What's likely to break next? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 01-14-2009
north44's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 174
What's likely to break next?

Got an '03 Ranger, coming up to 300,000 km on the clock (that's a bit over 180,000 miles).

Been fairly lucky with the engine and electricals - I've only had to replace the alternator (twice!), thermostat, a fan clutch, the brake pedal switch and a bunch of relays.

Besides regular wearing parts (pads, shoes, brake hardware, rotors etc.) and a couple of e brake cables, the braking system is original; as is most of the suspension (the exception: I had to replace a couple of rear leafs - one from each side - that had cracked right at the axle), bulbs of course are replaced as necessary - I've gone through at least 3 sets of headlight, and the foglight bulbs are constantly burning out.

On the second set of tires, so that's been pretty good, and just recently replaced the original battery - so these parts didn't owe me anything.

Regular maintainence has been performed like clockwork -all fluid changes, plugs and wires, belts - at least to manufacturer's specs.

Touch wood, the transmission has not acted up - still original.

Overall, the truck has been great - reliable and dependable.

Given the high mileage, I'd like to begin a "preventative maintenance program", and start lookinig to replace those parts (especially electrical/sensors) that can leave me stranded (or worse) when they fail; e.g. I've heard that a crankcase?, or was it camshaft? position sensor can cook an engine when it fails? What about the timing chain? - What is its life expectancy in your experiences?

I would appreciate any "real world" info you folks can provide: If it broke on you, or left you stranded, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.

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Old 01-15-2009
wydopnthrtl's Avatar
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Location: SE, Mi
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We OEMs engineer and validate drivetrain parts for 150,000 miles. And 10yrs for everything else.

Meaning.. all the rotating parts of the engine, tranny, & rear end are designed and tested to go that many miles w/o major flaws.
And by everything else.. I mean hoses, valves, plastics, wires, ect..
UV protection, chemical resistance, and general material degredation of the rest of the car is engineered and tested for a lifespan of ten years in pretty harsh environments. Salt spray, high humidity, operation cycles, ect.. (interior components like seat are expected to go 15,000 cycles)

Most of the time American branded cars (since the early to mid 90s) will last longer than these "targets". But... your on "borrowed time" if yours is that old or has more than that mileage.

Your ranger specifically.. The major concern I'd have is tranny life and AC compressor. Both of those after that many miles are near thier end.
If you've never changed the rear end fluid.. I'd suspect the ring and pinion are fairly worn too. How are the U-joint? Does anything clunk when you go from neutral to drive or reverse?

As far as sensors go. The crank position sensor is vital to the PCM running the engine properly. If it fails.. usually the motor will first die randomly, or.. it'll just die and not run at all.

I personally would just put money aside and start to think about a replacement vehicle. At this point your just putting good money into something that's not worth it.

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Old 01-15-2009
Shaklakan's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: La Habra CA
Posts: 1,100
All very good but the last part man come on he likes his truck and he hasn't even had it that long. I say start putting money aside because the tranny is on its last legs most likely i would look into some new gears and a rear dif flush maybe check all your parts in the rear axle. But definetly start putting money aside. Now about the sensors, i would say replace them and cover your *** on that. The chains on the other hand if they aren't rattling then don't worry about them.
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Old 01-15-2009
graniteguy's Avatar
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Location: Texas
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I kind of agree with both of you guys. There's no real preventive maintenance on a tranny other than a good rebuild. The reason for preventive maintenance is to keep it running without being down for a week at a future date, but you're creating the down time now.

The same would apply to an engine.

You could easily hit $4,000 to refresh both of them if having to use the services of a shop.

Wait until the tranny blows, then you have a $500 truck value, or $2,000 truck value after spending $2,000 to repair it. This scenario happens a lot.
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Old 01-15-2009
north44's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 174
Thanks for the input.

Right on about the a/c - compressor's starting to act up, noticed it last summer - already have a replacement, and a friend who's certified in a/c work will help me change it in the spring.

Rear differential fluid was changed early on and replaced with synthetic - no problems with it - u-joints are fine, inspected regularly - no clunks.

Realize the tranny is a problem spot (5r55e), but mine's been behaving so far -regular maintenance done every 50,000 km/30,000 miles - read about problems with the solenoid, etc, so I've always kept an eye on it.

Thing is, the body is in mint condition, no rust on the underside, even the exhaust is original and kept in pretty good shape. Always well tuned, no drivability issues.

Heck, even the exhaust manifold doesn't have any flaking rust, and the bolts aren't worn down to nubs as I've seen on so many trucks.

At this point I'm driving for free - and I know this truck still has some life left in it - just needed some more info on what to watch out for.
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Old 01-15-2009
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Havertown,PA
Posts: 467
i have 144000 on mine and my radiator was just replaced.other than that mine is like yours .pretty much all original.
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