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Old 06-09-2015
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Rough idle, no code, no idea

I got a 1997 ranger 2.3 with almost 150k miles. A bunch of new parts installed including alternator, radiator, front shocks, tires, etc. Came with ladder racks and some other goodies I couldn't pass up.

Seemed to be running fine when I checked it out, drove ok, needs rear shocks.

Finally got it registered and drove it around, seems to idle rough only when in drive. Don't notice it when driving, but a stop light you can feel and hear it, it's not terrible, but noticable. I had a vw a few years ago that all of a sudden idled terrible and loss power, etc, turned out to be a coil pack. But I also got a CEL on that. So I don't believe it's a coil pack on my ranger, as the idle isn't that rough and it doesn't seem to have that much of a loss in power.

Only thing that I know that is wrong with the truck are:
- ac does not work at all, blows HOT air.
- exhaust leak, at what seems go be at the connection between the cat and the pipe that goes to the muffler, the connection with the spring. Not sure if that would cause rough idle being after the cat and all.

I have NO code on the ranger. Things I've tried:
- cleaned throttle body (it was FILTHY, worst I've seen)
- cleaned IAC
- cleaned MAF sensor
- seafoam in the gas tank to clean (haven't driven much since I put it in the full tank)
- did a spray check for vacuum leaks, didn't find any

None of this showed any results. Any ideas on what I should try? I don't want to dump money into replacing part after part, blindly fixing a problem. Seeing as the truck cost very little.

Any help would be great. Thanks.
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Old 06-09-2015
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Also when I'm stopped, and go to accelerate, it sputters for a second and then it's fine.

Sign of fuel pump maybe?
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Old 06-10-2015
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sounds like the spark plug wires are SHOT

replace those with set of good ones , magnecor are better than OEM
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Old 06-10-2015
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Originally Posted by cheese_man View Post
sounds like the spark plug wires are SHOT

replace those with set of good ones , magnecor are better than OEM
They seem to have been replaced at some point already, they're red. Not sure the brand, any tips on replacing them? I've never done plugs/wires before.

Should I replace plugs as well, or just try wires for now and see if it fixes it, would it benefit me to replace the plugs while Im doing wires, or would it not matter?

Knew to all of this so bare with me if I seem ignorant. Tha k you
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Old 06-11-2015
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there are only 2 brands of red spark plug wires MSD and MAGNECOR

it is a bonus if they are MSD wires , but magnecor are better than OEM motorcraft wires

you replace 1 spark plug wire at a time , ( the same time you replace that particular spark plug )

so you do NOT cross wire any cylinders

spark plug wires usually only last 2 years ,, 3 years tops if you push it

with a vehicle that old i would also recommend replacing the coil pack with a new 1

here is a more powerful ignition coil pack i will ordering myself

https://performancedistributors.com/...n-demon-coils/

Last edited by cheese_man; 06-12-2015 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 06-11-2015
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Update: fixed the exhaust leak at the connection between the muffler and cat, the spring bolts were rusted and the gasket was messed up. Replaced gasket and bolts (what a pain in the a$$ that was). BUT I found another leak at connection from the header to the cat pipe. A bolt on the flange is totally rotted and not holding anything. Going to bring it to a shop tomorrow, should be a quick repair.

Would a leak before the cat have any effect on the idle and acceleration sputter?
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Old 06-12-2015
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yes it would

because the catalytic converter needs a sealed exhaust system to properly read the exhaust emissions

in order to properly maintain the 14:1 air to fuel ratio mixture
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Old 06-12-2015
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Oh ok. Bringing it to get looked at this afternoon. Hopefully that fixes the problem. Should be a cheap fix, probably just a new gasket and bolts. Hopefully.

I'll post an update when I get it back. If this doesn't fix it I'll have to go get new wires and coil pack
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Old 06-12-2015
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Ok so it's back from the exhaust shop. Turns out there was a hole in the cat (of course the was, every exhaust leak I've ever had always turns into needing a new cat
) so $200 later, a new cat and a new bolt at the flange, it sounds great. It feels a little more powerful, and the idling seems to have improved a little. But there is still a little hesitation/sputter from a stop. Not AS noticable now that there is no leaks to make the exhaust loud, but I can still feel it.

Is that just how these old engines are? Is it because it's a 4banger?

Now that I'm out 2 big ones, it'll probably be next month that I try to replace the wires/coils.

Really just want to solve this.
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Old 06-12-2015
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pour a full can of seafoam mixed in with the full fuel tank ( use only 91 octane for best results )

i would do 2 full tanks of seafoam mixture to see if it is in fact carbon build up inside the cylinders

but you will definately need new spark plug wires for sure
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Old 06-12-2015
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Rough idle

You mentioned that plug wires only last a few years, my 02 4.0 has original wire's on it, would I benefit by replacing them, thanks
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Old 06-12-2015
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Originally Posted by cheese_man View Post
pour a full can of seafoam mixed in with the full fuel tank ( use only 91 octane for best results )

i would do 2 full tanks of seafoam mixture to see if it is in fact carbon build up inside the cylinders

but you will definately need new spark plug wires for sure
Forgot to mention in OP that I did the seafoam already, only used up about 1/4 of the tank so far tho. So idk how long it takes to show any benefits of using it, but we'll see.
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Old 06-12-2015
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Originally Posted by scott1469 View Post
You mentioned that plug wires only last a few years, my 02 4.0 has original wire's on it, would I benefit by replacing them, thanks
yes you would benefit by installing new spark plug wires

overtime , spark plug wires deteriorate from the engine heat , wires that are 3 years and older

will flow almost half of the electricity the ignition coil generates as it once did from new spark plug wires

as wires age , the resistance increases

motorcraft spark plug wires are carbon core wires , and are the worst you can use

buy and install either spiro core or stainless steel core wires

granatelli being the best , MSD being the second best

magnecor being the 3rd best
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Old 06-12-2015
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Rough idle

Thanks, cheese man, I will replace them tomorrow
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Old 06-12-2015
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Originally Posted by scott1469 View Post
Thanks, cheese man, I will replace them tomorrow
i recommend sometime in the near future that you replace the ignition coil as well

the sreamin demon edis coil puts out more juice and is cheaper than the ford replacement
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