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Check Engine Light - Happy Holidays NOT

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by Laura69, November 26, 2002.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Laura69

    Laura69 Member

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    Gentlemen!

    Imagine my shock and dismay as the CEL came on a few miles from home. After I babied and cared for that lovely truck all these years...sigh...

    A search showed a few cryptic things - TSP, O2 Sensor, MAF - and I am hoping you can help clarify a few of those.

    I'm covered for the holiday and can get it to Autozone to get the codes on Sunday (thank you for that tip guys!!) but wonder if I can still drive the thing with the light on. Call me paranoid but I'm way too broke to get a new ride and it's a long 22 ml walk to work each day so...

    Here's the poop:

    1996 Explorer XLT Auto trans.
    82k miles
    fluids always done per manual
    no real problems except a slightly sluggish acceleration of late - hardly noticed until the light came on and made me suspicious and thoughtful.

    And - just to top things off - the cable to open the hood is broken somehow on the inside of the truck. I understand from the manual that I should be able to pull it (I assume) away from the latch area to get it to unlatch but that didn't work. Is it a hard pull - too much for a mere woman and a pliers?

    Any advice will be welcomed and looked at Sat. night. My thanks in advance for any help you can offer...otherwise, I hope no one has any vehicular incidents over the holiday! Smooch!
     
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  3. Xplodor

    Xplodor Elite Explorer

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    Double check all your current fluid levels. Make sure the gas cap is secure. Make sure the thermostat isn't stuck and coolant is getting to the block. After that I'd say it is safe to drive. Get the codes read asap of course and go from there. There was a recent post here on how to unlatch the hood, try to search for it. Wish you the best of luck and a happy Turkey Day!:D
     
  4. 410Fortune

    410Fortune Firewood Season Staff Member Moderator

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    OKay Throttle Position sensor - This guy sits on the side of the throttle body and tells the computer what angle your throttle plate is at (similar to butterfly valve on a carb).

    The 02 sensors as you probably know, tell the computer how much oxygen is in each bank of the exhaust. They tend to last about 60K miles and can cause all sorts of fuel delivery problems when they/one fail. Basically it will tell the computer too rich or too lean and the computer compensates, often dumping way too much fuel and thus sluggish preformance. All that unburned gas can then start to clog your cat converter (more $$$$). If you do buy new ones get them from Napa and dont buy Bosch. (Your 96 may have 4 02 sensors, I am not sure. 2 before the cats and two after. I think in 95 is when they went from two to four)

    The MAS is the air meter that sits outisde the airbox and tells the computer how much air is being drawn in. This guy gets dirty. YOu need a special star tool securtiy bit to remove the screws on the sensor to clean it.
    Once you have the right bit you can take the MAS apart, removing the sensor and hot wires (Look like light bulb filaments) and spray them with carb cleaner (sensor safe). If you intend to clean the MAS yourself (easy, needs to be done most likely) do a search on these forums for details.....

    Now keep in mind one code could be the reason for the other codes, so if it is an 02 sensor and you fix it the other two codes may go away.
    The first code is the most important that the computer gives you, all following codes may be related to the first.

    All of the sensors can be tested with an OHM meter to tell you if they are "within range" meaning working properly and sending signals to the EEC. This is better then throwing $$$$ at it hoping its one thing or another.

    No matter what you do first thing is diconect the - battery cable (after you pop your hood open, large flathead screwdriver/flashlight + good luck) for 5 minutes or so. Re-connect and take the truck for a drive, see if the CEL returns. If it returns re-scan the codes and verify they are the same. Then start on the first code......

    The IAC control valve can cause problems too, it can be cleaned, again you can search for this simple routine maintenence proceedure. You are likely in need of a fuel filter, and EGR cleaning if so equipped.

    Try all this stuff first and we will go from there.....The autozone code scan can be VERY helpful, they can print out Ford Diagnostics proceedures for each code which covers the removal and testing of each sensor and proper steps to take. Free if your CEL is on.....
     
    Last edited: November 26, 2002
  5. XxX_Sport_XxX

    XxX_Sport_XxX Active Member

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    Like I said befor, My old 94XLT did the same thing... One week later my engine basically gave out. GEt whatevers wrong fixed A.S.A.P !!! Good luck man!
     
  6. aldive

    aldive Elite In Memoriam

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    Scan for codes asap.
     
  7. Laura69

    Laura69 Member

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    My thanks to all for the tips. I am hoping I can fix whatever is wrong on Sunday...now if I could just get the dang hood unlatched, I could check the fluids. Alas, I have resorted to loading it with WD40 while I am away in the hope that it will help loosen it a bit.

    Take care, all, and have a great holiday...
     
  8. Robert

    Robert Well-Known Member

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    To open the stuck hood, take some curved needle-nose pliers and grab the cable right at the latch. A pull to the right will pop the hood. You can't see the cable since there is a shield in front of it, but it is open on the back side. That is what the curved needle-nose pliers are for.
     
  9. redShift

    redShift Active Member

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    My cel has been on for more than a year with no troubles. We had it checked out as soon as it came on and, althought Im a bit foggy, it was a co2 or oxygen sensor or something like that. The X still passes emissions and there has been no troubles with the engine or anything.

    I know it may sound bad, but my dad is a cheap-wad and wont pay for anything unless it is directly affecting the trucks ability to run, much less something that can cause a lot of troubles down the road. Argh.
     
  10. 410Fortune

    410Fortune Firewood Season Staff Member Moderator

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    Well guess what bud chances are your truck is running rich and eventually your cat converter is gonna go south......also a bad o2 sensor causes HORRIBLE fuel milage so it pays for itself to fix it.......
     
  11. Robert

    Robert Well-Known Member

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    And a new O2 sensor is $50 for the part. A new catalytic converter from Ford is $800. Doesn't make much economical sense to put off changing a $50 part now so that you can change an $800 part later.
     
  12. aldive

    aldive Elite In Memoriam

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  13. Laura69

    Laura69 Member

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    Going to Autozone in the AM but...What codes should I be on the lookout for? I guess I am just concerned that they will not indicate clearly what needs fixed and hope that you guys can offer a few that might show up - the O2 sensor issue is one.

    Does that reader give a clear indication of the problem or is it more just a vague description of some arcane mechanical language? <grin>

    Thanks muchly....(off to read up on the whole O2 sensor thing in the manual...)
     
  14. mdrut

    mdrut Well-Known Member

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    Vague Greek at best....
    Couple questions..
    Smoke, loss of power, poor fuel mileage?
    Fuel pressure Regulator
    Rough idle, "light" smell/smoke of gas?
    O2
    Poor acceleration, maybe a "miss"?
    Throttle position sensor
    As far as the MAS goes, cleaning it will help, but chances are it did not cause the CEL to come on. BECAREFUL when cleaning it, expensive part to replace...MAKE sure you unplug it, and clean with only "Safe" throttle bod cleaner..Let "air" dry completely before hooking it back up.
    If I'm not mistaken, you Ex has 2 O2 sensors.

    If you can tell us any symptoms, we might be able to narrow the problem down.

    Good Luck
     
  15. Laura69

    Laura69 Member

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    Thanks, mdrut.

    No smoke, no strong loss of power but a definite "sense" that she was not running at speed - steadily and easily - as she had been. That was a sort of vague sense until Weds. when I def. had to push the pedal to get reaction while merging. Once up to speed, she seems to run okay. However, minutes prior to CEL, I came to stop at light and there seemed to be a sort of rush of engine and then normal. Nothing, again, terribly concerning until the light came on. Just something not quite the usual.

    Fuel mileage seemed to be about the same...def. no real smell of gas or smoke.

    Your post makes me think TPS...was I reading it right? Looks like more research. <g> Thanks muchly for any tips, help...just reading the former posts has me a lot more at ease about it all. Because I've done very good maintenance, I feel fairly sure that it cannot be a major mechanical problem...but you just never know.

    Oh! I have needed a new air filter - nothing, again, overtly bad. Last one was 10k miles ago, though. It didn't look trashed at all, just didn't have time and $ to deal with it the last few oil changes...is it possible that has any impact?

    Thanks again...
     
  16. Rodney

    Rodney New Member

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    When have you changed the gas filter?
     
  17. Laura69

    Laura69 Member

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    Hey, Rodney - I have never changed it (fuel filter). I've had it for about 6 or 7 years.
     
  18. Majisto

    Majisto Active Member

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    Holy :eek: Fuel filters aren't supposed to last that long at all. Change it quickly! That is what is causing your problems right there. It's probably more clogged than a WalMart parking lot on the day after Christmas ;)
     
  19. Rodney

    Rodney New Member

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    Hey Laura69,
    Mine CEL was coming on like that once and the codes was saying it was the canister purge valve.Checked out good but I changed it anyway,light kept coming on .Checked lots of other sensors & valves,vac hoses ,looked good even the gas cap was replaced.Last thing I changed was the fuel filter and the light hasn't been on in months.Hope this helped you out.
     
  20. Laura69

    Laura69 Member

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    Fuel filter? Looks like it's time for another search of the board...I've no idea of the location or process for replacement. I wonder if it'd be easier to pay that extra for a pro in order to avoid any messy gas problems...thanks!

    P.S. this may be the problem as I had to run the tank to almost empty about 4 days before the light came on...may be some debris at the bottom of the tank got into the lines & filter...and no, this is not something I normally do. <g>
     
  21. Laura69

    Laura69 Member

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    Fuel Filter - manual states that it is not meant to be replaced and should be good for life of vehicle - assuming nothing tragic is introduced into the system, I would assume.

    You guys sure about that filter?

    Got eh code this AM - 153 - and had to get the Bosch O2 sensors (though someone said not to get that model) as that was all they had and I was not going hunting for another parts store. If they are too crappy, I'll get another set next weekend and try to get a credit for them.

    Just can't get the damned things off. Very frustrating AND I think I've pulled an arm muscle...sigh...(see related new post on "O2 - turn which way?)

    thanks y'all.
     

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