How To Test The Starter Motor (1992, 1993, 1994 3.0L Ford Ranger, Aerostar, And Mazda B3000)

Testing the starter motor on the 1992, 1993, or 1994 3.0L Ford Ranger isn't hard, in this tutorial I'll explain how to do it in a step-by-step way.

This is an on-car test of the starter motor, so you don't have to remove it from your Ford Ranger to find out if it's bad or not.

NOTE: This tutorial also applies to: 1992-1994 3.0L Ford Aerostar and 1992-1994 3.0L Mazda B3000.

Contents of this tutorial at a quick glance:

  1. Important Safety Tips And Precautions.
  2. Symptoms Of A Bad Starter Motor.
  3. Tools Needed To Test The Starter Motor.
  4. TEST 1: Applying 12 Volts To The Starter Motor S Terminal.
  5. TEST 2: Verifying The Start Signal.
  6. TEST 3: Voltage Drop Testing The Battery (+) Cable.
  7. More 3.0L Ford Ranger Tutorials.

NOTE: You can find the starting system wiring diagram, of the 1992, 1993, and 1994 3.0L Ford Ranger here: 1992-1994 3.0L Ford Ranger Starter Motor Circuit Wiring Diagram.

Important Safety Tips And Precautions

TIP 1: No need to remove your Ford Ranger's starter motor to test it, since the starter motor test in this tutorial is an on-car test.

If you have removed it, you can bench-test it and the following tutorial will help you: Bench Testing The Starter Motor.

TIP 2: Your Ford Ranger's battery must be fully charged to successfully test the starter motor. Also, the battery cable terminals and battery posts must be clean and corrosion free.

TIP 3: If your vehicle has a standard transmission, make sure that it's out of gear and in neutral, and that the parking brake is activated/on.

TIP 3: You'll need to raise your Ford Ranger to access the starter motor. Use jack stands to keep it up. Don't trust the jack!

Symptoms Of A Bad Starter Motor

The most common symptom of a defective starter motor is a ‘no crank’ condition. This means that when you turn the key to crank the engine, the starter motor doesn't come out to play (engage the engine and turn it over).

You'll also notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Jump starting the engine doesn't make it crank over.
  2. The battery has been charged and/or replaced and still your Ford Ranger does not crank.
  3. When you turn the key to crank the engine, all you hear is a small knock and nothing else.

Tools Needed To Test The Starter Motor

Testing the starter motor does require some basic tools. The cool thing is that they aren't expensive. Here's a basic list of what you'll need:

  1. Remote starter switch.
    1. If you'd like to see what a remote starter switch looks like, you can follow this link: Actron CP7853 Remote Starter Switch.
    2. You can either buy this tool online or you can buy it at your local auto parts store (AutoZone, O'Reilly, Pepboys, etc.).
  2. Multimeter or a 12 Volt automotive test light.
    1. If you don't have a multimeter or need to upgrade yours, check out my recommendation here: Buying A Digital Multimeter For Automotive Diagnostic Testing.
  3. A wire piercing probe.
    1. This tool is not an ‘absolute must have tool’ but I can tell you from experience that it makes it a whole lot easier to probe the S terminal wire for the start signal.
    2. If you'd like to see what this tool looks like, you find out more about it here: Wire Piercing Probe Tool Review (Power Probe PWPPPPP01).
  4. A helper.

As you can see... you don't need anything expensive. OK, let's turn the page and get starter with the first starter motor test.