TEST 2: Using A Fuel Pressure Gauge To Check Fuel Pressure
Connecting a fuel pressure gauge, to test fuel pressure, is possible due to the Schrader valve on the fuel injector rail.
In case you're wondering what the Schrader valve looks like... the Schrader valve looks like a tire valve stem and it's located on the fuel injector rail (the fuel injector rail is what holds all 4 injector in place on the intake manifold). You can see a photo of it here: Location Of The Fuel Pump Schrader Valve Test Port.
OK, let's get started with this test:
Connect the fuel pressure gauge to the Schrader valve on the fuel injector rail.
When ready, ask your helper to cycle the key on and off but don't crank the engine while you observe the fuel pressure tester's gauge.
Check the connection at the Schrader valve for fuel leaks and if any tighten the fuel pressure a bit more (by hand only) to eliminate them.
Your fuel pressure gauge should register: 35 to 45 PSI with the Key On Engine Off (KOEO) if the fuel pump is OK.
OK, now that the testing part is done, let's take a look at what your results mean:
CASE 1: If the fuel pressure gauge registered 0 PSI. This confirms that the cause of your 2.3L Ford Ranger's no start problem is caused by a lack of fuel.
Now, I usually take one more precaution, before condemning the fuel pump as bad and this is to check that the fuel pump is getting 12 Volts as the engine is cranking. This is just to make sure that the fuel pump relay and fuse are OK and doing their job.
What you'll have to do to accomplish this is to attach a multimeter in Volts DC mode to the wire that supplies this voltage to the fuel pump and while a helper cranks the engine, verify that the fuel pump is getting this power. If the 12 Volts are being supplied to the fuel pump, you have now 100% verified that the fuel pump is fried and needs to be replaced.
CASE 2: If the fuel pressure gauge registered 35 to 45 PSI: This fuel pressure gauge result let's you know that the fuel pump is working and delivering enough fuel to the fuel injectors. The reason your 2.3L Ford vehicle is not starting is due to another reason. The fuel pump is OK.
Checking The Fuel Pump Inertia Switch
Your Ford comes equipped with a fuel pump inertia switch, whose job is to cut power (or ground) to the fuel pump in case of an impact.
When the inertia switch is jolted into action, the engine won't start (or if it was running will stall) due to a lack of fuel.
Although it's designed to activate during a severe impact cause by an automobile accident... sometimes it gets activated by less than severe impacts. This means that it's always a good idea to check and reset the inertia switch whenever testing the fuel pump.
Resetting the fuel pump inertia switch simply involves pushing down on the button located on top of the inertia switch till it bottoms out.
Where To Buy And Save
The following fuel pressure test gauge kits are pretty good deals:
The following fuel pumps are pretty good deals:
Location Of The Fuel Pump Schrader Valve Test Port
The fuel pump Schrader valve is located on the fuel injector rail. You'll have to remove its plastic cap to connect your fuel pressure test gauge to it.