Starts but dies if I don't give it throttle until it has warmed up - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 10-08-2014
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Starts but dies if I don't give it throttle until it has warmed up

Hello, I am a new member and a first time Ranger owner!

I just bought a 1984 Ranger the other day for $850! The Specs are: 2.3L, 4x4, 4 speed manual, with 245/75 R16 tires.

I am having trouble keeping it running when I first start it up when it is cold.
When it is warmed up it starts up fine. The Idle isn't very smooth when it is warmed up though.

I am hoping I can get some direction here. I have read that It may be the IAC. What does the IAC look like on a 1984 Ranger?

Also it probably wouldn't hurt to change the spark plugs and wires right? Any plugs to avoid with these older rangers?
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Last edited by Fumey; 10-08-2014 at 11:41 AM. Reason: Spelling.
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Old 10-08-2014
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'84 2.3l should have a carburetor, so no IAC(idle air control) Valve
Fuel injection(EFI) started in the '85 model, EFI does require an IAC Valve.

My guess, from provided info, would be the Automatic Choke is either not working or is out of adjustment.

On the side of the carb you will see a big black plasic cap, inside that cap is a spring that is connect to the choke plate.
When cold that spring is tight and closes the choke plate, this raises the idle and causes more fuel to be sucked from the jets, cold engine needs more fuel.
The spring is either heated by electricity or exhaust or coolant, as the spring heats up the choke plate slowly opens, this lowers the idle and lowers the fuel being used.

Pull off the air cleaner or its tube from the top of the carb, so you can see the choke plate.
Engine should be stone cold for this, manually open the throttle, when you do this the choke plate should spring closed, if it doesn't try to move it manually to see if it is stuck.
If it does move then loosen the 3 screws on the plastic cap and turn it until choke plate closes.
If it never closes then you will have to rebuild carb or see if you can find an old carb and get the choke parts from it.
If it does close then start engine and it should stay running but............let it warm up and see if choke starts to open as it does, you will have to manually open the throttle or step on the gas pedal during this time to allow choke to open.
If it is not opening then previous owner has disconnected/disabled the automatic choke system, if it looks like a wire was connected to the black plastic cap you will need to find that wire and test it for 12v when engine is running, and no volts with engine off.

Last edited by RonD; 10-08-2014 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 10-08-2014
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Thanks for the quick reply.

I looked at the choke plate, it appears to be open by default.

I figure out if i depress the throttle all the way before starting it to get the choke on. The previous owner told me to do it three times before starting it.

I tried that and the choke was on and it was idling very high. I started driving and hit the gas and the idle came back down.

I just needed to learn the quirks of this truck.

Also, I thought carb cleaner fuel additive was a scam, it really help smooth out the idle on the truck. So I guess if the carb really needs a cleaning that stuff actually works.
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Old 10-08-2014
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I think the thermostat may be stuck open or non-existent on this truck...
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Old 10-08-2014
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It reads like the spring on the choke plate isn't working, it should keep choke plate closed until engine warms up, the choke plate is connected to a cam on the throttle that keeps idle high until engine warms up.

You should have a 192 or 195degF thermostat, not 180degF, auto parts stores like to push those, lol.
If should take from 5 to 8 minutes for engine to warm up and show between 1/3 and 1/2 on temp gauge.
2.3l engine needs all the heat it can get, some in northern climates run 210 t-stats and put cardboard in front of rad to keep engine warm enough to have a working heater.
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Old 10-10-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonD View Post
It reads like the spring on the choke plate isn't working, it should keep choke plate closed until engine warms up, the choke plate is connected to a cam on the throttle that keeps idle high until engine warms up.

You should have a 192 or 195degF thermostat, not 180degF, auto parts stores like to push those, lol.
If should take from 5 to 8 minutes for engine to warm up and show between 1/3 and 1/2 on temp gauge.
2.3l engine needs all the heat it can get, some in northern climates run 210 t-stats and put cardboard in front of rad to keep engine warm enough to have a working heater.
I looked at the big plastic cap for the auto choke and the auto choke unit appears to be riveted on. So this is most likely not the original. I bet those screws are stripped and that's why the previous owner did that.

The choke plate appears to close when I tap the gas when its cold, but also doesnt appear to stay on for long. I think it opens up way before the engine gets warm to the touch. There has to be no thermostat in this truck because the heater never gets hot.

This morning i accidentally flooded the engine by trying to flutter the gas to keep the cold engine running. I took out the plugs to let it dry out. I took off and cleaned with carb cleaner a cylindrical silver thing with two screws holding it on and two wires on the bottom. Not sure what that was but it was kinda dirty on the inside and I like to think it helped it.
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