Rough Idle, Strong Fuel Smell, Misfire Codes Detected - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



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Rough Idle, Strong Fuel Smell, Misfire Codes Detected

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Old 06-23-2017, 12:41 AM
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Rough Idle, Strong Fuel Smell, Misfire Codes Detected

1995 Ford Econoline 4.6L V6

Over the past week the van developed a very rough idle, strong smell of fuel and is clearly misfiring. It stutters considerably after accelerating from a stop and has a loss of power. I pulled these codes:

P0171 - SYSTEM TOO LEAN BANK 1
P0455 - EVAPORATIVE EMISSION CONTROLLER SYSTEM
P0133 - OXYGEN SENSOR CIRCUIT SLOW RESPONSE
P0301 - CYLINDER 1 MISFIRE DETECTED
P0303 - CYLINDER 3 MISFIRE DETECTED

Based on this combination of trouble codes, can anyone suggest a possible culprit? I don't know when the last time the van had any maintenance performed, but instead of throwing money at it maybe someone might see something stick out based on these codes. If the O2 sensor on bank 1 is defective, would that cause a rough idle?

Plugged/defective cat converter, plugs, wires, coils, timing chain slack, vacuum leak, bad ground, intake gasket, oxygen sensors, bad fuel?

Thanks in advance for any replies!
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Old 06-23-2017, 07:58 PM
Wildman25 Wildman25 is offline
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Don't know if you got the wrong year or the wrong engine??

'95 did not use the 4.6, they used a 4.9 (300) straight 6 .

Also the codes you pulled don't match this Link.


Check out this Link, when you find which engine your dealing with, and there are a lot of trouble shooting test on this.
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:14 AM
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@Wildman25

You're absolutely right. I'm sure I have the wrong year and engine. I'm going to get the van back to work on it this weekend and I will clarify. It is a V8, possibly the 4.6 or 5.4 and now I believe it was a 1998. Not sure where I got confused there, but I'll repost when I can find out from the van's owner. Sorry for the delay in response.

Also, I know there is a lot to trouble shooting on this beast based on the DTCs. Thanks again.
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:42 AM
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Start basic. I recommend removing the doghouse and performing a visual inspection. Look at the fuel lines, fuel rail(s), injectors for dampness or clean spots (gasoline is a solvent). Check the evaporative emission system. Look for cracks in hoses,or parts like the purge valve. Then, raise the vehicle up and check the fuel lines and fuel tank. Check the vent valve, and any hoses you can access.

If nothing is obvious, get the van to a smoke machine and use it to test the evaporative emission system. Once the system is filled use a flashlight and inspect the same areas over. If you find smoke coming from any part that is the source of your P0455 code. If I recall correctly that is a gross leak (large), and should be easy to find.

I think many of your codes may be triggered by this leak. The format of your codes tells me the van is at minimum a 1996, which is OBD II.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:42 PM
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@98Econoline150 & Wildman25

Thanks for your info. I will start with those basics listed and see where it takes me. As always when I start to work on a vehicle, I'm hoping when I open the hood, there is just a big on/off switch that is mistakenly switched off. It is never that easy!

Just for reference the van is a 1998 E-150 Club Wagon with the 4.6L V8. Sorry for posting that wrong, maybe I can edit it.

Thanks again y'all.
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:45 AM
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For what it's worth... the owner of the van said when he fills up his fuel tank, the gas pump never stops automatically and fuel spills out of the filler neck. I'm guessing the fuel is backing up into the charcoal canister, possibly causing the EVAP trouble code.

Also to note, I pulled two more codes today in addition to the 5 already present. They are:

P0300 - RANDOM MISFIRE DETECTED
P0305 - CYLINDER 5 MISFIRE

The P0305 misfire code leads me to believe the problem isn't isolated to bank 1, but also to bank 2 because cylinder 5 is misfiring. I did inspect all of the vacuum lines, fuel lines and rails. The injectors didn't show any signs of fuel leaking and the MAF, air filter and throttle body were surprising clean "looking" and I didn't not clean the MAF as I didn't have the correct spray. Re-seated all spark plug wires and visually inspected them for damage. I noticed the idle smooths out once it reaches RPMs above 2500. I didn't do a smoke test as of yet though.
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Old 07-10-2017, 01:14 AM
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It definitely sounds like a fuel related issue to me. How does it behave at idle? Does it sputter and chug? It may be running super rich.

Before proceeding definitely do a smoke test. It should help solve the gross leak. Make sure to fix any leaks. Clear the code and prove it out by driving around. If it doesn't come back, great. If it does, keep looking.

I may be getting ahead of myself, so don't jump the gun...I am thinking out loud, per se...

If a smoke test is inconclusive. It may suggest an internal evaporative emission system leak. To rule it out, check what can be manipulated with IDS. I would revisit the injectors and fuel system. Check static and dynamic fuel pressure (key off engine off, key on engine off, key on engine on, and the most important: residual). This will tell you if an injector(s) is leaking. I would want to see a power balance test. I also would want to do a self test on the injectors. Perhaps a pintle valve is not closing all the way. This will help pinpoint which cylinder(s), and it should match your codes. Another way to confirm is to remove the spark plugs and check for fuel fowling.

Injectors usually don't close completely because contamination is hanging up the pintle or the injector is worn and the pintle won't seat.

This can be tested by removing the injectors and visually inspecting the tip. Look for debris. A leak can be checked by forcing a fluid through the injector. Without a pulse width signal the injector is closed so any liquid on the tip of the injector is bad.

This is my thoughts on it. I am just one guy, so if someone else wants to chime in, great. I may not be right in the end, but I tried to explain my point of view.
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:49 AM
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@98Econoline150

At idle the misfire is noticeable with minimal engine shake, however if you step on the gas pedal just a bit and raise the RPMs to 1000 or 1500 that is when it is misbehaving the greatest. There is considerable shake and rocking of the van, but when you get the RPMs up higher is somewhat smooths out.

I will get it smoke tested, and as you stated I bet it is related to the EVAP. If that passes then we will move on to the fuel pressures and injector function.

Thanks for your reply, all of your info is useful.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:01 PM
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I look forward to reading what your findings are.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:34 PM
BunnyBlu BunnyBlu is offline
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Any news on this? I have the same issue myself, been looking for solutions
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