Need some truck help

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Need some truck help

Postby proudarmchairpilot » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:25 pm

Hello all,

I have a wonderfully bliss money hole of a truck which I am sure at least some here can relate to. Recently I have been having some power issues that I have been trying to iron out. I have gotten it running much better but it is still...causing its fair share of issues. The truck info is below.

1994 Ford Ranger with a V6 4.0L Pushrod Engine. 2X4 drive recently rebuilt Automatic Transmission. Burgundy in color (why not include just for giggles ya know.) In the past someone has dropped it by simply cutting the springs ( :naughty: :snooty: :dance: ) which caused issues when turning left (more on that at the end. It's well worth the wait, trust me lol). Oh, and currently at 257,000 Miles.

Of course as we are all aware the OBD sensors were not installed on vehicles until 1995 and really started getting good in 1996...so no getting that pesky check engine light checked out.

So more about the actual problem. A few week ago I put some upper cylinder cleaner in a tank of gas and soon after the engine started to "lope" at idle, stall out consistently even with pressure on the accelerator, blow black smoke indicating a rich mixture and a STRONG fuel smell and just be undriveable. I changed out the fuel filter, the fuel pump, cleaned out the MAF sensor with MAF cleaner and the IAC with general carb cleaner. I also replaced the Fuel Pressure Regulator and checked all vacuum lines and couldn't find an issue. Finally took it to a mechanic and he deduced after a whole week that the problem was 3 plugs that had come unplugged (hence the loping) and a clogged Catalytic Converter and it was sending exhaust gases back into the engine. Of course this truck has a hard to find caddy and it would cost 550$ to put a new one in. Thankfully the county my truck is registered in has no concern at all with the environment so I simply put a huge hole in the exhaust before the caddy...and it did absolutely nothing. Nada. So now I have a hole in my exhaust which has fixed nothing (of course) :dance:

I gave the truck several sea foam treatments and even put a whole tank of high grade alcohol free gas in it. That seemed to help some. At least to where it was driveable, albeit rough running. Then it got to where it would run fine sometimes and then other times it would feel like I was driving a 4 cyl with a clogged fuel filter. Just no power at all, especially for such a beefy engine for that truck. I took it to another guy and he seemed to think that it was the fuel injectors. Of course these injectors sit under the manifold so changing them out is going to be a challenge. He was getting ready to move and didn't have the time to take on that project. But that does make sense. If you have a clogged injector then there could be a backup of pressure in the line that prevents it from reaching the engine. After several days of running a huge amount of injector cleaner through it it does seem to be running better. Check engine light is off and when it starts up it'll idle really rough for a minute (rough, pinging sounds, low RPM's etc) and then it's like a switch gets thrown and it smooths out and then it'll run just fine with no issues (even pulling full power). As far as I know these are the original injectors so they are 23 years old. I have new ones but now comes the task of finding the time to change them out. Anyone have any tips/tricks before I do this? Never done an injector job before. As I said I have to completely remove the Manifold and everything that's attached to it and the fuel rails to even reach them.

Also, I mentioned that I had the transmission rebuilt and the issues didn't start until AFTER I picked it up from them (like within a week). It is under warranty for 2 years. Is there a chance that this could be related to the transmission? If so then I just take it to them and see what they can do. Keep in mind it still has a strong fuel smell.

Now, about the spring. When they dropped it they didn't even cut the springs even so the truck sloped slightly and leaned to the rear left. Not enough to really notice unless you were looking for it though. That pulled on the front right to the point that turning left would cause a crunch and grind as the wheel itself was rubbing against the spring. The second guy I took it to (the one who suspected it was the injectors) literally welded the spring to the frame. It still works normal but now it is tucked away against the frame so it doesn't stick out. I mean it fixed the problem...but now I have a weld holding my front end suspension together haha. Oh man, this truck is the hardest thing I've ever loved in my life.

Wrenching away for now,
Matt
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Re: Need some truck help

Postby napamule » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:01 am

I suspect intake manifold gaskets are leaking. You need to replace those. I had simular symptoms (died at idle at stop lights) but cost me $1000 at Ford Dealer. But included were all plugs,wiring, etc. Was it ever parked for 6 months or more? I have a 1992 Ford Aerostar with 4.0 liter, 6 cyl, engine. It's EFI (fuel injected). Has 187,000 miles and runs like new after new intake manifold gaskets work (lots of power, no smoke, cruises freeway at 80 mph, and smog passed with 'zero' emissions (CA Smog). The dealer had to borrow a OBD tester (took 3 days to find) which they used to determine gasket leak, so the OBD testers are out there - just hard to find. But with all that milage you might as well do a complete overhaul, which would include the intake gaskets. It's worth it if you plan to keep it as that 4.0 L engine is a VERY GOOD engine. Can't beat it.
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Re: Need some truck help

Postby Shadowcaster » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:19 am

Hi
My first thought is did the people who did the gearbox disturb something like the Lamda sensor, fuel pipe or some other sensor when removing or refitting the box.

Cheers
Rich
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Re: Need some truck help

Postby napamule » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:36 am

My first thought was that maybe a fuel line is being pinched due to engine motor mounts being whacked. If it IS being pinched then you are driving a fire trap. I had (in 1969) a '63 Chev with a 283 cu engine and one motor mount was worn and on lifting engine to fix mount we found fuel line was being pinched. Phew! It was my daily commuter car (120 miles round trip) so I had to fix it. Good thing I looked. And yes, I too thought perhaps the transmission work cause a problem (aparently you have more than one-hehe). Get er done.
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Re: Need some truck help

Postby proudarmchairpilot » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:57 pm

Well an update that is making me think more and more that it is the injectors. Went to church today and it was running a little rough and I had to keep constant throttle on it. Whenever I would let up the power would drop back instantly and there was a slight but very distinctive "pop pop pop" sound from the exhaust like a backfire or misfire. Not loud like a shotgun but just loud enough to notice with the window down. Then on the way home it just got worse and the check engine light was on again. It got to the point where I was wondering if I would be able to get it home safely. I had a can of STP fuel treatment (injector, fuel additive, etc.) that I had planned on adding at my next fill up but I decided to pull over and add it today instead...and the results were almost instantaneous. The rough idling went away, no more popping, check engine light went off and it ran like a regular old V6. But then I got home and decided to do the old long screw driver check on the injectors and it idled rough once again before smoothing out and running smooth. So after the injector check using the screwdriver against my ear I discovered at least 2 that are sounding "softer" then the others. Not lod and strong clear clicking...more like the clicking but the sound is coming through water or cotton balls or something. So yeah, tomorrow I will begin the process of changing out the injectors.

I have overhauled an aircraft engine before (A+P student here) so I am considering overhauling my truck engine over the summer. I don't suspect any kinks in the line but it is possible. This is also my daily commuter. I drive at least 60 miles every day so yeah, it's worth keeping it up and running. I have never done a car engine but I have the mechanic book on it that lays everything out step by step and I have a whole array of tools so I should be able to get this up and running. If I can't then why on earth would anyone trust me with their aircraft? Haha

Oh and I do not know if it was ever parked for a long time. Not since I've had it but I am the fourth owner (the truck is actually older than I am by a year so yeah, the stories it could tell are something I'm sure). And yes, I agree, that engine is hard to beat. Man it's a good engine.
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