Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Engine Hard To Start

Hot and ColdWhen your Engine is Hard to Start

Car Starting Issues

In order to surpass this problem and to prevent it as much as possible, learn how to solve it by knowing why it happens.

When a hot engine is hard to start, most of the causes are fuel related problems. Fuel cannot circulate well due to the way in which vapor blocks it. As a result, the engine would not start as easily as it should. In worse cases, it would not start at all. This happens if the engine is extremely hot.

Until after a while the engine was shut off, it would keep on acquiring temperature. The biggest amount of water vapor would be spreading around during this process. It therefore means that during this period, there are higher chances of its obstruction to the engine. So when you are driving in hot weather and you have just turned off the car and you experience difficulty in stating the engine, do not panic. Just wait for a couple of minutes and then start it back.

Because the fuel remains inside the injectors by being under a very intense pressure, engines that are fuel injected do not experience and suffer this problem as much as others do. In this case, fuel injected engines would not become so easily moved by vapors as compared to other engines. From this fact, it can be further deduced that auto mobiles may have different problems in starting their engines.

Another reason of a difficulty in starting a vehicle is the coinciding of the engine's hot temperature to a hot season like the summer. In this scenario, refiners alter from a fuel blend to another. Due to the process where in hot weather causes fuel to evaporate faster, gasoline refiners sometimes alter from a higher hot blooded fuel to a lower one when summer approaches. The fuel could evaporate too much that it would create too much vapor and would eventually inflict the engine. This instance happens when refiners alter back to a higher hot blooded fuel while the engine is still exposed to high temperatures of the summer season.

Now you know why hot engines are hard to start and what to do with it. What about if a cold engine is hard to start?

Difficulty in starting a cold engine is really a problem especially to those living in cold areas. This is experienced due to several reasons, and one of which can be based on the cold effect on liquids evaporation. Less gasoline is evaporated when the engine is cold. This causes the fuel to be more burdensome to burn due to the fact that it is burnt when it is evaporated.

Oil becomes much thicker in cold areas than in hot ones. This is another reason why cold engines are hard to start. Like any other fluids, oil alters its characteristics when it is heated or when it is in a very hot weather. Often times, this causes the oil to have problems at the time it circulates in the engine of the vehicle.

Other car parts that contribute to this problem are the batteries. Under a cold weather, the car batteries sometimes experience problems that consequently affect the engine of the car. When being cold, batteries loose their agility. This is because they do their jobs due to chemical reactions. And when they loose their agility, of course it means that they do not function well. Under these circumstances, the energy of the car is affected and so the engine start is also affected.

Another problem could be the air intake. Like in the case of your Dodge car, theDodge cold air intake, it might not be functioning well that affects the performance of your engine.

If these problems happen together at the same time, they imply a huge problem in starting the engine.

Spray ether into the engine. Use one that would evaporate quickly and help the engine start. Do this to overcome the problem on the lack of gasoline evaporation. Aside from this, you can also use thin synthetic oils in order to prevent very thick oil that would not circulate well. You if can maintain the car from being isolated from cold, better!

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All Car Sensor Reference Guide

    Vehicle Sensor Reference Guide

    Types Of Sensor In Your Vehicle

    • Oxygen Sensors (O2)
    • Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
    • Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)
    • Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor (ECT)
    • Intake Air Temperature Sensor (IAT)
    • Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
    Most Common Engine Sensors understand the purpose and failure systems of most common sensors. Use your scantool and tech tip to diagram.
    Oxygen Sensors (O2)
    • Measure the amount of oxygen left in the exhaust stream to provide feedback to the computer about whether the air/fuel mixture is rich or lean.
    • Poor fuel economy
    • Rich fuel mixture
    • Check Engine Light
    • Failed emissions test
    Tech Tip: Test for O2 sensors in front of catalytic converter (S1B1 and S1B2 on your scantool).
    With the engine warm, graph the O2 sensor output. Rev the engine to approximately 2000 RPM. A good sensor will oscillate from below 0.2 volts to above 0.8 volts, looking approximately like a sine wave. A bad sensor will be flat-lined and show no response to snapping the throttle. Test for O2 sensors behind the catalytic converter: Graph the rear and the front O2 sensor output. Rev the engine to approximately 2000 RPM. The front sensor will be oscillating actively. The rear sensor should show little reaction and stay at a midrange value (approximately 0.5 volts). If the sensor is flat-lined at zero volts, it has failed. If the rear sensor follows the oscillations of the front sensor, the sensor is good but the catalytic converter has failed.
    • Oscillating front
    • Midrange back
    Tech Tip: The computer compares the front and rear O2 sensors. A bad front O2 sensor can cause a rear sensor DTC. Never replace any O2 sensor without testing it first.
    Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
    • Tells the computer what the throttle position is
    • Stumble or hesitation on acceleration
    Test: With the key on, engine off, graph the throttle position sensor output. Gradually press the accelerator to full throttle. The graph should ramp smoothly with no spikes or drop-outs.
    Tech Tip: Most Throttle Position Sensors wear out just off the idle position.
    Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)
    • Measures how much air is flowing into the engine
    • Poor fuel economy. misfires, stumbles, hesitation
    Tech Tip: Graph the MAF sensor voltage on your scantool. With engine at idle, a steady voltage should be visible on the graph. Tap lightly on the sensor housing. A good sensor will not react to the vibration. If the graph jumps, the sensor is bad and needs to be replaced. Next rev the engine and verify that the graph climbs smoothly in proportion to engine speed. A jump or slow-reacting graph indicates a failed or dirty sensor.
    MAF related trouble codes are often caused by a leak in the air ducts leading to the sensor. If the MAF sensor is fouled it can often be cleaned with an aerosol electronics cleaner.
    Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor (ECT)
    • Tells the computer if the engine is warmed up
    • Poor fuel economy
    • Poor performance
    Tech Tip: After sitting overnight, the Engine Coolant Temperature should equal the air temperature. As the engine warms, it will rise steadily to 200 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Intake Air Temperature Sensor (IAT)
    • Tells the computer the temperature of the incoming air used to calculate the air density and fine-tune the air/fuel mixture
    • Poor economy, stalling or rough idle when cold
    Tech Tip: The Intake Air Temperature Sensor will read approximately equal to the outdoor temperature when the vehicle is moving. Most common cause of trouble codes related to the IAT are a bad connection, or a sensor left disconnected after servicing the air filter.
    Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
    • While the EGR doesn’t typically have its own sensor, the system is important and a common cause of Check Engine Light problems. The EGR system mixes a controlled amount of exhaust gas with the intake air to properly control the combustion process
    • Failed emissions test, detonation (pinging) under acceleration
    Tech Tip: If the EGR valve is vacuum controlled, graph the MAF and front O2 sensors. With engine at idle, manually open the EGR valve (do not manually move an electrically driven EGR valve) and watch for reaction of the MAF and/or O2 sensors. If there is no reaction, the EGR passageways or the valve itself are likely to be clogged and need to be cleaned.

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    Other Warning Light(s) On

    Troubleshoot Other Warning Light(s) On Car Control Panel

    Temp Warning Light On
    Your engine is overheating. Stop driving immediately and turn the engine off. Continuing to drive risks causing expensive engine damage such as a blown head gasket, or cracked or warped cylinder head.
    Low oil pressure or loss of oil pressure can be caused by a low oil level in the crankcase, a worn or damaged oil pump, or worn engine bearings.
    Allow the engine to cool down for several hours before you attempt any further diagnosis. A hot engine can be very dangerous because of steam pressure inside the radiator and coolant reservoir. Do NOT attempt to add coolant until the engine has cooled down and the radiator cap or reservoir cap can be safely opened. Overheating can be caused by a low coolant level (check the radiator, water pump, and hoses for leaks), coolant leaks inside the engine (leaky head gasket or cracks in the head or block), a stuck thermostat, or a cooling fan that isn't working (bad fan clutch, fan motor, or fan relay).
    Oil Light On
    Oil pressure is dangerously low. Stop driving immediately and turn the engine off. Continuing to drive risks the rapid failure of bearings and camshaft in your engine. Low oil pressure or loss of oil pressure can be caused by a low oil level in the crankcase, a worn or damaged oil pump, or worn engine bearings. In older high mileage vehicles, it is not uncommon to see the oil warning light flicker at idle because of internal engine wear. Check the oil level before restarting the engine. If low, check the engine for leaky gaskets and seals, or a loose oil filter. If no leaks are seen, the engine may be burning oil because of worn valve guides, rings, and/or cylinders. Add oil to bring the level on the dipstick up to the full mark, then start the engine to see if the light goes out. If the light does not go out and the engine is making noise (ticking, rattling, clicking, rapping sounds), it may not be getting normal oil pressure – or it may have suffered damage because of the loss of oil pressure. You’re looking at an overhaul or buying another engine.
    Charging, Alt or Gen Light On
    Your charging system is not putting out its normal voltage or current. This means one of two things: either the alternator (generator) has died, or the belt that drives it is slipping or has broken. On vehicles with serpentine belts, losing a belt means you lose everything that the belt drives: the water pump, alternator, power steering pump, and A/C compressor. The A/C compressor you can live without, and with sufficient upper body strength you can still steer without the PS pump. But your engine isn't going to stay cool for long without the water pump. So stop, turn the engine off and take a look under the hood to see if the belt is still intact. If the belt is still on and appears to have normal tension, the alternator has probably failed. You can probably drive your car a few miles or up to 30 minutes or so on the juice that’s left in the battery, but don’t count on going too far because, without the alternator, the battery will run down very quickly. And once voltage drops below a certain level, the engine electronics will shut down. The fix? Check the charging system’s output at the battery terminals with a voltmeter. Normal charging voltage should be about 13.5 to 14.5 volts (it varies some with temperature and load). If you see 12.6 volts or less (which is base voltage for a fully charged battery), you need to have the alternator tested (many parts stores can do this for you). Or, with the ignition in the accessory position and the lights on, the battery voltage should remain near 12 volts for several minutes. If not, you have a weak battery.
    ABS or Brake Light On
    If only the ABS light is on, your vehicle should still have normal braking (possibly without power assist, though, depending on what type of ABS system it has). But if the brake light is on (with or without the ABS light), it may indicate a serious hydraulic problem in your brake system. On most vehicles, the brake warning light will come on if a safety switch detects a difference in pressure between the brake circuits when the brakes are applied. This may indicate a leak and loss of pressure in one of the circuits. On some vehicles, there is also a brake fluid level sensor in the brake fluid reservoir on the master brake cylinder. If the fluid level drops, it may turn on the warning light. Either way, the first order of business is to stop the vehicle and check the fluid level in the master cylinder. The fluid level will drop somewhat as the brake linings wear, but a sudden drop in the level usually means there’s a leak in a brake line, hose, caliper or wheel cylinder. Do NOT drive the vehicle until the problem has been diagnosed and repaired.
    Turning the Check Engine Lamp Off
    As a rule, the Check Engine Light will remain on as long as a fault persists. If an intermittent fault does not reoccur after three consecutive trips, the MIL lamp will go out but the code will remain in memory. If the fault does not reoccur for 40 trips, the code will be erased. The only safe way to clear fault codes and turn the MIL lamp off is to use a scantool. On many pre-OBDII vehicles, all you had to do was disconnect the battery or pull the PCM fuse to clear the memory and turn the Check Engine Light off. If the problem had not been fixed, the Check Engine Light would eventually come back on. But this procedure should NOT be used on OBDII cars for the following reason:
    WARNING: On many OBDII cars, pulling the PCM fuse or disconnecting the battery may NOT clear the codes - and may cause a loss of important information that the PCM needs to function correctly. On some vehicles, loss of power to the PCM may cause it to forget transmission settings, climate control functions, and other essential data. This, in turn, may require the use of a scantool and a special re-learning procedure to reset the PCM.
    Here’s another thought: codes contain important diagnostic information you or somebody else might need to further troubleshoot and repair the system. If the codes are cleared, it may take some time for the codes to reset - which will delay diagnosing and repairing the fault. The best approach to turning off the light, therefore, is to read out the codes, and clear the codes carefully.

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    Engine Stalls, Misfire Code, & Cylinder Misfire

    Engine Stalls, Misfire Code, & Cylinder Misfire

    Troubleshooting Car Problems

    The engine may be stalling because it isn’t getting enough throttle opening. The cause is often a problem in the idle air control system.
    In many instances, stalling ends up being an idle control motor at its limit or a failed motor.
    Engine Stalls (Check Engine Light May or May Not Be On)
    Stalls typically occur when the engine is idling or slowing. If the Check Engine Light comes on, you may find any of the following codes:
    • P0505 to P0509 idle control circuit codes
    • P0335, P0336, P0337, P0338, P0339 crankshaft position sensor codes
    • P0171, P0174 lean fuel condition codes
    • P0400 to P0409 EGR related codes
    The engine may be stalling because it isn’t getting enough throttle opening. The cause is often a problem in the idle air control system. Other possibilities include a dirty throttle body, vacuum leak, incorrect ignition timing (retarded), bad gas (water or other contamination), an A/C compressor that is dragging, or an EVAP purge valve that is stuck open and is flooding the engine with fuel vapor. What to check: The throttle body hose connections and idle controls, also intake vacuum (check the throttle body, manifold and hose connections for leaks, also the PCV valve and hose, too). With your AutoTap Express DIY, look at engine RPM, calculated engine load, mass air flow rate, throttle position angle, short term fuel trim (STFT), and ignition timing. On some vehicles, you can also look at the idle control motor duty cycle or position, and/or idle tracking sensor (if the vehicle has one). In many instances, stalling ends up being an idle control motor at its limit or a failed motor. A vacuum leak can cause this, so don’t replace the idle control motor until you’ve evaluated the possibility of a vacuum leak.
    Check Engine Light On, P0300 Random Misfire Code
    A random misfire means your engine is misfiring, but that the problem is not isolated to one or two cylinders. It is jumping around in a random way from one cylinder to another. A random misfire code usually means the air/fuel mixture is running lean. But the cause might be anything from a hard-to-find vacuum leak to dirty fuel injectors, low fuel pressure, a weak ignition coil, bad plug wires, or compression problems. Even a dirty MAF sensor can cause a lean code and/or misfire to occur. The engine may be stalling because it isn’t getting enough throttle opening. The cause is often a problem in the idle air control system. The first thing to check is the intake vacuum with a vacuum gauge. On most vehicles a normal reading is 17 to 21 inches Hg. If the needle is lower, is jumping up and down or steadily dropping, you have a vacuum problem. Look for possible vacuum leaks by checking vacuum hose connections, the throttle body and manifold, and PVC valve and plumbing. An EGR valve that is leaking can also act like a vacuum leak and cause a random misfire. The next thing you should check is the fuel pressure with a gauge. If it is not within specifications (refer to a service manual for specifics because fuel pressure is critical for proper engine performance), the problem may be a weak fuel pump, low voltage to the pump (check the relay and wiring), or obstructions in the fuel line (like a plugged filter). A bad fuel pressure relay can also leak pressure and prevent an otherwise good fuel pump from delivering full pressure to the injectors. Dirty injectors can also restrict fuel delivery and cause a lean fuel condition. Many regular grades of gasoline do not contain adequate levels of detergent to keep the injectors clean. Frequent short trip driving accelerates the buildup of injector deposits. Cleaning the injectors with a good quality fuel tank additive (or having them professionally cleaned) can solve this problem. Look at short term fuel trim (STFT) and long term fuel trim (LTFT) with your AutoTap Express DIY. If the numbers are high, it tells you the engine is running lean.
    Check Engine Light On, P030x Specific-Cylinder Misfire Code
    One of the impressive features of OBDII systems is the ability to self-diagnose a misfire and pinpoint which cylinder has the problem. For example, P0302 indicates a misfire on cylinder #2. A cylinder specific misfire indicates that either compression, appropriate fuel mixture, or spark is missing. Start with a visual inspection, looking for a vacuum leak near the cylinder and any sign of wear on the spark plug wire. Check the compression on the target cylinder to ensure that the engine is mechanically sound. Use a stethoscope to listen to the suspect cylinder’s fuel injector. Listen for distinctive clicks and compare to another cylinder.

    Troubleshoot All types Of Car Problem With proper Solutions


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    Engine Cranks But Won't Start

    Engine Cranks But Won't Start

    Car Will Not Start

    What’s causing the no-start? All engines require three things to start and run: spark, fuel, and compression. If any one of these isn’t there, you aren’t going anywhere.
    • Engine Cranks but won’t Start
    Probable Causes:
    • Fuel Pump (P0230 to P0233)
    • PCM (P0600 to P0606)
    • Crank Sensor (P0355 to P0399)
    • Fuel Pressure (P0190 to P0194)
    Chances are the Check Engine Light is not on, but you may find any of the following codes:
    • P0230 to P0233 Fuel Pump codes
    • P0600 to P0606 PCM related codes
    • P0335 to P0339 Crank Sensor codes
    • P0190 to P0194 Fuel Pressure Sensor codes
    No spark due to a bad crank position sensor, a faulty ignition module or PCM, a problem in the ignition circuit (ignition switch, antitheft system, wiring, etc.), a faulty park/neutral safety switch, a bad ignition coil (only on engines with a single coil ignition), or wet plugs or plug wires (did it rain last night, did you just wash the engine?)
    A less common cause is a worn starter that draws so many amps while cranking the engine that there’s not enough juice left to adequately power the ignition system and fuel injectors. Contributing factors might be a weak battery and/or loose or corroded battery cables.
    No fuel because of a dead fuel pump, bad fuel pump relay, blown fuel pump fuse, plugged fuel filter or line, or failed PCM injector driver circuit or injector power supply relay. Or, the fuel tank might be empty (don’t believe what the gauge is telling you), or the fuel tank might contain contaminated fuel (water or too much alcohol) or the wrong type of fuel (whoops, somebody put in diesel instead of gasoline).
    No compression because the timing belt or chain is broken, the timing belt or chain is loose and jumped out of time, or the overhead camshaft has snapped. A powerful scantool like AutoTap Express DIY can help isolate the root cause.

    The first step is to determine if it’s a spark, fuel, or compression problem. Here’s a quick way to find out which of the three is missing. Remove a plug wire, insert a Phillips screwdriver or spare plug piece of bare wire into the plug wire boot and place the end near the engine block (do not hold the plug wire while cranking the engine unless you want a shocking experience). If there’s a spark when the engine is cranked, it has ignition. The problem is either fuel or compression. If the engine has an overhead cam with a timing belt, loosen the cover over the timing belt and check the belt. If the belt is okay, the problem is no fuel. Listen for the electric fuel pump in the fuel tank to make a buzzing noise when the ignition is turned on (you may have to open the gas cap to hear it). You won’t hear anything if the pump has died. Diagnostics can now be focused on the fuel pump circuit to determine if the pump, relay or wiring is causing the no start. If the relay has voltage but the pump isn’t running, you’ll probably have to drop the fuel tank to check the wiring connector at the pump. If the problem is no spark, anything in the ignition circuit that creates the spark may be at fault. 

    Use your AutoTap Express DIY to look for an RPM signal from the Crankshaft Position sensor while cranking the engine. A bad Crankshaft Position sensor is a common cause of no starts. The signal from this sensor goes to the PCM or ignition module that switches the ignition coil(s) on and off. If you have an RPM signal, a bad ignition module or PCM may not be switching the coil(s) on and off. Using a voltmeter, check for voltage at the coils with the key on and while cranking the engine. The voltage should be switching on and off. In ignition systems with a single coil and distributor, a bad coil or a cracked distributor cap or rotor can prevent the spark plugs from firing. On multi-coil, distributorless ignition systems and coil-on-plug systems; one coil failure may cause an engine to misfire, but it won't prevent it from starting. What’s causing the no-start? All engines require three things to start and run: spark, fuel and compression. If any one of these isn’t there, you aren’t going anywhere.

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    Your Vehicle Failed an Emissions Test

    Emissions Test Failed

    Many states now use a simple Onboard Diagnostics (OBDII) plug-in check instead of a lengthy tailpipe emissions test to verify emissions compliance. The OBDII tests are only used on 1996 and newer vehicles, and may be used in combination with a separate tailpipe test in certain situations (the rules vary from state to state).
    • Failed Emission
    Probable Causes:
    • Eleven monitors
    • Catalyst Monitor
    • Misfire
    • Evaporative System
    • EGR System
    • Fuel System
    • Heated Catalyst
    • Secondary Air System
    • Comprehensive Component
    • O2 Sensor
    • O2 Sensor Heater
    • A/C System Refrigerant
    The OBDII onboard diagnostic system that is used on all 1996 and newer passenger cars and light trucks (as well as a few 1994 and 1995 models) will set a fault code and turn on the MIL lamp if it detects ANY problem that MIGHT cause emissions to exceed federal limits by 1.5 times. Notice, we said MIGHT cause emissions to exceed limits. The actual point at which a code is set is determined by the vehicle manufacturer based on extensive testing and how conservative (or liberal) they are with respect to the rules. So, in many instances, the MIL lamp may be on even if the vehicle is not really creating a menace to the environment. In fact, some vehicles with a MIL lamp on will easily pass a tailpipe emissions test. Each state makes their own testing rules, and the rules have to conform to what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires.
    To pass a plug-in OBDII emissions test, a vehicle must:
    • Have a functional Check Engine Light and diagnostic connector (no tampering or funny business allowed).
    • The Check Engine Light must be off.
    • Successfully complete the OBDII system monitors that are built-in to the vehicle.
    The OBDII system will run a number of self-checks (called “monitors”) to check the health of its engine management system and emission controls. Some of these tests run every time the engine is started and driven, but others (the catalyst and EVAP monitors) only run under certain conditions. Getting the catalyst monitor to run may require driving the vehicle for a number of miles under various speeds and loads. The EVAP monitor won’t run unless the vehicle has sat overnight and the fuel tank is between 1/4 and 3/4 full. It also may not run in extremely hot or extremely cold weather. AutoTap Express DIY will show you the status of the OBDII monitors. 

    On OBDII vehicles before model year 2000, the rules may allow one monitor to be incomplete and still be accepted for testing. Some vehicles from 1996 to 1999 had ”monitor issues” that essentially mean some monitors NEVER run or set. Special allowances are made for these vehicles, or they may have to take an alternate test. If you failed the emissions test, you probably had a Check Engine Light on and one or more DTCs in your computer. Clearing the codes or resetting the OBDII monitors just before a test won’t help you sneak through because the catalyst and EVAP monitors need time to run, which also gives the Check Engine Light and codes time to reoccur. You have to diagnose and repair the fault before the vehicle will pass. If your vehicle was rejected for testing, it means all of the required OBDII monitors had not completed their self-tests. Drive the vehicle for a few days around town and on the highway, and try again. You can easily use your AutoTap Express DIY to check the status of the OBDII monitors before you bring your vehicle to the test facility.

    If your vehicle failed a tailpipe test and the Check Engine Light is NOT on, chances are you have a problem with the OBDII system, a burned out MIL lamp, or a faulty catalytic converter. The converter is essentially an afterburner that cleans up the exhaust after it exits the engine. The OBDII system uses a “downstream” oxygen sensor to monitor the efficiency of the converter, and it should detect a drop in converter efficiency if the converter has been contaminated or is failing (ignition misfiring, leaky exhaust valves, and oil burning can all damage the converter). What you want to look for: Any conditions that might cause ignition misfire, an overly rich or lean fuel condition, or loss of compression. Use your AutoTap Express DIY to look at the oxygen sensor outputs, coolant temperature, airflow, calculated engine load, and inlet air temperature.

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    Fuel Economy is Down

    Low Fuel Economy 

    Today’s engine management systems rely on many different sensor inputs to regulate fuel economy, performance and emissions.
    • Poor Fuel Economy
    Probable Causes:
    • Fuel Rich Codes (P0172 and/or P0175)
    • Coolant Sensor (P0115 to P0119)
    • Misfire Codes (P030x)
    • Mass Air Flow (P0100 to P0105)
    • Oxygen Sensor Codes (P0130 to P0167) or (P0036 to P0064)
    • MAP Sensor (P0105 to P0109)
    With the price of gasoline, you don’t want to ignore this kind of problem for long. When fuel economy is down, you may find any number of codes:

    P0172 and/or P0175 are rich codes, and indicate a general rich air/fuel condition. The underlying cause may be anything that increases fuel delivery, such as excessive fuel pressure, a defective fuel pressure regulator, plugged return line, or leaky injectors. Decreased airflow from a dirty air filter or restricted air intake misleads the mass airflow sensor or engine management system into believing the engine is using more air or is under more load than actual.

    Misfire codes P030X, where X indicates the cylinder number that is misfiring. Misfire codes are bad because they mean a whole cylinder full of air/fuel mixture is wasted every time a cylinder fails to fire. The cause may be a worn or dirty spark plug, a bad plug wire, a weak ignition coil in a distributorless ignition system (DIS) or coil-on-plug (COP) ignition system, or a dirty or dead fuel injector. Misfires can make an engine run rough and reduce horsepower every time it happens. Worse yet, the unburned fuel that passes right through the engine goes into the exhaust. When that fuel reaches the catalytic converter, it will ignite and may cause the converter to overheat and suffer damage. Misfires are one of the two leading causes of catalytic converter failures (the other is leaky exhaust valves).

    Oxygen sensor codes (P0130 to P0167), or oxygen sensor heater code (P0036 to P0064) indicate a fault with that sensor. If the O2 sensor fails, it usually causes the engine to run rich leading to poor economy, pollution, and catalytic converter failure. Never replace an O2 sensor without testing it first.

    P0115 to P0119 point to a problem with the coolant sensor. The coolant sensor tells the engine computer the temperature of the coolant. The engine computer needs this information to adjust the fuel mixture and ignition timing as the engine warms up. If the coolant sensor is faulty and tells the computer the engine is cold when it really is hot, the fuel mixture will be too rich. Fuel economy will drop like a rock and the engine will pollute.

    P0100 to P0104 are Mass Airflow (MAF) sensor codes. The mass airflow sensor measures airflow into the engine. If it is not reading correctly, the air/fuel mixture won’t be right. This is an expensive sensor to replace, so in many instances cleaning the delicate sensor wire with an aerosol electronics cleaner can return it to normal operation.

    P0105 to P0109 Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor codes. The MAP sensor monitors engine load by reacting to changes in intake vacuum. If the sensor reads incorrectly, the computer may think the engine is under more load than it actually is and give it more fuel than it needs.

    P0070 to P0074 Inlet Air Temperature sensor. Some fuel injected engines do not use a mass airflow sensor. Instead, these engines calculate air flow using inputs from this sensor, throttle position, and the MAP sensor. If the air temp sensor is reading colder than it should, the computer will give the engine too much fuel. The key to solving a fuel economy problem is figuring out which of these inputs is feeding the PCM bad information. If the computer receives bad sensor data, it will make the wrong adjustments and waste gas.

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    Check Engine Light is On

    Engine Warning Light Is On

    Today’s cars are controlled by a Powertrain Control Module (PCM), your engine’s computer. If you want to repair or modify your car’s performance, you need a scantool to communicate with the PCM.
    • Check Engine Light on
    • Poor Acceleration
    • Poor Fuel Economy
    • Rough Idle
    Probable Cause(s):
    • Oxygen Sensors Codes (P0130 to P0167)
    • EVAP Code (P0445)
    That pesky Check Engine Light, the “Malfunction Indicator Lamp” or “MIL” for short, is on because your vehicle’s computer self diagnosed a fault that could cause your vehicle’s emissions to increase. It doesn’t necessarily mean your vehicle is polluting – or has a serious problem – but it might. So the light is on to let you know something is amiss that needs your attention. Trouble is, you don’t know WHAT the trouble might be. It might be something and could lead to a break-down or cause expensive engine damage, or it might be something minor like a loose gas cap (yes, the on-board diagnostics on 1996 and newer cars can even detect a loose, missing, or leaking gas cap). There’s no way to know what the problem is without talking to your vehicle’s computer. How do you do that? By plugging a diagnostic scantool like AutoTap Express DIY into your vehicle’s diagnostic connector, usually found under the dash near the steering column. This unlocks the secrets that have turned on your Check Engine Light. AutoTap Express DIY will give you the information you need to understand how to diagnose and repair the most common problems in today’s cars, light trucks and SUVs. Whether you perform the repairs yourself, or use the information to better understand what your mechanic is doing, it pays to understand what is going on.
    Don’t be a Parts Swapper
    The number one mistake made by do-it-yourself mechanics is “parts-swapping”. This expensive practice leads to the replacement of hundreds of dollars of perfectly good parts. At best, a parts-swapper wastes time and money. At its worst, a parts-swapper creates new problems where none existed. Armed with the proper tools and the information from AutoTap Express DIY, you will be prepared to tackle the most common problems found on today’s vehicles, without being a parts-swapper.
    The On-Board Diagnostic System - OBDII
    When a fault is detected, the Onboard Diagnostics System (OBDII) records a “Diagnostic trouble code” (DTC) in the computer’s memory. The code number corresponds to a particular type of fault. The code might not tell you which component has failed or why, but it will tell you which emission control system or sensor circuit the fault is in, or that your engine is misfiring or running rich (too much fuel) or lean (not enough fuel). When a basic code reader is plugged into your vehicle’s diagnostic connector, it will display any diagnostic trouble codes that are found. The least expensive code readers just give you a number, while the better ones also give you the definition of the code too. You can read codes and get an idea of what’s wrong – and you can even clear the codes from the computer’s memory to turn out the MIL lamp (at least temporarily). But a code by itself isn’t the whole story. Take a code P0171 or P0174. These are codes that indicate your engine is running lean. A lean air/fuel mixture can be caused by any number of things, and may cause symptoms such as a rough idle, hesitation, or stumble when accelerating, hard starting, a loss of power or an emissions failure. Okay, so your engine is running lean. Now what? The next step up the diagnostic ladder is to use AutoTap Express DIY. It can actually provide real diagnostic information. What kind of information are we talking about? Real time sensor data. This is the meat and potatoes of onboard diagnostics and is the data that real technicians rely on to diagnose and repair today’s vehicles.
    The diagnostic connector on your vehicle can provide a wealth of information, things like engine speed, engine load, air flow, ignition timing, coolant temperature, inlet air temperature, throttle position, sensor voltages, what’s going on with your engine’s fuel management system, the status of various switches and devices, and more – in fact, up to several hundred different readings are available on some cars depending on the make and model year.
    Diagnostic scantools like AutoTap Express DIY:
    • Save you money
    • Save you time
    • Keep your mechanic honest
    Knowing what’s causing your problem gives you the option to either fix the problem yourself or to take it to a professional for repairs. If you choose the latter, you won’t be going in blind. You’ll be armed with data that can save diagnostic time and, hopefully, some of your money. In many instances, the Check Engine Light is on because a sensor has failed and needs to be replaced. Some sensors are relatively inexpensive and well within the abilities of a do-it-yourselfer to replace. Some sensors, on the other hand, are quite expensive. A mass airflow sensor might cost a couple hundred dollars or more. So you want to be sure of your diagnosis before you replace such an expensive part – especially since most dealers or parts stores won’t take returns on electronic parts once they’ve been installed.

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    Troubleshoot Car OBD Codes.Know Exactly What Each Code Means?

    no fuel while accelerating

    Accelerating Issues

    Engine Hesitates, Stumbles, Lacks Normal Power

    Car accelerate slowly when  gas pedal is depressed

    You’re driving along in your vehicle, and everything seems fine – until you start up a hill, or try to quickly pull out into fast-moving traffic. Then it happens… nothing. Sure, the car is moving, but it’s ridiculously slow and you can tell that the engine is struggling to keep up.

    This is a common problem found especially in high-mileage vehicles. Before you get too worried, let’s take a look at some of the possible easy fixes….

    – The O2 sensor. The oxygen sensor (or O2 sensor) is a device that helps monitor the emissions of your vehicle so as to analyze the air-to-fuel ratio going through the engine In a nutshell, you need to proper amount of oxygen to properly burn the fuel in the engine. Not enough oxygen results in unburn fuel (rich mixture) and too little oxygen (lean mixture) causes more pollutants and can actually damage your engine. When this sensor detects a problem, it sends a signal to the engine to change the amount of fuel being used. If your sensor is malfunctioned, it could be messing up your fuel mixture; and if it’s out altogether, your car’s pretty much just guessing as to what mixture it needs at the moment.

    - Fuel filter. Changing the fuel filter (especially if it’s been a while) may be your ticket here. If fuel can’t get into the engine, you’re not going to be getting anywhere very quickly. In addition to this, it’s not a bad idea to get an injector flush altogether.

    – Clogged air filter or blocked exhast. Air is a very important part of proper car function (or any type of combustion, for that matter). Make sure your engine’s getting the necessary amount of oxygen it needs to operate.

    - Timing belt. If this is off by even 1 tooth, it can cause acceleration problems.

    And of course there are many other possibilities –

    Fuel pump may need to be replaced
    Transmission may need some work
    A slipping clutch could be the culprit.

    The computer uses this information to determine how much fuel is needed to maintain the correct air/fuel mixture, and when extra fuel is needed if the throttle suddenly opens wide.
    Engine Hesitation
    Lacks Power.
    Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) full range test
    Mass Airflow (MAF) Graph and Fuel Trim Readings
    Probable Causes:
    Lean Fuel (P0171, P0174)
    Throttle Position (P0120 or P0124) or (P0222 or P0229)
    An engine that hesitates, stumbles or misfires when accelerating or when it is under load, is an engine that is either sucking too much air, not getting enough fuel, or misfiring. If the Check Engine Light comes on, you may find any of the following codes:

    P0171, P0174 Lean fuel condition codes
    P0120 to P0124 Throttle position sensor codes
    P0222 to P0229 Throttle position sensor codes
    P0400 to P0409 EGR related codes
    If there are no misfire codes, a common cause of acceleration stumble is a bad throttle position sensor (TPS). The TPS tells the computer how far the throttle is open. The computer uses this information to determine how much fuel is needed to maintain the correct air/fuel mixture and when extra fuel is needed if the throttle suddenly opens wide.

    Another common cause are dirty fuel injectors. If varnish deposits have built up in the tips of the injectors, they won’t spray as much fuel as they normally do, or will “dribble” fuel instead of spraying a fine mist. This creates a lean fuel mixture and conditions that are ripe for stumble and hesitation (also misfire). Look at short term fuel trim (STFT) and long term fuel trim (LTFT) with your scantool. If the numbers are high, it tells you the engine is running lean and the injectors need cleaning. Treat mild cases with a high quality fuel-injector cleaner additive. Severe cases require professional cleaning equipment. Other problems that cause acceleration stumble include vacuum leaks, low fuel pressure, a weak spark caused by low coil voltage or bad coil(s), retarded ignition timing, and contaminated gas.

    Look at the following with your scantool : throttle position, mass airflow (MAF), short term fuel trim (STFT), long term fuel trim (LTFT), ignition timing, and fuel pressure (if a PID is available). Throttle Position Sensors (TPS) typically wear in the idle and just above idle positions, but they may also have dead spots at any point in their range of travel. With the key on, engine off, graph the sensors output while slowly opening the throttle all the way. The graph should look like a relatively smooth ramp, with no suddenly drops or flat spots.

    A seemingly unrelated issue that surprises even the most experienced mechanic
    For best results, taking your car to a trusted mechanic for his evaluation my be in your best interest to get to the root of the problem before wearing yourself out trying to address the issue through a costly trial-and-error process – which could result in new problems if not properly handled by someone with proper knowledge and experience.

    This Will Help.

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    Ford F-150/F-250: How to Replace Oxygen Sensor

    Ford F-150/F-250:  Oxygen Sensor Replacement

    This article walks through the process of replacing the oxygen sensor on your Ford F-150 or Super Duty.

     Ford F-150 (2004-2014) and the F-250, F-350 (2005-2014).

    If your check engine light goes on but you don't notice any symptoms, you need to use a code reader to determine the source of the problem. If the trouble code in your PCM's memory reads P0131, P0133, P0151, or P0153, you could be having trouble with your vehicle's oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor is a clever little component that keeps track of your engine's exhaust and promotes an accurate distribution of oxygen, nitrogen, and fuel. For this reason, bad gas mileage can be both a symptom and a problematic result of a faulty oxygen sensor. This part can be expensive to professionally replace, so you might want to attempt a DIY job if you are able to.

    Materials Needed

    • O2 sensor
    • penetrating oil
    • O2 sensor socket
    • thread chaser
    • floor jack
    • two jack stands

    Step 1 - Apply penetrating oil to the O2 sensor and let it soak

    Locate the faulty O2 sensor which should be positioned in the exhaust manifold just before or just after the catalytic converter. Once you have located the faulty sensor, drench it in penetrating oil, allowing it to soak for at least 24 hours prior to performing the task. This will help you remove it later by making it significantly looser.
    Figure 1. Oxygen sensor location.

    Step 2 - Park and raise your vehicle

    Be certain to park your vehicle on level ground, and put it in neutral before proceeding to raise your truck, utilizing a floor jack and jack stands for support. Keep the parking brake on and rear wheels locked for safety while you lift the front of the truck.
    Figure 2. Truck, secured with jack stands.

    Step 3 - Thread the O2 socket onto the O2 sensor

    Unscrew the faulty O2 sensor by utlizing the socket and thread chaser.
    Figure 3. An O2 sensor.

    Step 4 - Disconnect the connectors on top of the transmission

    The connectors are blue and look just like those in Figure 4. Simply pinch the connectors on either side and pull them apart.
    Figure 4. Disconnect the O2 sensor.

    Step 5 - Remove the protective cap from the new sensor

    Remove the protective cap that the new sensor comes with.
    Figure 5. Remove the protective cover.

    Step 6 - Thread the new sensor into the old sensor's place

    Reverse step 3. Thread the new sensor in the same place the old sensor was with a socket and a thread chaser.
    Figure 6. Thread the new sensor into place.

    Step 7 - Connect the new connector just above the transmission

    The new connector should click right into place where the old connector used to be. Once the sensor has been removed, replacing it is simply a matter of putting new equipment where the faulty equipment was originally positioned.
    Figure 7. Connect the O2 sensor.

    Pro Tip

    Having a malfunctioning oxygen sensor could cause you to fail state emissions. If this component continues to need replacing, it could be the sign of a more serious problem with your exhaust system.

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    Ford F-150/F-250: How to Replace Crankshaft Position Sensor

    Ford F-150/F-250 Crankshaft Position Sensor Replacement.

    If you experience problems with your Ford F-150 or Super Duty's performance, you might be looking at a bad crankshaft position sensor. Learn how to replace the crankshaft position sensor yourself.

    Ford F-150 (2004-2014) and the F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

    A crankshaft position sensor sends information about the position of the sensor in your Ford F-150 or Super Duty truck to the computer system of the engine. Signs of a bad crankshaft position sensor include problems starting the engine when it’s cold outside, acceleration issues, loss of power, and poor fuel mileage. It is found under the AC compressor and can be loosened by sliding it out of the motor, which is found on the bottom left area.

    Materials Needed

    • Crankshaft position sensor
    • 1/2 inch socket wrench
    • Open end wrench
    • Compressor pulley

    Step 1 - Turn the pulley

    Push the tip of the socket wrench in the hole in the center of the serpentine belt pulley, which is a small pulley around the belt. Move the pulley to the left using the socket wrench and pull the belt from the air conditioning compressor pulley.
      • Figure 1. Serpentine belt pulley.
      • Figure 2. Pulley diagram.

    Step 2 - Move the compressor

    Remove the bolt from the air conditioning compressor towards the mounting bracket using an open end wrench, and move the compressor to the side of the engine compartment. The compressor will easily be disconnected; disconnect the hose attached to it using a wrench and free it from the belt.

    Figure 3. Move the compressor.

    Step 3 - Disconnect electrical connection

    Disconnect the electrical connection from the crankshaft position sensor.

    Figure 4. Disconnect the electrical connection.

    Step 4 - Remove the crankshaft position sensor

    Remove the two bolts on the crankshaft sensor of the engine using an open-end wrench and slowly remove the sensor from the engine. The bolts are holding the bracket that holds the sensor on top and on the bottom.

    Figure 5. Remove crankshaft position sensor.

    Step 5 - Install new sensor

    Put the sensor into the engine, install and fasten the two bolts on the sensor using an open-end wrench.

    Figure 6. Fasten the bolts.

    Step 6 - Connect electrical connection

    Connect the electrical connectors together.

    Figure 7. Connect the crankshaft position sensor.

    Step 7 - Re-install air conditioning compressor

    Tighten the bolts for the compressor and connect the hose you removed. Then, place the belt back on it and tighten the pulley.

    Figure 8. Fasten and install the AC compressor.

    Step 8 - Adjust the pulley

    Push the serpentine belt adjustment pulley in the direction of the engine with a socket wrench and place the belt on the air compressor pulley.

    Figure 9. Adjust the pulley.

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