Experiencing an intermittent starting issue in your Ford Ranger can be incredibly vexing, especially when it occurs without warning, leaving you stranded. Addressing such intermittent problems can be challenging as they’re tough to replicate, often requiring a systematic process of elimination to pinpoint the underlying issue. What are the typical components known to cause start-up failures in your Ford Ranger?
If your Ford Ranger fails to start it can be any of the below components:
|Blown Fuse (Dead)||The electrical circuit was interrupted, leading to a dead electrical system.|
|Bad Relay||No audible clicks heard within the cabin, suggesting relay failure.|
|Bad Starter||No cranking/swing and absence of clicking sounds indicate starter malfunction.|
|Dead Battery||Single click, rapid clicking, or total loss of power signal dead battery.|
|Weak Earth Ground||Rapid clicking often signifies a weak or inadequate ground connection.|
|Failed Solenoid||Absence of any clicking sounds points to a failed solenoid.|
|Bad Ignition Switch||A single click during ignition attempts suggests an issue with the ignition switch.|
|No Fuel Supply||Clicking noise but failure to start indicates a lack of fuel supply.|
|Electrical Gremlin||Intermittent issues like starting problems or stalling without consistent cause.|
|PCM (Power Control Module)||Central unit controlling vehicle electronics and systems.|
|Crank Angle Sensor||Measures crankshaft rotation to determine engine timing and function.|
Now that we’ve identified potential culprits, the next step is to conduct a series of tests to pinpoint the specific cause. Rushing to purchase a new Ford Ranger starter without investigation might lead to unnecessary expenses if the issue is as simple as a relay or blown fuse.
The following sections will address what to examine when encountering scenarios of no clicks, a single click, or rapid clicks, as each indicates distinct faults and potential component issues.
Table of Contents
Why Does My Ford Ranger 3.2 Not Start?
Before we continue, I want to briefly emphasize how important it is to own a decent ODBII Scanner. Diagnosing issues on any modern, 4WD can be nearly impossible with all their sophisticated sensors and electronic components. If you do not already own one I would highly recommend this OBD2 Scanner & Engine Fault Code Reader on Amazon. It’s the #1 bestseller with almost 30,000 good reviews, so check it out! It will save you heaps of money in the long run and unnecessary time at the dealerships.
Owners have reported the vehicle starting without any problem, only to stall later when stopping at a traffic light. Sometimes it refuses to restart.
Other symptoms reported are:
|Erratic idle||Engine speed fluctuates irregularly at idle.|
|Low on power||The engine lacks sufficient power output during operation.|
|Stalling intermittently||Engine shuts off unexpectedly and sporadically.|
If your vehicle is under warranty, the first thing to do is report it to your Ford dealership immediately before you troubleshoot anything.
So what could be the possible causes of this erratic behavior? We need to first understand how and what the engine needs to be able to start.
The 3 main starting criteria are:
|Spark||Ignites the air-fuel mixture in the engine combustion chamber.|
|Fuel||Provides the combustible material necessary for the engine to operate.|
|Air||Essential for the combustion process, mixed with fuel to create power.|
If your Ranger cranks but won’t start, it lacks one of the 3 essentials: compression for diesel engines. Check for ignition coils/switches, fuel supply issues, or clogged filters. If completely dead, possible faulty components include:
- Bad Starter
- Low/Dead battery
- The broken connection between the Battery and the Starter
Dead Battery or Starter
No lights on the dashboard, when you turn the key, is another dead giveaway that the battery is dead. In the instance where you have the engine swinging strongly at first, but slowly gets weaker and weaker with every swing until it just clicks, means any of the following components could be bad.
- Bad Starter
- Dead battery
If the starter lacks enough cranking power from the battery to turn the engine, it will fail to start. A faulty or worn starter will cause similar behavior. Poor connection or corrosion at the battery terminals or bad battery cables can also cause these symptoms
On the sophisticated 3.2 Diesel engines, you will also want to check all electrical components and sensors like:
- Crank position sensor.
- Electric Connector Plug Under the ECU
If your engine suddenly stalls while driving, accompanied by a dashboard blackout and quick restart, there’s likely an electrical issue. For safety, consult your agent for a diagnostic test, or use an OBDII Fault Code reader to identify the problem.
Meanwhile, check and clean electrical connections with a dielectric spray for improved conductivity and reduced wear. Pick up one here on Amazon if you don’t already have it. Also, make sure to inspect the connector plug situated under the ECU in the engine compartment. If it’s not making proper contact, it will behave erratically.
Why Does My Ford Ranger Not Start (No Clicks)
Weak interior lights, a silent hooter, and dim headlights indicate a weak battery. Test by operating wipers and electric windows—if sluggish, it’s likely a weak battery.
If jumpstarting works and the vehicle idles, check the alternator. It should charge the battery while running; if lights fade or a red battery signal appears on the dashboard, it may be a faulty alternator. Dimming lights when revving suggest issues; inspect both alternator and battery.
Why Does My Ford Ranger Not Start: Rapid Clicks
Rapid starter clicks signal a low battery unable to power the engine crank. The solenoid and starter gear attempt but fail to engage the engine gears, causing the repeated clicking sound.
Ford Ranger Not Starting Intermittently: 1 Click
Intermittent starting issues, common in modern diesel engines, can be complex to resolve due to various electrical components.
For a Ranger that alternates between cranking perfectly and refusing to start, despite checking the battery, ignition switch, electrical plugs, and earth connections, suspect the starter motor or failing glow plugs.
Check Glow Plugs, Glow Plug Relay, and Battery Earth Connection, and bypass the relay by linking the positive battery terminal to the diesel pump solenoid for troubleshooting. Loose or damaged engine grounding might also cause intermittent starting. Test by grounding the battery directly to the engine block.
Know your Clicks
|No Click||1 Click||Rapid Clicks|
|Blown Fuse||Low Battery||Weak Earth|
|Bad Relay||Ignition Switch|
|Starter||Clicks and swings but no start|
Ford Ranger Automatic Transmission Won’t Start
If your automatic transmission Ford Ranger intermittently fails to start after shifting to Park, it could be due to a loose and sloppy column shifter. To address this issue, a simple fix involves using thread locker and a size 30 Torx screwdriver. The column shifter’s instability may prevent it from engaging fully in Park, resulting in the ‘No crank’ problem.
(Watch) Auto No Start: https://youtu.be/LKqiDy_Po2M
(Watch) Ignition Switch problem – https://youtu.be/_8OXT8U1oXQ
Multiple factors can prevent your Ford Ranger from starting, primarily due to a dead battery, alternator issues, or a faulty starter. Unanticipated starting problems might stem from various electrical glitches. Pre-2013 model Rangers might face difficulties with Ford Column shifters. For complex electrical problems beyond self-diagnosis, visit your dealership for a comprehensive diagnostic test.