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SOHC - 2.3L & 2.5L Lima Engines Discussions and Topics specific to the Lima 4 cylinder engines

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  #1  
Old 05-18-2015
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1992 Ford Ranger not starting

I have a 1992 Ford Ranger 4 cylinder that will not crank. My stepson looked at it and thinks it is probably the front coil pack. A week or two ago, I blew a top radiator hose right next to the front coil pack. It has been starting and running fine until yesterday when I tried to start it and it would not turn over. My stepson said the back coil is getting fire but the front one is not. He is busy working on his own truck so it may be awhile before he can check my truck again.

I went to O'Reillys and bought a new coil pack a little while ago. Is there a way of checking it to see if that is the problem for sure. I can return the coil if it is not installed and not my problem.

Thanks!
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Old 05-18-2015
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A bit unclear on the problem.

If the starter motor does not turn the crankshaft that would be unrelated to the coil.
Could be a bad battery cable or connection, could be bad Neutral safety switch(NSS), on an automatic or a bad Clutch pedal switch on a manual trans.

If starter is turning the crank but engine won't start then yes it could be the Exhaust side Coil Pack.
On 2.3l engines only the exhaust side spark plugs are working when trying to start the engine, intake side spark plugs will start working when RPMs are above 500.

You can just swap the coils around to see if that is the problem.

You can use an OHM meter to test if a Coil is bad, but it won't tell you if it is good, lol, I know it sounds odd but because of the low ohms and high voltages that's just the way it is.

Google: testing ford coil pack the easy way
There is a video How-To

4, 6, or 8 cylinder engine doesn't matter, a coil is a coil.............is a coil


ICM(ignition control module) is often the problem with 2.3L, it is on the front of the intake, it could have got some coolant in the connections, check it out.
Many auto parts stores can test these if you want to pull it out and take it in, call first to make sure they have the tester.

The above is assuming it is a spark problem, but it could be Fuel, you can put some gas in the intake and then try to start, if it fires up and then dies you have spark but no fuel.

Last edited by RonD; 05-18-2015 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 05-18-2015
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Yes, the starter turns. It is as if there is no gas. That is what I mean by saying that it won't crank. I will call around the local parts stores and see if I can take what is perceived to be a bad coil and let them check it. My stepson has a meter that he knows how to use. I thought that since the radiator hose that broke right next to the front coil may have sprayed water / anti freeze all over it, may have shorted it out. It ran fine for several days though after I replaced the bad hose. I was going to go to town when I found that it would not start yesterday. Do you think that the front coil pack could still be bad? If I swap the front and rear coil would it start but just be sluggish if the coil is indeed bad? I pulled the wires to the plugs and coil itself but do not see any water anywhere there.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-18-2015
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Parts store can't test Coils, some can test ICM's

Coil is either for exhaust side(passenger side) spark plugs, or Intake side(drivers side) spark plugs.

Not sure what front and back coil assignments are, you are there so have a look.
But yes if you swap the coils around, or even the wires if they reach then that will test if exhaust side coil was bad.

Engine would run fine on just the exhaust side coil, addition of extra spark plugs and coil was to lower the emissions.


Get some Quick Start, it is an Ether spray, spray some into the intake and then try to start engine, if it fires up and dies then yes fuel not spark is the issue.
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Old 05-18-2015
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Thank you. I will try that in the morning. Occasionally it will try to catch so I am hoping it is not a fuel issue. I think I have long enough cables to switch from one coil to the other. When I pull the cables, one at a time, do I just put them in the same spot on the other coil?

Thanks again for all of your help. I really appreciate it I am not a mechanic so I don't want to mess things up
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Old 05-19-2015
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No, the wires go in different places

According to this: http://www.justanswer.com/ford/1e1tr...lug-wires.html

The rear coil is the Exhaust side coil, and front coil intake side.
The wire placement for each is there as well.

Swapping spark plug wires wouldn't work, my mistake.
The ICM only turns on the exhaust side coil for starting, rear coil, so swapping spark plug wires wouldn't test the coil.
You need to swap the wire connectors, so rear connector is plugged into front coil pack
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Old 05-19-2015
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My stepson checked the front coil with a light and meter. He found that there was no fire to the front coil. He checked the ICM the same way and says that the ICM is likely the problem. When I took the new coil pack back to O'Reillys, I took the ICM with me. They checked it and their machine said it tested good. He also told me that many times their machine shows good when the ICM is actually bad. He has never seen their machine give a report of any item ever being bad. I ordered a new ICM from Rock Auto as they had one much cheaper, $75 rather than $129 from O'Reillys. I am hoping this will fix my problem. Do you think that the new ICM will solve the problem or should I be looking somewhere else prior to receiving the new ICM?

Thank you very much. I really appreciate all of the help
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Old 05-19-2015
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There should be NO FIRE on the front coil, it isn't used until engine is running.

The BACK coil is the one that needs testing and needs to be working for engine to start.

ICM is a common failure with the pre-'95 2.3l systems
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Old 05-20-2015
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Thank you. My stepson says the back coil is working okay according to his tests. Hopefully the ICM will fix the problem. My ICM mounts with four small bolts. One of them was missing when we pulled it off yesterday, so there were only three holding it on. That would not make any difference would it? I am going to get a new bolt today just to have it when the new ICM gets here. Do I need to get a pack of the white electrical grease,and scrape off the old grease prior to installing the new ICM? My stepson is probably going to be out of town next week when the ICM arrives so it will be up to me from here to fix.

Thanks again for all of your help!
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Old 05-22-2015
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I received the ICM today and put it on. I dropped one of the mounting bolts though. Does anyone know what size these are so I can get one. I will get one from ford if I can get the part number. I got one from the local hardware store that should have worked but is not the correct thread as it does not go all the way in correctly. I want to get oem bolts for it. The truck is now running though.

Thanks!
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Old 05-22-2015
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Good work on getting it running better.

Threads will be metric 3m maybe, take the SAE one you got back and get the metric one.
5.5mm head on those I think
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Old 05-23-2015
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Thanks! I am heading vack to the hardware store in the morning. 5.5 is the head size I need. I am going to change the plug wires as they are old. The truck will start now nut sputters a little bit. one last question. On the bottom of where the air cleaher assy. is there is a pipe that does not have a hose hooked up to it and I cant see where it might go. I would think it would be one of the old foil type, two inch or so hoses that would go here but I do not see where the other end would hook up to the manifold or wherever it may go. It is on the passenger side on the bottom of the air cleaner housing towaeds the lower paer of the enginr/ Any Idea where this may hook up? I can't find anything about it in the Hanes manual
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Old 05-23-2015
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From your description it reads like it is the connection for preheated air from around the exhaust manifold.
There is a vacuum activated door/flap on the air tube going into the air filter housing.
When engine is cold the flap is pulled closed and air comes from the area around exhaust manifold, when engine is warm enough flap opens and you have a CAI, Cold Air Intake.

There should be a shield bolted to the exhaust manifold, this shield would have a connection for the other end of the "old foil type" tube.

This shield is often left off after engine work, so may be long gone.
Using pre-heated air does help engine warmup and run better in very cold climates, but it is not a requirement for engine to run.
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Old 05-23-2015
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Thank you! I will leave it as it is. I ordered mew plug wires that should be here next week. Hopefully that will help the sluggish running that I have right now. Had to spray carb cleaner in it today to get it to start this morning
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Old 05-23-2015
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Two reasons for hard cold starts, weak spark or lean fuel mix

Cold engines need a rich fuel mix to start and run, if after starting, the engine runs fine and has power then the fuel mix is probably OK.
Assuming good fuel pressure when cranking.

Weak spark has a hard time igniting rich fuel mix, especially on higher mile engines with lower compression.

The starting fluid(ether) has a much lower ignition temp than gasoline, so even a weak spark will ignite it.
But if fuel mix was lean ether would make it richer.

Make sure spark plug gaps are wide enough on exhaust side spark plugs, wider gaps equals stronger spark and better low RPM power, but too wide means less recovery time for coil at higher RPMs.
The recommended spark plug gap for any engine is based on average use and a new engine, if engine is older and you spend most of your time under 3,000rpm then adding .005 to the recommended spark plug gap would be better for starting and power
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Old 05-23-2015
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Thank you for the info. I will check the gaps when I replace the wires next week.
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