Re: 1986 Ford Ranger brake problem... maybe
Agreed, sounds like the left caliper isn't engaging the pad.
If you have the ability to jack it up, do so and check the following:
Put the car in neutral, have someone start it and press the brakes. Try to spin the left tire while they hold the brakes. If it moves, then its your caliper.
While its on the jack/hoist, grab the wheel at the 9 and 3 o'clock position(both left and right tires). There shouldn't be any play if you wiggle it side to side. That will tell you if your ball joints or tie rods are loose.
Might save you some dough if its only a caliper.