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Truck troubles (finally resolved so I'm willing to share)

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Truck troubles (finally resolved so I'm willing to share)

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:38 am

I am sharing this in the hopes that it saves someone else some of the two week long headache I have been dealing with.  My truck is a 2003 Ford Ranger 4x4.  I bought it new in August of 2003, it had 7 miles on the odometer when I signed the paperwork to bring it home with me.  It now has slightly more than 140,000 miles that have been exceptionally trouble free, with the exception of the last 60 to 80 miles.  On my way to work one day the air conditioning just quit cooling.  I mean like you flipped a switch no cool air.  Since this has been such a mild summer, not a big deal...(note this can really be a big deal) Well the next day there was an odd noise that sounded like metal scraping on metal without lubrication.  I assumed the a/c clutch bearing and or friction surfaces were the source.  When I was trying to park at work the engine died, three times while just trying to back into a parking spot.  A quick look under the hood revealed nothing and the drive home was quiet and uneventful.  The next morning (a saturday) the truck would not start.  Most symptoms indicated a failing battery (this battery is 14 months old), so a quick trip to town and the battery was changed out.  The truck started and ran fine every time I needed it that day.  Sunday I needed it for a quick hauling job...same symptoms as before.  Turn the key, starter engaged, lights dimmed, but would not turn the motor over.  Just as before when I checked the battery with a digital multimeter ( actually used three meters this time, but I'll cover that in a minute) with no load on the battery (key off) I read 12.85 volts.  When the battery was fully loaded (trying to start the engine) the voltage dropped to 7.4 volts. (anything less than 11.5 volts usually means the battery is at fault, but not this time)  Two "new" batteries with the same issue, something else must be at fault. (note I spend extra for slightly over sized and 5 year warrantied batteries to avoid problems like this)  My next assumption was it had to be the starter, a bad spot in the armature (the rotating part) or maybe the brushes were breaking down.  So I decided I just pull the starter and have the local generator shop check it out.  Well for those who don't know, you don't just pull a starter on a small truck made since about 1995.  To be able to reach the top bolt on the starter, as well as the wiring connected to the solenoid, you must remove the front drivers side wheel, and wheel well access panel.  Then you can reach in with a wrench (no room for a ratchet and socket) and one hand and feel your way through turning the nuts and bolt one half of a flat at a time.  Then to get the thing out of the truck the steering shaft must be removed.  Whole lotta fun was had on these steps NoSuspectNoSuspectNoSuspectCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sad.  So that ate up two mornings before work, and then the shop had the starter for three days and called and said they checked, tested, and rechecked and retested the starter, took it apart, and visually inspected it but could find nothing wrong with it. affraidaffraidaffraid  So I asked them to lube it up, and install a new solenoid (just to be certain) and I'd pick it up the next day.  So yesterday, before work I picked up the starter, and went to work.  This morning (saturday) I installed the cleaned starter and before putting everything else back in place I tried to start the truck...same symptoms.  It acted like a bad battery in every sense, except no clicking noise when trying to start the engine, and the clock did not lose its time, and the radio did not loose its presets.  So out came the "big guns" of my digital meters.  I checked current draw (460 amps during start attempts (too high)), voltage curves, and rebound spikes, I meggered the starting circuit cables, I cleaned and lubed every electrical connection.  Everything was about right, except for the current draw (amps) and the truck would not start.  

I walked over to visit with a neighbor who also rescues dogs from bad situations when they asked about the truck.  They had seen me working on it and were curious.  So I told him what all I had checked and done.  He said it sounds like the engine is locked up.  No way! I said and we talked a bit more.  He offered a fresh look, and at this point I readily agreed.  First thing we did was try to turn the engine by hand...no dice.  My heart sank, I had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Then we pulled the serpentine belt and tried the crankshaft pulley again.  It turned freely...I tried the key...the truck started readily.  Hmm something, one of the accessories was locked up tight. Turned out to be that a/c compressor and its clutch.  The compressor was (and still is) locked up tight.  The compressor clutches bearing had also failed and was seized to the compressor shaft.  Removing one bolt and one snap ring clip let me beat the clutch and pulley assembly off the shaft.  For temporary repairs I left the electromagnet out of the new clutch assembly effectively by passing the a/c feature, but keeping the vehicle serviceable.

I may or may not repair the a/c, some time in the future.

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Re: Truck troubles (finally resolved so I'm willing to share)

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:25 pm

Sorry you had such a time fixing your truck Keith. I'll have to keep this in mind, we've been having some vehicle issues lately too. I actually think that might have been the problem with a van I got rid of last year. It would start and run for a short time then die out and not restart for several hours. I had it towed home the last time it died and left it sit for several months, then I decided to sell it. The guy who bought it brought a fresh battery with, it started right up and he drove it away.
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Re: Truck troubles (finally resolved so I'm willing to share)

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:46 pm

well sometimes you just have to keep digging, and don't be afraid to tell others what battle you're fighting.  That's what I'm taking away from this round.  Last year we had a windstar that decided to start eating $300 alternators weekly.  The same generator shop rebuilt one to survive a dead short and still have an output of 600 amps (three times the factory rating) the intermittent short still melted the windings out of the alternator...traded off for a toyota mini van

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Re: Truck troubles (finally resolved so I'm willing to share)

Post by 12acrehome on Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:57 pm

Follow up...a/c compressor (original) remains locked up tighter than fort knox. Since installing the make shift a/c by-pass pulley I have noticed an improvement in gas mileage.  My commute used to use 1/2 of a tank of fuel in one and a half trips to and from work.  (ie two trips to work, and one home) Now I can get to work and back home 5 times on that same 1/2 tank of fuel.  

There is an issue with not having a functioning a/c compressor though.  When running the defroster there is no means of drying the humidity from the air.  So some means of keeping the inside of the windshield clean and clear needs to be devised.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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12acrehome
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Re: Truck troubles (finally resolved so I'm willing to share)

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:47 am

well the gas mileage dropped, and it started idling real crazy...sometimes it wanted to idle at 4,000 rpm, sometimes at 200, and other times it just wouldn't idle. Normally a tank of gas would carry me 315 miles, but instead it started only making it 240 to 250 miles between fill ups. (16.5 gallon tank)

See thread titled Truck troubles episode 2 for the continuing saga of driving an aging truck.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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