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1988 Ford Ranger - Question on rough idle

would a bad fuel regulator keep it from idling properly

Yes. If it’s leaking it can.

Remove the vacuum hose from the regulator, and if gas leaks out of the connection the regulator’s bad.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/ford,1988,ranger,2.3l+140cid+l4,1137596,fuel+&+air,fuel+injection+pressure+regulator,6124

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