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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6208
Experience:  ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
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I changed a 1999 ford ranger 3.0 flex fuel with a 1998 ford

Customer Question

I changed a 1999 ford ranger 3.0 flex fuel with a 1998 ford ranger 3.0 non flex fuel have a engine code for flex fuel what to do next
JA: Sometimes things that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix with a Ford. The Ford Mechanic I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Tell me a bit more about what's going on so he can help you best.
Customer: i am getting a flex fuel code however i dont have a flex fuel engine in the truck any more
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: yes
JA: Great! What have you tried so far?
Customer: i have put the injectors from the original motor in as well as kept the original computer box
JA: Is there anything else the Ford Mechanic should be aware of about your Ford?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Ford Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Did you use the original engine harness, injectors, intake manifold and sensors? The basic engine is the same, cylinder head and engine block.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
yes all but intake manifold
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
What is the actual trouble code number? Example P0401
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
p0176
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
CODE Is P0176
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
still there
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Give me a few minutes to look over the pin point test please.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Ok. The Flex Fuel sensor is mounted on the frame underneath the drivers seat just in front of the fuel tank. See below.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
do i disconnect itas this is not a flex fuel engine in the truck now
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
No, you still have the sensors, PCM (Engine Computer) and wiring harness.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
ok so if the sensor was working before the engine swap it is probably still working whats next
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Check the wiring to it and also the sensors on the engine.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
All connections good
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Are there any issues with the way the engine is running?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The engine runs good up until the code pops up then it seems to lack power
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Someone told me the computer may have to be reflashed to sync with the replacement engine
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
You will have to check the fuel in the tank. You will need a clear clean bottle with a cap. Fill the bottle up with water about 1" of water and mark the level of the water with a marker. Then fill the bottle with about 2" of fuel. Cap the bottle and shake it up and then let it settle for about 1 to 2 hours. The water will separate out of the fuel. see if the water line rises or falls after it all settles.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Really water in the fuel here we go chase the monkey around the zoo, the same fuel is in the tank that was there with the flex fuel engine but I will check
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
When the engine was removed, the battery was disconnected and the harnesses unplugged. The flex fuel sensor calibrates the amount of ethanol in the fuel, hence flex fuel, and it changes the operating strategy for the engine computer based on fuel injector pulse width, spark timing..etc. When you disconnected everything, it went back to normal. The sensor could be telling the engine computer that there is more ethanol in the fuel than there is. This test just checks the amount of ethanol, not water, in the fuel.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
OK makes sense
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Ok.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
the water line decreased
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
You have a high ethanol fuel content in your vehicle and the flex fuel module cannot adapt to it. Try some new clean fuel I the tank.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
ok will have to get back to you on the results as it is 9 PM is there a good kind of cleaner I should use with the new fuel
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
A good brand name ethanol cleaner will work. Also, remove the flex fuel sensor assembly and clean it out.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Drained the fuel re did the test there is no change in the level about equal
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Cleaned flex fuel sensor and and added CRC cleaner
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Drove 50 miles has a small piping /backfire every now and then light still on
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
And you are still getting the same code and no other codes?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes same code
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
This does not make any sense. The basic engine is the same mechanically. The fuel injectors, air intake system, intake, fuel injectors, PCM and wiring are the only difference between flex fuel and non flex fuel.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Maybe my thinking is wrong but do you think the PCM is still registering the flex fuel engine and not knowing the new engine therefore the PCM needs to be told what engine is in the truck
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Is this the original PCM from the truck?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes because the one from the 98 wouldn't run the truck so I put the original 99 in and it ran
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
The PCM needs to be programed to the vehicle for the PATS security key system to work and allow the engine to start. The days of plug and play are long gone.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes that's why the 98 would not work do I get the 99 box programed or the 98 engine in the truck now is a 98 engine
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
No, I need to do a little research on this. Can you give me the VIN# ***** I can run this past a buddy of mine in Dearborn, Michigan.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
1ftyr14v1xta64691
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Vin for the 99
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
I 'll let you know something tomorrow when I hear back from my friend.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Ok, he recommended replacing the Flex Fuel sensor. It is out of what is called calibration limits. With the replacement engine, which is the same as the one you removed, and everything swapped over to the replacement engine, the flex fuel sensor can no longer adapt properly. The base engine, long blocks between 1998 and 1999 are identical, just the sensors, harness, intake and fuel injectors are different.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So replace the flex fuel sensor even though the engine currently in the truck is not a flex fuel engine
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
The base engine is the same as the one you removed. You reinstalled the intake, fuel injectors, sensors and harness which are flex fuel. So now the engine you installed is flex fuel. The engine block and cylinder heads are identical for flex fuel and non flex fuel. So yes, replace the flex fuel sensor. It can no longer calibrate itself to allow the engine to run properly and is causing spark knock which is the pinging noise you are hearing. Basically running rich because of the flex fuel sensor.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Will try it thanks
Expert:  A. Penland replied 7 months ago.
Your welcome. Please keep me informed.

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