PX Ranger, Limp home mode but no fault code

Mar 16, 2012
837
1,355
93
Near Darwin
#1
Rather than continue with what I was writing up in my other thread (Non-trip, trip report) of the saga of repairing my Ranger I think it best to put something here to warn fellow Ranger/BT50 owners.

A summary: Engine lost power and went in to a "limp home mode", but without the usual dash warning light and no Fault Codes, even on genuine Ford Dealer diagnostic equipment. Loss of power happened very quickly and about the best the car would do with the 2500 Kg van behind was about 40 kph. Car has spent the last 6 weeks as of yesterday in with the Dealer trying to find the cause of the problem. Problem was very much temperature related but depending on ambient temperature and driving conditions this failure would take place anywhere from half an hour to one and a half. Without the van on behind it was possible to get up to around 90 kph but very slowly. I don't know what would happen if the journey was continued and/or the temp rose higher. In consultation with Ford themselves numerous sensors were swapped with known good ones, one at a time then test driven, and various other comparisons were made with a working vehicle. Engine computer was twice swapped with alternates as they weren't sure the first one was a correct same version. All accessories fitted by others or myself were disconnected to eliminate non Ford possibilities. Genuine Limp home mode was initially discarded as they thought that all such situations brought on a dash warning and Fault Codes. Even the injectors were replaced. The one difference noted but also initially discarded was a higher than normal fuel temperature reading on the sensor at the engine mounted pump. Last week they went back to that possibility and it was found that when the sensor was removed and left hanging and measuring ambient air temp no problem existed. Finally the fuel pump was replaced and problem apparently cured.

Today I picked up the car and will now do my own testing to try to verify whether it has fully gone away. Part of the delay has been due to our location and the inevitable delays we experience in getting parts delivered but I believe there has been an issue with Ford itself not taking more interest in the issue and trying to speed things up.

From what I've been told the fuel temperature ranges from about 40 - 60 degC normally but mine was getting in to the 80's. Apparently at about 83 the problem started to develop but at 84 it was going in to reduced power mode but with no notification of the problem. This has been discussed with Ford and is an issue that has to be investigated. I would hope that out of the inconvenience to us that some good will come out of it and a software update will happen to ensure that others don't suffer similar lengthy delays in locating the problem. With the similarities between them this could well be a BT50 possibility as well.

I will still be talking to the Case Manager that was assigned to me in a few days time and most certainly the 6 weeks timeframe will be discussed further and the problems it caused us. The only actual Dealer issue that I have was with whoever there decided that I should have to pay to refill the tank to continue test drives and eliminate a possibility that the fuel pickup was drawing in some air. My paying for it was immediately refused and was thankfully backed up by the Case Manager just as quickly. It should never have been mentioned though.

I'd be really interested to find out if this issue has happened elsewhere as from my Dealer and Ford discussions so far they haven't mentioned any other incident. If it had I would have expected a much quicker resolution. This doesn't mean that we are happy with it all but we finally do have the car back but it will take a while to regain some trust in it. It wasn't very pleasant to have it go in to reduced power mode so quickly with trucks behind us. I would regard this as a safety issue.

If I hear anything more of interest or it fails again I'll update this. There are a couple of other Forums that I'll post this on as well for peoples interest.

Phil
 

macca

(aka maccayak)
Mar 20, 2012
1,660
832
113
Victoria
#6
Thanks for sharing Phil no problems with mine so far except for a slight rattle from the tranny at 1700rpm but only when cold, I'm a bit transmission paranoid after the problems I had with the last model
@Capt. Gadget That could just be that the heat shield rework is required. The rivets work loose and it rattles. They put in bigger rivets. Happens to them all!
 
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Marv_mart

Well-Known Member
Jan 3, 2014
1,234
1,985
113
Adelaide
#8
What patience @PhilD. You certainly have been through the mill but hopefully, all good now. Good luck.
Hi, I have a BT50 and have done the Adelaide-Darwin-Broome-Perth and back to Adelaide trip across the Nullabor back in 2012 towing a Jayco Penguin. 17000km and no hint of fuel or any problem actually. Found the Beast an easy 4x4 to drive and tow with. Have a mate with a Ranger and he had a problem with the cooling hose cracking on him after about 10K. Another big trip planned to Darwin and then back to Adelaide via the east coast in July.
I have been warned so will let you know if a problem surfaces.
 
Last edited:
Mar 16, 2012
837
1,355
93
Near Darwin
#9
We took a run to Katherine yesterday, and return, and clocked up 730 Km without a sign of the trouble returning. Looks like they did actually fix the problem. Car got up to good operating temperatures with being able to cruise at 115-130 (legally) for most of the trip. On the return trip we weren't held up by much and had a reasonable run. Traffic, especially vans and horse floats, headed North in the morning wasn't something I would have enjoyed being stuck in. Apparently it's the national Polocrosse championships in a weeks time up here so that explained part of the traffic.
 
Jun 10, 2014
90
51
18
Hervey Bay QLD
#10
I did read on your trip forum @PhilD that you had the oil changed. Now I'm no car mechanic expert but we had a 2013 BT50 just traded it recently, I had a mechanic (not our usual one) mention something about being very careful when getting oil changed they only have a small window of time to get the new oil in or it can cause major dramas ...?? That's all I remember him saying... (And you may already be aware of this anyways lol)
 
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Mar 16, 2012
837
1,355
93
Near Darwin
#12
I was already aware of that issue and spoken to the Workshop Foreman when booking it in for that service and he was aware of it as well. The popular answer to changing the oil is to ensure that both the oil change itself and the filter change are completed and the engine started within 10 minutes. No standing around and waiting until the last drip has drained off. Another way I've read is to just do the oil change and restart the engine for a short time to ensure the system is re-primed then change the filter. By this method it was felt that the small amount of contamination from the old oil in the filter wasn't a concern.
 
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Mar 16, 2012
837
1,355
93
Near Darwin
#14
Get them to check the seat belt sensors, mine starting going into limp and it was sensing no seat belt. Just another thing to try.
Who writes their software, Microsoft? What's the connection between a seatbelt and the engine, unless it's designed to make you drive at a slower speed until you belt up.

As to my problem there's no indication of any problem now. It was explained to me that during their comparison testing with a known good car under the same test drive route that the good car was showing up with a fuel temp of around 60 degC whereas mine was up around 80+. Initially this was dismissed by someone who apparently knew better down South as not likely to affect anything. After all other potential areas were tested or had sensors swapped from the known good car they went back to the temperature anomaly. I forget the actual figures but it was something like when my car got the fuel temp to about 83 it started to show signs of problems then a couple of degrees higher and it went in to Limp Mode, but with no dash or Fault Code indication. They removed the sensor probe and let it just hang free and detect air temperature and then the car wouldn't fail. New fuel pump fitted (pump on engine, not one in tank) and all is OK, so far.

I do have some info from elsewhere about an alternate possible human cause of high fuel temperatures and this may affect anyone doing their own fuel filter changes. There is a certain amount of fuel that is returned to the tank where it cools. In swapping the filter apparently you have to disconnect a number of fuel lines attached to the housing (4 I think) and although these apparently can't be placed back on the wrong fittings, if not done correctly it could allow hot fuel to recirculate rather than returned via the fuel cooler and in to the tank. There is also, apparently, a valve in the bottom of the filter housing that could be damaged if care isn't taken. I tried to have a good look at mine to see what was being spoken about and the lines all look like they attach to their logical place but it does look and sound like an overly complicated process.
 
Jan 27, 2015
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#17
I have a 2013 PX Ranger with exactly the same symptoms, seems to only occur when the ambient is above 30 degrees. The Ford dealership here have reprogrammed a parameter to the fuel pump, replaced the transmission module on the computer, replaced the sensor to the inter-cooler and also the fuel sensor, asked me to remove the winch, which they were adamant was the issue as it reduced the air flow to the inter-cooler, which I did but had no effect. Now they believe it's the long ranger fuel tank restricting air flow to the fuel cooler and they've asked me to put the standard tank back on to prove it (which of course I no longer have). ARB are trying to find one for me.
The problem for me is getting days hot enough to test any changes made as I live in ACT and this year summer hasn't been particularly hot. As a result, the issue has been intermittently occurring since November, so almost 3 months now.
 
Mar 16, 2012
837
1,355
93
Near Darwin
#18
Good luck Dean. Only help I can give is to verify that the Fuel Filter hoses are in their correct places and about how they finally found my fault in the high pressure pump. They disconnected the sensor and let it read ambient air temperature while taking the car for a drive. That was easy up here as our daytime ambient temperature was well in to the 30's to start with so a short 20 minute drive was enough to bring on the fault condition.
 
Jan 27, 2015
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#19
Good luck Dean. Only help I can give is to verify that the Fuel Filter hoses are in their correct places and about how they finally found my fault in the high pressure pump. They disconnected the sensor and let it read ambient air temperature while taking the car for a drive. That was easy up here as our daytime ambient temperature was well in to the 30's to start with so a short 20 minute drive was enough to bring on the fault condition.
Thanks Phil,
Did your Ranger have a long-ranger fuel tank or just the standard one? Mine will be getting a standard one re-installed next week in order for Ford to investigate further... all at my expense of course!
 
Mar 16, 2012
837
1,355
93
Near Darwin
#20
No long range tank, but not from not thinking about it. I feel for you with them wanting it back to standard to eliminate possibilities. They first up commented on the bulbar, which was fitted via them anyway, as was the canopy. From there though, they were going to disconnect the 2nd fuel filter (WaterWatch) but did a pressure test and although a bit low it was acceptable. They did disconnect the dual battery system (simple as it had an isolate switch anyway), the UHF CB, the driving lights, Redarc brake controller (fitted through them) and actually asked me to disable the Tyre Dog remote unit. Has made me glad I didn't install an EGR plate installed as I'm sure that they would have tried to blame it. Same would go for exhaust changes and engine management upgrades I'd bet. In my story above you can read about how many different things they mucked about with by swapping or just replacing and to the point of trying a full fuel load as they had run out of ideas.

The end result of the fuel pump issue they state was faulty is something that I have to accept as the cause, BUT, I just can't bring myself to dismiss the niggling feeling that an old condition that we used to come across at work a long time ago in another life may just have come in to play. That is the "Passion fingers" syndrome. In our case, just like yours, Ford is taking the attitude that if the Customer has altered something then it may just be a probable cause of the fault and attempts should be made to blame the last person who worked on the equipment and shift associated costs to them. In my past experiences this can be quite true. We once had a bit of a production line going modifying multiple pieces of equipment and the Supervisor had us putting our names on the labels. In testing them afterwards the same name cropped up multiple times as creating the same fault and it got to the stage where when we saw his name we went to a particular spot and fixed his fault prior to testing. Actually it got to the stage, in typical Trainee boredom, where we started putting the Supervisors name on all of them just for fun.

Now back on topic after my silly anecdote, what I'm getting at is that our car was running quite fine but went in for a 15,000Km service 2 weeks prior to starting our aborted trip. After the service we didn't go very far and didn't even use a tank of fuel in the time so we didn't have the situation of the necessary conditions to bring on the fault. During the 2 weeks we were really only getting in to packing the car and van and with myself completing some mods to the van. Part of the service was changing the fuel filter with it's system of 4 hoses to be disconnected. Now if Ford want to take the attitude of being suspicious of a Customer and what work they may have been doing on the car themselves, then guess who were the last people to work on our car, particularly involving the fuel system, prior to the fault condition coming on???????

I'm not claiming that Ford were responsible and do have to take their word for it on what they found but you've got to wonder. What also worries me is that in swapping and changing over so many components during their testing program what else may they have disturbed? I do know though, and have told the Wife, that if a similar or worse problem crops up in the next trip stating in early May that I'll be having the Ranger trucked back home and will be purchasing the nearest suitable and available Toyota.

I just had a thought Dean, if by refitting the standard tank it doesn't fix the fault then I would be giving the Dealer (and thereby Ford) the Invoice for it, with a threat that otherwise Consumer Affairs, Current Affair and the Newspapers will be hearing about it.
 
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