Some common 1998 to 2012 Ford Ranger problems include issues with the transmission and oxygen sensors (or O2 sensor). While the Ranger is a classic compact truck, each generation has its own common problems. We review the top 5 issues on the 3rd generation of Rangers, years 1998 to 2012, and what you can do to find and fix some of them yourself.
Top 5 3rd Gen Ford Ranger Problems
The Top 5 Most Common Issues on the 3rd Generation Ford Ranger (1998 to 2012)
1. Cylinder Head Problems
Symptoms of Cylinder Head Problems
- Rough Running Engine
- Flashing check engine light
Causes of Cylinder Head Problems
It’s common for the fuel injectors and spark-related components like the spark plug wires to cause cylinder head problems
How to Fix Cylinder Head Problems
Check the condition of the spark plug wires and fuel injectors and check for spark. If these parts are working, conduct a compression test, which requires removing the spark plugs and placing the tester in the cylinders to check them.
One cylinder with less compression means there is probably burnt valves or a crack in the head. If there is a crack in the head, it will need to be replaced.
2. Faulty Flex Fuel Sensor
Symptoms of a Faulty Flex Fuel Sensor
- Truck won’t start
- Engine runs rough
- Check engine light for P0176
Causes of a Faulty Flex Fuel Sensor
The flex fuel sensor senses the gas and sends a signal to the computer to make adjustments. When it stops sending a signal or stops sending a good signal to the computer, issues arise
How to Fix a Faulty Flex Fuel Sensor
The flex fuel sensor is located past the fuel filter. Replace the fuel sensor if it is defective
3. Transmission Problems
Symptoms of Transmission Problems on the 3rd Gen Ranger
- Issues shifting such as hard shifting
Causes of Transmission Issues
Dirty, bad, and low transmission fluid can cause issues with shifting. There may also be an issue with the intermediate band or the valve body.
How to Fix Transmission Problems on the 98-12 Ford Ranger
If the transmission fluid is in good condition, the intermediate band and the valve body itself can be adjusted. An updated spacer plate between these two could correct the issue without having to rebuild or replace the transmission.
4. Damaged Oxygen (O2) Sensors
Symptoms of Damaged Oxygen Sensors in the 3rd Gen Ford Ranger
- The rear O2 sensor might have torn, melted, or corroded wiring
- Check engine light
- Blown 15 amp #13 fuse
- Rough running engine
Causes of Damaged Oxygen Sensors
The bracket tends to break, causing the wire to touch the exhaust and melt. When it burns down to the metal in the wiring, it will blow a fuse and cause the engine to run rough.
How to Fix O2 Sensor Problems
Replace the O2 sensor and the fuse if necessary
5. Defective Combination/Multi-Function Switch
Symptoms of a Defective Combination Switch
- Wipers, turn signals, or high beams working intermittently or not on command
How to Fix Multi-Function Switch Issues
Replace the multi-function switch
Fix Your Own 3rd Gen Ford Ranger
- Can a Bad O2 Sensor Cause a Misfire?
- How to Tell if a Relay is Bad in a Car, Truck, or SUV
- Is your Transmission Slipping, Jerking, or Low on Fluid?
- Signs of transmission failure and ways to prevent it
- Hate your Automatic Transmission? Swap it to a Manual!
- Why Is My Service Engine Soon Light On?
- How to Diagnose an Engine Misfire
- P0300 code: Mechanic advice to diagnose and fix