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1998 Ford Ranger 4X4, 5 sp manual, 4.0L X (VIN), 199,000…

1998 Ford Ranger 4X4...

1998 Ford Ranger 4X4, 5 sp manual, 4.0L X (VIN), 199,000 miles. Engine starts, idles erratically for about 5 to 10 seconds then shuts off and check engine light comes on. Engine will not re-start unless ignition switch is turned off. Then engine will re-start, and problem repeats. OBDll code reader indicates no codes found. I have only had the truck a couple of months and I have pro-actively replaced the TPS and IAC. Ideas

Mechanic's Assistant: Does the light stay on, or does it blink?

Light stays on.

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Ranger yourself? What have you tried so far?

DIY.

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

With the exception of the TPS and IAC, everything under the hood appears original and untouched. Truck, overall, appears to have been well treated and used as personal/small business vehicle.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
update to this issue. I just went out and started the truck. The engine started normally and settled into an idle then the Check Engine light flickered on and off a few times and the engine stumbled at the same rate as the check engine light flickering, but the flickering stopped and the engine continued to run normally without shutting off. It seems to me that I have an intermittent issue and until it ceases to run at all, may be difficult to diagnose.
Answered in 11 hours by:
6/21/2018
Chris (aka- Moose)
Chris (aka- Moose), Technician
Category: Ford
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Experience: 16 years experience
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The flashing CEL means the PCM has detected a misfire is occurring. So I would start by checking to see if you are in need of new plugs and wires.

Unplug the alternator and start the engine to see if it runs fine?

You now will see a rating scale a row of yellow stars from bad to excellent, because I have posted my 1st full/partial answer. When you rate I get a portion of the deposit you made, no rating means you still paid, but I earn nothing. My goal is understanding your question, and addressing it in full detail. In return, receiving a 5-star rating. Rating does not close the post or stop the conversation. Please keep in contact and reply as much as needed. Thanks, Chris

Chris (aka- Moose)
Chris (aka- Moose), Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 53,289
Experience: 16 years experience
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thanks for the response, Chris. Just to make sure that I have explained the issue correctly, sometimes the truck starts and runs without the CEL or shutting down. This may be the case for two or three times that I drive it and then it will do the normal start and run for a few seconds then shut down. After two or three tries, (turning the ignition completely off to re-start), it will start and run normally until the next episode. Yesterday was the first time that, after starting, the CEL flickered and the engine misfired but continued to run without shutting down. Also, by PCM is that the same as the ECM?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
started engine this morning and, so far it has run normally. I unplugged the alternator while engine was running and there was no change in engine operation.

PCM and ECM are the same,

To rule out the alternator you would need to unplug it when its running bad. That will see if there is an RF signal interfering with the PCM.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The problem with checking the alternator when it is running bad is that when the CEL comes on, the engine instantly dies. When the engine is running, the CEL is not illuminated. My grand plan is to go ahead and start replacing old service items anyway, because I like the truck and plan to keep it a long time. No more than I have in it, if I have to but $5000 in parts in it to make it a nice truck again, that's ok with me. I am just trying to get it as reliable as possible in the interim. I plan to go ahead and change the coil pack, plugs and wires and since the alternator looks original, or has been there awhile, I will replace it, as well. I'm not sure what else you can do for me at this point, so I consider youir obligation to have been well fulfilled. When I was rouited to the page to pay a $5 deposit, I ended up seeing #24 to be paid, so I paid that via PayPal. It seems I may owe you some additional money, plus I would like to leave you a tip. If you can have someone tell me how I do that, I will be glad to get that done. Thanks "Moose"

The last option would be to use a scan tool and see which PCM codes are stored.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
based upon your suggestion, I am changing the spark plugs, wires and coil pack. So far, I have discovered that 3 out 6 spark plugs were only installed halfway to the seat by whomever last changed the plugs. I got a thread chaser and I am cleaning the threads to make sure that the plugs are seating properly on the cylinder head. I will let you know the result of all this. Thanks.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Chris, it showed that you were on-line, so FYI, I changed the plugs, coil pack and wires and the truck is running great. So far no start and shut off issues yet, so that may have fixed the problem. Thanks for your help. If I owe any more money, please let me know and I will be glad to take care of it.

That is great news.

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Customer reply replied 30 days ago
Hello Chris,
After running well for two weeks, the truck shut off on start-up once again. Then it started and ran at a high idle and did not shut off. At that point, I threw in the towel and took it to a highly recommended local repair shop, Top Gun Auto in Amarillo, where they uncovered the underlying issues. They picked up "pending codes" on their diagnostic machine that my OBDll reader would not. After cleaning the MAF and all injectors, the truck is running perfectly and all is well. Thanks for all your help!

Glad they got some codes to find the issues.

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