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john -aka eauto
john -aka eauto, The Car Guy
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 15757
Experience:  ase tech over 15 years in the field
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New problem with my 2000 Ford Taurus 3.0L 24 DOHC after having the oil pan gasket replaced

Customer Question

New problem with my 2000 Ford Taurus 3.0L 24 DOHC after having the oil pan gasket replaced. Two days after the completed repair I noticed the "check engine light" on. Had it scanned for fault codes and revealed a 171 & 173 left and right bank lean fault. Any reasonable idea as to whether or not the mechanic had anything to do with the change? The car previously was running fine. just a slight oil leak. 112,000 mi and fully maintained over the years. It has started running rough at idle and actually has died while sitting at a stop light. It is getting worse but I am not sure I want to take it back to the mechanic that did the work.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  john -aka eauto replied 5 years ago.
Hi I will do my best to answer your question fast and accurate using the info you have provided. Thanks for visiting Just Answer.
john aka eauto #1 cause for lean codes is a vacum leak..start at the air filter make sure its sealed correctly . Check for any loose connections and hoses to the motor..start there
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You are going to have to do better than that for a response before I "accept".
Expert:  john -aka eauto replied 5 years ago.

it can also be caused by a o2 snsor issue....The exhaust crossover needs to be removed to do a oil pan...I would have your mechanic verify that all o2 sensors are plugged in and that he installed the air box assembly corectly

....I know you think you're asking a simple question, but "lean" and "rich" codes have the longest possible causes list of ANY of the fault codes.

The conditions under which it is lean can be used to steer the diagnostic direction. When those codes set, there was also some "freeze frame" data that went with one of them. Now, maybe the tool being used won't show it to you, depending on the quality of the tool. But that FF data is helpful.

A lean condition at idle only, and not higher RPMs is a possible indication of a vacuum leak.

A lean condition at higher RPMs but not at idle is an indication of a fuel delivery problem like pump and filter.

A lean condition at idle that suddenly swings to a rich condition at higher RPMs is an indication of a contaminated MAF sensor.

However, it it extremely common for the plastic upper intake seals to leak vacuum. It is also very common for the IMRC shaft seals in the lower intake to leak vacuum. The upper seals aren't that big of a deal, but the IMRC shaft seals in the lower require a complete new lower intake manifold (the actual aluminum manifold) to correct.

Ford also has a reprogramming (reflash) that helps. Often, a new set of upper seals plus the reflash will "hide" the IMRC shaft seal leakage. But eventually the lower manifold gets do worn out that the reflash won't hide it and you'll need a new lower intake manifold.

That is just one common issue may not be your problem. You will need to take the vehicle to a shop that can monitor fuel trim PIDs on the scan tool. They can spray the intake seals and watch the reaction in the trim PIDs to determine any vacuum leak.

Another common issue is when someone replaces the air filter, and the plastic PCV hose pulls out of the snorkel on the back side (nearest the master cylinder)... that causes a lean code at idle due to unmetered air entering the engine.

I'd check that PCV hose first and if that is ok, take it to a shop. Also, the PCV hose that goes to the PCV valve (in front).... make sure oil hasn't gotten to the rubber part where it slides onto the intake, swollen it and causing it to leak vacuum. Those are a couple of DIY'r repairs I can think of... the rest really need a tech with proper test equipment to figure out.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am not interested in all of the "what-if" scenarios road you are trying to take me down. I am not satisfied with your response and wish to end this conversation seeking an alternative Just answer rep.