Question about 1986 Ford Ranger 2WD

5 Answers

Fuel issue or spark (ignition)?

Ok fine people, wrap your noodles around this one. 2.9L EFI engine, starts perfectly every time. Idles all day long no prob. Try to go and as long as you don't push the gas pedal down too far you will move along. But go past that point (maybe 1/4 of the way down) and it acts like it is running out of gas. Surges and bucks like crazy. Push in the clutch and keep the pedal to the floor and it lopes between almost dying and just short of winding up to the point of letting off it for fear of winding it too tight. Not quite to there but just before. It will do that until you let up off the pedal back to that 1/4 down point and then will gain rpms and rev sounding perfect. I've changed both fuel pumps, fuel filter, press. regulator, cat. conv., fuel injectors. What the hell? Ready to drench it in gas and watch it burn. Any ideas? If not someone bring over some weiners and beer and we will make an evening of it.

Posted by on

  • wahl78 Jan 18, 2009


    Ok this problem is similar for this 92 3cyl 1.0L geo metro, Ive torn the motor apart, replaced a burnt exhaust valve, replaced o2 sensor, replaced crankshaft, new timing belt, tried new ecu's, coils, replaced the auto trans with a manual trans, put new rings on, dropped off the exhaust pipe to check the cat, nearly pissed in the gas tank, kicked the tires, and put dents in the body where appropriate.

    What else... ohh yeah, I've not taken apart or traded the injector, the carburator, the fuel pump or filter,

    I DO have fuel pressure,much compression, and fluids are fine, and the fuel

    relay seems to be operable.

    What happens is, the veh starts up just perfect and when either the engine warms up, or some time upto 30 seconds the engine is in top shape and opperation and all is well.

    then IT happens, every thing begins to cycle,

    first the fuel stops as the injector quits pumping fuel into carb.

    second the motor begins to decelerate as no fuel is being added.

    third the injector magicaly turns on again and re-revs the motor.

    it sounds like this....ruuuuuummmmmmallisfinepuuuuggghhhhhruuuummmpuggggghhhrumpuuupand down up then down up then down.

    when the throttle is used the veh falls on its face as in the injector just quits.

    why is this??

    thanks for the info. ohh and the pcv valve has also been replaced.

    and I heard the obd 1 sys has to warm up and check all sensors before it begins to make adjustments...well during the warm up phase the veh runs fine and later after it kicks in is when it turns south.

    thanks again,



    every little bit helps.



5 Answers

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

    New Friend:

    An expert that has 1 follower.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 7 Answers

Popping can mean its running too lean. i know this is a 4yr old topic, but hey if this helps anybody....
'86 was carbs era.. maybe throttle-body injection, but if carb: little tiny pinhole ports where the butterfly opens when you step on the gas, that valve opens. can take a piece of strong kind of small wire to poke in those holes (ports) then hit with a squirt of carb cleaner. or its dirty main jet or the main jet vacuum diaphram (or vacuum leak elsewhere). tps indicator is a good idea too. but might be too old (vintage) for that. fuel injection -definitely. fuel injected, it could be MAF if problem happens after like 30 -90 seconds ... there's a timer on that circuit. Good luck felow diy-ers. Cheers

Posted on Jan 22, 2015

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

    Problem Solver:

    An expert who has answered 5 questions.

  • Contributor
  • 6 Answers

I have an 86 ranger 2wd with the 2.9 in it and I have had similar problems. Mine would run great for about ten minutes or so, (until it was nice and warmed up) and then it would start bucking, and popping and just running like ****. For me, the TPS (throttle position sensor) was the culprit. Very easy to test. Take your tps off, (it is held on the passenger side of the throttle body by 2 screws). After you have it off, you will see 3 prongs where the plug goes. Using any ohm meter, put the positive tester lead on the middle prong and the neg. lead on either of the other prongs. VERY slowly turn the tps actuator, (the part that turns as you accelerate). As you turn it, the ohms should increase at the exact same rate as you are turning it. If the ohm meter gets erratic, (starts going up, or down very quickly, or simply does nothing) then your TPS needs to be replaced.

Posted on Mar 12, 2010

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert who has answered 20 questions.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 36 Answers

I had the EXACT same problem, the culptrit? For me it was the O2 sensor on the exhaust. Check yours, if its bad then thats the problem.
An o2 sensor sends "messages" to the engine telling it how rich/lean to run, so if thats bad it will run like ****.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert who has answered 20 questions.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Expert
  • 76 Answers

Try spraying your distribotor cap w/ wd-40, sounds crazy try it. moisture around and in distributor will make it do that. better yet replace dist. cap and rotor all together. no more problems. check it out. try wd first. pull cap off and look for corrosion i bet thats your problem.hope this helps

Posted on Nov 04, 2008

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

try replacing the engine with one that is not a piece of ****. Also, you may try buying a new car with a warranty

Posted on Feb 08, 2010

1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya Mechanic can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
Best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repair professionals here in the US.
click here to Talk to a Mechanic (only for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

2 Answers

1997 Prism LSI. It cranks, but why won't it start?

redux 2
not car smart ?
and no photo of your ENGINE so we both fail

crude video, but is for folks with near zero tools
or shows you clearly why you dont want to do this.

so get car fixed
use a real mechanic.
see why?

the DIS engine started in July 1997 (mfg,date)

so your does have a distributor (google that please)
but 1997 is also a big change, a new engine
end to end. july 1.

no photo of your engine,means NO JOY.
we can not guess engines
or what spark system used due to huge changes
in 1997, all related to USA smog laws.

Dec 14, 2015 | Geo Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Engine died while driving, no spark, replaced coil, now starts, idles, runs well at low rpm, but misfires when accelerating. No check engine costs thrown. What should I check next.

Change your ignition module. The distributor is a weak point of the Honda, I will always change out the whole thing than just try the coil.

Jun 05, 2015 | 1996 Honda Civic

1 Answer

93 Honda Civic dx will not start. new fuel pump igniter, has spark

sorry if you guess and guess wrong. really, must be expensive.

ok got spark (and timing is good, timing light test)

if test fuel ( use instant start in a spray can) fails, with spark

then engine is bad, compression is checked, see near 80 not 150+ PSI , the timing belt has slipped. if not changed by the book

they slip and the engine grenades (or bends valves)

this is an interference engine, never ignore the belt.

there is an acid test order.

1 compression good.

2 spark good, and timed

3 fueling is last. (if spark plugs dry add fuel, by hand)

cant burn fuel with no compression and spark. well with EFI it cant run right with bent valves either.

here is Chad running an engine (any) with no gas tank

even his battery is dead. and has external battery. for 12v power.

a real trooper.

ive done this 1000s of times. in 60 years.

his engine only makes 80 psi (old) and still starts.

but EFI will never do that not that low. compression

the cam slips and goes retarded compression drops to near 1/2

and the valve timing is so bad, the exh opens late and pollutes the

next last intake charge. the card house falls and then the valve bend.

take if from me, nostarts are a blessing on any honda

maybe it saved your valves.? do the service on time./

Dec 29, 2013 | 1993 Honda Civic 4 Door

1 Answer

1998 jeep grand cherokee will not turn over but fuel pump is fine

fine? ( 30 to 40PSI , fine, not squirt tests or sounds)

EFI demands full pressure all the time, its not like carb cars of old.

first off, no engine stated ,so all help will be poor, all cars have engine options.. to work on any car , open hood, (USA commenter) and look up see that EPA sticker there, and the engine ID< and displacement?

That is first. (ill pretend , you drove to my shop and what id do)

i ask owner, when\'s the last time car was a daily driver?, last week or last decade>? (bad fuel, etc,....happens)

i stick finger in air, its 50F, not -40F air temp, ok not in Canada. cool. er its hot...

i open hood and see a I6 4.0L engine, with EFI. ok.

2: i check all the fuses. it\'s EFI and blown fuses, will kill the show.

3: i turn the key , and check engine lamp glows, (ECU is happy)

(ecu has juice , so boots and glows CEL, to say so)

4: i crank it, it cranks over 250 RPM, sounds like normal fast cranking

we all know that sound, we dont use the tachometer...

5: i then ask owner , evah\' tune it up this decade, answer no.


i then do the tune up, plugs were ratty. all spark parts, filters.

we dont use $100/hr labor to find ratty spark parts the install them

its called a tune up.

car runs like new. (end story) no?

or it was tuned up;.

so, i check spark it is blue-white on my test spark plug (new) times 6.

i then check spark timing, it\'s dead on, good, if off i fix that first.

if timing is off on most cars i check compression as some like

to slip cam timing. (i saw a V6 once with plastic timing gears. once burned ,twice shy , i check it all) (i do a compression test on all old motors. so I can see TRUTH, and potential future LIFE of engine)

ok, spark is perfect,please note my order, good motor?, good spark?

with bad motors and spark the fuel can not burn, not fully.

then, i try "test fuel" (can-o-spray) car runs for 3 seconds. and stalls.

my gosh, the motor and spark were good. verrroooooom stall....

(btw, this here, logic flow is bad on DOHC motors, 99% true) ask

i check spark plug tips and they are dry. (wet is flooding)


i suspect low or no fuel pressure, i know from experience

that fuel pumps about 75% do not run only key on, only cranking

and running they run. so i check pressure.

i find its 10psi.

the story gets longer for flooding or injectors tests, ill skip that.. ask.

so 10psi,. i find

1: 12v to pump is really just 6v, if fix bad connector up stream from pump. done.

2: if 12v to pump cranking, mine was 11v, but the starter does that. drop so is ok. (study starting systems) , its good line voltage is good. cranking.

3: i then check the fuel pressure reg, and find the thing stuck wide open , i replace the reg. and pressure is 34 PSI (wild guess. didnt look yours up. ) car runs prefect now.


4: i find FPreg ok, but pump is weak, new pump saves day..

i have a scope and can see this pump is noisy, has a bad commutator segment, deep inside it... scopes, rule.

all above is good?

if pump pressure is at spec. cranking, then

do this long story, omitted due to fingers sore.


the pump tests and spec are all covered 100% in a real FSM.

the spec is covered at, log in and see it.

btw, all EFI just hates low fuel pressure.

the whole system is turned for good pressure,

and many systems do not even monitor it.

To understand that read the books by, Greg Banish

the pressure must be at spec, and must regulate perfectly

or the ECU fuel tables are all TRASH.

hard starts. (fast starter) nut shell.

1: bad fuel. or running summer fuel in winter

what is your air temp, not stated, and is big factor ,if very cold.

2; no tuneups. ever done.

3: bad spark or timing off,

4: low compression.

5: bad ISC, try starting with 10% throttle ,to mimic a good ISC.

6: flooding. soaking wet spark tips.

7: under fueling, dry sparks.

try test fuel. if dry.

Dec 28, 2013 | 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee

1 Answer

I have a 1997 delsol which has started perfectly everytime I have gone to start it until the other day. I was able to push start it and it ran fine till i shut it off at home. After testing with a...

its an old car, why not get the real FSM to keep it going. DIY
it only takes 3 things to run,. one is bad, and find that 1 failure
and take it to the logical conclusions (vast)
1:Good engine, 150psi compression all cylinders. W.0.T.
2: good spark ( and timed right too.) (timing light and test spark plug)
3: good fueling (not too much or too little) (lots of tests but are the spark tips wet? dripping in fuel or dry as a bone. )

if the engine was good and spark , then test fuel test would pass.
does it?
fuel at rail means zero. only the proper pressure works in EFI.
my guess, is you did the dribble? tes?t a the the rail?
that dribble test only finds 100% DOA pumps. nothing MORE.

if the sparks are dry, and you did a proper tuneup. did you, and did you put the new spark plug wires back 1 by 1, no?
then test fuel works and runs for as long as you squirt it.
if test fuel runs say for 3 seconds for each time then you lost fuel..
most cars cut fuel injection if spark is lost. or it even thinks it is lost. ECU monitors spark and cuts fuel
this is classic, and is easy to see with any NOID lamp test
you see all NOID checks go dead on all cylinders , that means
the ECU is in cut fuel mode.
see scotty do it.

Oct 27, 2013 | 1997 Honda Civic del Sol

1 Answer

Wont start dash lights up perform service

what engine of the many, you cant fix one , unless you know what it is.! (cyl count and displacement works "cc's")
wont start. but cranks fast?????
dash lights up , key on, they all do all cars, its the lamp tests.
perform service, i just can noodle that. what does that mean?

1: check all fuses. in both boxes, EFI needs many fuses to work.
2: if cranks perfectly , does it?
3: we check for spark , in the blind hope compression is good all cyl.
4: spark is good, (and timing in the realm)
5: i then check spark tips, flooded, or dry ?
5a: dry, try test fuel. (spray)
5b; wet, i use supers secret (in opr guide) unflood mode.
"wide open throttle cranking"?
it starts and runs.
it start then stalls and floods again
or it was dry and runs for 3 seconds, test fuel tested.
so you lost injection
if lost, then we check fuel pressure next 30psi min,
cranking, if not 30, we check for 12v at pump, and so on........ask
ask for help if you make it this far.....
takes tools it does.

Sep 06, 2013 | 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee

1 Answer

I have a 1992 Chevy 1/2 ton 5.7 Litre 1500 series truck. The truck while idling suddenly stalled. I verified the fuel pump by taking the pump side off to the filter and verified fuel to the filter by...

Doesn't sound like you've considered spark. Sounds like you're losing spark somehow. You seem to know your way around a truck, so I don't have to explain every little thing. Just check all the ignition stuff, go through the distributor and coil and plugs and wires. If it's gettin fuel, its either a spark issue or air/vaccum issue. Hope this helps.

Jun 12, 2011 | 1992 Chevrolet K1500

1 Answer

Suddenly refuses to start,first time since i got it,plenty of fuel,good spark from plugs,fuses all ok,turns over perfectly but wont fire

Crank it long lets say 10 seconds remove one plug if is dry, no fuel! now inspect EFI fuse OK, then SWAP EFI relay for other that look the same like horn relay, unable to do that let somebody else crank the vehicle and put you finger on the relay clicks EFI system ok.

Spark plug dry (continue) while somebody cranck the car put a long screw driver in the injectors and the other end close to your ear, did you listen the ticki noise from the injectors No? probably no crank sensor signal.

Spark plug is wet, but the spark wont ignite that fuel. bad fuel ! or bad timing.

All this easy test are done asuming you dont have profecional tool like stetoscope, scanner, etc

Dec 19, 2010 | 1998 Toyota RAV4

1 Answer

1992 Lumina Backfire - I have a 1992 Lumina Euro, 77K miles, 3.1 V-6. Under moderate to hard acceleration the engine will backfire and you can smell gas. The spark control module, coils, wires, plugs,...

I know you mentioned the EGR valve has been replaced, but you may have a bad 'new' part. I know the car is electronic, but has anyone checked its ignition timing (timing belt been looked at, I know it only has 77k on it). Is the fuel pressure regulator OK and it vacumm supply?

Nov 15, 2010 | Chevrolet Lumina APV Cars & Trucks

Not finding what you are looking for?
Cars & Trucks Logo

264 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Ford Experts


Level 3 Expert

77499 Answers

Colin Stickland
Colin Stickland

Level 3 Expert

22306 Answers


Level 3 Expert

5626 Answers

Are you a Ford Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides