My 2001 3.0 is doing all kinds of crazy stuff..

Discussion in '1998 - 2011 Ford Ranger' started by waters83186, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. waters83186

    waters83186 New Member

    To give a little bit of background, the truck has 308K miles but it runs really well. It had a motor swap at 230k and it was switched with the same motor.

    When I bought it there was a serious skip. I got it for a low price so I took a chance.

    After reading several forums before going into repair completely blinded, I saw a lot of possible culprits that should be changed "just in case" so I changed:
    Spark Plugs
    Plug Wires
    Coil Packs
    EGR Regulator Sensor
    IAC sensor
    Cam Position Sensor
    Did a coolant flush/bought a new radiator cap
    Sprayed butterfly with choke cleaner
    Ran seafoam through gas tank (very, very thoroughly)
    Ran seafoam through brake booster vacuum
    replaced all fuses
    changed oil, oil filter, air filter
    bought new tires.
    Replaced radiator hoses.

    NOW... after doing all this (whether it needed it or not) A lot of the rough idle and **** stopped. But now what is left is:
    Oil pressure gauge jumps up and down when I first start it in the morning.
    I hear a ticking around the front driver side of the motor
    The shifter shakes and it idles rough until about 2.5RPM, but drives fine.
    It gets a steady 21mpg (which I feel like could be better in a single cab)
    Coolant overflows out of the reserve and leaks when parked.
    (EVEN AFTER FLUSH) Coolant looks like YooHoo on the ground..
    Check engine code reader says "misfire on multiple cylinders"
    It get worse when you run the heat/air

    Heres the deal though.. the hoses are new, they dont leak, it is a hard leak to trace. All the plugs, wires, and coilpack is new... So I don't get it.

    I was told the injectors could def. be clogged and causing this..

    ***Things I know for sure***

    1. Firing order is correct*
    2. Cam position sensor was NOT scratched up on the inside*
    3. Removing ANY of the 6 boots from the coil pack makes it run worse*
    4. I did a very detailed vacuum leak test with brake cleaner.. no luck*
    5. All wires are seated correctly

    My main deal is I want the thing to stop the rough idle. I want to hang on to this truck as I have very little money invested and besides the (multiple) problems I listed up there^^^^ There is nothing really wrong, and as you guys know.. those problems only bug you, they don't really hurt anything. I just want to know if anyone sees a multiple-symptom culprit that jumps out as being a possible cause

    *being that it is my only/personal/work vehicle, I have to work on it myself if at all possible.

    Hope I didn't bore you, any suggestions help!!

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
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  3. Hooligan

    Hooligan Rangerholic!!

    May have a blown head gasket with it leaking coolant like it is. Is it blowing white smoke? Have you replaced the fuel injectors at all?
  4. OP

    waters83186 New Member

    It blows no white smoke, and no I have not bothered with the injectors, only ran 2 bottles of seafoam through a quarter tank (because it said online "You can't really put TOO MUCH, so no harm") to try and unclog them, no luck though.
  5. Hooligan

    Hooligan Rangerholic!!

    I ran across a ranger with the same issues. The engine was rebuilt 3 times and just kept blowing head gaskets and had very similar symptoms. I would have to say the yoo hoo looking coolant is a dead giveaway from what I saw on that one ranger.
  6. OP

    waters83186 New Member

    Now is a blown head gasket possible to replace?
    I know a blown head gasket in most cases (like my poor 90 nissan) would burn a valve, crack the head, shoot water into the wrong places and lead to a block full of watery oil...

    But in this case, since nothing is damaged just yet.. and I have a very money-friendly mechanic, could I have him replace the head gasket and just... keep on keeping on? OR at this point.. am I advised to just be glad it is running, keep running it like it runs and let it go..
  7. klinger86

    klinger86 Moderator

    the head gasket is between the head and block... you basically have to tear the motor apart just about all the way and all of that.... as far a running it with a blown head gasket i wouldnt it could end up costing more money in the long run....
  8. Hooligan

    Hooligan Rangerholic!!

    Most times when the heads blow warping occurs so it really has to be looked at well. Its a pretty big job, but before going by our say here I really recommend having a ford tech take a look at it prior to any kind of major over haul. In the meantime, just in case, start scouting engines in junkyards and places like that, and/or price rebuilds such as Jasper rebuilds.
  9. OP

    waters83186 New Member

    Ok, thanks.

    So at this point it CAN be replaced. Good.

    Dude up the street (who really does good work) would most likely replace the head gasket for around $350, and I definitely think that is worth the money to fix it.

    (I know i said I have little invested.. but now that I think about it, I bought the truck for $1800 and have dropped about $1200 in long-haul parts (everything I listed, plus brakes, rotors, universal joints, ball joints(upper and lower), replaced the bench-pleather seats with cloth/console/bucket seats, replaced the cluster to have a properly illuminated dash, tinted the windows, sealed off all the ceiling leaks, replaced every bulb, bought a gel battery, replaced the eme.brake and hood latch cable, bought a linkage set for the spare, put in a nice AUX/USB pioneer and new speakers, and took EVERYTHING off another ranger I had to dress it up..) The hours alone I have invested in making this the perfect truck for long drives to work almost make me want to fix it immediately, but now that I go back over the expenses.. Dang, I could spend $4000 on a ranger tomorrow and not have 25% of those things done to it.. So I should hang on to my investment and do what I can to try and fix it.

    It would be silly to let $350 stand in the way of the longevity of this truck, as I really have fixed it in every way you would want a truck fixed to keep.

    My final question is... Can he tell (verify) the head gasket is blown without guessing? Wouldn't a blown head gasket fail a compression test?
  10. Hooligan

    Hooligan Rangerholic!!

    heads may not be an issue alone, make sure the block is checked as well for damage and other things. If your buddy is handy, maybe price a junkyard engine and see what would benefit you more and just swap it if necessary.
  11. Hooligan

    Hooligan Rangerholic!!

    I'm not too familiar with the compression aspect yet, I've never tested it myself so hopefully someone with more experience can chime in and lend their knowledge
  12. OP

    waters83186 New Member

    I just think its weird (and im sure you agree) the truck runs perfectly fine when I'm driving, it actually runs really well.. It's just all these weird things going on around it making sound, shake, and smell.

    Ive driven it 250+ miles a day m-f for about 6 months now.

    Having a gravel driveway, it took me awhile to notice the coolant leaking brown.
    I thought the oil pressure gauge hopping was Just cold thick oil. The idle rough was just a "who cares.." kinda problem, and the ticking from the block is intermittent.

    I'd like to drive a 3.0 that isn't like this so I could compare. Cuz I don't feel like it is weak at all. But I really don't know.
  13. OP

    waters83186 New Member

    Just to update this forum as to what I finally figured out.

    I know a lot of people have "rough idle" and folks, the obvious is true, depending on what you consider to be a "rough" idle will most likely determine how severe or how mild your diagnosis/prognosis/treatment.

    I only post this, and will most likely be long winded about it, to let you know what I came up with so that you may have some sort of light cast on your problem. I know as a man, and as a man with 1 vehicle, going to a mechanic is like going to the doctor, you want to avoid it if you can fix it yourself, so you seek the advice of forums.

    Up above you can see that I had a problem with my 3.0 ranger (the truck shook back and forth and smelled like gasoline, ran worse with the air on, no matter how hard I tried, I could not keep the coolant a pure color) and I had replaced a few things that would commonly be known as the issue, also having checked for vac leaks and finding none. I thought I had narrowed it allll down to the injectors. Because if the plugs, wires, coil pack, computer, and etc, are all correct, then there could only be one more thing keeping me with a "cylinder 3 misfire" on my motor, but I never did replace the injectors. Straight up, I was too busy, the truck was getting 20mpg the way it ran, it didn't "RUN" bad, it just idled rough.. so I let it go.

    Well, my Father ended up getting a new truck and offered it to me so that I could put my own truck in the shop and finally get it fixed by a mechanic with no timetable. I was prepared to find out it was some loose vac hose I couldn't get to, pcv, clogged injector, cracked plug, or (worst case in my mind) a bad computer from the motor swap...

    After looking at it for a week, the mechanic called me back and informed me that my truck had failed the compression test on one side of the motor. He said that whether it be a burnt valve (caused by a cracked head) or a blown head gasket, either way something was not right and it would be a costly fix, so i asked him to just give it back to me the way it was and let it be, because after all...... it runs fine, just doesn't run like it should.

    My description of my 3.0 v6 ford ranger manual in a single cab is this......
    "It runs like a good 4 cyclinder with a little shake to the idle" and I promise, if you didnt know any better and got in it, took it up the road, you'd swear it was a 2.3, but it isnt.. and now I'm hard pressed trying to sell it as-is and get a trailed to hook to the back of my truck.

    I swear to ya'll though, I thought this truck was my mealticket. I thought a stick v6 single cab was going to make all my dreams come true, but turns out It never ran right from the day I bought it. I bought it from a guy for a low price knowing it had a "mysterious skip" and now that I know what that skip was.. I will never buy a truck that way ever again.

    My lesson, and my advice to you is this... no matter how simple the fix may seem, after you replace the plugs, wires, and coilpacks, if the skip is still there, take it to a mechanic, let him save you the trouble of finding out the hard way that you may have internal problems.

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