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mechanics! how to fix hot-start problem with truck

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(it's still august, we can continue to post non-hunting threads right :nerd:)


OK, so as you know, I'm looking to get a new truck within the next few months. But until then, I need to keep this 2001 Ford Ranger running right. But I'm not going to spend hundreds to fix it. About a month ago, I had a problem with it not starting. Mechanic rebuilt the fuel pump. All seemed well until again I started having starting problems again.


Any mechanics out there that can give me your opinions? What do you think is the cause and do you think there are some easy and cheap things for me to try to fix it? I'm hoping someone has seen this before and knows what to check. Read below...


If the truck is cold, it starts all the time. But if it has been driven for a while and I stop (say, to refuel or to make a quick 5 minute stop at WaWa) it has a hard time restarting. Turn the key, it cranks no problem, but the engine won't turn over. If I quickly give it gas, on maybe the third attempt I can get it to start. But if I leave the car sit overnight, seems to always start first try. I assume if I let the truck cool down for about an hour, I wouldn't have the problem either. Seems like if the truck is hot, has starting problems.


Once started, the truck runs perfectly fine as it always has - no problems, no misfiring, no hesitations, nothing is wrong. Also, the "check engine" light never comes on - so I don't think I have any computer codes to even check.


I googled this, and it looks like this is a common Ford problem for their older trucks. I've read different things helped different people:


1) Fuel Pump Relay

2) Engine Coolant Temp Sensor

3) Coil Pack

4) Computer


Because the fuel pump relay is simple and cheap, I was going to run to a auto-parts store, buy a relay and just replace it. Shouldn't be more than $15.


The other three - I don't know. I'm not a mechanic - about the most I can do and feel comfortable about it is change the air filter and a relay switch :) But the engine coolant temp sensor (if its easy to get to - I gotta look up where it is on a '01 Ranger) looks simple to replace too. Don't know how cheap they are.


Coil pack looks a little more involved, but maybe doable - but I don't see how this is a coil pack issue.


Computer - well, I hate home computers, I couldn't imagine fooling around with a auto computer  :smash:


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Did this have any effect?  Even for a short time, did the starting problem go away? 


OK, you want to know the funny thing (well, not so funny). I go to pick it up at the mechanics after the fuel pump/filter was replaced. It starts up fine at the mechanic's yard, and I drive it home. On the way home from there, I stop to get gas. Turn off engine, fuel up. Turn key - same thing! The engine cranks, but didn't turn over. Turn the key, pump the accelerator, and eventually, the truck was able to start after some fits.


Then, never happened again for the next several weeks. This past week, started happening again. Happened twice - once after getting gas, once after making a quick 5 minute stop at a store.


So the answer to your question is - yes and no. On the drive home after the repair, it happened once. But then it went away for a few weeks but started showing up again this past week.

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I had the computer fail on my Dodge Dakota.  It would start, and then all of the gauges went bonkers when it warmed up.  I have the misfortune of stalling twice in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel during rush hour.  After a few minutes I could start it, and then it stalled in the city.  So I had that same cold/warm issue that you have.


Changing the computer is easy, 3-5 bolts and three plugs (at least on the Dakota).  I bought one off of eBay that was worse than the one I was replacing.  But for some reason the seller took it back for a full refund and gave me $50 for my troubles.  I've never lucked out better in my life.  I ended up going to the dealership to get it replaced for around $650 because I couldn't find a reliable aftermarket part.


Definitely put a code reader on there and drive it to a Wawa to pick up a hoagie and reproduce the problem.  If your reader can to realtime engine readings, you'll get some useable data that may help determine the root cause.

Sapere aude.


When you cannot measure, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.

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Fuel pump and fuel filter were replaced about a month ago (maybe closer to 2 months ago).



I was trying to find an answer to your problem reading the Ford web sites about this particular problem.


It seems pretty common.


I also see you are on top of things and narrowing down your repair/replace options.


My money was originally on pump replacement, from everything I was reading, which you already have done.


I know you do not want to hear this, but...


If you take it to a Ford Dealer, they have the expertise in these types of problems.


It will cost you some $$$$. But, you will have your problem solved the right way.


I see/read you want to get a newer vehicle.


You can always live with the heat soak no start problem, until you get your next vehicle.


If you have to wait an extended period of time. Roll the dice and pay your money to get this 2001 Ranger repaired.


At this moment in time, you have options.


Sorry, I can not be of more help.

Ephesians Chapter 6:12

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Joshua Chapter 1:9  
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

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if it isnt pump I would be looking at plugs and wires, you may not be getting spark


how about coil pack? The wires and plugs are only about 2 years old - I had those replaced when I got the truck handed down to me. But the coil pack is original. I really wasn't looking forward to spending $70 to replace it, but... that and the relay are the only two things I can find that might be the cause but would not throw a code.


That's the weird thing - check engine light never comes on. So there is no codes getting thrown. Which to me tells me things like the coolant temp sensor and computer isn't it (because if they go bad, that should be throwing codes - 116 is the code for the temp sensor - if that goes bad I should at least be getting that I think).

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Don't discount a failed PCM.  It may not throw a code.


In my case the PCM started to read probes incorrectly so it created an imbalance in the engine that resulted in a stall and an in ability to start the engine.


When you turn the key toward the ignition but not to start the engine, do you hear your fuel pump engage or not?  You know that clunking sound when the car gets electric.  If you're not hearing that sound and not getting any codes, it could be due to a failed PCM.

Sapere aude.


When you cannot measure, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.

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When it wont start but the ign is on do you have fuel pressure? Then pull a plug and check spark if you have fuel pressure. And the temp sensor might not throw a code. See if you can hook a scan tool up and watch the readings your getting on that. Also possibly check IAC.

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I would check the fuel pressure first. Most auto parts are crap and the replacment maybe bad already. Also don't pump the peddle. Just hold it on the floor and crank.

I spent most of my money on hunting and fishing. The rest I just wasted.

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