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How to: Replace 3rd Gen Ambient Air Temperature Sensor

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by BigRondo, January 30, 2011.

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    1. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      This topic comes up quite a bit, especially in the winter months. I took some pictures today to show someone in another thread where it was located and how to replace it. That led to this write up. I hope this will make short work out of changing the sensor. I got my sensor from the dealer for around $40.00

      Be sure to check out my other write ups:

      How To: Replace Blend Door Actuator in 3rd Gen Ex

      How To: Remove/Replace 3rd Gen Door Panel

      How To: Install Signal Mirrors On 3rd Gen Ex

      How To: Restore Faded, Yellowing Headlights

      How To: Replace Multifunction Switch in 3rd Gen Ex

      How To: Paint Rear Pillar Trim

      How To: Test a Relay

      How To: Remove/Replace 3rd Gen Center Console



      Tools/Parts Required

      Slotted Screwdriver
      Phillips Screwdriver

      [​IMG]

      New Ambient Air Temperature Sensor
      [​IMG]

      NOTE: Some have mentioned that the sensor is on the driver's side. My sensor is on the passenger's side. The replacement should be the same for either side.

      1. Remove Grille

      1.a. Remove plastic screws.

      [​IMG]

      1.b. Use Phillips screwdriver to remove screws. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK THE SCREWS!

      [​IMG]

      1.c. Remove plastic pins.

      [​IMG]

      1.d. Use slotted screwdriver to remove pins.

      [​IMG]

      1.e. Lift pin up with screwdriver. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK THE PINS!

      [​IMG]

      1.f. Remove screw holders and pin holders. Use slotted screwdriver to pry both screw holders and pin holders up and out.

      [​IMG]

      1.g. Lift grille up and out.

      [​IMG]

      2. Disconnect/Replace Sensor

      2.a. View of sensor with grille removed.

      [​IMG]

      2.b. This panel can be removed for better access. I did not need to remove this panel! The red arrows indicate the pins to remove in order to remove this panel.

      [​IMG]

      2.c. Side view of connector tab. The sensor is blurry in this picture but the arrow indicates the connector tab.

      [​IMG]

      2.d. Top view of connector tab. The sensor is hard to see in this picture. If you look down from the top you will see the connector tab.

      [​IMG]

      2.e. Lift the connector tab up and pull sensor in direction of arrows to remove sensor.

      [​IMG]

      2.f. Push new sensor into place. Line up new sensor with the connector and gently push into place. You should hear the connector tab click. Make sure the sensor is fully seated.

      [​IMG]

      3. Replace Grille

      3.a. Place bottom of grille in first. Make sure the tabs indicated by the red arrows are lined up properly.

      [​IMG]

      3.b. Push top of grille toward vehicle. Make sure the holes are lined up.

      [​IMG]

      3.c. Insert screw holders and pin holders. Push holders into place.

      [​IMG]

      3.d. Push plastic pins into place. Make sure they are fully seated.

      [​IMG]

      3.e. Use Phillips screwdriver to replace screws. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN OR THE PLASTIC SCREWS WILL BREAK!

      [​IMG]

      4. You Are Finished!

      4.a. Enjoy a Cold Beverage of Your Choosing!!!

      [​IMG]

      Thanks for looking in! :biggthump
       
      Last edited: August 24, 2012
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    3. forcemac

      forcemac New Member

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      Did mine today along with one wheel bearing....i did the temp sensor this morning in the parking lot waiting for the hobby shop to open...it really only takes about 10 min.....although I cussed a bit because the temp was stuck at 50 prior to the replacement...what are chances it would be exactly 50 when I changed it .....it was...didn't know it was fixed until I drove home after the bearing change....
       
    4. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Good deal. Yeah it's a pretty quick fix. In and out! :thumbsup:
       
    5. kdoggy

      kdoggy Member

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      Dumb question! :)

      What exactly is this sensor for? Is this the one that tells me how cold it is outside? I was noticing by my tach it says something like ---F, like the sensor is not working.

      Can I assume this is the sensor for this?
       
    6. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Yes, that display is for the outside temp. Mine was reading in the 50's when it was in the 20's so I swapped it out and it works perfectly now. It was very cold when I snapped this photo and the readout was spot on:

      [​IMG]
       
    7. kdoggy

      kdoggy Member

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      Nice! I'll have to fix this. I'm cheap though so I'll have to go hit the junk yard and grab a couple of these sensors lol!

      Most of the time they tell me to just "take" these types of items. Free is good.
       
    8. Cjpooch

      Cjpooch Member

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      Great write up Rondo. Then again all your write ups are. I'll have to bookmark this in case I ever need to replace mine. This should be a sticky if it isn't already.
       
    9. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Thanks guys!! Just trying to give back to the forum! :D
       
    10. jakedrew

      jakedrew Active Member

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      thanks for the write up. Hope I dont have to do it.
       
    11. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      You're welcome. :D 10 minute job. Not bad at all.
       
    12. High_Order1

      High_Order1 Active Member

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      Wow! Much better write up than mine. Had I seen this, I wouldn't have bothered!

      I will say I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one that this affected, though...

      Shawn
       
    13. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      You sir are welcome!! :D:thumbsup:
       
    14. joejv4

      joejv4 New Member

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      Really nice writeup - my wife's '05 Explorer is reading 15-20 higher than actual outside temps, and she wants me to fix it. Looks like one that is actually not too bad to do. Thanks for the great writeup and nice job with the accompanying photos. Looks like you've got a nice coat of road salt - gotta be from a northern climate like me (the -16 deg is another clue on that account)
       
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    15. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Plenty of salt up here brother!! Good luck with the fix!!

      Please keep us posted as feedback helps others reading this post looking for a fix to the same or similar issue!
       
    16. nickf

      nickf New Member

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      Is the temperature gauge standard on all Explorers???? I dont think i have one on mine.... 2004 XLS.:(
       
    17. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Welcome aboard!! :salute:

      I don't believe it is standard. I don't know if it was available on the XLS.

      Follow the instructions to locate the sensor. If there is a sensor there, then I would say you have it. Not trying to be a smarta$$.

      Hope this helps out. :):thumbsup:

      Please keep us posted as feedback helps others reading this post looking for a fix to the same or similar issue!
       
    18. High_Order1

      High_Order1 Active Member

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      Well,

      the computers use that sensor to determine a few things, so I am betting the odds are good that it is there. If you have a computer display, you have the outdoor temp display. Also, seems like there may have been an overhead console or rear view mirror display, too. If you don't have these, you won't have the display.

      Shawn
       
    19. skysthelymyt

      skysthelymyt Active Member

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      Can one of these sensors be added to a trim model that does not have this feature?
      Is it just the sensor, wires, and the specific instrument cluster for it? Or is there more to it than that?
       
    20. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Sorry, I have no idea how much would have to exist from the factory in order to make this work. Maybe someone with more knowledge than me will chime in.

      Sorry I couldn't be more help.
       
    21. jpw01

      jpw01 New Member

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      Has anyone found any other solution to this improper temp problem, ie cleaning the sensor or cleaning/reseating the contacts at the sensor, etc? Mine just started reading about 10F high for no apparent reason. It actually displays the correct temp upon a cold startup in the AM, but once I start driving and the engine heats up, the display temp climbs 10-12F. I'm sure there is a bit of salt film on it.

      Thanks for the info!
       
    22. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Try cleaning the contacts and see if that fixes it. If not, I'd say that replacement is in order.

      Good luck and be sure to let us know how you make out. :biggthump
       
    23. Eddie O'Neill

      Eddie O'Neill New Member

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      Great write up on how to replace the sensor. I took off my grille, but can't find the sensor. I have a 2005 V8, anyone know where the sensor is located.
      Thanks in advance for any help.
       
    24. Eddie O'Neill

      Eddie O'Neill New Member

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      I found it, located next the the windscreen washer bottle:thumbsup:
       
    25. Eddie O'Neill

      Eddie O'Neill New Member

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      So I replaced the sensor, $51 from local Ford dealer, still reading 10 deg higher than it should :((,confused, any other ideas.
       
      Last edited: January 16, 2013
    26. Eddie O'Neill

      Eddie O'Neill New Member

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      Having thought about this it made no sense that the sensor was in the engine compartment. See the locating holes for the sensor housing next to the windscreen washer bottle.

      [​IMG]

      Having looked at the previous photographs posted by BigRondo, explaining where the sensor should be I removed the secondary black grill guard and found the locating holes. I passed the cable loom through the bulk head just behind this part here.

      [​IMG]

      The wiring loom was just long enough to reach the new location.

      [​IMG]

      Why the sensor was located where it was, who knows? Was it a manufacturing mistake or did someone move it?

      It's fixed and it reads the correct external temperature, I am we'll pleased as it was really bugging me.
       

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