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Old 11-06-2003, 05:20 PM
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Advice? Truck running very bad in cold weather.

My problem seems similar to moparv, but a little different.
I have a 1988 ford ranger with a two liter four cly.

During temps of about 70 degrees or higher truck will backfire through exhaust at each manual gear change. It will backfire repeatedly when accellerator is let up from a high rpm or cruising highway speed. Will backfire at idle when engine is reved and foot is quickly let up from gas. It starts easily (1-3 sec) in warm or cold weather.

When temps dip below about 65 degrees I can drive with no backfires but there is no power and there is a different sound to the engine. (Hard to explain) After engine temp starts to clime it runs very rough. Speed decreases to the point that I have to pull over and shut the engine off. If I wait for 1-3 minutes it will start and run fine for about another 3-4 miles then the same thing happens again. Sometimes idles rough and will die.

I have had this problem for at least 3 years and it's getting worse.
The first year I removed the catalytic comverter thinking it was clogged but had no improvement. I now have a flex tube from right before where converter used to be to the rear axle.

There is a strong smell of gas from truck. Running rich? If so, why the difference in backfire in cold and hot weather?

Please ask questions if you need.
Please help.

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Old 11-06-2003, 05:33 PM
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Check for a vacuum leak first. Cracked or loose fitting vacuum hoses and dis-connected hoses will cause the backfiring you mentioned in the warmer temps.

Check for vacuum leaks around the intake.

Check for a stuck, cracked or broken EGR valve.

Check for loose fitting exhaust in the header area.

A good tune up would also be suggested.

Any "Check Engine" light coming on?
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Old 11-06-2003, 05:58 PM
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It does not have a check engine light.

Thanks.
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:22 PM
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Then you need to go to this site and read how to do a eec test. Its very simple once you learn how to read the codes. It may take a few tries but once you figure it out, it is invaluable information for doing your own diagnosis on your car.
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Old 11-07-2003, 10:27 AM
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Sounds like it is running too rich, backfiring in the exhaust. Denser air at colder temps would burn more of the excess fuel, due to higher oxygen content, perhaps causing the backfiring in the exhaust to cease.
Correct me if I am wrong, but your Ranger should be fuel injected. If so, the first thing I would look at would be the temperature sensor for the EEC processor (not the one for your temp gauge or engine temp light). If the sensor does not sense that the engine is warmed up it will still inject the fuel as if it were cold causing a rich condition more apparent once the engine warms up. There are many other things that could cause it such as dirty injectors, bad O2 sensor and such.
As 2-manytoyzs mentioned, pull the EEC codes and it may at least point you in the right direction.
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Old 11-07-2003, 11:13 AM
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Don't recall if that year had an air pump, but a bad air diverter valve will cause the same backfiring, but shouldn't cause the other problems, never hurts to check the timing marks on those belts.
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Old 11-07-2003, 10:49 PM
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Greatly appreciated.

The truck is carbureted. Checked the vaccum hoses and all seem to be good. Checked the timing at 10 degrees. It has a one barrel carb and as far as I can tell it only has one screw to adjust, I guess for fuel mixture. The more I turn it the faster the engine idles. It just keeps increasing. Could that screw be for the throttle plate. I backed it off to where it was. The idle sounds okay.
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Old 11-10-2003, 08:10 AM
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The screw that you adjusted is most likely the idle speed as you said. The idle mixture screw will have a plug over it. The plug has to be removed before you can make any adjustment. It would be on the base of the carb.
Since it is carbureted, first make sure that your choke is coming all the way off once the engine is warmed up. Make sure your air filter is clean.
As I recall back in those years the carbureted engines had a vacuum operated door in the air cleaner snorkel. I believe that if the diaphragm went bad the door closes out cold air and only allows it to draw heated air from the plenum around the exhaust manifold. This was designed to use heated air on initial warmup during cold weather to keep the carb from icing up. Once the engine warms up, a ported vacuum switch allows vacuum to the diaphragm, opening the door to draw cold air. I can remember a good many of these diaphragms being replaced back then. Runs poorly when warm.
If all of this is ok, you may need to pull the carb top to check the float and needle and seat. Floats can get "gaslogged" or develop a pin hole causing it to fill up with gas and sink, then simply lets in too much fuel. A little wear or dirt on the seat will do the same thing.
Good luck, keep us posted,
Skidmark
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Old 11-10-2003, 05:30 PM
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Hey Skidmark,

Thanks for the info. As soon as I get some more time I'm going to look into it more. I'll be back.
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