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Thread: A Ford clue...

  1. #1
    mrblanche
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    A Ford clue...

    On Monday, my wife called to tell me the "Service Engine Soon" light had just come on in our 2002 Ford F150 pickup with the 4.6 L V8. When she got home, I disconnected the battery to allow the computer to reset, then drove the vehicle. No light.

    The next day, she called to tell me it had come on again. After work, we took it to an Auto Zone where they have a code reader. They came up with 401 and 402 codes, which is both "Excessive EGR flow" and "No EGR flow." The Auto Zone manager said he though it meant the EGR was blown, and they are a bear to change.

    However, checking with a friend who works at a Ford dealership, who checked with his service manager, I found that it was almost certainly the DPFE sensor, which senses the EGR flow for the computer. He says they sell a pile of them at $70 each, and they're lasting about 30,000 miles on average. My pickup has 29,000.

    So, I bought the sensor and replaced it. Not even any tools required; it just has two vacuum hoses (of different sizes, so you won't confuse them) and an electrical plug. Less than 15 minutes of labor, reset the computer again, and fixed.

    But you know you're getting the shaft when you walk into the Ford dealership, hand the parts counter man a slip of paper with the part number on, he glances it and says, "Oh, yeah, I know what that is. And we have a pile of them available."

  2. #2
    MikeHalloran
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    They used to keep replacement diaphragms for Ford's Variable Venturi Carburetor right under the cash register so they wouldn't even have to walk to get them.

    Aside from that one flaw, it was actually an excellent carburetor.


  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    On Monday, my wife called to tell me the "Service Engine Soon" light had just come on in our 2002 Ford F150 pickup with the 4.6 L V8. When she got home, I disconnected the battery to allow the computer to reset, then drove the vehicle. No light.

    The next day, she called to tell me it had come on again. After work, we took it to an Auto Zone where they have a code reader. They came up with 401 and 402 codes, which is both "Excessive EGR flow" and "No EGR flow." The Auto Zone manager said he though it meant the EGR was blown, and they are a bear to change.

    However, checking with a friend who works at a Ford dealership, who checked with his service manager, I found that it was almost certainly the DPFE sensor, which senses the EGR flow for the computer. He says they sell a pile of them at $70 each, and they're lasting about 30,000 miles on average. My pickup has 29,000.

    So, I bought the sensor and replaced it. Not even any tools required; it just has two vacuum hoses (of different sizes, so you won't confuse them) and an electrical plug. Less than 15 minutes of labor, reset the computer again, and fixed.

    But you know you're getting the shaft when you walk into the Ford dealership, hand the parts counter man a slip of paper with the part number on, he glances it and says, "Oh, yeah, I know what that is. And we have a pile of them available."
    The latter-day version of a Holley power valve!

  4. #4
    DonTom
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    "The next day, she called to tell me it had come on again. After work, we took it to an Auto Zone where they have a code reader. They came up with 401 and 402 codes, which is both "Excessive EGR flow" and "No EGR flow." The Auto Zone manager said he though it meant the EGR was blown, and they are a bear to change."

    The same thing happened to me last summer, in my 2002 Ford Mustang V6 (3.8L). I made the big mistake of troubleshooting it myself (I have all the factory Ford manuals for this vehicle) and buying the part and replacing it myself.

    So what was the mistake I made?

    It happened in 2006 in a 2002 car that was bought and still registered in CA (but it's been garaged in NV for the last couple of years) . CA has a five year warranty (parts and service) for smog related stuff but I forgot about that. I paid for the part out of my own pocket where they would have fixed it for free if I just simply drove the vehicle to the local Ford dealer, even in Reno.

    I could not get a refund on the part.

    Seems the new part is a much better quality. BTW, the same part is a better quality in the 1999 Mustang. At least it looks that way. The one that fails is made from cheap plastic. The good ones are made from metal. I guess they tried to be cheap in 2002 and the plastic didn't hold up as well.

    BTW, the reason the light would seem to reset is because for that code, you have to drive more than ten miles, stop the engine, drive at least another ten and then the light will come on if it's not fixed.

    With OBD2, reseting by disconnecting the battery is usually a waste of time. They are rather temper proof these days. In CA, if I do a reset (by ANY medhod other than fixing) and go to get a smog test, it will fail. It will show "sensor not set" until you drive enough miles and meet the conditions for a possible failure to appear on each sensor. With OBD2, in CA, don't get a smog test after replacing or disconnecting the battery or it will fail even if there are no codes. All sensors have to have enough miles on them to meet the possible failure conditions of each. Usually less than 100 miles will be enough as long as it's in two startups or more.

    -Don-



  5. #5
    mrblanche
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    My part would have been covered under warranty, if it had caused me to fail an emissions test, which I had done last month!

  6. #6
    DonTom
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    BTW, the reason the car has to be started twice and driven so many miles for some codes to show is because for many codes, it wants to see the same problem in two drive cycles before the check engine light will show a problem. This prevents false codes from setting.

    When I first reset mine (with the code reader) I noticed when I drove to downtown Reno from Cold Springs Valley the check engine light would never come on. One the way back home, it came on every time at the exact same place, ten miles north of Reno. It did this many times in a row. So then I got my manuals out and read about the code and why this happened. And then I troubleshot it and fixed it by buying the part that should have been covered under warranty. It was easy to replace the part, but somewhat of a hassle to troubleshoot, because I had to leave it in normal operation while I got into wires to check voltages. To do so, I cut several wires and put in European style connectors so I could meassure the voltages in normal operation.

    -Don-

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    BTW, the reason the car has to be started twice and driven so many miles for some codes to show is because for many codes, it wants to see the same problem in two drive cycles before the check engine light will show a problem. This prevents false codes from setting.

    When I first reset mine (with the code reader) I noticed when I drove to downtown Reno from Cold Springs Valley the check engine light would never come on. One the way back home, it came on every time at the exact same place, ten miles north of Reno. It did this many times in a row. So then I got my manuals out and read about the code and why this happened. And then I troubleshot it and fixed it by buying the part that should have been covered under warranty. It was easy to replace the part, but somewhat of a hassle to troubleshoot, because I had to leave it in normal operation while I got into wires to check voltages. To do so, I cut several wires and put in European style connectors so I could meassure the voltages in normal operation.

    -Don-
    My Nissan's light has been coming on (in fact , it is now on all the time). And I suspect the EGR valve - which appears to be original. But getting that puppy off will be a Job. It is mounted on the back of the engine, right up against the firewall and there is no way I can see to get at the mounting bolts without some pretty extensive disassembly. Since it's stll running fine, I have put off doing anything about - and spent the afternoon cleaning/detailing my Trans-Am's engine instead!

  8. #8
    mrblanche
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Looks good.

    The EGR valve on the Ford is mounted in a pretty easy-to-reach spot, right up by the throttle body.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Looks good.

    The EGR valve on the Ford is mounted in a pretty easy-to-reach spot, right up by the throttle body.
    Thanks!

    (And lucky you...!)

    I will keep you posted on the Nissan's EGR; have to get up the initiative to deal with it and right now it's just too nice outside - so I'm going to go for a ride instead!

  10. #10
    mrblanche
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Higher-mileage Fords with the 4.6 seem to be plagued by clogged EGR ports in the throttle body, and that's a 2 or 3 hour operation to solve.

  11. #11
    MikeHalloran
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric

    I will keep you posted on the Nissan's EGR; have to get up the initiative to deal with it and right now it's just too nice outside - so I'm going to go for a ride instead!
    See if you can find a way to artificially cycle (and test the operation of) the EGR valve before you remove it.


  12. #12
    mrblanche
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Usually that involves applying vacuum to it while the engine isn't running to hear if it's working, or applying vacuum to it while the engine is idling to see if it kills the engine.

  13. #13
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    >>Higher-mileage Fords with the 4.6 seem to be plagued by clogged EGR ports in the throttle body, and that's a 2 or 3 hour operation to solve.<<

    You would think that Ford would have fixed that problem --it's been going on for all the years that the engine has been in service! No wonder they are losing it to the offshore brands!

  14. #14
    DonTom
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    "And I suspect the EGR valve -"

    OBD2?

    Don't guess anything until you KNOW the code. It's almost impossible to guess. There are many hundreds of codes these days and some have nothing to do with the engine at all.

    My Jeep code was from a leaking gasket on the gas cap, that looked just like new. Would you have guessed that? About a thousand other possible codes with OBD2.

    -Don-

  15. #15
    MikeHalloran
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    It's amazing what the onboard computer is able to infer, given the small number of sensors it has.

    You have to trust it; but once you do, it's easy to get blindsided by the failures that don't set codes.


  16. #16
    DonTom
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    "given the small number of sensors it has."

    With OBD2, there are probably a lot more sensors than you know about. In CA Jeep models, such as my 97 Jeep Grand Cherokee, there is a lot of junk just to check for air leaks in the gasoline tank to set the code I got. Every so often, it pressurizes the gasoline tank as you drive and checks to see how long it takes to lose the pressure. There is a lot of junk in cars in the last ten years most people don't even know exist. Get the dozen or so possible factory service manuals for any car built in the last ten years or so and you will see what I mean. Usually even more of this junk in CA models.

    -Don-



  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "And I suspect the EGR valve -"

    OBD2?

    Don't guess anything until you KNOW the code. It's almost impossible to guess. There are many hundreds of codes these days and some have nothing to do with the engine at all.

    My Jeep code was from a leaking gasket on the gas cap, that looked just like new. Would you have guessed that? About a thousand other possible codes with OBD2.

    -Don-
    This is why I say "throw OBD down the well!"

    What a PITAS....

  18. #18
    DonTom
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    "This is why I say "throw OBD down the well!"

    What a PITAS...."


    Not really. Just different. Sort of like going from carbs to computer controlled fuel injection ;D. It's not a big deal to spend a few bucks on a code reader. I have a few of them, cheap ones cost about $25.00 on E-Bay. I have another one that costs about a hundred bucks. But any of them will tell you what your code means as well as reset it.

    The real problem with cars these days is that it takes several hundred dollars worth of books to cover just one year of a single model and there is a lot more to troubleshoot. But because of this, your car is more likely to stay in perfect tune as long as you don't ignore the check engine light. Here in CA we cannot ignore it because of smog tests.

    -Don-

  19. #19
    mrblanche
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    A unit that will read and clear OBDII codes starts at about $150, as far as I can tell.

  20. #20
    DonTom
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    Re: A Ford clue...

    "A unit that will read and clear OBDII codes starts at about $150, as far as I can tell."

    Buy one on E-Bay as "buy it now" for $13.99, plus $10.99 shipping, total less than $25.00. Check:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Car-S...17206366QQrdZ1


    -Don-

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