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I recently bought a 94 Ford Ranger, its seemingly in pretty good running condition, but the electrical system is not working properly. The dash lights are very dim, in fact you can only see the speedometer at night and not very well. I'm not too worried about the dash lights although that would be nice to have fixed, but the cigarette lighter doesn't work and that is a big deal for me. So I first went to check the fuses and the fuse the cigarette lighter uses was fine, but when I had the cover to the fusebox off I noticed one of the breakers was sparking, looking closer I realized when I took the fuse box cover off the metal cover to the breaker came off with it. Well not knowing much about cars I thought I would leave the cover to the fuse box and breaker off until I could look up some more info on the problem. Last night driving home the fuse box started sparking slightly and I noticed as it was doing this that my headlights were twitching in and out, I don't think they would turn completely off, but would fluctuate from being very bright to very dim, a minute later the sparking and twitching seemed to stop, but you could smell a faint smell of burnt plastic. Is this a serious problem I should be having checked out right away, or am I to blame for leaving the fuse box cover and cover to circuit breaker off and will the problem stop if I simply put the covers back on? Trying to put the circuit breaker cover back on the circuit started sparking as soon as the metal cover touched it, being unsure if I was screwing something up worse I didn't put that cover back on.
I need to know if this is a serious problem that I should look into further, but what I'm still more concerned about is getting the cigarette lighter to work. I found nothing in the owners manual except to check the fuse, which I did and it seems to be fine. I saw a video on youtube on how to fix car cig lighters in general and you needed to pull apart the dash/console to get behind the cigarette lighter and remove some small metal ring. Anyone know anything about this, will it work or cause me more problems? Wanted to get some feedback before attempting to do the process showed in the video.
Thank you for any advice anyone could give me, it would be greatly appreciated!


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contributions: 1945
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Location: Oregon
the lighter has a 20A circuit breaker. It, gets power from fuse #3 in the underhood fuse box. (60A) I would look at getting a new circuit breaker and probably look for another lighter socket receptacle. The lighter should be on a circuit that only connects to the lighter and to the multifunction switch for "Flash To Pass" lighting. A possible reason for the sparking is that you have a short to ground and the circuit breaker draws power away from your charging system when it resets but then it will blow and turn off waiting to cool down and then reset again. Take the circuit breaker out. Check the two sides in the fuse box. One side should be power all the time. The other side should show nothing. No power, no ground. If you get ground on the other side that's your short. You will have to find out where the grounding is at. Is there a lighter in the lighter receptacle? Take it out and see if the ground goes out. If the ground is still on, unplug the back of the lighter receptacle and see is the ground goes away at the circuit breaker.

Lighters go bad all the time. Lighter receptacles go bad once in a while. Breaks on the wiring sometimes happens with tilt steering wheels. (wire to the multifunction switch for the flash you high lights)

the wire color for the wire out of the circuit breaker for this circuit is dark blue and orange to the multifunction switch and then it splices into a light blue and white that goes to the lighter.


   
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I have a 1995 2.3 ford ranger, new battery, new alternator and new cables. It was running rough and the gauges were way off the normal places. I put in a new pcm relay, it is running smoother now but when I turn on the light switch the gauges are all over and the light to the radio goes out, and the truck quits.


   
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contributions: 1945
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Location: Oregon
you need to look for a short in your wiring. the headlight circuit should be separate from the PCM. The dash and radio should only be tied to the dash dimmer circuit when the headlights are on. I would take a good look at your headlight circuit and see where it goes.

factory radio? aftermarket radio installation may show ground with the headlights off and installer will use it for a ground wire. but when you turn the headlights on the ground wire will power up and start burning through stuff.

has the wiring been tied into or is it still all OE? (no previous wiring repairs and fixes or add ons)


   
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