1997 Ford Ranger

Tiny
SOME_GUY
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 FORD RANGER
Engine Mechanical problem
1997 Ford Ranger 4 cyl Manual 140000 miles

I have a manual 97 Ranger with about 140k miles. We inherited this car about a year ago and we use it as our backup car for when my wife and I both need to go somewhere. I've been driving it a lot more in the last 2 weeks than I had been and I noticed it squeaked at low speeds and I couldn't remember ever hearing that before. Then, just yesterday I noticed the power steering would go out for a couple of seconds when I was starting from a stop and once or twice at around 40mph. I checked the power steering fluid when I got home and it seemed full. Today as I was driving it the power steering problem got significantly worse and I noticed that the battery voltage gauge is low and whenever the power steering cut out the charging system light came on. I also noticed that when that happened the engine would still rev even after I had let off the accelerator. Furthermore, when the power steering was working the engine temperature gauge went up and then went back down whenever the power steering went out. Lastly, I stopped at the store on my way home today and when I got back in the car the AC wouldn't work (air blew, but not cool). When I got home today and parked the truck in the garage I noticed a faint smell of burning rubber.

I don't think this is related but I'lm trying to give as much background as I can. The first time we filled it up with gas a lot of the gas leaked out from somewhere on the bottom (not from the gas tank opening). Since then we've only filled it up to about 3/4 full and haven't had any more problems with gas leaks.
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Friday, June 11th, 2010 AT 10:12 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Your description is perfect. The accessory belt that runs the AC, PS, Alternator, water pump. Is loose. That is why when you lost the PS, the alt gauge dropped (alt wasn't spinning as fast), and the engine temp went high (water pump wasn't spinning fast enough). Also, it would cause a noise too.

Your vehicle is equipped with an automatic belt tensionier. Without seeing the vehicle, my guess is the tensionier has gone bad and is no longer keeping enough tension on the belt. Check that and let me know what you find.

Joe
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Friday, June 11th, 2010 AT 10:19 PM
Tiny
SOME_GUY
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Thanks for the response.

There is tension in the belt, but I'm not sure how much there should be. When I push on it I can deflect it about half an inch and I can also rotate it about 90 degrees.

Also I wanted to point out that the rise in temperature occurs when the PS is working. It seems like it would be the other way around.

If the problem is the tensioner, is that something I can probably fix myself, or if it's an automatic tensioner will I need to get it replaced? And how much would you guess that costs?
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Friday, June 11th, 2010 AT 10:55 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
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It is something you could do yourself. I believe they are around 30.00. However, based on your description, it sounds tight enough. Everything you mentioned leads me to believe the belt is slipping on the accessories. Check the belt and see if it looks like there are any fluids that are on it. Check the water pump. It has a "weep" hole under it. It is a small hole, and when the bearing or seal goes bad in the pump, it will leak from there. Maybe coolant is getting on the belt.

Let me know.

Joe
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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 AT 12:05 AM
Tiny
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From what I could see I found one small spot where it looked like the belt might be a little wet. It was the only spot that reflected the light from a flashlight.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/537992_IMG_5010b_2.jpg



Would such a small spot cause the slipping or is it an indicator of a leak and there are more spots I can't see or that have evaporated overnight?
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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 AT 9:46 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It looks like I'm looking at the water pump pulley. Is that correct? If so, check under the pump. There is a small weep hole that is there in the event that the bearing or seal go bad in the pump. If they do, coolant will leak out of it and yes, it could cause the belt to slip.

Let me know what you find.
Joe
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Monday, June 14th, 2010 AT 11:36 AM

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