconnect fittings, look at the condensor in front of the radiator and look at the underside of the hood above the compressor. Compressor shaft seals are the most common slow leaks, evidenced by an oily residue collected on the underside of the hood from the pulley flinging it.
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Old 07-10-2008
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20 mpg is **** and you shouldnt have to floor it on the interstate espesically in nebraska ... definitley get that cat taken off and do a tune up

i have the 2.5 which isnt as good on gas as the 2.3, and the only time i get 20mpg is if im doing all in town driving or doing over 85 mph.
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Old 07-10-2008
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Thanks for the replies guys!! I'll give ya a little more depth to the story.

After we first got the timing belt changed is when it started running crappy (in the low rpm's as mentioned earlier) It's always been down on power since she bought it in Jan '08. She couldn't keep up with my beat up '92 silverado doin 80 on the interstate the day she bought it.

The mech. that did the belt said that the plugs looked to be original and were likley why it was running so crappy (i was skeptical) but we had him change them out with bosch platinums and new wires, and suprise... still runs crappy. So he checked the timing and said that he moved it over a tooth and it ran the same as before. So thats where we sit as of now. He's checked/changed the timing and it still runs bad, and the plugs/wires made no difference, so thats what leads me to believe the coil could be the culprit.

I read a few threads on here where guys were having similar problems and replaced the coil and fixed it. Does it sound like that could be causing it?

As far as the cat... I'll see if I can get a vacuum gauge, or have the mechanic help me do the test. If it is bad (which I bet it is), would it make it run bad if we just cut it off and just patched in a piece of pipe? or is it best for the motor to put a new one in?

Thanks for the heads up on the a/c, I'll check it when I'm workin on the thing tonight. The a/c didn't work from the time she got it (she's blonde and bought it in winter and she forgot to check it). But last week I bought one of those charge cans with the nozzle and gauge on it, and charged it up full and it blew cold for about two days, then got warmer, and then the compressor wouldn't even turn on anymore cuz it all had leaked out. So my guess is like you said, there will be some oil and dust somewhere.

Thanks again guys, and if you think of anything else that'll help please don't hesitate to tell me!! I'm a chevy guy so I'll take all the blue oval knowledge I can get for this thing.
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Old 07-10-2008
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shouldnt hurt it to put a straight pipe in there but dont quote me on that, cause it might cause the o2 sensor to throw a check engine light
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2008
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Ya thats what I was wondering about...

On another note, is this the right sensor for the abs light? The one thats on the rear end... that goes bad and makes the abs light come on etc...



Hope this is it, cuz the "abs sensor" I found on the autozone website was like 80 bucks!! This one was 20. Its the VSS, vechicle speed sensor....?

Edit: Scratch that, it says that one goes in the transmission..? wtf? whats the one called that goes in the rear end?

Last edited by gr8shot; 07-10-2008 at 02:45 PM. Reason: I'm a moron.
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Old 07-10-2008
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timingbelt wasnt done right.... or a spark plug wire isnt on rite. Did the mechanic take the upper intake off to do the plugs? if so it could be the gasket in there... as for the truck not being able to do 80... get used to it. My old 95, 2.3L with a 5 speed, exhaust and K&N topped out at 77mph on a good day.

Try a new mechanic. These Engines are bullet proof, and very reliable.
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Old 07-10-2008
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Yeah he said that he took the intake off to do it. what exactly do you mean when you say it could be the gasket in there?

The only reason I say its a dog, is cuz a friend has practically the same truck, 96 ranger, 2.3L 2wd 5spd, with 160k thats been wrecked twice, and HORRIBLY maintained and it'll run circles around this truck, and its got 30k more miles, and probably half the oil changes of this truck.

And whats the sensor called that fixes the abs light and goes in the rear end?

I'd love to take it to a different mechanic, but we've already got like $400 into fixing it with this guy, and he hasn't been charging us anything to keep trying to fix it. If we took it somewhere else it'd cost another couple hundred dollars for someone to tear it apart and check the timing again. And we're both in college and on a college sized budget. $400 is two months rent...

Last edited by gr8shot; 07-10-2008 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 07-15-2008
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So what is that sensor called on the rear diff for the ABS? I can't figure out what its called so that I can get a new one.
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Old 07-15-2008
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If you have a couple of hours, you can check the timing belt yourself. It's just a couple of belts and a plastic cover away. Then make sure the timing marks are lined up when the belt is fully tensioned. And by the way, if he moved it one notch and "it still ran the same way", it's definitely not on right. He may not have lined up the marks when he changed it, and just assumed that it was back on the same way he took it off, and couple that with him moving it one notch instead of checking the timing marks, makes me a little wary of this mechanic.
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Old 07-16-2008
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Icon13 The frustration continues!!!

Well what he said is that the back plastic cover with the timing mark is cracked and a little loose, so he couldn't get the timing to line up perfect, he said it was either about half a tooth to one side or half to the other, thats why he tried it on both.

Now on to an update: Been busy and haven't done much with the truck til yesterday (gf broke her foot, so I've been playing servant lol ) I was doing some more reading on here and thought I'd check out the IAC valve and MAF sensor. The way I read to rule them out is to unhook one of them and start it up and see what happens.

So I unplugged the IAC valve and started it up and it barely started, and idled at like 4-500 rpm's (way lower than usual) and it would barley stay running. Shut off, plugged back in, ran like "normal" (as good as it was before anyway which = still crappy)

Unplugged the MAF sensor, started it up, and ran pretty much like it did before. Didnt notice any difference.

So based on that, is that what they're supposed to do when functioning correctly? I'm thinking so.

I'm really trying to rule out the timing as the culprit before I take it back. I want to tell him that I've tried everything that could possibly cause it to idle and run bad, and that it's definently the timing. Tomorrow I think I'm going to get new coils and put them on and see if that fixes it. The only other thing (other than timing) that I can think would cause this is an o2 sensor. But I've read too many horror stories to try to put one of those in.

I'm really freakin frustrated by this truck and the damn mechanic . But maybe I'll get lucky and the coils will fix it.

P.S. [B]what is the abs sensor in the rear end called?[/B] I can't find one to replace it cuz I don't know what its called? and autozone has a bunch of morons working there... Does anybody know the answer to this? It's like its a secret that nobody will tell!!
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  #12  
Old 07-16-2008
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I think the abs sensor and speed sensor are the same thing so, maby try searching for the speed sensor.

Dont buy the part though until someone backs me up on that.
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Old 07-16-2008
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The speed sensor is in the tranny on most models, though I'm not sure about yours. The ABS sensor is in the rear diff housing, and I've always heard it called the rear ABS pickup. Find an auto parts store that doesn't have a bunch of idiots working there (i.e. NOT AutoZone), and ask them.
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Old 07-16-2008
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okay.. a couple things i have noticed when reading this. lots of things can cause an abs light to come on. the speed sensor may be bad, but dont be surprised if that doesnt fix your problem. if your problems started when your mechanic changed the timing belt.. thats more than likely your problem. he shouldnt have been working on it unless he was going to repair it correctly and fully. your ac comp should be turning on no matter how much refrigerant is in the system, the only difference with no refrigerant in the system is that your comp should be rapidly cycling if its working properly. your comp is more than likely shot if not engaging whatsoever.
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  #15  
Old 07-16-2008
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honestly your problem sounds like a vaccum leak..
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  #16  
Old 07-17-2008
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Thanks for the replies guys. I really appreciate the help. If I'm not too busy babysitting my laid up gf (broken foot, and getting wisdom teeth pulled as I type) I'm going to do some work on the truck tonight. I'll let ya'll know how it goes and if I'm able to make any headway. It kinda got put on the back burner cuz she cant push the clutch in with her foot being broken LOL. But i've been drivin it a lil cuz it gets a little better mileage than my silverado does.

The a/c does work, well it did when I recharged it a couple weeks ago. It blew very cold for a couple days, then it started not blowing as cold, and I noticed the compressor cycling faster. It started cycling faster and faster and the air got to the point where it wasn't even cold anymore. Then the compressor stopped cycling. So I know it works, its just got a bad leak, that I just need to look for it and find it.

Thanks johnbaum13, rear ABS pickup, thats what I was lookin for. I've read a lot of cases similar to mine and that's taken care of a lot of em so hopefully it fixes this truck too. Gota start with whats cheap, and go from there.

mx98ranger, I agree 100% with what you said about him fixin it right or not working on it at all. He's actually been pretty good about everything he even re-checked it, moved it over a tooth and back, when we had him put plugs on and didn't charge any extra. But he swears up and down that he timed it correctly, and I don't have time to tear all the accessories and everything off just to check it.

thaks again for all the help you guys are great. If there's any more advice anyone has, please tell me!!!!
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