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2002 Ford Ranger Won't Start
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 Posted: Mon Aug 20th, 2018 11:24 pm
mh9162013
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I have a 2002 Ford Ranger. I bought it secondhand with a bunch of miles on it (214,000 or so). It had this issue when starting where you had to sometimes try several times.  It has a 3.0L engine (and 6 cylinders).
 
It’s been in kept in storage for about 8 months with half a tank of fuel with no fuel stabilizer (probably not the best idea, but what’s done is done) and one battery lead unplugged. However, when I tried to start it today, it wouldn’t start at all and the lights quickly died out. Not too surprised, so I tried jump starting it, but it still wouldn’t start.
 
When I insert the key, this is what I get on the following dashboard warning lights:
 

 
When I turn the key to try and start the truck, I get the following dashboard warning lights (there\'s also a buzzing sound, like a CIWS point defense gun):
 

 
After speaking to the prior owner, he said it could be an issue with the fuel pump, starter, head gasket or coil pack (or is it a coral pack?). But any advice from you all would be helpful.
 
Thanks ahead!

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 Posted: Mon Aug 20th, 2018 11:38 pm
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:hi Welcome. Glad you joined us. Have fun and enjoy F-R. Hope you figure it out. Spray some fuel in the throttle body to see if it kicks. But first you need to change ALL Fluids. And pull fuel pump fuse as not to get any bad fuel in the lines. If you get it started, replace the cam synic. before it breaks and lock up the motor, and is way over due with that many miles, and is very common on the 3.0. Get a Motorcraft from Rockauto for about 100.00 bucks. Do not put any other after market in it.
From Don
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Last edited on Mon Aug 20th, 2018 11:45 pm by NoPower



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 12:23 am
black06xlt
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Need a few more details. Does it crank over? Is check engine light when you turn the key on? What was the starting issue you mentioned that the truck did before?



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 12:51 am
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Agree, need details. Is the starter turning the motor when the key is all the way forward?



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 01:13 am
mh9162013
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As far as I can tell, the engine is not turning the motor when I try to start the truck.

And yes, the Check Engine light is on when the key is in the ignition as well as when I'm trying to start the truck.

As far as describing the prior issue, I don't have any other details. I will talk to the prior owner (he's a family member) and try to get more details, but it might take a few weeks before that happens.

Please excuse my ignorance here. My prior car experience is limited to replacing cabin and engine air filters, rotating tires and changing oil. And the only experience I have working on engines are small two-strokes like leaf blowers and chainsaws.

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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 01:18 am
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OK cool, when you turn the key all the way forward where it should be cranking over, do you hear clicks, do you hear nothing, does it click once and the dash lights go dim?



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 01:21 am
mh9162013
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I hear a very rapid set of clicks, which is more like a buzzing sound. The best way to describe it is to liken it to the CIWS point defense gun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsVUISS8oHs

You can fast forward to the 20 second mark for the sound.

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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 01:23 am
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It could be as simple as a bad starter. Try tapping on the the starter with a small hammer. Sometimes after a truck sits for a long time the starter will stick and few good taps with a hammer will free them up. If that solves the problem I recommend a new starter. Just remember the stupidest question is the question that is never asked. We are here to help you. You'll find in time alot of helpful people on here sharing the knowledge they have in different areas of the ranger world. So dont be afraid to ask questions



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 02:26 am
mh9162013
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I'll give the hammer tap a try. Thank you all for the suggestions! I'll report back when I have any new information.

I had a feeling this would be a great place to get some advice.

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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 05:59 am
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Could also try using some sandpaper or other abrasive material and clean battery terminals and cables (should be shiny new metal when you finish, but don't sand down too much lol) I had a problem similar and it helped me. Best of luck, and welcome. This forum is the best one I've been on, lots of truly helpful people who don't judge when a question is asked.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 07:54 am
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mh9162013 wrote:
I hear a very rapid set of clicks, which is more like a buzzing sound. The best way to describe it is to liken it to the CIWS point defense gun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsVUISS8oHs

You can fast forward to the 20 second mark for the sound.

Classic symptom of a discharged battery or a bad connection - either at the battery or the earthing strap of the engine.

The sound is of the starter solenoid chattering in and out.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 10:39 am
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Yes sometimes even if the connection is good and the battery has dead cells it could be a problem.

If you have the tools, remove the battery and take it to an auto parts store they can test it for you for free.

The connection to the battery could be corroded as Chris was saying making the same sound. But if you clean it and it makes the same sound after you have charged the battery then the battery is on its last leg.

If you tap on the starter and it starts working, quickly have the starter replaced anyway as it is on it's last leg.

A lot of this you can do yourself if you have a few tools. Having a volt meter really helps when it comes to diagnosing electrical problems. Even if you clean the terminals, charge the battery and it starts... if the alternator isn't putting out enough voltage to keep the battery charged it will happen again. You could tell this even with the cheapest volt meter.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 11:51 am
mh9162013
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Thanks for the additional suggestions. I will reexamine the battery and clean the terminals (they are a bit corroded). I will also get it checked out at the local auto parts store as it's close by and I have an alternative vehicle to use (this Ford Ranger is a bit of a fun project for me!).

Last edited on Tue Aug 21st, 2018 11:52 am by mh9162013

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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 06:26 pm
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I agree with Chris, it sounds to me like a bad or almost dead battery or a bad connection.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2018 07:28 pm
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Also check your ground.



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 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 03:37 am
mh9162013
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Update: I got it to start!

So I took the battery to my local auto parts store. They said the battery was dead, but it was otherwise good. The guy explained that if a battery is really dead, jump starting only works when you let the car with the good battery run for "a while" to charge up the dead battery. I did not do this yesterday. Anyways, he said he could charge it for free (I don't have a charger) in about an hour. I returned for the battery about 3 hours later and he said it was around "85%" and that if the truck still didn't start, it wasn't because of the battery. He also said the battery was only about 1 year old.

So I bring the battery back home and install it. Still doesn't work and I have the same problem as the other day. Except the buzzing sound isn't there (the auto parts guy said it was the starter relay and it makes that sound when the battery isn't producing enough juice). I decide to try jump starting it again, and it still doesn't work. I wait about 5 minutes while the car with the good battery runs then I try again and after a few tries, it works!

While driving it around, I noticed a few things:

1. The ABS light comes on randomly.
2. The red battery light comes on in the dash very faintly sometimes and flickers rapidly, especially when I give it a lot of gas.

I don't know if these 2 issues relate to the starting issue, but I'll find out over time.

With respect to issue #2, I'm wondering if there's a problem with the alternator? I think I could stop by the auto parts store again and find out. I have a voltmeter, but I'm still in the process of unpacking my tools (moved a few months ago) and it would take a while to find it.

Thanks again for all the help you all provided.

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 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 04:29 am
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My battery light also flickers. Pin pointed to alternator, will also get new battery. Mine mainly happens if I'm trying to merge onto a highway and everyone's doing 80 and have to drop into 4th or 3rd lol



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 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 10:56 am
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The flickering light has alternator written all over it, or either a really really bad serpentine belt.

It could also be a ground.

The gauge of the jumper cables has all to do with the jumping thing. I made a set of cables out of arc welder wire when I was in my early 20's you could jump immediately. Smaller gauge cables you have to wait a while.

Had no idea you were not waiting after jumper cables, lesson learned for me I'll make sure to ask from now on.



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 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 12:10 pm
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I've jumped vehicles before without waiting more than a few moments (the time it takes to walk from the batteries and start the car with the bad battery). Guess we all learned a bit from this experience.

As an FYI: the cables I used: 20 feet long, 400 amp and 6 gauge.

I ran the truck for about 40 total minutes last night, with about 25 minutes idling or revving it and 15 minutes driving it around town. I"ll try starting it again today or tomorrow and see what happens.

I checked the battery ground wire and it looked just fine. Also, the serpentine belt looked good, but I'll double check the next time I pop the hood.

Last edited on Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 12:14 pm by mh9162013

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 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2018 08:46 pm
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So I just tried starting the truck again and no dice. What's weird is that when I removed the key, the truck acted as if I was still trying to start it (sort of). The red Theft light blinked and I heard a chattering, kind of like the buzzing sound from earlier, but not as fast.

The car parts store guy said the battery was fine, so I'm guessing it's the alternator? If not, could there be some sort of electrical "leak" that drains the battery when the truck is not in use? I know the lights were all off when I finished running the truck last night.

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 Posted: Thu Aug 23rd, 2018 01:37 am
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Theres a fusible link that runs from the battery to the alternator that like could be bad. Just replace it with heavy gauge wire and the appropriate size inline fuse. But something is telling me you could have security issue with the key. I've seen this problem on an explorer ordered new key from a ford dealer and that solved the problem.  Not saying any of this is your problem but things you can look into. Hopefully this helps



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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 03:37 am
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I still wouldn't be happy with the battery charge level, everyone should have a real battery charger, not just jump cables or a jump/starter pack.

Do yourself a favour and grab *any* of the CTEK chargers.

Anyway, the fusible link is a good suggestion, but that this was running before you unplugged the battery last, i'd say your total voltage might still be a cause here.

Anything else on, radio etc?



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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 04:12 am
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MaDMaXX wrote:
I still wouldn't be happy with the battery charge level, everyone should have a real battery charger, not just jump cables or a jump/starter pack.

Do yourself a favour and grab *any* of the CTEK chargers.

Anyway, the fusible link is a good suggestion, but that this was running before you unplugged the battery last, i'd say your total voltage might still be a cause here.

Anything else on, radio etc?

I was thinking a key off drain. Either the radio, dome light, or a door ajar?



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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 11:59 am
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Most often it is something to do with the radio or alternator if there is a drain above and beyond what a normal battery can handle.

Happens to GM's often have never had to search one down on a ford.

And plus one to the CTEK I have a little one and it is awesome.



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 Posted: Sat Aug 25th, 2018 02:26 pm
mh9162013
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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

I didn't leave a open door and there wasn't a light on or anything when I parked the truck when it was running last.

As for the radio, it acts funny, but it's been installed in the truck for the past few years with the prior owner with no problems (from a battery drain perspective).

As for the Ctek chargers, I saw a few on Amazon, but none seem to have a regular outlet plug. Where does the incoming power come in? Or do I have to buy a power supply separately, like with many hobby-style R/C plane/heli/car chargers?

If the fusible link is bad, how would I know? Will it look burned out or melted or something?

Last edited on Sat Aug 25th, 2018 02:40 pm by mh9162013

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