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Autotech58, ASE Certified Master Technician
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Experience:  37+ years of experience.
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Ford Ranger 4x2: I have a 92 Ranger with the 2.3 engine. Engine

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I have a 92 Ranger with the 2.3 engine. Engine has been starting rough, eventually smooths out. Hesitates occasionally, but stays running. Shoots check engine light quite a bit, code says ignition module not communicating properly with the CPU. Tried replacing ignition module with one off a parts engine, would not start. Tried a brand new ignition module today, engine won't start.. occasional sputter.. Put original module back in - it starts.. Am I missing something?? truck is California emissions if it makes a difference


An update.. Had new module tested, its OK.. Becoming much more difficult to start the engine with the original module.. Starting now involves LOTS of cranking, some sputtering, then it smooths out. Once running it stays running, but the check engine light comes/stays on. hot restarts used to be OK, not anymore..



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Still looking for some direction.. Will continue to try to diagnose within my abilities..
I may be able to help you. First, you must understand that fault codes NEVER tell you what parts to replace. They only tell you which of the many circuits and systems that are monitored by the computer are malfunctioning. The fault codes are then used to look up the correct diagnostic procedure to properly troubleshoot the actual CAUSE of the problem. Exactly what code are you getting (code number)?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Went and bought a real code




543 - came up after engine ran..

OK. Let me look up some service information for those codes. I will come back and post something for you. Please be patient, this may take a couple hours for me to examine the information and come up with a likely suspect...

OK. Codes 222, 223, and 224 are all Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) codes. If you have unplugged the TPS with the ignition switch turned on, this can cause all of these codes. My recommendation here would be to check the connector and make sure it is latched and the terminals are clean an tight, then clear the codes and see if any of these codes return. If they do, then your hesitation is most likely related to your TPS or TPS circuits. Let me know what you come up with on this one.

Code 543 is defined as "Fuel Pump Circuit Open - Battery To EEC Processor".
The troubleshooting information for this one changes depending on where the code was retrieved from. This code will display ONLY in Key-On-Engine-Off (KOEO) self test or in "Continuous Memory". It will not display at all during a Key-On-Engine-Running (KOER) self test.

If you are not sure which self test this code was retrieved from, you need to look at your scan tool information (operating guide). It should tell you how to tell the difference.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Interesting... Checked the TPS connector, looked ok, cleared the codes and restarted.. Check engine light came back on in about 20 seconds, same 4 codes came back..


On my code lists (from 2 different books I have), the codes point to the ignition system..


222- loss of right side IDM signal


223 - loss of dual plug (DPI) control


224 - Erratic IDM signal to processor..


543 is fuel pump secondary circuit

You are absolutely 100% correct! MY BAD!!! I looked up codes 122,123 and 124.....too many numbers rolling around in my head today.....Maybe I should just learn to READ!

The 543 code is just a matter of semantics - same definition worded a different way.

I'll pull up the diagnostic routines for those codes and get back to you.....Please be patient, this might take a while...

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'll be back at it tomorrow.. I work third shift and I have to get ready..

OK here it is:

Please download the file I uploaded HERE

When you click the link, it will open in a new window on When the page opens click the BLUE link that says "Regular Download". The other links on the page will take you places that you do not need (and very likely, do not want) to go. After you click the BLUE link, you will see a timer running ABOVE where you clicked. When this timer runs out, the page will refresh and you will be given a "captcha" code to solve in order to get the download started. Be sure and save a copy to your computer because this file will be deleted in a few days.

When you get the file downloaded, you might want to read COMPLETLY through the file and familiarize yourself with what we are dealing with.

Then If it were me working on that truck, I would look into the HEGO sensor thing first. (If you are asking yourself right now "What does a HEGO sensor have to do with any of this???", please go and read the file) I have seen these things wreak all kinds of havoc on the computer systems in these vehicles. Dealing with this one first may just save you a lot of time and frustration.

Let me know if you need any further assistance.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
As per suggestion I checked the HEGO sensor w/the ohmmeter.. If the terminals are as per diagram, it shows an open circuit. I'll get another sensor in the morning, and we'll go from there..

Sounds good. Also note that those things often take the fuse with them when they go....

It is fuse #18 (10 Amp) in the Instrument Panel Fuse Block.

Let me know how it goes.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Success! replaced the sensor, started up, no check engine light, gave it a little test drive, brought it home, tried restarting, good, re-checked codes, all clear.. Thank you immensely!!

Cool! Happy to help. Even happier that you took the time to come back and tell me about it! Most customers don't bother.....I usually just have to assume by the way they rate my service....

It has been my pleasure, and I hope to serve you again in the future sometime...Not that I am wishing you any problems with your truck or anything...Laughing

-Dave (Autotech58)

Autotech58, ASE Certified Master Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 709
Experience: 37+ years of experience.
Autotech58 and 5 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you


Lesson learned here: This is a perfect example of why I said what I said in my first contact with you. Who'da thunk it that a bunch of ignition module codes and a fuel pump circuit code would turn out to be a HEGO sensor problem? That is why it is always best to diagnose FIRST and replace parts LAST. It usually ends up much faster and cheaper that way! Please pass it on....

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I spoke too soon... got a mile down the road last night going to work and the check engine light came back on.. the only code showing now is 224. Truck very hard starting again. looking at the instructions you gave me, it appears I need a $600 piece of equipment ("diagnostic cable" - breakout box??) to pinpoint the trouble.. suggestions??

I'm actually at my "day job" right now. NO, a breakout box is NOT necessary to diagnose the just makes life a whole lot easier. I'll send you some more information when I get home in the PM.

OK. Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. My "customers waiting" list was VERY long when I got home, and the site will not allow me to post any other answers until I have responded to those...then I had to actually FIND the information I wanted to send you.


Anyway, download the file HERE


This contains the wiring diagram for your engine control system as well as your DIS ignition system. There is also a diagram of the 60 pin connector at the ECA. The instructions that are telling you to use a breakout box coincide with the pins at the ECA connector. If it tells you to check voltage at pin 22 at the breakout box for example, you will be actually checking the voltage at pin 22 at the ECA. The breakout box makes it much easier and faster, but it can be done by "backprobing" as well.


What is backprobing? It is to push a pin into the connector from the WIRE SIDE of the connector to make contact with the metal pin inside. A small paper clip works well, or (preferred method) you can buy backprobing pins made to fit your multimeter leads at most auto parts stores or electronic supply outlets.


DO NOT pierce the wire insulation to do your testing...This will open the wires for corrosion, and trust me, I KNOW you do not want to be dealing with that mess 6 months from now!


So if the instructions are telling you to check voltage with the ECA connected, you will have to get a pin into the back side of the ECA connector while it is connected to the ECA. If it says to disconnect the ECA and check voltage at the breakout box, then you can check the voltage on the 60 pin connector from EITHER side of the connector while it is disconnected (Back probing or just contacting the pins on the other side.)


You will have to remove the tape and the plastic shell from the back of the connector to do this. It is a pain, but I do it all the time when I am doing diagnostics on vehicles that I do not have a breakout box to fit the connector. Just remember to put it all back together and tape it back up again to avoid future problems from allowing the wires to just hang loose.


One more little piece of "experience".... I have seen this code a few times when it was being caused by bad grounds at the ignition control module. Note in the diagram I sent that the module has TWO grounds. They ground through the screws that mount the thing to the intake manifold. I have seen the bolts corrode or even break off in the intake before. It is VERY IMPORTANT that BOTH of these bolts are correctly grounded (clean and tight). This might explain why your truck did not start at all with the new module. Again, this is one of those things I would check FIRST if I was working on your truck.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Finally got time to search this out some.. I have one plug not firing. Assuming its a bad wire, or could it be a coil pack issue?? I think I'm chasing a wire somewhere.. Saturday the check engine light went off, and i was able to restart the truck with no hassle.. The light comes back on, starting is an adventure..
It takes two plugs or two wires or two coil pack problems (or a combination of at least, two of those three things at the same time) to make that engine misfire on one cylinder. Want proof? Just try it. With the engine running, pull one of the plug wires off of one of the coils. Watch the sparks fly (if you can manage this without getting zapped!). You will see that there is no noticeable change in the way the engine runs (at least at idle). Only if you also pull the companion plug wire (for the same cylinder) off of the other coil will it cause a cylinder misfire. If you are getting a code 224, I recommend using the diagnostic routine I sent you to diagnose that code. You will find your problem if you do that. It is not wise to waste time looking for a mouse when there is a huge angry dog staring you in the face. Deal with the dog first, then you can look for the mouse later if you still feel the need.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Done some more poking and prodding, and discovered one side of the right side coil wasn't working. The spark checker I was using was picking up from adjacent wires. replaced the coil pack after confirming continuity between module and coil. Truck starts up ok now, getting snapping noises now.. I'm assuming bad plug wires.. but still getting code 224.. More digging to do..
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Its been a while, i haven't had much of an opportunity to get back into this, but i'm still having the Code 224 issue, hard starting, bad running and getting worse.. This is what i've been able to figure out so far.


One half of the right side coil pack isn't firing, its the one i replaced a month ago. Checked the wiring from the coil pack to the module, all good. Tested both sides of the coil pack connector for signal, signal only on one side.


would seem to me this would be a module issue, but this is whats frustrating me. Doing the resistance check between the module and the coil pack connector, the original module shows a very high resistance on both sides. I have a brand new module and another used one, and the brand new one was tested good.. not only is there an open circuit on these other modules, the truck won't start at all.. The only way the truck even starts is with the original module. (its a motorcraft unit)


I'm in michigan, and the truck is California emissions. I done a parts search a while back, and Ford does list two different part numbers for the ignition module.. The parts stores around here only list one option.. Is there a special module I have to get for this?

OK. Let's do it this way:

Here is another file from a different information service....Maybe you will be able to follow this one a little better.


Download it by clicking HERE


When your browser asks you what to do with the file, be sure to save a copy to your computer. This file can only be downloaded ONE time (FYI only).
If you have any difficulty downloading, saving, or viewing the file, please respond back to me to let me know because I will have to create a new download link for you before you can try it again.


The file contains the listing (at the top) for the OEM (FORD) part number for your ignition control module. No, it does not make any difference if it is California emissions - they ALL use the same module. Some of the catalogs list a "TFI" module. That is for a single-coil, distributor type ignition. Your truck is not equipped with a TFI module, so that does not apply.


I also included the listing from Rockauto,com which shows 3 different brands of ignition modules that are direct replacements for the one on your truck.

With all that said, The file also includes a COMPLETE copy of Pinpoint Test "D", which is the manufacturer's diagnostic test routine for the ignition system for your truck.


Follow the diagnostic routine. DO NOT skip any tests thinking that they do not need to be tested just because a part has been replaced or it is "NEW"....NEW and GOOD are NOT the same thing....TEST IT.


DO NOT read anything into the diagnostic test routine that is not there. Second-guessing the troubleshooting chart will only cause confusion and lead you in the wrong direction.


DO read the test routines carefully and perform the tests EXACTLY as it is described. The only exception is that you will have to perform the tests at the individual connectors in the system because you do not have the "breakout box" to work with. This makes it more difficult, but it can still be done.


If you do all of this you WILL find the problem with your ignition system. You will not have to "guess" if a part is defective, because you will have proven it one way or the other, according to the manufacturers recommendations.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The download link was "invalid", tried it another time access denied..

OK. Try this one.

Click HERE

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Took me awhile and a bit of crossreferencing as to what was what.. but i was able to go through the progresson.. lets just say you have to go by what the connection chart says, not the hole number on the 60-pin connector.. Everything led to the ignition module.. Put the new one back in (the one that wouldn't start it a month ago).. Tried a couple of the tests again, and was still getting response on one side of the coil connector.. Put it all back together, and guess what.. this time it ran.. have all the plugs firing, and no check engine light.. got a cracked coil pack (its snapping some), but I can replace that next weekend when I get paid.. Thanks for your help and patience...