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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 22139
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced level certified. Factory trained with 15 years dealership experience
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Have a 97 ford explorer having the same problem that I see

Customer Question

Have a 97 ford explorer having the same problem that I see all over the internet. Check engine light keeps coming on even after having sensors replaced. Sometimes the engine temp never comes off cold and fuel mileage drops to less than 11mpg. Have spent almost a grand trying to get fixed with no improvements. Can't pass inspection so I can't renew my tags. Running out of money and need get true problem fixed instead of chasing it. Advise?
Submitted: 1 year ago via
Category: Ford
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!
If it's setting sensor fault codes after replacing them then either you have a wiring issue, the problem could be in the engine controller, or you may be getting bad replacement sensors. Aftermarket electrical parts often cause repeat issues and if you're buying aftermarket sensors they may still be causing the codes to set.
The temperature gauge not moving is most likely the coolant sensor or an open signal or sensor ground circuit.
What P codes are setting and what specifically has been replaced?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't have the codes written down from the service center but it started out with replacement of the EGR valve, then the O2 sensor then the mass airflow sensor. It runs fine but one time I will drive it and the engine temp gauge reads normal and I have normal engine performance and normal fuel usage. Sometimes the engine temp gauge never comes up at all and the engine runs a little rough and my fuel usage goes up to 10mpg. The service department is telling me now that it might be the main computer because all the sensors are working properly but it is not reading them correctly so it always thinks the engine is cold and keeps the air/fuel mixture high? I have spent almost a grand already and the problem is not fixed. The vehicle is not worth me spending too much more on. I am looking for a one time fix to resolve the problem but I might not get it. So far you have not told me anything that I have not been able to find for free on the internet chat/blog sites. I might be barking up the wrong tree but thought I would get better clear advice from a pay site?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This issue seems to be common to this vehicle of this year? Thought it might be a typical problem that someone familiar with Fords would understand verses your average service garage that works on everything? Sure hope you can help?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunately it's not possible to know exactly what is wrong with the vehicle based on a partial problem description.
Are you able to find out what codes are setting and let me know? It's possible that the PCM could be failing but it could also be a wiring issue. If a reference voltage circuit is shorting to power or ground or the sensor ground circuit is going down it will affect multiple sensors.
If the problem correlates to the temperature gauge working or not working then it definitely involves at least the coolant temperature sensor. It's running poorly and getting poor mileage because the coolant temperature signal is missing or inaccurately cold.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will try to get to an Auto Zone or borrow a code reader from a friend and get back to you tomorrow?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.
Sounds great!