96 F150 Losing Power, Sucking Gas


Old 09-02-03, 09:33 PM
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96 F150 Losing Power, Sucking Gas

I have a 1996 F150, inline 6 cylinder-5 speed manul, with less than 40,000 miles on it. Recently, the check engine light came on, so I took it in to the dealership to have the diagnostics run on it. The symptoms, as I told by the dealership were: hard to start when warm; sudden loss of power when warm; and, high fuel consumption. When I am driving the engine and it just loses powere, if I let it idle down (to around 200-300 rpms) it will, generally speaking, recover for a while before the same thing happens again (sometimes it dies completely but will restart ok).

I was told (by the largest Ford dealer in the world, according to them) that both fuel pumps were bad. The front tank pump was cutting out and the rear tank pump was running at 50%, so I was told. Considering the mileage and knowing that I regularly rotate tanks, I found both pumps being bad hard to believe. So, I asked the dealer to prepare the truck for me to pick-up and requested the diagnostic information be included--I did pay $90 for it, so I felt they had to provide it.

When I picked the vehicle up, there were no diagnostic codes on the bill, only the recommendation that both pumps be replaced. After speaking with a service manager, I was told that they do not have any way to print the codes and that the technician who worked on it was off at the time. He said that because the codes were in the techs head, he would have to call me Monday with the information.

He did call me, as promised, and gave me the codes (or at least what the tech remembered them to be after 5 days and who knows how many other cars he worked on). The codes he gave me were 1537 and 1538, which he said indicated a problem with vacuum pressure on the EGR valve. (This concerned me immediately, because I was originally told both fuel pumps were bad--a $1100 job).

Later the same day, I took the truck to a local parts shop after being told that they would pull the diagnostics for me for free. On the drive to the shop, the sudden loss of power problem happened, so I figured they would get decent codes pulled for me. The codes that I got were: 0153, 02 sensor circuit slow response; 0171, system too lean (bank 1); 0173 fuel trim malfunction (bank 2); and 0177 fuel composition sensor circuit range/performance.

Questions that I have are: do any of these codes really indicate a fuel pump problem? (I feel like the dealership was trying to steal my money); what do the codes really indicate given my symptons? Finally, what if any, recourse do I have with this dealership, which seems to be attempting to clearly rip me off?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-03-03, 04:06 AM
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The dealership may not have been trying to rip you off.

Simply put: If they did the fuel pumps and they didn't solve the problem, you wouldn't pay . But, since you pulled out of there before they had a chance to evaulate further, we'll never know.

The dealer probably should have just written the fuel pressure readings and shown how yours were bad.

Sounds like a multitude of problems there, namely O2 sensors and the EGR sensor for one. They should be checked by a competent shop and tested before being replaced.

$90 was a correct fee for the dealership. Pay it and move on to another Ford dealer if you don't feel comfortable with this one.
Old 09-03-03, 12:57 PM
coops28's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,752
try going to these sites and post you question again. These guys know the 4.9 front to back.
http://www.ford-trucks.com --- go to inline six, or
Old 09-03-03, 06:05 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 469
General rule of thumb, when you have a code for an O2 sensor too lean, it's not that the engine is running too lean, it's actually that the O2 sensor is trying to lean out the engine! Add a code for slow switching, or no switching, and (on the lean side) and I'd be looking at an area other than low fuel pressure..
The EGR problem very well could cause some of these symptoms.
If memory serves correct, you have a DPFE sensor, rather than an EGR postion sensor..There are 2 little (1/4 and 3/8 dia?) hoses that come off the egr tube and run to the sensor..These are "famous" for getting brittle and cracking.. This sends false readings to the PCM, and can cause the EGR valve to do some strange things...
If I was actually working on your truck, I'd still do a fuel pressure test and a fuel flow test.. I very much dislike overlooking simple things.. LOL! But the hoses are something you can check for yourself..and if need be, replace yourself.. How is the valve cover gasket? I've seen many leaking gaskets oil soak those hoses, and rot them off too..
But as the other's have said..There are many decent shops out there..And many sources of info online!
Hope this sheds some light...
Old 09-03-03, 07:20 PM
billys68ss's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,459
The symptoms you describe are indicative of fuel pump related problems. I did this with a 2000 Neon just 2 weeks ago. I put the fuel pressure tester on it and drove it for several miles. At one point the fuel prssure dropped to 17lbs (standard pressure is 46-54lbs) and stalled on me. I limped it back to the shop replaced the fuel pump and the pressure stayed at 52lbs during the final test drive. As for the codes you got from the dealership and the store you took it to, a fuel pump with poor performance can cause alot of different things to go wacky and set a variety of codes. Get your fuel pressure checked first thing and then go from there. Let us know what you come up with.
Hope this helps ya,
Old 09-08-03, 10:52 PM
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I appreciate all the feedback that everyone has given. I am going to take the truck in for a second looksy by another shop and I will let everyone know what the results are. No matter what the outcome, I really can't afford not to fix a 7 year old truck with only 40,000 miles on it--I just don't want to shell out $1100 to do it. I am hoping the second shop will find something a little less intrusive to repair.
Old 09-09-03, 06:24 AM
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If they start with the basics as we are all saying, it might not be bad. .

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