2000 Ford Ranger with electrical, engine issues

Okay, I bought a 2000 Ford Ranger XLT 4x4 truck about two years ago – was running great and has been well-maintained. However, months after purchase…:

1) occasional wisp of smoke from the area of the hazard button (top of steering column). Dad tore into it, could find no melted/burned wires. After about 3 occasions, the symptom disappeared – with no visible side effects.

2) blown fuse in cigarette lighter - replaced

Then, 2 weeks ago, I had a flashing battery light on dash (no battery issues). 1 week ago the check gauge light came on – and we discovered it was low on oil. Dad put 2 qts in. Around this time it was chattering (heavily on startup, less harshly on idle). Dad thought it was due to a couple holes in the exhaust pipes. Then we thought maybe idler pulley. Fast forward to Christmas Day – we drove about 100 miles in it…the chattering developed into two separate chatters (one louder than the other) and it died in the middle of the road. Stone cold dead. And a mechanic says the engine can’t be manually turned, so it’ll have to be replaced. The starter just clicks. Any clues, anyone?

It sounds bad. Without hands on, we can only guess. Driving it after a possible oil problem with that kind of noise was not wise. It sounds like a new engine.

Dad’s tearing into it now to see what caused the problem. So far, all that’s known is the crankshaft pulley is jammed. The rest of the pulleys turn fine.

Of all the 4 or 5 pulleys that this thing has, the crankshaft pulley is the expensive one (not so much the pulley itself, but that big hunk of metal that it attaches to…)

This is good, right? – There were no metal shavings in the oil. So far, Dad’s noticed nothing broken or severely damaged. But then, he’s not “inside” the engine yet. Almost everything’s disconnected --engine should get pulled tonight. What would be nice is to have some kind of checklist of ideas to run through in looking for the cause of the ‘seizure’ – limited only to problems that would not leave metal shavings in the oil. Anybody up for the challenge? Alternatively, answer this: Can we eliminate the oil pump as the source of the seizure since there are no metal shavings in the oil? Or should we leave that on the table?

According to Dad, the problem is this: A bolt on the clamp on the number one piston arm worked loose, twisting the piston arm and jamming the engine. All that knocking we heard prior to the ultimate grind to a halt was the sound of the bolt knocking. Otherwise, the engine seems in good shape. Dad thinks once we replace the number one piston assembly (piston, arm, clamp…?), replace the seals, and maybe replace the oil pump just for the heck of it (it was working fine)…it should be back to working order. Feasible?

I think I’d consider buying a new or guaranteed rebuilt “short block” and get the core deposit on the old block. With this sort of situation you could have a damaged crankshaft and, having run with low oil, bearings and valve train components could also be affected. As long as you are pulling the old engine out you’d be far better off replacing the short block. It’s a lot of labor to try and fix what you have, and there could easily be hidden damage you will miss.

We’ll definitely consider it. Thanks! :slight_smile: