Mechanics

CHECK ENGINE LIGHT ON

1994 Ford Ranger • 190,000 miles

A couple of days ago my truck didn't want to start which was very unusual. I had to start it and then press on the gas to idle the truck at a higher rpm. After a bit it finally idled on it's own. It seemed to be running kind of rough. My daughter had put some cheaper gas in it and I thought that may have been the problem. So I got some fuel line cleaner and filled it up with some good gas. Right after doing that it seemed to be running better but later that day it started running rough again, the check engine light came on and smoke started coming out of one of the air vents. I did not have the air or blower on. The smoke didn't seem to have a smell. Later that night I didn't feel so well. The next morning (having to rev the rpm slightly again to get it to start and idle on it's own) I drove it to work (1/2 mile) and the check engine light came on, the smoke started coming out of the vent and once again I started to not feel well. So I drove it home and parked it. I LOVE my truck and have no idea where to start with fixing it. Being a female with some knowledge of autos - I still hate to go to a repair shop without having some idea as to what the problem is, so I don't get told things need to be fixed that actually don't. Thank you for your advice.
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Joli
September 26, 2013.



Have you checked your coolant level?

Wrenchtech
Sep 26, 2013.
The reservoir was completely empty. So I added coolant and checked the radiator. I started my truck and it is still running rough and the check engine light is still on. We are going to drive it up to the auto store (1 1/2 mile round trip) and get plugs, air filter, oil filter and oil. We will see if it is still smoking through the vent. Any more advice? I REALLY appreciate your help.

Tiny
Joli
Sep 26, 2013.
If you're losing coolant you could be overheating and doing severe damage to the engine. The fact that you see smoke inside the car tends to indicate steam leaking from a bad heater core. If that led to misfiring, it could already have a blown head gasket.

Wrenchtech
Sep 26, 2013.
The Temperature gauge has never moved from it's normal position. And the truck has never overheated. I only added about a 1/2 quart of antifreeze to the reservoir. And there is no moisture on the passenger side floorboard from which I understand is a sign of a heater core leak. I have neglected to check the coolant but my truck does leak some oil and I do have to add oil every so often. I added the coolant and the truck ran rough for a period of time but then seemed to run normal and the check engine light went out and no smoke came out of the air vent. I'm just having a hard time believing that's all the problem was, do you think this is a sign of the beginning of a bigger problem? Thank you for your time and advice.

Tiny
Joli
Sep 26, 2013.
You're going to have to get the codes read and they should give you a starting point of what is going on.

Wrenchtech
Sep 26, 2013.