This makes no sense.... is it possible?

Discussion in '1998 - 2011 Ford Ranger' started by sdowiat, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. sdowiat

    sdowiat New Member

    I'm reasonably mechanical smart but what I'm about to tell seems to make no sense. Can these things somehow be related?

    I've got a 99 Mazde B3000 ( same as Ranger 3,0 except a little sheet metal bending and badges ) with 125k miles that I've had 7 years and since it had 67k miles. My dad bought it new and I inherited it.

    Its it great shape. Hard to tell it's almost 20 years old and been maintained very well. Oil changes every ~3k miles, tranny fluid every ~20k or so. But, until last year at about 115k miles it had never had the plugs changed. I think they were supposed to go ~100k but I planned to run them until there was some indication they "needed" changed. Anyway the truck ran super until then although about the same time the light skip started it got to where they air conditioning compressor would intermittently stop compressing for a couple of minutes and allow the air to blow warm for a couple of minutes before it came back on. I had read that may be the solenoid switch and planned to swap it but it always came back on and I never got around to it. Anyway, after about a year of doing this the truck started skipping a little when accelerating. I changed the spark plugs and the skipping went away... and SO DID THE COMPRESSOR ISSUE at the very same time! I figured it was coincidence and that issue might come back but it never did.

    All was trouble free for a year and then I thought I could detect a slight skip every now and then. Not bad... but it seemed to be there, wasn't as smooth as before. Also, the intermittent compressor stopping returned at about the same time. I decided that if the skip got any worse I'd change the plugs again and since it was hot out the air cutting out was aggravating so I thought I might need to finally swap out that relay and troubleshoot that. ( I never went and found or touched that relay ) Then, just for the heck of it I opened the radiator and it looked low. It took a gallon and a half to fill it up! But it's hot weather and the temp gauge had been operating & reading normal! What could that mean... had I just happened to discover the water was low RIGHT AFTER something had happened? But everything seemed fine... no water in oil, truck ran fine, saw low leaks and after 2 weeks now the water I added is all still there. Radiator is still full. Plus the intermittent light skipping has stopped and the compressor is no longer cutting out. All that occurred right after I filled the radiator up... Can this stuff somehow be related? I can't think of how they could but I thought I'd run it by ya'll.

    Thanks for reading this long post I appreciate your thoughts. If these can be related I like to understand how.
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  3. digger02

    digger02 New Member

    Well it happened to you and great to hear it is easily resolved. I haven't experienced any of these yet but this will be a good reference just in case.
  4. DeanMk

    DeanMk Member

    When's the last time you changed the coolant?
    Should be checked at least once a year and changed out when it loses its potency (yes, coolant wears out too).
    If you've been checking it and it checks "good" (which some factory fluids will do), then your plan B is to just change it out every other year.
    During the time I was a mechanic, I found that coolant tended to "wear out" sometime around that time period.
    If the coolant was original, its a good idea to change out the hoses, too, since they're very likely original, too.
    20 years is a bit of a stretch to go on original radiator hoses (says the man who just changed out the original hoses on his '98 XL :rolleyes: ).
    It sounds like you found some leaks and...fixed them?
    If so, then everything should be good now.
    Can low coolant make the engine run like crap? You bet it can!
    One last thing....when you changed the plugs and wires, WHICH plugs did you throw in there?
    Many years ago, I attended some company sponsored classes that touched on a lot of things.
    One of them was electronic engine controls and general engine tune-up.
    When asked about plugs, the teacher's "rule of thumb" is use the factory plugs for whomever made the car.
    The problem is that for some of us, "Ford" can be spelled "Motorcraft", but it can also be spelled "Autolite".
    What I've learned since then is that some plugs have slanted grooves running around the circumference of the plug, just above where it seats on the head.
    Stay away from those plugs.
    Champion, Accel, AUTOLITE, etc. Look on the plug and you'll those slanted lines.
    For your Ford, Motorcraft would be one way to go, or, my personal default, AC Delco.
    I know, GM plugs, but I've consistently gotten good results with those plugs, regardless of who made the car.
    Your choice.
    One way you can tell when you need a tune-up is to monitor gas mileage.
    You don't need a log book and/or an algorithm, just keep a mental note. Write your miles down on the receipt and always fill up completely.
    Do the math (it ain't hard), or use the trip odometer, and just keep a general idea of what kind of mileage you're getting.
    When the mileage starts to drop, consistently, regardless of how you're driving the truck, that's when you need to change the plugs.....and don't forget the wires. They can wear out, too.
    Also, keep in mind that it is said that the average person drives between 12K and 15K every year. The middle ground between those numbers is 13.5K.
    If nothing else, keep an eye on the miles and when you get around 13K-13.5K, tune 'er up.

  5. Mikhail

    Mikhail New Member

    Sounds like you learned a bit about your truck. One thing i learned over the years was the original plugs and plug wires last a heck of a lot longer than the ones i replaced them with. It didnt seem to matter if i bought $25 dollar plug wires or $90 plug wires. They would seldom last as long as they were warrantied for either which when you think on it isnt bad since you can return them and get a new set for free.
    Can plug wires which leak cause your AC compressor to run inconsistently? I dont know but on a real dark night you can watch them shoot faint sparks all over the motor and that has to affect some thing on other electrical parts. As for your radiator being low i would count myself lucky if i were you. Stock radiators seldom hold more than the minimum amount of fluid required to keep a specific motor in a certain temp range and as the guy above said yep a hot radiator can affect lots of things on a vehicle. So if i were you i would make it a point to check under the hood a little more often and i would also replace those old radiator hoses like he ^ said. Its a easy job and can save you from some expensive and large headaches in the future. Good luck!!
  6. DeanMk

    DeanMk Member

    If your wires are cross firing, it is DEFINATELY time to install new plugs and wires!

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