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Old 08-05-2010
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Low gas mileage, occasional delayed starting.

Hello. This is a pretty general question but if some of you guys are good enough to answer it may save me trouble. I have an 89 Ranger (2WD, 4 cyl) I bought about a year ago. Doesn't leak or burn oil. Runs great, EXCEPT just every now and then when I start it, it takes 4 or 5 tries before it starts. Or maybe it doesn't start at all, then I wait a minute or so and it starts OK. Most of the time it starts right away, but every great now and then it takes it a while.

Plus, the gas mileage is not bad but not quite what it ought to be. It gets from 21 to 23 mpg on the highway. I had a 1990 Ranger previous to this, and it got 27 or so mpg pretty reliably.

So, are these classic symptoms of something obvious and I just don't know it?

89 doesn't appear to have mass air flow sensor, but my 90 did. Does that make much difference in gas mileage?

Have replaced all but the two of the spark plugs (those two really hard-to-get-at ones). Just haven't gotten around to those last two. Also have replaced air filter. None of that made any difference.

Tried to get it diagnosed at a certain retail chain auto parts store, but the dude couldn't makes sense out of what his diagnostic tool was telling him.

Previous owner rigged a straight pipe in place of catalytic converter. I plan to do the right thing and put a converter in; just haven't yet.

Any help is appreciated!
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Old 08-05-2010
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i would start with replacing the fuel filter and checking the wires going to the fuel pump. the way you described the problem it almost sounds like the pump is not always priming the fuel system. i would look for corrosion cause thats easy to do.
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Old 08-05-2010
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Swap out the fuel pump relay. Being that old it is most likely on its way to fail status.
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Old 08-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRtech View Post
Swap out the fuel pump relay. Being that old it is most likely on its way to fail status.
Yep, and replace the fuel filter.

I've had several newer cars that wouldn't start right away because of a Evap Purge valve being bad. I do not know if 89 is new enough for that, but its something else to check out.

Code readers wont work because most of them are OBDII and that's an OBDI truck.


I really wouldn't replace that cat unless your local law says you need one. Keeping that exhaust flowing will give you nice gains in MPG once you get it running right. I'm talking 30+ if your a gentle driver.
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Old 08-06-2010
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O2 sensor?

Thanks for all the great info. Very helpful. Nobody said anything yet about the oxygen sensor. Is there any reason I shouldn't suspect that? From what I understand of O2 sensors, it might not be related to the difficult starting but it could cause the lower gas mileage.

I forgot to mention in my original post ... the check engine light comes on. It's never on when I first start, but it comes on after engine has run for a while and gotten warmed up. Goes off if I shut engine off, then same process again when I re-start ... even if it's only off for a few minutes.
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Old 08-07-2010
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Old 08-07-2010
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Yes you should find out why the check engine light is going on. Even if it goes on then off...it stores the code and you can read it. Follow OTRtech's link, last post....very bottom even has another link to show how to read the codes without a reader, (I've done it and it's easy).
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