Ford Ranger Implosion

Yesterday when I got to work I noticed a funky smell like that produced by an electrical fire or metal on metal friction coming from my 93 Ranger. I lent my truck to someone to run some errand at lunch;he drove all over town. When I got my truck back the smell was worse and noticeably coming from the driver’s side tires (esp. front), the truck was pulling to the right and was extremely sluggish to the point of having to stay in a lower gear that normal. Also, the brakes required me to apply more pressure than normal–nothing extraordinary but more than usual. So far I’ve check the front driverside brake–pad and rotor seem OK, the brake fluid level–seems OK, and the coolant level–it was low. I am gonna check the rear left brake and the bearings next. Any suggestions as to what might be the issue?

Did you notice if 1 of the wheels felt abnormally hot? If it was pulling to the right, why didn’t you check the right side brakes?

You need to check the brakes on the passenger side. One or both of them is malfunctioning.

Driving with the vehicle in this condition could be very dangerous.

Hey! Good call. My friend said he put air in the tires and noticed the right front rim was hot. I checked the other first because it was the one w/ the smell emanating from it, but the right side was right down the list. I’ll check the right as soon as I get out of work.

One way to verify a dragging brake or find out which one is dragging is to jack up each wheel any try spinning it by hand. On the drive axle, the rear in a Ranger, you may want to jack up both wheels at once to allow free spinning through the differential. The opposite wheel may spin backwards.

Yeah, the right side is dragging just a bit and the rotor seems warped ('cause it rubs at one point in particular when rotating it). The pads on that side look fine,whereas the outside one is wearing heavy on the driver’s side. Why on earth would the driver’s side one stink like heck? There’s no evidence of any sort of leak (esp. brake fluid).

Well, I ended-up replacing both calipers, pads on both sides and the one warped rotor. Seemed fine on the test drive.

You may want to consider replacing your front brake hoses also. That is the most common cause of a dragging caliper. Calipers do go bad, but a constricted hose can mimic a seized caliper. If the piston retracts easily with the bleeder open or the hose off, the caliper is fine and the hose needs replaced. Another bonus: hoses are usually cheaper than calipers.