1991 Ford Ranger Fuel Problems.... and my own crazy


I have a '91 ford Ranger, and I’m having a great time working on this pickup, using it for dirty jobs, that sort of thing. Fun truck to mess around with.

At least - until it sprang the sort of fuel leak that looks like buckets of gas being poured out of the underside of your car. Pulled off the bed, and found a dry-rotted filler hose; replaced. Replaced the bed, and discovered that the buckets turned into a firehose.


Took off the bed again, and found a split fuel line - “no biggie,” I says to myself, “Self, you can fix this.” And so I do! Splice in a new fuel line, get everything in nicely… and, after having removed and replaced the fuel line harness from the vehicle, I realized I completely have no idea what part of the fuel pump connected to what part of the fuel system… I marked nothing.

Thinking I had it sorted out anyway? Plugged it all up, went to start the car and … nothing. In fact, i’d hooked the fuel lines /backward/.

So … that’s easy enough to turn around, and I do so (taking the time to clean everything up)… but, now, the truck won’t start. If I’m lucky, it turns over once, then sits there like a buzzing lump.

Here’s the thing: I know the truck has an iffy battery, so there’s that. But… should I be jumping this truck, or did I do damage somewhere in the engine? Did I vapor lock it? Would attempting to start it cause more damage than has already been done… or am I panicking over a dead battery?

Help, gurus! I don’t /think/ I’ve done anything horrible, but I’d like to avoid doing more stupid things than I have on this relatively simple repair. :slight_smile:

To play it safe you need to pull out the plugs and turn the crank with a wrench to check of gasoline in the cylinders and smell the dipstick to check for fuel in the crankcase before attempting to start the engine. But there are 2 fuel lines. One for gas under pressure going to the fuel rail and the other the pressure relief (low pressure) line from the rail back to the tank. The high pressure line is usually larger. How did you switch the hook up?

If you mean by " turning over once" you mean the starter drives the engine for only one compression cycle then it sounds like a nearly dead battery. You said the battery is “iffy”. Try a jump start or a charge. With the repeated start attempts you probably ran it down. Also, I’m not sure what you mean by a “buzzing lump”.

I would be a little concerned about applying full fuel pump pressure to the wrong side of the pressure regulator when you had it hooked up backwards.

While the bed was off you could have easily determined what line was the pressure line.
You could have put both lines in a bucket and turned on the ignition. The fuel would have only come out of the pressure line.

And as @Rod Knox posted, the pressure line would be the larger line.


Both lines are the same size - it’s likely that this fuel line harness is aftermarket. (The car was bought very used, and heavily… er. SHadetreed, for lack of a better verb.)

“buzzing lump” is my poetic way of describing a starter in which the solenoid engages but the engine doesn’t turn over (it’s likely not got enough juice).

THanks for the advice, folks! I’ll report back with what I find after going over the truck as advised above.