96 ford ranger intermitant start

My truck starts fine some times and cranks and cranks at other times, does not matter is warm or cold. My son says the fuel injectors all sound fine. replaced the battery for more umph, can’t figure out the cause.It is the one topic we enjoy discussing as he loves to shoot down my suggestions. Do you have ideas? I’d love to win this one.

Does the length of time that the vehicle sits idle effect whether it starts or not?


Has he checked for spark when the engine cranks but doesn’t start? If there is spark, is the timing close to correct, i.e. #1 spark close to TDC timing mark? Has he tried a shot of ‘starting fluid’ and gotten a short catch?

RSVP and we can help more.

I just went through the same type of problem with a 97 Explorer. Things to check.

  1. Can you hear the fuel pump start when you turn the ignition to “on”?

  2. Does it have fuel pressure?

  3. When it does start, does it have the same “power” as before?

  4. Does it have spark? You can get an inexpensive spark tester at most parts stores.

  5. Try replacing the fuel pump relay with a new one. This costs about $10 at parts stores (Not NAPA they want about $15) If the relay is intermittently bad, the fuel pump won’t kick on.

Have your mechanic check for a loose wire on the starter or alternator. That was the problem on my kid’s 94 Sentra. It starts fine now.

no. cold in the morning she started, sat 2 hrs did not start, sat 1 hr started, sat 4 hrs did not start. no rhyme or reason.

i have a similar problem for quite some time now… Very very sporatic problem. Good for weeks or months and then here we go again… Mostly, the truck acts up when you turn it off and try to restart within 1 min. After 5 min she goes. When longer start I shoot a little starting fluid in it and it’s good to go. Today it wouldn’t start at all best part is I broke down at checkers auto buying new plugs… Stranded until my buddy towed me home. I replaced: plugs, fuel pump relay, fuel filter. Shot it with starting fluid and ran like crap for a couple of seconds. Tried all day long… While towing home shot with fluid and while we towed it the 5 miles home I rode it in gear to see if it would fire. NADA Not one little peep. Thoughts…

Any switch or relay, involved with starting, is suspect. When the ignition switch is turned on, it sends power to fuse #19 (or should). Check that power is going to fuse #19 with a 12 volt miniature lamp from Radio Shack. When the engine doesn’t start, pull out fuse #19, and insert the two legs of the miniature lamp into the socket. If the fuse is getting power, the lamp will light. If it doesn’t light, the problem could be the ignition switch.
The PCM Power Relay and the Fuel Pump relays could be intermittent. The quickest way to check those is to swap them with a relay of the same type from another position…perhaps the horn relay.
The wiring diagram which shows all these wondrous things is Fig. 31, or 32, or 33. http://www.autozone.com/autozone/repairinfo/repairguide/repairGuideContent.jsp?chapterTitle=Wiring+Diagrams&partName=Chassis+Electrical&pageId=0900c1528018efd2&partId=0900c1528018eeda
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