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Vapor Canister Help

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by 00nonsense, July 23, 2017.


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    1. 00nonsense

      00nonsense New Member

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      I need to replace the vapor canister on my '02 Explorer XLS 4WD and I have two questions. What is the right vapor canister to buy? and How many does my explorer have? I have looked on the internet for vapor canisters that should fit my explorer but the search results come back multiple shapes and sizes. I just don't know which to buy.
       
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    3. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      1) go to fordparts.com and type in your VIN,
      2) type "vapor canister" or something similar into "key word" box;
      3) your part number/diagram shows 9D653 (CX-1689)
      4) shop around at (a) your local dealer; (b) tasca.com, (c) internet for best price.
       
    4. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      BTW, there are two canisters on your explorer (same year as mine). I'm not sure why. Do you know which canister to replace, or are you planning to replace both? If so, you'll need to buy two....

      I'd be curious to know how, exactly, you know you need to replace the cannister(s) (e.g., what problem you were having; how diagnosed problem; who told you what?).

      I'm having problems filling my tank (takes forever), and am trying to track down the problem. With so many of the EVAP components on the top of the tank (or tucked way up in the frame/body, its a PITA!

      Request: If you're working with a mechanic, can you ask whether he/she needs to drop the tank in order to replace the cannister(s)?
       
      Last edited: July 24, 2017
    5. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      found these options in a quick search on amazon:
      - https://www.amazon.com/Motorcraft-W...rd_wg=d1YxE&psc=1&refRID=1FE05HW8C865P9YSHC1Q ,
      - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000C5FHVA/ref=psdc_15725221_t1_B00449M9CK
      and maybe this (though Dorman site says its for 4.6L v8 in 2002, though I don't think there's a difference between motors in this application): https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-911-258-Evaporative-Vapor-Canister/dp/B00JW1WHVS/ref=pd_sbs_263_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00JW1WHVS&pd_rd_r=JGKR3D75HX4EZ3ZPTPHE&pd_rd_w=vCGk9&pd_rd_wg=IAT7f&psc=1&refRID=JGKR3D75HX4EZ3ZPTPHE
       
    6. 00nonsense

      00nonsense New Member

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      I have an issue filling my gas tank, when I have a half a tank of gas and i try to fill it up, the nozzle shuts off like I have a full tank of gas. I took my explorer to a mechanic friend of mine to replace the vapor canister vent thinking that was the problem. Unfortunately it didn't fix the issue, he said that could be the vapor canisters, fuel tank filler neck or a short in the electrical. So i'm doing research on vapor canisters and a filler neck.
       
    7. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      I'm having the same issue. crawled under car, and managed to blow air (from compressor) through forward canister, but not so much through rear one. I'm thinking about replacing the rear one but don't want to have to drop the tank. I also suspect the separate "vapor fuel separator" but don't see an easy way to get it off to test. And would hate to go through hassle and expense of replacing filler neck and have that not fix the problem.
       
    8. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      For tank filling issues, I suggest removing the vent hose entirely, and verify that nothing is in it. It's probably got a cocoon inside of it from an insect, or some other insect debris.

      I've read about a member who replaced everything over a couple of years, except the vent hose. He said he did, but later decided he didn't after the mechanic said it was fine. They undoubtedly just blew through it or poured water through it etc. The cocoons he had didn't come out until his mechanic used a coat hanger bent up and fished through it multiple times.

      Any debris in the vent hose will greatly reduce the airflow through it, and that increases air pressure in the tank during filling. The pump trigger is designed to cut off fuel at a certain resistance from the tank. Good luck,
       
    9. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      By "the vent hose," do you mean that hose (one of four on or around an '02 XLS filler neck) that clips to the side of (but outside) the fuel cap, and runs down (I think, but am not certain) to vapor fuel separator? Or are you including the various lines that run from there to the vent solenoid, fuel canisters, etc.? Thanks.
       
    10. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I mean the vent hose which leads to the filler neck/opening. That's the one that only should have air running through it. It's meant to allow air out of the tank as the fuel goes in the main fill hose. If that vent hose is plugged in any way, with even spider webs, the slower airflow will make the pump shut off sooner/often.
       
    11. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Great--thanks. Its going to get the unbent hangar treatment tonight or tomorrow!

      I already tried, among other efforts, disconnecting the line into the fuel tank with the rear wheels up on ramps and checking/working the spring-loaded valve that closes off the fuel opening, and blowing compressed air through various hoses. No improvement yet.
       
    12. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Okay, so I did the unbent hanger-in-the-vent-hose thingy. Even drilled a hole in the bend of the 90-degree elbow where the vent hose clips to the filler neck housing so that I could get the hanger all the way down there for a real good roto-rooting!

      Went to the gas pump and it filled up much, much better. Not perfect, but WAY better. I thought I'd fixed it, and even upgraded to an "elite" membership here (which I should have done a while ago, anyway) so that I could post pix of my step-by-step fix.

      Back to the gas pump this morning and its worse (or as bad as) ever. Damn! I'm guessing I need a new vapor canister after all, but still not sure. What a PITA!
       
    13. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Does anyone know if you have to drop the tank to replace one or both charcoal evap canisters? Thanks.
       
    14. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Digging in a bit further, Chilton's says one needs to drop the tank to replace the charcoal evap canisters on the '02 XLS. I'm guessing that's right for the front one, but I'm not (yet) convinced about the back one. I'm guessing the back one is the more likely to be clogged, being closer to the vent and fuel fill lines.

      But here's another thing. Chilton's mentions a "dust separator" attached to the evap vent solenoid. Fordparts.com lists no such thing for my vehicle, but I see it up there. Here's what fordparts.com calls it: "fuel vapor separator". Here's the picture (upper right corner). No, that's not an evap canister (even though it seems to me that's what evap canisters do--separate fuel vapors). I've already replaced the solenoid (9f945) and reamed out the vent tube (not shown here, but I think it connects to the back of the "fuel vapor separator," so I'm thinking that might be where the blockage is. Don't know whether I can get that thing off working under the truck, but think that's the next place I'm going to check for blockage.

      [​IMG]
       

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    15. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      One maybe correction to my last. Per Alibi1's post in this thread, http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/index.php?threads/lets-talk-fuel-vapor-seperator.374854/, the vapor fuel separator is NOT connected to the vent tube, but has an open hole on one end to vent to atmosphere--at least for the 1999 Ex'. But I'm guessing that by 2002 Ford figured out that this hole was getting clogged up, and ran a hose (what we call the vent tube) from there to the gas cap/filler housing in an attempt to keep dust and mud out of there.

      I've seen several posts about bugs clogging the vent hose, but I'm pretty sure I've reamed that out. But the hangar would not be able to get into the vapor separator, so that's what I'll check next.

      (NB: Alibi1's post referenced above calls 9F945 a "pump," but it's really the evap purge solenoid, which is not a pump but simply a solenoid valve. Per my research, its normally open and only commanded closed by the PCM when the evap system is doing a self test for a vacuum leak.)
       
    16. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Good research, hopefully you can track the blockage down using that. My 99 is laid out differently for sure, but here's a picture that shows the components of the 2nd gens, for example. This shows the two charcoal canisters, plus the venting device you mentioned.

      EE rear sway bar.JPG
       
    17. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Thanks. I removed the "fuel vapor separator" on my '02 XLS yesterday. Its much smaller than the one shown in your picture. And, as I suspected, Ford attached the end of the vent hose to the hole that is open on yours, which is routed up to the outside of the cap housing.

      Popped off the vapor separator by prying up on it with a small pry bar (would have broken the 8mm bolt on the bracket even if I could have gotten any purchase on it). The bracket has a wedge fit tab that the separator should slide back onto w/o much problem.

      The separator on mine is kind of a "nothingburger," to use a phrase popular in D.C. these days. Very light--almost like its empty. Probably just a cheap piece of foam in there. It was not blocked--could blow air right through w/o resistance. Popped off vent solenoid, too. Can blow air through it, too, but with some slight resistance (which I assume is normal).

      So based on the diagram I posted above, my next target is the rear evap (charcoal) canister. I'm hoping when I crawl under the truck (rear wheels on ramps) that I can figure out a way to get it out w/o dropping the tank. I might even break off the plastic tab through which it is bolted to a bracket on one end. I'm thinking I could slather some construction adhesive on the bottom of a replacement canister,break off the corresponding tab, and slide it up top of the tank and attach the hoses.

      The best part of removing the vapor separator is that it allowed/encouraged me to remove the entire vent hose to the gas cap housing. With the hose out and straightened, I could completely ream it out with hanger(s), spray brake cleaner through it, and blow it out with compressed air. No spider nests for me!
       
    18. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Very good, thanks. I'll be under my 99 again soon to do the tank cleaning and a new pump. I might want to see how the later trucks added a hose to that vent outlet. I figured it was light, like foam inside, Ford has used similar tiny vent/filters at the outlet of vent lines.
       
    19. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Update: I drove the rear wheels up on ramps, set the jackstand just in case, and examined the vapor (charcoal) canisters today. On the '02 4-doors these are laid on top of the fuel tank and separated by at least a foot and 90-degrees of rotation. My goal was to solve my fuel fill problem without dropping the tank, if possible. (NB: I do NOT fault Ford for squeezing these things on top of the tank. I suspect--a guess--that the engineers did this as part of the gen 3 re-design to lower the center of gravity and therefore possibility of rollover. I actually applaud anything to do that!)

      First off, it seems nigh on impossible to get the small rusted nuts (9mm?) off to remove these canisters. You can get a closed end ratcheting wrench in there, but the nuts are just too crudded up to move. Its possible that with a long-nosed vice-grips you could accomplish something, but the one I have is from Harbor Freight (pittsburgh brand, a deceptive name for Chinese crap) and worthless.

      I decided to remove all of the hose connections from the canisters. My theory is that they did not both fail simultaneously. If I could figure out which one was clogged, I could cut my time/expense of replacement in half.

      While I mentioned above that I thought I could get the rear one out w/o tank removal, but not the front one, I now think the front one might be easier to remove (after using a decent long-nose vice-grips or breaking the tab). At a minimum, for the rear one, you'd have to remove the drive shaft (which is likely a lot easier than removing the tank).

      I have to give Ford engineers/suppliers credit for the connectors that snap into the canisters. I was able to get all four out by pulling/wiggling (used a small prybar to get an angle on more remote of the rear ones) without breaking any of them. The o-rings looked good and they snapped back in w/o incident. Hooray!

      After removing the hoses, I came up with a way to "blow test" the canisters. I took a 12-inch or so length of 7/16 i.d. gas line, the outside diameter of which is just a bit smaller than the inside diameter of the canister ports, and built up the end of the hose on one side with electrical tape. I started further back from the end than the width of the tape, so that toward the end of the buildup I could edge toward the end of the hose and create a taper. My goal was to have an end that would fit securely in the canister ports for blowing (w/o losing air from that port). Here are pictures: 20170813_132043.jpg More pix below.

      With this modified hose, I was able to lay on my back and blow into one port of each canister. For the front canister, there was very little resistance. I even wet a finger of my free hand and could feel the air blowing full force out of the other port. NB: this front canister attaches to the top of the fuel tank (allowing gasoline vapors to enter), and the other port connects to a three-way connector that connects to both the purge valve in the engine compartment and the rear canister.

      The same exercise on the rear canister revealed that blowing into it created noticeably more resistance. I repeated the comparison several times (didn't even have to move) to verify. This told me that if I was going to replace either canister, it should be the rear one. Note that this rear canister connects to the front canister (and purge valve) through one port, and to the rear "fuel vapor separator"/vent hose through the other.

      When I originally did this test on the rear canister, I still had the hose to the separator/vent hose connected. I therefore wondered whether the extra resistance was from the canister itself or that length of hose (which is impossible to remove with the tank in). This is what emboldened me to remove the outside connector on the rear canister attached to that hose--even though it was very hard to reach and I was afraid I would break or be unable to reconnect it. After removing it, I repeated my "blow test" and felt the same resistance. Ergo, the hose was not blocked. While it was disconnected, however, I blew some compressed air through it from the other end (where it connects to the vent solenoid) for good measure.

      Several times during this exercise, I crawled out and went to the engine compartment, where I had removed the lower, larger-diameter hose from the vent purge solenoid (on the wheel well below the fuse box). I blew compressed air backward through that hose with the canisters disconnected to be sure I got any crap out of the hoses.

      Another advantage to constructing/using the hose shown above is that I was able to go back and blow compressed air through each port of each canister. I think I felt some debris come out of the rear one when I blew into the outside port (forcing air back through and out the port that goes to the front of the truck).

      After all of this, I put everything back together. I noted one of the vent lines for the rear diff was split, so I cut out the bad part and spliced with a straight barbed connector. I zip-tied the vent hoses back up alongside the fuel fill hose/neck. My plan was to drive it for fifteen miles, try to fill the tank, and if there were no improvement, make arrangements with a buddy to use a hoist, remove the driveshaft, and try to get that rear canister out and replace it.

      Well, I drove about 25 miles, went to Costco, and . . . filled up 6.6 gallons full blast without a single hiccup. I'm still not declaring victory, however. I'll wait a few more tank fill-ups before I do that. In fact, my guess is that I temporarily ameliorated the problem with that rear canister, and that it will return. But at least I can order a $60 canister from Rockauto, wait a few days for it to come, and go to the garage on a weekend with the part and a plan for a permanent fix. I sure hope I don't have to drop that tank, though.

      20170813_132120.jpg

      20170813_132134.jpg

      20170813_132138.jpg
       
      Last edited: August 13, 2017
    20. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Another thought:

      This truck sat out in a wooded lot for a few years (engine damaged by failed rear timing chain) and was home to field mice, who gnawed holes in several of the evap lines--among other things--before I got it. Hard to say why one canister might fail before another in this circumstance. I do suspect that the front canister may get evacuated more effectively from the intake manifold vacuum when the purge valve duty cycle activates (since its closer to engine), which could make a difference. All the more likely since I discovered a few weeks ago that the hose connecting the front and rear canisters was gnawed open (I replaced it), so for a long time the rear canister on mine was never being purged.

      Another mystery: I discovered that gnawed-through hose AFTER the fuel filling problem manifested. While it persisted after I replaced the hose, I don't understand how the rear canister could have caused vapor pressure to build in the tank (thereby tripping the filler hose handle) when the line between the front and rear canisters was open to atmosphere. These evap problems are bizarre.

      A couple of additional observations: (i) the problem could not have resulted from "over filling" the tank. The vent hose on the gen 3's is OUTSIDE the fuel filler neck. You cannot get fuel down the vent hose without rigging up some special connection. (ii) I suppose a spider or other insect could find its way down that vent hose and block things up--especially if the mice had opened up a hole or two. In fact, this is what I suspected had happened. See my next post for what I did to eliminate that possibility, which I recommend others do before going after the canisters. (iii) If you decide to remove the fuel vapor separator box that sits between the end of the vent hose and the vent solenoid, just push/pry straight up on it. Don't try to remove the nut on the bracket (you'll break it). Leave the bracket on and you can slip the separator box back onto the tab when you're through.
       
    21. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      The following photos show how I initially reamed out the vent hose with an unbent hanger before digging further into the system. You can disconnect the vent hose from the outside of the gas cap housing by reaching through the right rear wheel well, in the outside corner above the wheel liner. Since the hose terminates in a 90-degree bent nylon or plastic connector, I recommend drilling a hole big enough to let the hanger rotate fully opposite the centerline of the hose. Until I did this, I could not get the hanger more than a few inches in. After I drilled this hole, I could get an entire hanger down there, and even spliced a second hanger to the first for a few more inches. However, until I removed the hose entirely, it was hard to get to the very end.

      Afterwards, I used plastic cement to patch the hole. Cheers. 20170726_124228.jpg 20170726_124238.jpg 20170726_124305.jpg 20170726_124643.jpg
       
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    22. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Well done, thoughtful and documented. Others will appreciate your efforts as they find this thread in the future. That problem is a rare kind, but older cars do have odd issues.
       
    23. Drewmcg

      Drewmcg Elite Explorer

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      Thanks. Another update. Not content to leave well enough alone (or to wait for several successful re-fills), I found a thread mentioning a TSB for a different model/year Explorer. It mentioned a problem with water gettng into to vent hose because of a failed connection between the hose and the fuel filler housing. I know that this was not my problem, but bear with me a bit here . . . .

      Evidently water is bad karma for vapor canisters and other evap system parts. The TSB mentions checking the fuel for water. I don't remember exactly why, but I do recall a few months ago dumping two cans of alcohol/water absorber into the gas tank. I've run lots of tankfuls of gas since then, and even ran the tank down to 0 (in line for the pump at Costco; another guy helped me push the truck up to the pump!)--so I know I don't have water in my gas. (If it matters, I have the Flex fuel engine K.)

      Another part of the TSB caught my eye. It said if that there is any water in the tank, replace the evap purge solenoid. Then I thought about it. When that solenoid duty cycles on, it pulls a strong vacuum through the evap line--into the intake manifold. If there is any water in a canister or line (or water vapor)--it would get sucked right through the purge solenoid.

      On the test drive I mentioned above (before the successful fill), I monitored the fuel tank pressure sensor (volts) and tank pressure (inches of mercury). The tank was about 3/4 full. I wondered if I might have a bad sensor (not sure why). Anyway, it was jumping pretty wildly, every second or so. Tank pressure was between 0.70 down to -(negative) 10.0 inches. Seemed wild to me, but maybe PCM was doing a evap test. I don't know what normal readings are, though the tank's normal pressure range is supposed to be, but the sensor's normal (KOEO) control volts are supposed to be around 2.69 volts.

      Anyway, I had a spare purge solenoid from a donor, lower-mileage truck with no mouse chewing history, so I pulled it and went to swap it last night. I had a heck of a time pulling the upper hose (which runs to the intake, when the valve cycles open) off the old purge valve. Once I did, I saw it was crusted with white powder around the inside where it connected to the old valve. And when I tipped the valve down, white powder/crud sprinkled out of the corresponding port!

      Monitoring the fuel tank sensor/tank pressure this afternoon (with full tank) shows a lot less jumping around. Not sure whether that's b/c of the full tank or the new(er) valve, or both. My working theory, however, is that during the time (couple thousand miles) that the evap hose connecting the rear and front charcoal canisters was chewed open by mice, the purge valve, when duty cycled on by PCM, would suck air through that large hole. If it was raining or even damp out, that introduced water into the purge valve, and likely crudded it up, compromising performance.

      Anyway, I thought I'd report this in case this had something to do with my gas tank filling problem. If the old purge valve was working only partially, it might not have fully evacuated the canisters of gas vapor or removing pressure from the tank. This might have left canisters more likely to block air flow out of the top of the tank --causing gas fill problems.
       

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