Our New Project Vehicle

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Yvonne Smith, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    My daughter just got a new pickup last night.
    She has had a beautiful golden orange Ford Ranger for the last several years, and she just loves that little pickup.
    Last spring (almost exactly a year ago), her company sent her to Afghanistan for what was supposed to be a 2-week work mission. She ended up being gone for around eight months, and getting home just before Thanksgiving. Her little pickup had to be retrieved from the airport parking, and spent the whole time just sitting.
    After she returned home, she started having issues with the truck which were not there before. it has lost a lot of power, and seems like the engine is struggling. It also developed some kind of "screeching" which she said sounds more metallic (metal-to-metal) than like a slipping belt.
    She has spent several hundred dollars just getting it checked out, and no one really knows what is wrong, and they finally told her it might just need a whole new engine.
    In any case, she has to have a dependable vehicle for work; so she has been shopping for one, and last night we drove her up to look at, and purchase, a nice 4x4 GMC Sonoma double cab truck.
    This should work out even better than the Ranger did, since she likes to go out on little trails and dirt roads, fishing, metal detecting, and just plain exploring.

    So, she has given us the Ranger, to see if we can fix it and at least get it running better.
    Since it was fine before she left, and nothing changed except the truck just left sitting for the months she was gone, we think that maybe something has just gotten plugged up somehow, and if we can get it unplugged, the truck should run better again.
    It is a 2000 model, so it has a lot of miles on it and can't be expected to still perform like new; but we are hoping to get it back to the shape it was before she went to Afghanistan.
    The mechanic shop did say that this might be all it needs, and recommended some engine treatment, similar to Sea Foam, but supposed to be more effective, and said to try that for 3-4 tanks of gas.
    The water pump has a leak, and @Bobby Cole thinks that this might be what is causing the screeching, if there is a bearing going out in the water pump. Since it is leaking, it needs to be replaced in any case; so that will be one of his first projects.

    If we can get it running right again, it will be the perfect vehicle for us, and Robin will be happy that her beloved "Scrappy" is still in the family.
    By not having to spend money to purchase another vehicle , we can use that to do the repairs on the Ranger, and we know the history of this vehicle , as opposed to buying one from Craigslist.

    image.jpeg
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Yippee! I'm so happy for you, Yvonne. It looks great. Hope Bobby can get it back in tip top shape, but I'm betting he can.

    Best news I've heard today! :)
     
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  3. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Thats' fabulous news @Yvonne Smith ...I'm sure you'll be able to get that little orange truck up and running without spending expending too much effort or spondulix ...I hope so anyway.. :D
     
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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
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  4. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
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    Good luck with it Yvonne! The beautiful color alone should help the truck fix itself!
     
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  5. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    That's the truck I just bought except mine is bright red.
     
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  6. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Yvonne, what year is the Ranger? Is the "Check Engine" light illuminated, or flashing? Has your mechanic checked the system for digital trouble codes (DTCs)? From your pic, I am guessing it is surly not pre-1990, which means it will have self-diagnostic capability, enhanced if 1996 or newer.

    More concise description of it's symptoms might help. The screeching noise (is it always there, or intermittent) ought to be addressed first. I would be pleased if I could help. I studied Electronic Fuel Injection in the early '90s, and am fairly adept (ahem, if I say so myself :oops:) at diagnosing problems.

    Frank
     
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  7. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    All the help or ideas that you might suggest would be much appreciated, @Frank Sanoica !
    Here is more info. The truck is a 2000 model, with a 3.0 flex fuel engine, over 200,000 miles; but ran fine for an older truck before her (my daughter) being sent to Afghanistan for almost a year, and leaving the truck sitting.

    My daughter has owned it for the last several years, and has either done all of the necessary maintainence herself (former helicopter mechanic in the Army), or she had had it done on a regular schedule, so all of the things like battery, spark plugs, oil changes, etc. , we're all done as needed .
    The main problem right now is low compression, I think she said in the 90' s for most cylinders. The truck runs like it is struggling , especially going up hills .

    The screeching is probably a separate issue, and is a later symptom. We think that it is from the water pump, maybe a bearing that seizes up intermittently.
    Robin said it can do that for a few seconds, or for the whole trip. She said it sometime doe it when she is starting the truck, and other times when she is going down the road. I rode with her while she was car-shopping and it didn't do it at all when I was there, but she said it was screeching just before she got to my house .
    The check engine light is not on.
    Plus, Robin has all of the necessary equipment to read the codes; so there is nothing showing up in any of the codes, either. She can analyze everything and do a diagnostic print out for all of that kind of stuff.

    She took the truck to her mechanic, and they told her that they went through it, and didn't find anything, and just think that the engine is worn out.
    While this is possible, it seems illogical that it would be fine, and then go bad suddenly, when nothing else had happened or any earlier symptoms.
    So, I think that maybe the time of being left just sitting has maybe caused something to clog up the engine, or just some odd thing that the mechanics have not properly checked for.
    We are going to start with the small things, like changing filters and fluids, plus installing a new water pump.
    The weather here is cold right now, and we do not have a proper garage for Bobby to work in; so nothing will be done until it warms up later this week.
     
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  8. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Yvonne, it should be warming up a bit in northern Alabama by now, good timing! Now, if you were near Tunica.......ha! Here are my thoughts:
    1. Find out if the mechanic has checked the fuel pressure at the fuel rail. find out the spec., it's likely about 60 psi (pounds per square inch). If it is much below that, the engine cannot perform very well. If it's low, yank out the fuel filter and replace it. If still low, suspect the fuel pump. Fuel pumps CAN wear out, too, though it's not very common.
    2. 90 psi compression in all cylinders is a bit low, but not enough to rob so much power as you describe. If all the cylinders are within, say, 5 or 10 psi of one another, it is likely due to the high mileage on the engine, and has not changed much from being stored a year. Sorry, I missed the details in your OP. To tell if I'm researching the right engine, does it look like this:

    [​IMG]

    3. Ruling out, on gut instinct, a clogged catalytic converter, though anything contributing to exhaust backpressure can easily yield symptoms like described. Keep that in mind, though. Does the engine run fairly smoothly, not shaky, even though it feels weak? Try holding a piece of flexible thick paper, like a folding matchbook, lightly between your fingers, covering the exhaust tailpipe while the engine is running. Does the paper get "sucked" back against the opening of the pipe in succession? If yes, a sign of obstruction, or valve problems.
    4. This engine has an iron cylinder block. If a slight amount of coolant seeped into a few of the cylinders while standing so long, it could have caused rust which would maybe cause power loss. Running it a few days or more might just show improvement as suggested.
    5. Definitely replace the water pump. If the pump bearing seizes, and breaks the shaft (happens now and then), it might damage the radiator, seriously. Frank
     
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  9. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Most of that is WAY out of my spectrum, @Frank Sanoica ; however, it sounds like some good ideas for us to check, and when @Bobby Cole reads your post, it will probably make more sense to him , too. I am pretty sure that I can manage the "matchbook test " though.
    It is supposed to be warming up again by this weekend; so we can actually be outside and do more with the truck then.
    Changing both the fuel filter and replacing the oil filter will be the first place that we start out; plus removing the water pump and replacing that, and checking out the serpentine belt. We will make sure that the truck has the proper weight of oil in it, and also add a quart of Lucas Oil Treatment.
    I hope we do not have to replace the fuel pump, because that is inside the fuel tank. Bobby had to do that with our Ford wagon when it went out, and that was not a fun job for him !
    The good part is that this time, we at least have a working vehicle to use for getting parts for the one that is not running. Last time, we only had the old wagon; so we could not pull the part that was to be replaced first.

    The engine does run smoothly, and for a while, I thought maybe it was not shifting right, and the problem could be in the transmission.
    Taking it to Aamoco and having them do their diagnostic check of the transmission will be on the list of to-do checks as well, and it is probably due for a transmission flush and filter replacement.
    Catalytic converter (down here they are known as "Cadillac converters" in Southern Talk) is something that we have not considered; but is probably another thing that should be on the list.
     
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  10. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Great looking truck Yvonne and I love the colour, hope you can get it going properly, it looks in good condition bodywise.

    @Yvonne Smith
     
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  11. Mari North

    Mari North Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm very glad to hear this, @Yvonne Smith ! I was greatly concerned when you mentioned the safety issues with what you're currently driving... this was so nice of your daughter, and that's a great looking truck there! :)

    Scrappy, eh? Hope you guys will be able to turn "scrappy" into "submissive." :D
     
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  12. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    @Yvonne Smith, you are lucky to have a generous daughter. With a new vehicle in the house, it is surely exciting despite the repairs needed. But having the knowledge with cars, I'm sure your husband will find a way to make the repairs cheaper. And since that vehicle was a gift from you daughter, so there is a sentimental attachment somehow. My point is it would be all right to spend for the repairs than buying another used car. Good luck to the repair and that pickup is a good one for a road trip.
     
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  13. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    We are thinking the same thing, @Corie Henson , and we will be much happier repairing this little truck than buying some cheap vehicle with unknown problems, and background.
    The truck wouldn't start when Bobby went to move it out of the driveway and into the back yard; so he put the charger on it, and then tried to figure out what had run the battery down so low.
    The battery is a heavy-duty battery, and brand new; so that is not the problem. Bobby thinks that it might be a bad solenoid, since the starter would not even click or try to turn over.
    We have ordered a new starter and solenoid for it, and hopefully, that will fix the starting problem.

    We only have a narrow driveway, and can only fit the two vehicles when one is partially off of the driveway and even then, it is tight; so for now, we want to move the truck through the gate and into the back yard.
    One of our "home improvement " projects might eventually be to widen out the driveway a bit at the top so we can have room for both vehicles to park comfortably.
     
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  14. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes I agree I changed my car recently and took over my daughters after she bought a new one, it's a case of better the devil you know, as you can inherit a whole load of problems buying from a dealer or an unknown individual.
     
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  15. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    This reminds me of the time when I was learning how to drive. Our gate was so narrow that a learner like me would have a hard time entering. And on my 3rd entry, it happened - the car hit the post of the gate. Fortunately my husband was the one tutoring me and the damage is not much although it needed repair. When we brought the car to the repair shop, the car painter asked what happened and my husband said, "our gate hit the car." That's it, humor wiped my trauma.
     
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  16. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    We (actually @Bobby Cole ) replaced the starter/solenoid, and then the truck started up perfectly. He shut it off to get the yard gate open and for me to move the station wagon out of the drive way, so he could put the truck in the back yard , as planned.
    I pulled out of the driveway and into the street, and waited.....and waited.......and waited.
    The truck didn't move.
    Finally, I pulled back into the driveway, and Bobby explained that now the truck would not start again.
    After much trouble-shooting, he finally decided that it must be a faulty kill-switch (to stop cartheft), and he disconnected that and bypassed it.
    The truck started right up again after that, although we have NO idea what tripped the kill-switch since nothing was locked that should have tripped the sensor.

    In any case, the little orange truck is now parked safely in the back yard.
    Bobby spent the last three days fighting with the water pump, which had bolts that refused to come off. (I was telling him about @Ken Anderson and his struggle with the metal shelves, and Bobby said after the 3-day struggle with the water pump, he fully understood Ken's frustration).
    Today, we went to the auto parts store and got the pump and all of the new stuff that goes with installing the new pump; and, fortunately, the replacing project is going faster than taking it off went.

    How could I have forgotten to mention the 3-4 trips to Harbor Freight Tools for wrenches, chisels, and whatever else necessary for the operation. Oh yeah, a set of car ramps to drive the truck up on so Mr. Bobby could get underneath it.
    My Sweetie Pie has been a busy guy !
    image.jpeg
     
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  17. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Orange you glad that the lone Ranger showed up in your back yard!;):cool:
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Bright colors must have been in favor in 2000. My ranger is a really bright red.
     
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  19. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    PICTURES, @Sheldon Scott , pictures.......we want to see the new red pickup ! !
    Rangers have always been one of my most favorite vehicles, and my very favorite was one that I used to have, and I had it painted a beautiful bright pink color. I think it was kind of like the pink Barbie Car, except that the over finish was a pearlized lavender , and I LOVED that little truck !
    My ex-husband made me get rid of it because he was embarrassed to be seen driving it around, and then I got the little blue-green mazda, and he was fine with that color.
    Maybe I will paint pink peonies on the side of this one once it is running good again.......
     
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