fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
112,579 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Ford Ranger engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Ranger Owner Comments

problem #1

Apr 012012

Ranger XLT 2.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,579 miles


When I purchased this truck last month, I already knew about what was supposed to be the issue. The check engine light was on so I had a mechanic look at it and run a complete and full diagnostic scan before purchase. He said it was an O2 sensor, at the time I though it was no big deal, I'd get it replaced later. So I drove it about 500 miles from Canyon, TX to my home town, FT. Hood, TX, my actual home.

Minor issues. It was a little sluggish mainly going up hills, especially against strong wind. I figured it was just that sensor being faulty that was causing the problem. Well I wasn't able to drive it a whole lot for the next month due to other personal issues so over the last weekend I drove it into town. On the way back I stopped by the gas station, topped it off, and got a car wash, the car wash has a belly blaster. I got home fine no problems, I didn't drive the truck for 2 days.

I started it up Monday morning, fine, let it set a few minutes to get the oil going through, and the heater warmed up (it was a little chilly that morning). When I finish getting everything ready for work I got in my truck took off and it was very sluggish. It shook real bad at take off and every time I switched gears. It shook at low RPM's and it shook real bad at idle. I had the truck parked on the street with the tail pipe facing the grass and my sprinklers goes off twice that night, I thought it may have been water had gotten into the muffler at first and it just needs to dry out (4 cylinder fords don't like water coming from underneath). I thought the belly wash did some damage, but the problem never went away, I used a quarter tank of gas that day and I only drove 40 miles round trip.

I took it to AutoZone, they ran their little hand scanner and it popped up with several issues, pistons misfiring, crank sensor malfunction, O2 sensor bad, just all sorts of things. I took it home and did a little manual troubleshooting. Came to find out the ignition coil was bad, (this model has an ignition coil not a distributor). The #2 and #1 had burnt out on the coil which caused the scanner to falsely detect all the other issues and not the source, because the coil is not monitored by the computer. I replaced the Coil, took about 10 minutes total, everything worked great and even had more power than when I first bought it. I reset the check engine light and didn't come on again.

Two days later, BAM, it happened again, same issue, the ignition coil went out again. So I took it back to AutoZone and upgraded from a Valuecraft for $70 to a Duralast for $80 (I may have gotten the brands mixed up, but I upgraded from the cheaper and paid a little more money for the better one). Ipaid the difference, reinstalled it, reset the check engine light, so far it hasn't gone bad again and the light has not returned, but waiting for the outcome. I will write again if it goes bad. I am hoping that the first coil I purchased just happen to be defective, cause I think some of these are refurbished, if not, then something else is wrong meaning some sort of short or something blowing the ignition coil. Concerning firing order, I don't know what Ford recommendation is but I found out what it says in the AutoZone online repair manual and the actual coil firing order are different. The firing order is printed on the aftermarket coil. I tried to hook up the spark plug wires the way the manual tells you to, and its all messed up, so hook up the spark plug wires to the coil in accordance with the directions on the coil and appears to work great so far.

- , Copperas Cove, TX, US

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