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View Full Version : 1996 Ford Ranger Check Engine Light On



burnselk
01-13-2006, 02:09 PM
A couple of weeks ago the "check engine" dash light suddenly came on while driving. I did not notice any difference in the way the vehicle performed.

My question is this for those of you that know about this situation: Will the check engine light cause any major damage if I don't have it checked out?

The vehicle in question is a 1996 Ford Ranger XLT pickup, 4 cylinder, 5 speed, with air conditioning and nearly 80,000 miles.

So far I have not noticed anything different in the way it performs.

kgburns
01-13-2006, 07:31 PM
Just about anything can make that light come on, from a loosened gas cap to a bad oxygen sensor.
To be safe, have the codes read and find out what the specific problem is. Several of the local garages around here will hook up their code readers for free, hoping they can get the repair job.

burnselk
01-13-2006, 11:52 PM
Thanks again KG, I tried the gas cap deal first (read about that in the owners manual) but no help there......I guess I'll have to have a tester put on it then go from there.....most likely something of little consequence.....I hope!

01-15-2006, 11:14 AM
Take it to autozone. They test codes for free. I've done that and it worked great. Most other companies charge $80 for a OBD II scan and code check. For that price, you literally can buy your own OBD II code checker!!!

burnselk
01-16-2006, 02:31 AM
Porscheguy......you do not know how happy you made me by giving me that information about AutoZone. I did not know they did that. Guess where I'll be tomorrow.

You're the man of the day for me partner. Thank you very kindly for taking the time to respond to my post!! And I do hope you see this. Thanks again.

01-16-2006, 03:22 AM
Never a problem burnselk. Just here to help!

burnselk
01-17-2006, 02:24 PM
I went to AutoZone today and they did exactly as you said.....they were happy to put a code tester on it.....it can up with a P1443 for my 1996 Ford Ranger 4 cylinder, 5 speed.

Do you know how I can use this information? Is there a website that can tell me exactly what the problem is? The AutoZone guy said something about "auxillary emission....."

01-18-2006, 12:45 AM
I looked it up on some other site and it said that it was a gas cap error. I've had this happen. Just replace the gas cap, it clears the code after a few starts.

burnselk
01-18-2006, 07:33 AM
That simple huh?.....that's amazing....and a good thing....at least my engine isn't about to die. I can certainly replace the gas cap! Thank you. I was hoping you'd be able to help me since you had done it before.

Did the site mention anything the problem (bad gas cap) would cause if I didn't replace the gas cap? Doubt it...just thought I'd ask.

By the way, when I start to reply to someone's post/comments, I'm given a choice of sending a "post" or a "quick reply".

What's the difference in a "post" and a "quick reply" and which should I use? Or does it matter? I suppose this is answered by this site but I just now thought about it. Thought I'd ask you.

01-19-2006, 05:32 AM
Well I looked into it more. Some sites say that the P1443 code deals with some other stuff. One guy said that you need to replace the emissons control valve and thermistor and it solved the problem. Another guy said that the gas cap would be the first thing to replace. I have not looked around a Ranger lately. My Sable's gas cap was pretty easy to change. It had a little ring that attached the cap to the cap and went all the way around the cap as one piece with no openings so you could easily open it up to get it off the cap. I put the cap and ring in some hot water and it easily popped off. I then put it on the new cap and reinstalled it. Maybe took 10 minutes tops.

You might try disconnecting the battery and reconnecting it. If it is just a one time error, the check engine light will not show up again. You could also call the dealer and ask for a service tech to help withe the strange error code. You're probably going to be fine, unless your in California, and they are sooo picky about emissions.

burnselk
01-19-2006, 01:49 PM
Found these three responses at another site:

"Have replaced the emissons control valve, the thermistor as suggested in code P1443. Problem still there. A possible clue, when gas tank is filled check engine light goes off. At about a half tank of gas check engine reappeares".

and .....

"check for blockages between the fuel tank, EVAP canister purge valve and engine intake manifold. Also check for obstructions in the EVAP canister purge valve diaphragm and ports. A blocked fuel vapor hose or vacuum hose."

and.....

"I'm having same problem, but I tracked my down. Found a vacum line going to the evap canister had a hole in it from rubbing on the pully next to it. Also found all the vacuum lines in the circuit are dry rotted and turning to powder. If this is your problem, try replacing all the vacum lines".

So, the plot thickens.......bet I can guess what the dealer's mechanic will say....."it could be one of several things, I'll have to check them all.....and $300 and hours later, he finds the problem".....what say you (as Bill O'Rielly says)?

By the way, when the guy at AutoZone put the tester on it....he not only told me the code, he also cleared it for me and the light went out.....but a few starts later the same day, it was back on again and stays on. Go figure.

01-20-2006, 06:05 AM
Yeah, the Autozone guy did the same for us. The code also came back and we disconnected the battery and reconnected it and it all cleared.

As for your problem, I really don't know. Your best bet (in my opinion) would to just replace the gas cap and go from there. If that doesn't work, your probably looking at going to the dreaded dealer to get it repaire. If you can replace the parts yourself, I would do that. Other than that, I would just take it to the dealer to play it safe.

burnselk
01-21-2006, 09:22 AM
I'll give the dealer a call next week and see what they have to say. The AutoZone guy reset it but the light came on again the same day.

Thanks for the great information Porsche. My gas cap also has the security ring on it also.

casecutter
01-23-2006, 06:23 AM
I was an assisstant manager at an Autozone and I cannot stress this enough:

DO NOT LET THOSE MORONS TOUCH YOUR CAR!!!!! Most of them think they know much more about cars than they do, and if they hurt your car by touching it, they are not liable. NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET THEM TOUCH YOUR CAR, ESPECIALLY THE COMPUTER SYSTEM.

Please everyone, if the light goes on, go to a lisensed mechanic or the dealer. It is worth the money not to get your car wrecked. The dealer will only charge you an hourly rate, and you can set a limit as to how much to spend. Besides, they don't want your car in their shop for 8 hours, they could ge tmore jobs done and make mre money. Your safest bet is the dealer or a pro that specializes in emissions.

Yawgm0th
01-23-2006, 10:07 AM
DO NOT LET THOSE MORONS TOUCH YOUR CAR!!!!! Most of them think they know much more about cars than they do, and if they hurt your car by touching it, they are not liable.
They're like the Geek Squad of cars then?

casecutter
01-24-2006, 06:05 AM
I have not had the misfortune to let the Geek Squad touch my PC, but I have seen what untrained parts counter guys can do to a car. I watched as an employee used the wrong code scanning device on a Toyota MR2 and he completely shorted out the ECU and most of the engine sensors. The customer brought me a bil of $3000 for the repairs and demanded reimbursement. The general manager for the sector I was working in came down and basically told the guy to go **** in his hat and said that AutoZone would never pay for it and that he should consult an attorney.

As a general rule, if the person touching your car is not a mechanic, then do not be surprised when your car is ruined. I would never let anyone besides a licensed mechanic touch my car, and NOONE touches my PC. I can mess that up just fine all by myself.

burnselk
01-27-2006, 07:53 AM
Casecutter, I understand and I agree.....those guys do not know what they're doing most of the time. I'm no machanic or even close to being one, but could be doing that kind of work if I really tried I bet. The guy that checked my pickup said "the code checker says your problem is somewhere in the aux. emissions system". That doesn't tell me anything. I got busy this week and have not called the dealer yet....but that's my next stop....maybe tomorrow. But, I will let everyone know how this turns out. I appreciate the input from you guys. It's all about learning and I need all of the help I can get. Thanks a million.

sidemark
01-29-2006, 07:27 AM
Can anyone tell me how to replace the check engine light?

In Texas models after 1996 must have the check engine light must come on and go off to pass inspection. Mine has been on for so long it burned out. Now I need to fix the bulb and then try to fix why it was staying on in the first place.

Thanks

Kruz
01-29-2006, 08:51 AM
I was an assisstant manager at an Autozone and I cannot stress this enough:

DO NOT LET THOSE MORONS TOUCH YOUR CAR!!!!! Most of them think they know much more about cars than they do, and if they hurt your car by touching it, they are not liable. NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET THEM TOUCH YOUR CAR, ESPECIALLY THE COMPUTER SYSTEM.

Please everyone, if the light goes on, go to a lisensed mechanic or the dealer. It is worth the money not to get your car wrecked. The dealer will only charge you an hourly rate, and you can set a limit as to how much to spend. Besides, they don't want your car in their shop for 8 hours, they could ge tmore jobs done and make mre money. Your safest bet is the dealer or a pro that specializes in emissions.


Amen Brother... :)
I work at a Chrysler-Jeep Dealership here in Atlanta, and can tell you story after story of having to find and fix problems that should have been a minor fix at the start, but turned into a nightmare after the owner "Finally" brought the car to a dealer *usually towed in by then* :)
99% of all check engine light problems can be correctly "Diagnosed" (and sometimes fixed) within the first hour of a Technician receiving the Work Order!
reasons for this are.
: knowledge of the product line.
: correct and current reference materials.
: latest tools and equipment for diagnosis and testing.
in the long run it would be less expensive to have the problem found and fixed correctly the first time, than playing Trial&error with parts and mechanics :)

**I am not vouching for EVERY dealership.... some do suck** :)

For whats its worth, I am an ASE Master Tech with 25 years working on cars.

burnselk
01-31-2006, 12:02 AM
Kruz, thanks for the great advice.

It's good to know we have professionals concerning this particular problem. Thanks

burnselk
01-31-2006, 02:52 PM
Today I called a Ford dealer and the service manager told me they charge $73 to check it. He said it could be many things but the checker would tell them exactly what it is. He also said it could be the EGR or ARR valve....probably one of the "sensors" and he said it was nothing to worry about. Said the bottom line was it would cost about $200 to $300 to test it and fix it.

I called a smaller well known shop with many years of experience....they said they charge $40 to scan the problem and that it could probably be fixed for an additional $30 to $80. Said it could be one of 16 or 17 sensors. He also said it's unsually not a problem to be too concerned about. In WV we don't have emission laws like some other states so it's not something that will prevent me getting a state inspection...at least not yet.

johnj22
02-05-2006, 08:45 PM
I had the same problem. Had it scanned for the code. Was told that it was nothing to be worried about. I just took the lightbulb out 80,000 miles ago. Truck still runs like new and has 210,000 miles on it. The mechanic said more than likely it was the gas cap. I just tighten it about 3 turns and that's it.

burnselk
02-08-2006, 07:39 AM
Thanks john....was your truck a Ford Ranger also? It's good to hear from someone who has the same problem. I was hoping it was nothing to worry about. I'll do just that.

johnj22
02-08-2006, 12:28 PM
Yes I have a 1996 Ranger, 4 cyl. As I said before it has 210,000 miles on it and runs like a champ.

burnselk
04-22-2006, 10:21 PM
I just took the lightbulb out 80,000 miles ago. Truck still runs like new and has 210,000 miles on it.
Was the bulb difficult to take out johnj22? I'd like to do that.

johnj22
04-29-2006, 02:51 PM
The dashboard removal and reinstall took about 2 hours. Start with the obvious screws [4 I think] and work your way to the right. There are some hidden screws. It is pretty well A, B, C, D from left to right. If I remember correctly the last screw to remove will be in between the botton of the radio and top of the heater/AC cluster. Gently remove the dashboard cluster cover. It may not want to come out easily but gently give it some help. After I got everything loose the instrument cluster pretty well fell forward and a little manipulation had to be done to get it over the steering wheel column. I replaced all lights with the exception of the "Check Engine Light", that one I just took out completely. That is a call you will have to make for yourself. My state doesn't mandate it has to be working one way or the other. I found that the problem I caused was overfilling the tank with gas[squeezing that last drop in]. Quit when the pump stops when filling up and don't over tighten the gas cap. I just put the capcap on with about 3 turns. Overfilling causes not enough air getting into the tank and will cause the "Check Engine Light" to come on.

bpw4788
06-22-2012, 04:01 AM
I have my check engine light on my 1996 ford ranger 4.0 automatic and i took it up to autozone and they said it might be the purge value or the canister

boondocks
08-07-2012, 07:53 PM
I get that all the time on my old Ranger 4 banger. Make sure you get the gas cap good and tight. I finally got my wife to start tightening the gas cap 3 or 4 clicks and the light quit coming on, after I'd already replaced the purge valve. Sometimes you might need to replace the gas cap itself if it doesn't seal tight, any air getting in will cause the system to lose a vacuum and the light will come on.

Acebmxer
08-07-2012, 11:22 PM
+1^ or you might have to take in to a repair shop and get the evap system smoke tested as their could be a solenoid stuck open or closed or a pin hole in one of the vent hoses and could through the code for a purge valve or canister. FYI the canisters are charcoal and if it got any fuel in it, it is ruined and will need to be replaced. They do not like it when fuel enters them.

I would recommend starting with the cheaper fixes first, Practice tightening the gas cap properly, replace the gas cap.