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2013 Sport Hesitates Under Load

elcidaviator

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August 16, 2012
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City, State
Yokota AB, Japan
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 GTO
I have a 2013 Sport that we’ve owned since new, it has 139K on it and has began to hesitate only under full throttle or under load (going up hill 50+ mph). When at full throttle it accelerates fine in first and second but when it gets to third around 5K RPM it just sits there with stagnate RPM while it slowly accelerates. The ROM will also stutter 2-300RPM with the engine under load in 3rd-6th. I’d assume it would do the same thing if I could load the engine in first and second, but it’s difficult to put the engine under high load in those gears without it just quickly upshifting.

Troubleshooting details:
We got a CEL for a misfire on #3 cylinder when this first started happening. I replaced the spark plugs, and swapped the coils around to see if the misfire showed up on another cylinder, but I’ve never gotten a CEL since. I also drilled a small hole in the intercooler to see if it had excessive water in there and it did not help, in fact I think the car got worse after. I’ve also tried accelerating in all traction modes (sand, mud, snow…etc.) and none of them make a difference.

Maintenance details:
-All oil changes done at 5K with mobile 1 synthetic
- PTU/transmission fluid changed at 75K with Amsoil
- K&N Air filter looks good

I’m now a little lost since all the shuttering issues I’ve read about seem to be at low RPM, which indicate a PTU failure. I also don’t think it’s a turbo issue since it pulls hard in first. So is it the trans??? I’m completely lossy at this point. The car is drivable, but you can’t floor it and it’s really annoying at highway speeds uphill. I also haven’t towed with it since this came up, but I’m sure that would be a nightmare.

Thanks in advance for helping me troubleshoot this ole girl.
 


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mguy13sport

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2013 Explorer Sport
What are you using to check codes? ForScan will show you all DTC for every module even if the CEL is not on.

The higher the mileage, the more things that come into play for diagnosis. I have the same car which just rolled 130k. If you haven't already or it's been a while, change all the spark plugs.

Drilling a hole into the intercooler is not good idea on these cars. I would plug that hole if you can. If you plan on keeping the car, get an oil catch can.

I would start looking at the transmission if there are no obvious DTC thrown. Check / drain / refill fluid (its easier than oil change). Also get under the car and look around the PTU / axle seals to see if anything leaking.

My car has a bad 2-3 shift where it engages fine but the torque converter slips and there is a good delay between power transfer. At this mileage, it is not uncommon for the stock torque converter to start crapping out.

How does it shift under normal load? Are you seeing RPMs fluctuate slightly when cruising at speed? That would be a telltale sign of a converter locking up / unlocking.

The timing chain and components should also be replaced at that mileage if they haven't been already. Just did this on my car and it is really smooth at idle etc plus no more start up rattles.
 




elcidaviator

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City, State
Yokota AB, Japan
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2006 GTO
What are you using to check codes? ForScan will show you all DTC for every module even if the CEL is not on.

The higher the mileage, the more things that come into play for diagnosis. I have the same car which just rolled 130k. If you haven't already or it's been a while, change all the spark plugs.

Drilling a hole into the intercooler is not good idea on these cars. I would plug that hole if you can. If you plan on keeping the car, get an oil catch can.

I would start looking at the transmission if there are no obvious DTC thrown. Check / drain / refill fluid (its easier than oil change). Also get under the car and look around the PTU / axle seals to see if anything leaking.

My car has a bad 2-3 shift where it engages fine but the torque converter slips and there is a good delay between power transfer. At this mileage, it is not uncommon for the stock torque converter to start crapping out.

How does it shift under normal load? Are you seeing RPMs fluctuate slightly when cruising at speed? That would be a telltale sign of a converter locking up / unlocking.

The timing chain and components should also be replaced at that mileage if they haven't been already. Just did this on my car and it is really smooth at idle etc plus no more start up rattles.
First off, thank you for the reply. I’ll try to answer all the questions in order to keep my thoughts organized.

I have not used ForScan or any live OBD2 reader although I have tossed the idea around to buy one.

Spark plugs were just changed (less than 5K) and gapped properly.

I agree I need to plug the hole in the intercooler. That was a last ditch effort that I read about on the F-150 forums (I have a ‘15 ecoboost -150 as well). It didn’t help and I got minimal water drainage out of the intercooler. The hesitation started after we moved from an arid climate to a humid climate so I thought that may be the culprit.

The PTU doesn’t look abnormal, no cracks or leaks. I’ll check the fluid levels one more time just to rule out one more easy solution.

It shifts fine under normal load. we do get a hesitation or fluctuation of RPM when at highway speeds when we hit a hill. Other than that circumstance or under hard acceleration the car drives normally.

I think the converting locking and unlocking could be the issue. I’ve brainstormed with my dad about that quite a bit. We have a lot of towing miles on the Explorer (about 10K) and I know that’s hard on the converter. Would ForScan or a live OBD2 reader tell me the lockup of the converter? Any other way to trouble shoot the converter?

I’ll throw the timing chain on the list of things to replace. Thanks for the advice!
 




boominXplorer

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I see carbon arcs on these ignition coils to plugs quite often. Just replacing plugs doesn't fix the problem, it just ruins the new plug. Replace all spark plugs and ignition coil boots and retest.
 




mguy13sport

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Pickup an OBDLink Bluetooth adapter and get ForScan on your phone. Its $5 app or u can use laptop version for free. Scan the car and go from there before start buying more parts. It will be the best diagnostic tool u own.

Yes you can monitor the converter lockup although i never have personally. You can also monitor the wastegate duty cycle etc which will tell u how hard the turbos are working under load. I have my phone setup to open Torque App when its plugged into my car (using OnePlus car charger)
 




elcidaviator

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Yokota AB, Japan
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2006 GTO
I see carbon arcs on these ignition coils to plugs quite often. Just replacing plugs doesn't fix the problem, it just ruins the new plug. Replace all spark plugs and ignition coil boots and retest.
I like this thought, I thought it was an ignition issue initially since I did get a CEL misfire code. Do you know if I can swap my ‘15 F-150 ecoboost coils with the exploder? That would allow me to troubleshoot without buying new coils.


Pickup an OBDLink Bluetooth adapter and get ForScan on your phone. Its $5 app or u can use laptop version for free. Scan the car and go from there before start buying more parts. It will be the best diagnostic tool u own.

Yes you can monitor the converter lockup although i never have personally. You can also monitor the wastegate duty cycle etc which will tell u how hard the turbos are working under load. I have my phone setup to open Torque App when its plugged into my car (using OnePlus car charger)

Great advice, I just purchased the OBDLink MX+ on Amazon.
Is that the one you were suggesting?

Thank you both for your comments.
 




boominXplorer

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You can buy the coil boots individually for around $7 each. You must replace the plugs also or the carbon arc will transfer to the new boot.
 




elcidaviator

Member
Joined
August 16, 2012
Messages
15
Reaction score
1
City, State
Yokota AB, Japan
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 GTO
Pickup an OBDLink Bluetooth adapter and get ForScan on your phone. Its $5 app or u can use laptop version for free. Scan the car and go from there before start buying more parts. It will be the best diagnostic tool u own.

Yes you can monitor the converter lockup although i never have personally. You can also monitor the wastegate duty cycle etc which will tell u how hard the turbos are working under load. I have my phone setup to open Torque App when its plugged into my car (using OnePlus car charger)
After months of trouble shooting this issue it’s finally been resolved due to your outstanding suggestion. I picked up an OBDLink reader and started logging some pulls. The boosts fluctuates at the same frequency as the RPM fluctuation. (Boost in the screenshot is labeled MAP)

I then looked into the codes (not the codes that autozone can read) and I was getting a P0234 (overboost) code. Did some research here and it was a simple vacuum line.

Here’s the thread where I found the info:

I hope this helps someone in the future.

Cheers

98FFA0E7-3B86-42BF-A9F2-6754D08282F6.png
 




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