TEST 2: Using Starting Fluid To Confirm Lack Of Fuel
Although using starting fluid, to check a no start, is not the most accurate way to test the fuel pump... it's the fastest way to jump start your troubleshooting efforts.
I've been using the starting fluid test, to diagnose a lack of fuel causing a no start problem, ever since I've been working on cars professionally but let me tell you that the successful outcome of this test depends on making sure that all 6 cylinders are getting spark.
This means that, to get an accurate test result, you have to first check all (or at least the majority of) cylinders for spark test with a dedicated spark tester before you perform the starting fluid test.
IMPORTANT: This is a very fast and easy test but you do have to take one very important safety precaution and this is to reconnect the air intake duct after spraying starting fluid down the throttle bore (although you don't have to fasten it). This will prevent any backfire, that might occur, from scaring the heck out of you when cranking the engine.
This is what you have to do:
Remove the intake air duct from the throttle body. You don't have to completely remove it, since you'll have to reconnect it in one of the next steps.
Open the throttle plate and spray starting fluid down the bore.
As a safety precaution reconnect the air duct after you have sprayed a good squirt of starting fluid (but you don't have to tighten the air duct's hose clamp).
Crank the engine once the air duct is back on and you're clear of the engine compartment.
You'll get one of two results with this test:
1.) The engine will start momentarily and after a few seconds will die or.
2.) The engine will only crank but not start at all.
OK, let's find out what your results mean:
CASE 1: If the engine started and ran for a few seconds: This test result tells you that the no start problem is due to a lack of fuel.
Your next step is to check to see what the fuel pressure is with a fuel pressure test gauge. Go to: TEST 1: Checking Fuel Pressure With A Fuel Pressure Gauge.
CASE 2: The engine did not start, not even momentarily: This usually means that a lack of fuel IS NOT the reason your car is not starting.
Now, remember what I said about this test not being very accurate? Well, I suggest you do one more test and this is to check the fuel pressure with a fuel pressure test gauge. Go to: TEST 1: Checking Fuel Pressure With A Fuel Pressure Gauge.
Location Of The Schrader Valve
NOTE: The photo above is of a 1999 3.0L Ford Ranger's Schrader valve.
The Schrader valve is located on the fuel injector rail (on the majority of vehicles covered by this tutorial). This is the fuel rail that feeds injectors for cylinders 1, 2, and 3. As you can see in the photo above, it's next to the ignition coil pack.
Fuel Pump Inertia Switch
Your Ford comes equipped with a fuel pump inertia switch, whose job is to de-activate the fuel pump in case of an impact and thus prevent a possible fire from fuel spilling. It's usually located on the right side (passenger side) of the dash, below the glove box.
When the inertia switch is jolted into action, the engine is not gonna' start. It'll crank but not start, which can lead you to believe that the fuel pump is bad.
Although it's designed to activate during a severe impact caused 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 The Fuel Pump And Save
The fuel pump in your 3.0L Ford Ranger is located inside the fuel tank. The fuel pump can be bought in any auto parts store, but I think you'll find the better price online. The following fuel pumps are pretty good deals:
Not sure if the above fuel pumps fit your particular 3.0L Ford Ranger? Don't worry, once you get to the site, they'll make sure it fits by asking you the specifics of your vehicle. If it doesn't fit, they'll find you the right one.
If this info saved the day, buy me a beer!