1987 ranger 2.4 when it hits running temp sounds like the engine is choking itself

Asked by May 15, 2010 at 10:16 PM about the 1987 Ford Ranger

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

just what the topic says i thought it could be the distrubuter and cap but i replaced the distributer cap and roter. all of the spark plugs and wires are new. tried running fuel injecter cleaner through it, put on a new oil and fuel filter but its still doing it. after it hits running temp it starts to choke itself. anyone have any idea what it could be

25 Answers


try a thermostat.... some of the ranger motors had a specific temperature thermostat which opened at different temperatures... if a lower temperature thermostat was installed the engine could be "up to temp" but not where the computer would like it to be.. i would say try a higher temperature thermostat

thanks man but the engine isnt over heating at all could it still be the problem

ok i changed out the thermostat and its still doing the same thing and the fuel pumps are working fine could it be a possible vaccum hose leak making it do that???

have you changed your fuel filter latley,if it was a vac leak it would do this all the time,cold or hot,try the new fuel filter.

i did change my fuel filter less than a week ago i bought the haines manual and it says that it could be the gapping in the spark lugs is this possible

yes, also you could have a bad throtle position sencor


First.. I was not aware a 2.4 was offered in 1987??? To the problem... Doubt it would be a throttle position sensor or speed sensor.. They would cause problems even when the engine is cold.. My first guess would be the MAP sensor, although a bad EGR valve would do it too..


sounds like the EGR valve.

all the EGR does is control the idle,only other thing i can think it may be is the cold start control is bad,it is located on the throtle body,when it goes bad it acts like a choke on a carb that the butterfly is closed.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

For further clarification.. EGR recirculates exhaust gas.. If it is sticking open it will create a "choking" type problem

refer to post below,do the same thing,but i still say your throttle position scencer is bad.


I believe you may be thinking of the idle control valve... Although I cannot rule it out as a problem, I have never heard of a situation as to where it has created a problem like this.. 2nd, EGR - Exhaust Gas Recirculation.. Has nothing to do with controlling idle.. It will "choke" the engine out at warmer temps if it is sticking open.

that sounds like what its doing its only really doin it when it reaches running temp and then it will have trouble starting back up until the engine cools off almost completely.

have your timeing checked,and to the other person go to google and google problems with a EGR valve,mabey this will help you understand the idle part,it also efects cruse control and so one.I been working on cars 40 + years.how bout you.worked at our local FORD dealer for years.


Look man.. I have no disrespect for you.. I know cars inside and out. I am of the "new" generation. I have my specialty in computer controlled vehicles. EGR only affects idle as it RECIRCULATES EXHAUST GAS.. If it sticks closed it does nothing to the system, just trips O2 sensor codes.. If it sticks open, it chokes the engine.. Being a mechanic you should know that.. My grandpa worked on cars for 40+ years too... My dad has worked on cars since he was 16 (now 35yrs) and is ASME Certified.. I would trust neither to work on any of my toys. I have my ASME Cert and graduated from Wyotech... My first toy I built was a 425hp 2000 GTP... Remapped the computer myself. So please.. Before you come talking trash. Please bring more then old school experience. And FYI... My first truck was an 85 ranger with the 4 banger which quickly got swapped out with a 5.0.

same here,no disrespct,but just google it and you will learn something new,im also ase certifed,we dont agree on the egr thing,just do me the favor of google problems with a bad egr.now i have a question on one i cant figure out.have a 99 grand am 2.4 engine,car runs great but at idle it vibrates,changed TPS,IAC,the computer scan threw a code for a bad IAC,it has been adjusted to the 23 cm as required,it idles at 600 rpm,if i could get 200 more rpm,s it would be perfect,the computer has been cleared of all codes no check engine light is on,what would you try next,had the PCM checked also good.but do the google.


I found a really cool site regarding EGR problems (http://www.2carpros.com/topics/egr.htm). We do disagree on the EGR topic, so we will let that be. :-) As far as your problem, I can suggest an unorthodox approach(only because you changed the TPS and because you are not getting any new trouble codes). I would loosen the TPS sensor screws, start the car, and very gently move the tps sensor to the right or left while listening to see if engine idle goes up or down. The problem you are having is that the new TPS sensor is not sending the correct voltage for its location tricking the computer into thinking it is at the proper idle speed. Ideally, you may want to flash the pcm, but I have used that trick in a pinch before on my GTA and never had another problem out of it. Your idle should be between 750-800rpm if automatic and roughly around 500rpm if manual.

thanks,ill give it a try tomorrow.

did not work,no adj on tps,has a slot it goes in,any other ideas.


I am sorry I dont. Short of flashing the PCM or re-replacing the TPS, I have no other suggestions.


You may have a bad distributor. Check your timing and make sure its not fluctuating. If the TPS was bad it would be a problem as soon as you started the truck.A bad EGR is a possbility as well.

replace the gray electrical box on the distributer,it bolts on the left side looking at motor.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

duncano8, I've just recently had a similar problem with my 96 Ranger. I replaced the fuel pressure regulator and it fixed it.


Is the truck smoking at all?


Before I figured out my issue, I replaced the EGR valve, The EGR cylinoid, and the PCV valve. None of these worked.

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