Found on Road, Dead?

In my 98 Ford Ranger, 4 cyl. manual, was driving up a 6% grade on the freeway, about 60mph for about ten minutes when i reached the top and began on a downhill grade. i let off the gas and put it in neutral to coast and then i looked down and it had stalled in neutral. i put it in gear to jump start it, it wouldn’t fire back up. so i pulled to the shoulder. it wouldn’t key start either. towed to mechanic, code read cam sensor. he also did a comp test and # 2 and 3 cyl were lacking comp. so the mechanic thinks the lack of comp is more serious than just the cam sensor, he thinks it might be the head. so my question is, can the cam sensor get far enough out of time so there would be no comp? or do you think the mechanic was right? thanks for your help

Hmm. Stall on deceleration. No signal from cam sensor. No compression in 2 cylinders. I think the timing belt is busticated.

yeah, i know, thanks for your input. i did mention that to the mechanic but he said not likely cause it would have thrown that code, that the belt skipped a couple of teeth. i thought the same as you asemaster. and the mechanic said chain not belt, i think it is a belt though

and would a broken belt throw that code? cam sensor? thanks for the help everyone

Fault codes are irrelevant on a car that primitive with an engine design that dates to the early 1970’s. It should take less than 2 minutes to verify timing belt skipped or broken or properly timed by using the marks on the crankshaft pulley and the cam sprocket. Have your mechanic check that first.

I assume he has verified good spark, fuel pressure, and fuel injector operation.

No experience w/cam code diagnosis, but it seems like a cam sensor code could be thrown if the timing belt (or chain) broke. The computer would see the crank sensor showing the crankshaft rotating as expected, but no reading on the cam sensor. The most common cause of that would be the cam sensor has failed, but the cam sensor could be working perfectly and there’d be no reading from it if the timing belt broke.

Get to the bottom line. Remove the distributor cap and see if the rotor turns when the starter motor turns the crankshaft. My guess is that it won’t.

Post the results.

On my Corolla at least you can see the camshaft gears through the oil fill port. That might be an option too for the OPer.

I might be inclined to not do this though without an expert looking at it first, for fear of damaging the valves during the experiment. I mean in case the OP got lucky and didn’t damage the valves when it initially happened.

Distributor? Rotor? How quaint…

TSM, this engine is the 4 cylinder with 8 spark plugs and 2 coil packs. I believe that since this is the EDIS system and uses a waste spark system the engine should start and run without a cam sensor.

Line up the timing marks on the crank pulley, pull the rubber inspection plug out of the timing cover using your fingernail, and see if the marks line up. If not, turn the engine one revolution and look again. It’s a simple yes/no test.

thanks for all of your suggestions! I appreciate the help, i will work on these and let you know what i can find out .

The earlier Rangers were non-intereference engines. Unfortunately, I think yours is not. That means cylinder head valve damage and some nicked pistons.

Ase, I sincerely thank you for enlightening me on this engine design. I appreciate the education.

that mazda engine is not an interference engine, correct?

It’s not a Mazda engine. It’s the last iteration of the old Pinto engine. And it’s non-interference.

Don’t be so formal TSM. We’re just a bunch of people talking about car problems. We don’t need no stinkin’ education.

Did the mechanic say the cylinders were low in compression, or no compression? How low is low? If you’re keeping the truck, I’d put a cam sensor in it, see if it starts, and see how it runs, then go from there.

I am leaning towards a head gasket failing between the #2 & 3 cylinders. That makes sense for it being low on only 2 cylinders. If the chain had jumped or stretched compression would be consistent on all cylinders.

LOL, you may not ase, but I can ALWAYS use more!

If compression is just low, not zero, I think it’s just the sensor.
Just happened to fail from the vibration/tug when shifted to neutral.
Check the sensor with and ohmmeter, it’s just a coil. Inspect the electrical connector.

@“the same mountainbike” Ha! We all can. The day a guy figures he has nothing more to learn is the day he becomes irrelevant.