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1999 Ford E250 Van with multiple misfire codes stored

Customer's question: Van has misfire and lean engine codes stored.

Mechanic's answer: Inspect for vacuum leaks, suspect either bad ignition coils or worn spark plugs for the misfire codes. Need to remove the coils and spark plugs and inspect for issues. Verify fuel pressure is ok

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Resolved Question:

1999 e250, p0304, p0305, p0306 and sometimes p0174

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your E250 yourself? What have you tried so far?

I am fixing myself. I have tried nothing as of yet

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

Van was sitting for over 6 months. starts okay. misfire begins after engine is warmed up.

Mechanic's Assistant: How many miles are on the car? Is it a steady misfire? Or random?

158K. steady misfire after getting to normal operating temperature. misses so bad the whole vehicle seems like it is bouncing

Submitted: 4 months ago.
Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/7/2018
Michael
Michael, Ford Senior Master Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 670
Experience: Ford Senior Master Tech w/22 yrs exp.
Verified

Hello, my name is Michael. I will be assisting you today. Give me a moment to review your question and back right with you. If you have your VIN please send it to me.

Which engine do you have in your van? Also, when it warms up does it miss at idle or only under load?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
VIN:1FTNE24L5XHA23941, V-8 ENGINE, not sure of displacement.

Thank you for the VIN. Give me a minute to research this.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
How would I tell if it is coils or fuel injectors?Or how would I know if it is a vacuum leak?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Once it warms up, misses at idle and under load.

Fuel injectors typically miss at all times. Usually most notable at idle. They would not be affected by engine temperature. Coils/Spark plugs usually miss only under load when driving. There are times when the failure is severe enough to miss whenever.

I suspect you have an issue beyond injectors or spark plugs. Typing up more at the moment.

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With the misfire being felt at idle and on several cylinders. I suspect an issue that is affecting one bank (one side) of the engine. Cylinders 5 & 6 are on bank two, code P0174 states that bank 2 is running lean.

With the miss getting worse the hotter the engine gets I believe to have a damaged catalytic converter. The best way to tell would be to loosen the exhaust where the exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe mate together. If the converter is damaged this gives the exhaust an alternate route. If this is the issue the misfire will get better once the exhaust is loosened.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
But if it was a plugged CAT, I should have a misfire on all cylinders on bank 2.
I also have a misfire on bank 1.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Can you give me the specs for the primary and secondary side of the ignition coils?
Are there any pattern failures for this engine regarding vacuum leaks?

If it were completely clogged yes, you'd have misfires on all cylinders. It's not completely clogged because when it's cold it doesn't miss. When one bank is missing badly you can get erroneous misfire codes on the other bank. There have been common leaks in the PCV tubes, but they would affect both banks equally.

Ford does not list a measurement spec. I will open this up to another expert that may have this information

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Why would a CAT flow less when warmed up? If it was plugged or partially plugged, would not the flow be constant?
Please tell me more about the pcv tube vacuum leaks. Where would I look. can you send a diagram?
Can you point me to any aftermarket specs for the COP primary/ secondary resistance?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Very disappointed. I'm asking some very specific questions that a trained Ford Senior Master Tech should be able to answer and you give me generalities. This service is poor...
A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6,958
Experience: ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
Verified

Hello, new expert here.

I have read over your conversation with Michael. I need to know what have you done so far, parts or repairs,to repair this rough running/miss fire problem?

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HDGENE
HDGENE, Ford Senior Master/Diesel/Trans
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6,585
Experience: 28 years Auto experience, Ford ,GM, Chrysler, Asian & European
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Hello, do you still need help with this concern?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
i still need help

Ok, as for the pcv system, inspect for a vacuum leak at the pcv valve hose on the right valve cover at the valve or at the other end of the hose where it connects to the intake. The dog house should be removed to get a better look at this. That would set lean codes but typically for both banks. 3 things set lean codes, an engine vacuum leak, a loss of fuel pressure/weak fuel pump, or an issue with the mass air flow sensor. Give me a minute to see if I can pull up some coil specs for you. I am a ford SMT and should be able to help with this. Have you changed any coils or plugs or made any other repairs in an attempt to fix this?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Not yet. I want to make informed repairs. I was planning on ohming coil and then moving them around to see if misfire follows cylinders.

Ok, as the first expert explained, Ford through their pinpoint testing doesnt list resistance tests for the primary and secondary circuits of the coils. You can compare readings on a cylinder that is not exhibiting a misfire. But testing of the coils is mainly isolated to checking for battery voltage to the coil, using a noid lamp to verify you have an ignition coil driver ground pulse using a noid lamp or similar tool. How old is the fuel in the tank, you said it has sat for 6 months. A common thing to see with this mileage is a possible small coolant leak from the intake manifold gaskets or thermostat. The thermostat is right in front of cylinder 5 and 6. the number 4 cylinder is in the rear on the passenger side. The first thing I would do is inspect for a coolant leak or oil leak from the valve cover gaskets ( after inspecting the pcv hose) and see if there is any water or oil in the spark plug tubes causing the coils to short out. If this looks ok, remove the plugs and check the gap. If worn out, I would replace all the plugs and move the coils to a different cylinder. Clear the codes and see if the misfire follows the coils from cylinders 4,5 and 6. Old weak fuel can cause poor combustion and possible misfires.

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Attached is a pinpoint test ford uses for the spark plugs/ignition system. Besides what I mentioned about checking for power and ground to the coils.

If you need more help or information please let me know. If I was helpful, please use the 5 stars above to leave a positive rating.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay now this is good information. the 1st tech wanted me to open the exhaust system. Can I check the coil drivers with a test light or will I burn out the drivers if I try? I'm stranded in another city with minimal tools and I don't want to have to procure noid lights if I don't have to. Also I heard that spark plug torque is not enough on these engines. what should it be in your opinion?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
What would cause the lean condition just on bank 2 but not bank 1?

Yes you can use a test light. Check for power to all the coils, also if the vehicle sat it would not be unusual for a rodent or other animal to possibly nest in the engine and do some wiring damage. To test the coil driver(ground ) you need to hook the test light to the positive side of the battery to get it to blink when showing the ground pulsing on and off. The red light green wire is the power wire when the key is on, the other wire to the coil is the ground. A lean bank on side side can be caused by the engine misfire since it is showing 2 cylinders are not firing on that one side. When a coil doesnt fire, it doesnt burn the fuel, The oxygen sensor doesnt detect fuel, it detects oxygen. So if it isnt firing on 2 of the 4 cylinders, it sees more oxygen than normal and can set the code on the one side. There is a good possibility that there is a pending lean code for bank 1 that hasnt popped up yet. If you can look at the fuel trims via live sensor data, that will tell more in regards ***** *****

Old fuel can also cause a misfire issue. I would inspect the spark plugs and coils as I mentioned, take a fuel sample by popping off the fuel filter line and see if the gas is stale and plan on dumping out that fuel and putting fresh gas in the vehicle.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay, this is good info.
I ran on that old fuel for about 30 miles before I added 20 fresh gallons.
Do you think that could have caused some injector plugging?
I have tried one bottle of Chevron Techron and I'm thinking of trying one more.
Also can you recommend a good tool or process to check injector flow?
Like a rotunda p/n?
Are you able to send the injector troubleshooting chart like that one you just sent for the coils?
Thank you.

The way the injectors are tested on these models is via a very expensive scan tool that measures injector flow. Techron is a great fuel additive to use. But I wouldnt recommend adding more if you already have one bottle in the tank, it treats a certain amount of gallons of fuel per bottle. When does it misfire, at an idle or while driving under a heavy load/intermittently?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
When cold, it has a slight misfire. Once at normal operating temp, bad misfire at idle and under load. Misfires so badly the engine bounces like I am driving on a wheel out of static balance.
MIL does not set until I'm at Normal operating temp.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Can I have the P/n for the Rotunda injector tool anyway please?

Ok as mentioned before, a misfire at an idle is typical of an injector fault. The rotunda tool is a laptop software program called the IDS and requires the purchase of a 2000.00 hardware brick and cables along with a 650.00 a year software subscription. This is not something I see you spending over 3K to diagnose. It would be in your benefit to bring it to a dealer to do that type of testing. A shop can run a professional injector cleaner to try and clean the injectors. A misfire on cold start up is also an indicator of an injector leaking down.

Here is a link for the scan tool

https://rotunda.service-solutions.com/en-US/Pages/ItemDetail.aspx?SKU=164-R9817

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay thanks for explaining further.
Are you aware of any aftermarket service tools that would fire the injector for a known time interval while I monitor fuel pressure in the rail? I used a tool similar to this in the 80's when I was in school for automotive. I'm mostly a GM guy, I don't know a lot about Fords.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Also I heard that spark plug torque listed in the manual is not enough on these engines. The plugs can loosen and blow out. What should the torque be in your opinion?

There are a lot of aftermarket tools out there, but I have no idea which ones can test it other than the ford tools, being a ford dealer tech, that is what I know. If there is such a tool, I can tell you it will be pretty expensive. You are correct, the older heads had short spark plug threads, so care must be taken when removing and installing new plugs. If a blow out occurs you can install a heli coil repair kit. Newer cylinder heads come with a longer spark plug thread. Here is the recommended torque for the plugs.

9-20 Nm (7-14 lb-ft)
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay last things. What is the spec for fuel pressure in the rail? How long should pressure remain once the fuel pump is de-energized and is there a leak down spec? Thx.

Approximately 30 psi is the spec, 40 psi with the fuel pressure regulator vacuum line removed and plugged. When you cycle the key to on it should have pressure at the rail and hold solid for a several minutes before it dumps pressure. If it shows a slow leak down you have to dead head the pump by disconencting the fuel pressure supply line and see if the pump leaks down or not. If it holds steady, it is an injector leak. if that is the case and cleaning doesnt resolve it. You would want to probably change all 8 injectors with that mileage.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay Great. How can I request you again if I have more questions?How can I rate you?

At the top of the post is 5 stars, you click on them to leave a positive rating. If you have more questions for this problem, just respond back to this question. If you want to request me in the future, there should be an option to add me as a favorite when you rate the question.

HDGENE
HDGENE, Ford Senior Master/Diesel/Trans
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6,585
Experience: 28 years Auto experience, Ford ,GM, Chrysler, Asian & European
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HDGENE and 87 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you have a great evening!

You are welcome, Thank you and good luck!

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