Flex Fuel Sensor Issues


Old 09-03-10, 08:06 AM
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Flex Fuel Sensor Issues

2000 Ford Taurus 3.0 Vulcan (not 24V) Flex Fuel 147K

Flex fuel sensor issues after using gas from a gas can. Error code P0176 (electrical circuit malfunction fuel composition sensor) showed up after the car stalled and had trouble restarting.

I added fresh fuel, about 5 gallons, and cleared the code. About 35 miles later, code returned and car began running rough again.

After using the full 5 gallons, I filled the tank with 93 octane (usually runs 87) premium gasoline and cleared code again. Since clearing code (about 100 miles ago) the car has run smoothly...so far, knock on wood.

The research I've done suggests that the fuel sensor could have been damaged by the introduction of contaminated gas, presumably from the gas can.

Is it possible that the contaminated fuel simply led to odd readings and unrecognizable outputs from the sensor and that it is not really damaged? By filling the tank full with fresh uncontaminated gas, the contamination becomes a tiny ration of the contents of the tank? Is the sensor now operating normally, as there is "normal" fuel? Is the sensor broken permanently? Since the car is running smoothly, I'd rather not cough up the $700 or so that a new sensor costs.

Ideas? Opinions?
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Old 09-03-10, 01:21 PM
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P0176 - Flexible Fuel Sensor Circuit Malfunction

Input signal from Flex Fuel sensor to PCM is being continuously monitored. PO176 will set when signal is out of calibrated threshold.

Drop the fuel tank and clean it out. Disconnect the fuel lines at both ends and clean them out as well. Change the fuel filter. Fill tank with fresh fuel and keep tank full with fresh fuel. Use a good quality fuel stabilizer. Clear “MIL” and just drive the car. Let us know if “MIL” sets again.

Rule out below and post results.

Opening in battery ground at flex fuel sensor circuit
Defective flex fuel sensor
Open circuit or short circuit in flex fuel sensor “VPWR” (Vehicle Power) circuit.
Defective ECM
Fuel separation
Opening in flex fuel sensor signal circuit
Short to VPWR in flex fuel sensor battery ground circuit
Fuel contamination
Short to VPWR in flex fuel sensor signal circuit
Short to ground in flex fuel sensor signal circuit

Can’t remember for sure, but I think there were 2 or 3 recalls on 2000 flex fuel vehicles for fuel issues. Recalls are free. Confirm with a dealer.
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