1999 Ford Explorer leaning bank diagnosis

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Computer problem
1999 Ford Explorer Four Wheel Drive Automatic 89,000 miles

Hi, my car is a petrol 4l v6 and my engine light came on so I checked my car with a scanner and it reads as leaning bank 1 and leaning bank 2. She runs ok and I haven't noticed any drop in performance. Someone has told me that I need a new maf sensor. What do these codes actually mean and is it something I can sort myself instead of getting ripped off at a garage.
Thanks Sarah.

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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 5:10 AM

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1st step would be to check for vacuum leaks

DTCs P0171, P0172, P0174, and P0175 are not related to downstream HO2S sensors: When diagnosing a vehicle with a MIL On and DTC(s) P0171, P0172, P0174, and/or P0175 in continuous memory, do not replace the downstream HO2S sensors. These DTCs have no connection to the downstream HO2S sensor function nor its diagnosis for faults. Always verify the vehicle concern, then perform the pinpoint diagnostics from the appropriate PC/ED Service Manual.
Diagnosing lean conditions and lean DTCs P0171, P0174: Freeze Frame Data can often help to identify the type of lean condition, even if the fault is intermittent, by indicating how the vehicle was being driven when the fault occurred. Diagnosis of lean conditions and lean adaptive DTCs can be difficult, especially if the concern is intermittent. Verifying the concern is extremely important. There are different types of lean conditions. The ability to identify the type of lean condition causing the concern can be crucial to a correct diagnosis. When DTCs P0171 and P0174 are both present, there is a strong likelihood of another concern being present:
Vacuum leaks/unmetered air: In this type of condition, the engine may actually run lean of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio) if the PCM is not able to compensate enough to correct for the condition. This condition is typically caused by air entering the engine through an abnormal source (opening), or due to a MAF malfunction. In this situation, the volume of air entering the engine is actually greater than what the MAF is indicating to the PCM. Vacuum leaks will normally be most apparent when high manifold vacuum is present, during idle or light throttle. If Freeze Frame Data indicates that the fault occurred at idle, a check for vacuum leaks/unmetered air when the engine is cold might be the best starting point.
Examples: Loose, leaking or disconnected vacuum lines, intake manifold gaskets or O-rings, throttle body gaskets, brake booster, air inlet tube, stuck/frozen/aftermarket PCV valve, unseated engine oil dipstick, MAF reading lower than normal, etc.
Insufficient fueling: In this type of condition, the engine may actually run lean of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio) if the PCM is not able to compensate enough to correct for the condition. This condition is typically caused by a fuel delivery system concern that restricts or limits the amount of fuel being delivered to the engine. This condition will normally be most apparent when the engine is under a heavy load, when a higher volume of fuel is required. If Freeze Frame Data indicates that the fault occurred under a heavy load, a check of the fuel delivery system (checking fuel pressure with engine under a load) might be the best starting point.
Examples: Low fuel pressure (fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel leaks, restricted fuel supply lines), fuel injector concerns, etc.
Exhaust system leaks: In this type of condition, the engine may actually be running near stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio), but the exhaust gas mixture will be lean. This condition is caused by oxygen-rich air entering the exhaust system through an external source. This condition will cause the exhaust gas mixture to be lean, even though the actual combustion in the engine may not be.
Examples: Exhaust system leaks upstream or near HO2S, malfunctioning Secondary Air Injection system.
MAF concerns: If a MAF concern is suspected
MAF sensors can get contaminated from a variety of sources: dirt, oil, silicon, spider webs, potting compound from the sensor itself, etc. When a MAF sensor gets contaminated, it skews the transfer function such that the sensor over-estimates air flow at idle (causes the fuel system to go rich) and under-estimates air flow at high air flows (causes fuel system to go lean). This means Long Term Fuel Trims will learn lean (negative) corrections at idle and learn rich (positive) corrections at higher air flows.
If vehicle is driven at Wide Open Throttle (WOT) or high loads, the fuel system normally goes open loop rich to provide maximum power. If the MAF sensor is contaminated, the fuel system will actually be lean because of under-estimated air flow. During open loop fuel operation, the vehicle applies Long Term Fuel Trim corrections that have been learned during closed loop operation. These corrections are often lean corrections learned at lower air flows. This combination of under-estimated air flow and lean fuel trim corrections can result in spark knock/detonation and lack of power concerns at WOT and high loads.
One of the indicators for diagnosing this condition is barometric pressure. Barometric pressure (BARO) is inferred by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) software at part throttle and WOT (there is no actual BARO sensor on MAF-equipped vehicles, except for the 3.8L Supercharged engine). At high air flows, a contaminated MAF sensor will under-estimate air flow coming into the engine, hence the PCM infers that the vehicle is operating at a higher altitude. The BARO reading is stored in Keep Alive Memory (KAM) after it is updated. Other indicators are Long Term Fuel Trim and MAF voltage at idle.
NOTE:The following procedure may also be used to diagnose vehicles that do not have fuel system/HO2S sensor DTCs.

Lack of Power
Spark Knock/Detonation
Hesitation/Surge on Acceleration
Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) Illuminated DTCs P0171, P0172, P0174, P0175 may be stored in memory
P0171, P0174 (Fuel system lean, Bank 1 or 2)
P0172, P0175 (Fuel system rich, Bank 1 or 2)
P1130, P1131, P1132, (HO2S11 lack of switching, Bank 1)
P1150, P1151, P1152, (HO2S21 lack of switching, Bank 2)
181, 189 (Fuel system lean, Bank 1 or 2)
179, 188 (Fuel system rich, Bank 1 or 2)
171, 172, 173 (HO2S11 lack of switching, Bank 1)
175, 176, 177 (HO2S21 lack of switching, Bank 2)
184, 185 (MAF higher/lower than expected)
186, 187 (Injector pulse width higher/lower than expected)
NOTE:Do not disconnect the battery. It will erase Keep Alive Memory and reset Long Term Fuel Trim and BARO to their starting/base values. The BARO Parameter Identification Display (PID) is used for this diagnostic procedure. All OBDII applications have this PID available. There are some OBDI vehicles that do not have the BARO PID, for these vehicles omit the BARO check and refer only to steps 2, 3, and 4 in the diagnostic procedure.

Look at the BARO PID.. At sea level, BARO should read about 159 Hz (29.91 in. Hg). As a reference, Denver, Colorado at 1524 meters (5000 ft.) Altitude should be about 144 Hz (24.88 in. Hg.). Normal learned BARO variability is up to +/-6 Hz (+/-2 in. Hg.). If BARO indicates a higher altitude than you are at (7 or more Hz lower than expected), you may have MAF contamination. If available, Service Bay Diagnostic System (SBDS) has a Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor that can be used as a barometric pressure reference. Use "MAP/BARO" test under "Powertrain, " "Testers and Meters." Ignore the hookup screen. Connect GP2 to the reference MAP on the following screen.
NOTE:Remember that most weather services report a local barometric pressure that has been corrected to sea level. The BARO PID, on the other hand, reports the actual barometric pressure for the altitude the vehicle is being operated in. Local weather conditions (high and low pressure areas) will change the local barometric pressure by several inches of mercury (+/-3 Hz, +/-1 in. Hg.).

NOTE:BARO is updated only when the vehicle is at high throttle openings. Therefore, a vehicle which is driven down from a higher altitude may not have had an opportunity to update the BARO value in KAM. If you are not confident that BARO has been updated, perform three or four heavy, sustained accelerations at greater than half-throttle to allow BARO to update.

On a fully warmed up engine, look at Long Term Fuel Trim at idle, in Neutral, A/C off, (LONGFT1 and/or LONGFT2 PIDs). If it is more negative than -12%, the fuel system has learned lean corrections which may be due to the MAF sensor over-estimating air flow at idle. Note that both Banks 1 and 2 will exhibit negative corrections for 2-bank system. If only one bank of a 2-bank system has negative corrections, the MAF sensor is probably not contaminated.
On a fully warmed up engine, look at MAF voltage at idle, in Neutral, A/C off (MAF V PID). If it's 30% greater than the nominal MAF V voltage listed in the Powertrain Control/Emissions Diagnosis (PC/ED) Diagnostic Value Reference Charts for your vehicle, or greater than 1.1 volts as a rough guide, the MAF sensor is over-estimating air flow at idle.
If at least two of the previous three steps are true, proceed to disconnect the MAF sensor connector. This puts the vehicle into Failure Mode and Effects Management (FMEM). In FMEM mode, air flow is inferred by using rpm and throttle position instead of reading the MAF sensor. (In addition, the BARO value is reset to a base/unlearned value.) If the lean driveability symptoms go away, the MAF sensor is probably contaminated and should be replaced. If the lean driveability symptoms do not go away, go to the PC/ED Service Manual for the appropriate diagnostics.
NOTE:Due to increasingly stringent emission/OBDII requirements, it is possible for some vehicles with MAF sensor contamination to set fuel system DTCs and illuminate the MIL with no driveability concerns. Disconnecting the MAF on these vehicles will, therefore, produce no improvements in driveability. In these cases, if the BARO, LONGFT1, LONGFT2, and MAF V PIDs indicate that the maf is contaminated, proceed to replace the MAF sensor.

After replacing the MAF sensor, disconnect the vehicle battery (5 minutes, minimum) to reset KAM, or on newer vehicles, use the "KAM Reset" feature on the New Generation Star (NGS) Tester and verify that the lean driveability symptoms are gone.

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Monday, April 20th, 2009 AT 5:44 AM

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