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Help! Flashing SES light, rough idle.

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by Elbereth42, January 8, 2013.

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  1. Elbereth42

    Elbereth42 New Member

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    Hey there, folks. I was driving my 03 Limited with the 4.6 V8 home from work today, when the SES light started to flash on me. On the way to work this morning, I noticed some surging while on cruise, with no difference noticeable in my tach or speed. I've been having the trouble with my OD and IM servos, so I have been keeping O/D off and babying it through the shift into second. I had to jump it last night to get it started - internal and headlights seemed good, but only a clicking when I tried to turn it over.

    When the SES light started to flash, it went for maybe thirty flashes, then turned off. It came back on, flashed maybe 15 times, then turned off. This continued for the whole trip home, maybe 25 miles. No pattern to the number of flashes, or the length of time it would be off. When stopped at a light, the idle was very rough, shaking the whole truck. Got into the driveway, shut her down, then started up again. Idle got progressively worse, SES came on, flashed 95 times - I counted - and then stayed on solid.

    I'm afraid to drive it any more now, so I'm unable to get the codes pulled, since I don't have a code reader. I've read here that it could be a misfire, check the coils and plugs. I've also read it could be lack of compression, broken valve springs, or a number of things. Basically, it could be a $50 fix, or a new motor. I'm freaking out really badly right now, and could use some advice as to diagnosing this without going somewhere to pull codes. I'm in NY currently, and half of the places you go won't even let you use a code reader, and my wife and I are in a bad place financially. Any penny we spend really has to count, basically.
     
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  3. Elbereth42

    Elbereth42 New Member

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    Found something to add

    So, I went to do a visual inspection, and found something broken. The following image should help:

    [​IMG]

    The part I'm holding has two vacuum lines, a green one that goes to the top of the EGR valve, and a red one that looks like it goes to just downstream on the throttle body (left most, as you stand in front). The part I'm pointing to is marked PP GF30, and google tells me that's an 'electronic vacuum regulator.' The two nipples broke right off of the bottom, and the lines are hanging free.

    Would that explain my symptoms? Any ideas how I can test it? Again, we're crazy broke, and literally counting our change. I simply can't throw parts at it if they won't address the flashing SES light issue. I am extremely appreciative of any and all help you all can offer.
     
    Last edited: January 8, 2013
  4. Elbereth42

    Elbereth42 New Member

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    Update

    Thanks to everyone that checked out the thread . . . it seems this is a pretty rare issue - it was not easy to research it, and a lot of the information I found on google was not very clear. It was an EGR vacuum solenoid, and I was able to pick one up at AutoZone for $30. Idle is back where it should be, and everything sounds a lot better. I think I've got it solved, and I'll update the thread after I get home from work tomorrow. With luck, this will be the fix, and the next guy that runs into this won't have to pull his hair out like I did. *fingers crossed*
     
  5. D Hook

    D Hook Elite Explorer

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    You're right, not very common. Thanks for following up!
     
  6. Elbereth42

    Elbereth42 New Member

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    Another update.

    Was able to pull codes at AutoZone:

    P0304: misfire on cyl 4
    P0316: Crankshaft position sensor failure
    P0401: blocked passage on EGR system

    Still surging, but not as bad. Still flashing. Idle rough, but not as bad. I'm going to check the lines between the solenoid I installed, and where they go, to see if they sucked up something.

    I'm having constant LO OIL HIGH TEMP warning, and my oil pressure dropping to nothing. Bounce up, bounce down, bounce up. Dashboard DTC codes indicate possible sensor trouble. Any chance this is related (wire harness for oil sensor and CSP sensor damaged together, so on)?

    I'm losing my mind here.
     
  7. Elbereth42

    Elbereth42 New Member

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    And another update

    Further reading here indicated that P0316 was misfire in the first 1000 revolutions, not CSP sensor. Also that EGR failures might cause a misfire. I cleared the codes, and just took a test drive. SES light is off, but I'm still getting some surging.

    Put a vacuum gauge on the lines that come/go from that solenoid:

    Red line between throttle body area and solenoid - 20 pounds read at solenoid
    Green line between EGR valve and solenoid - nothing, read at both ends.
    Nipple on top of EGR valve - nothing at first. I then pumped the gauge up to 20 pounds, and the engine seemed to run smoother.

    Seems like I'm chasing a vacuum gremlin at this point. What should things be reading? Engine was warm when I did these tests, by the way.
     
  8. Elbereth42

    Elbereth42 New Member

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    Update

    So, just to close this out, I put new plugs in, and cylinder four, which was indicating the misfire, had gotten water in the COP boot somehow. Spring was all rusty, and there was actually water in there. Thing was a disgusting mess. Cleaned it all up, new plugs, and no more misfire. Idle has improved, and haven't had any related problems since.

    Now, I can focus on my god-awful power steering system, and transmission that is starting to slip more and more often. /sigh
     
  9. mall

    mall Active Member

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    Keep an eye on the water situation. Did it look like antifreeze? These Explorers can have issues with the intake and the thermostat housing cracking.

    This thread may help with your transmission

    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=379483
     
  10. Elbereth42

    Elbereth42 New Member

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    It may have been coolant . . . not sure. Didn't look orange, but who knows. I'll be keeping an eye on the situation, and try to stay on top of things.

    Thanks!
     

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