Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Ford Ranger no crank

I have a 98 Ford Ranger 4x4 automatic, in the last year it has developed an intermittent (every 4-6 weeks) no crank problem, it will usually start again within 2-24 hours.
I started by replacing the starter motor/solenoid with a re-manufactured one but then about 6 weeks later it happened again. I tried to jump the starter but even then it would not start. I checked all of the fuses inside the truck and under the hood and they seem to be in good condition.
The last time it died on me (until today) I called a tow truck but before they arrived it started, I took it straight to a mechanic but they could not replicate the condition! When they tried it started right up, so they were unable to help me.

When you jumped the starter, did the engine turn? Next time it happens squirt starter fluid in the intake and see if it starts. If so you have a fuel problem. If not, pull a plug and see if you have a nice blue spark.

Neutral safety switch or ignition switch. I’d replace the neutral safety switch first.

I agree with the neutral safety switch and will add another…the fuel pump shutoff (inertia switch). I’ve owned a couple of Rangers and I bypassed both of the inertia switches because they were wonky (intermittent operation). The next time it happens press the reset button and see if the engine starts. I would advise locating the inertia switch so you’ll know right where it is.

I had the same problem in an '88 Ford Escort years ago and it was a bad inertia switch. Next time it doesn’t start listen for the fuel pump to come on and run for about 1-2 seconds when the ignition switch is turned to the on position. If you don’t hear the humming of the fuel pump I’d suspect the inertia switch.

The NO CRANK problem might be caused by a defective park/neutral safety switch or a defective starter relay.

The next time it won’t crank, place the transmission neutral and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts the problem is with the (get this) Digital Transmission Range Sensor.

If the engine still won’t crank, then the problem could be with the starter relay. This is located in the fuse box under the hood. You can try swapping the relay with another with the same part number the next time the engine doesn’t crank to see if that’s the problem.