1996 Ford Ranger w 2.3L engine knocks a lot

A few years back my truck started pinging and knocking with little power on hills. So I put some fuel treatment in the gas tank. That worked, but was expensive, so I started running it on medium octane gas. That worked for a while, but now the knocks are back louder than ever and sometimes even when I take off from a stop. What can I do to fix this that won’t cost a fortune? Will using high octane gas hurt the engine?

What would hurt it more would be to let it continue to knock. Carbon buildup in the cylinders can cause ping and the need for higher octane gasoline. Various cylinder decarbonizing treatments are on the market. You could try one of those.

The EGR system is a possible source of the pinging. The passages may be blocked with carbon or the egr valve has a broken diaphragm or is othereise stuck in the closed position. The timing could be off too. A knock sensor may be out too. The plugs may not be helping the cause either and the plug wires may be toast.

The Check Engine Light has never come on during this few years of pinging and knocking?

It’s more than likely a fault in the EGR system so some diagnosis will be needed to determine exactly where the problem lies.