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CAM sensor ?? Or something worse? -SOLVED

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  #16  
Old 08-24-2017, 12:51 PM
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:16 PM
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  #18  
Old 08-24-2017, 08:33 PM
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OK. So, I worked on it yesterday. I went to remove the sensor, and the bolt was a little loose. I tried to tighten it; which it started to do a little, until it got real loose again.

STRIPPED BOLT, or not.......
Even worse, the bolt came out with pieces of thread attached to it. Soooooo, that means I stripped the hole in the aluminum front cover. OOhhhhh crap. That's bad.

I went in to search on the computer, and found a few threads scattered across the internet. Then I came up with the perfect fix. 9mmx 1.25

Here I was, thinking I had just easily and brilliantly solved my problem. I went to the local specialty hardware place. and asked for 9mmx1.25 tap and bolt. The guy looked at me like I had 2 heads. He had the tap. He had a die. He had brass nuts ( the threaded metallic hardware item ). He did NOT have 9mm bolts, and stated that no one anywhere had them. They essentially don't exist. W....T.....F????????? Seriously?

So, I went with plan B. 8mmx1.25 set screw ( because it has an allen key in the end vs a stud or threaded rod) and a nut. I read online that most people with this problem discovered a few more good clean threads at the bottom of the hole, which the short stock bolt had never touched. So, I plan to do that, and JB weld the stud in place.

But, I am jumping ahead a bit now. I have NOT actually done this repair yet. I was going to do it tonight when I got home from work, so the JB Weld could set overnight. But, I decided not to mess with it for now. I managed to get it back together yesterday, by wrapping a thin paper clip around the bolt and shoving it in the hole with a ton of blue locktite. I was able to get the bolt to tighten up enough.

I drove the truck last night, to the bolt store, and to the dealer for a new cam sensor. ( about 35 miles total), as well as to and from work today ( about 40 miles each way, mostly highway). The truck did not stumble even once. I think maybe the bolt being loose allowed the sensor to move around, as I was on some really rough roads the other day when it started getting bad. I have some more semi-local travelling to do tomorrow. I have several loads of scrap to run. So, I will see what happens. If the truck "behaves", then I will just leave it alone, at least for this weekend, and chalk it up to the loose bolt. If it gives me any problems, then I will change the sensor and install the new stud, before I go on my long trip on Saturday. If I don't change it before, I will bring the new sensor and repair parts with me, just in case.
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  #19  
Old 08-24-2017, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by carguy3j View Post
I read online that most people with this problem discovered a few more good clean threads at the bottom of the hole, which the short stock bolt had never touched. So, I plan to do that
Pete "Duck Fan" read the same thing recently and suggested I do that for my wife's Ex, since I too have had trouble with the CPS threaded bolt hole.

I measured the depth of the retaining bolt hole and got the closest matching bolt length I could find, which turned out to be a smidge longer than the hole depth, so I used a couple of washers to make sure I didn't puncture the front cover when reinstalling the CPS with the longer bolt.

So far it's working perfectly.

Stewart
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  #20  
Old 08-25-2017, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Stewart_H View Post
Pete "Duck Fan" read the same thing recently and suggested I do that for my wife's Ex, since I too have had trouble with the CPS threaded bolt hole.

I measured the depth of the retaining bolt hole and got the closest matching bolt length I could find, which turned out to be a smidge longer than the hole depth, so I used a couple of washers to make sure I didn't puncture the front cover when reinstalling the CPS with the longer bolt.

So far it's working perfectly.

Stewart
Do you recall exactly what the depth of the hole measured? It would help in determining which length stud to use, to hopefully avoid having to trim it.


-----------------
Well, so far so good. I have driven several hundred miles over the last 2 days, at both sustained highway speeds and stop and go traffic. Everything should have been fully heat soaked several times.
The truck has not stumbled or stuttered at all. So, I'm going to leave it alone for now. I have the new sensor, and stud. So next time it needs a sensor I'm prepared.

I'm going to assume the problem was from the sensor moving around with the loose bolt, and/or something on the connectors, as I also hosed down the receptacle on the sensor and the plug in the harness with brake cleaner, in case it got contaminated with di-eletric grease or something.
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  #21  
Old 08-26-2017, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by carguy3j View Post
Do you recall exactly what the depth of the hole measured?
Sorry carguy, I literally took a sharpie, made a mark on a metal probe (I think I used a ten penny nail) and used that as my measuring stick to compare to the replacement bolt.

Really precise and scientific of me I know. Not much help unfortunately.

Stewart
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  #22  
Old 08-27-2017, 10:02 AM
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Angry

and 3......2......1....... FAIL!!!!!!

Well, about 80 miles into my 100 mile trip yesterday, it did the same thing again. Stuttering/shut off, gradually increasing in frequency, until full shut down, with no restart. ( no tach signal while cranking). Left me stuck on the side of the parkway for about 5 minutes, until it decided to restart.

2 things I noticed, if anybody can decode the clues. When it is a no restart mode, there is no tach signal while cranking. But I l also notice 1.) the fuel pump doesn't activate with key on and 2.) the WTS light blinks real quick at key on, but instantly goes back out. As soon as it gets over its little temper tantrum, pump comes back on like normal with key on, and the WTS again resumes normal operation.

Does the pcm need to see feedback from the CMP at key on ( not cranking) in order to activate the fuel pump and WTS timer/light?

This appears to be a "time of operation" and/or heat soak ( not overheating, just everything be fully as hot) situation, as the problem begins after extended driving, and gradually goes away after partial cool down. As an example, yesterday, when I arrived at my grandmother's, the truck would act normal and re-start ,maybe 1 out of 5 key-on cycles. After letting it cool off for about 30 minutes with the hood up, it acted like nothing was wrong, and behaved normally for 2 short local trips to the store.

I've also noticed, that it seems to only "hiccup" around 2k rpm or higher.

I do NOT believe it is the ignition switch, as someone mentioned, because the radio does not power cycle when the truck stutters. If the ignition switch were turning on/off, then it would also reset the radio. It is an aftermarket radio, and with even the slightest of power loss, it has to "boot" and takes about 5 seconds to come back, so I would notice it.

I don't think it has anything to do with the chip or its connection to the PCM. Again, I did not see the LED on the switcher blink during the hiccup, and it is lit even when the truck will not start. As far as the chip coming loose, not likely. When I last had it out, to put new tunes on it, when I did the injectors, I used copious amounts of duct tape to hold the chip firmly in its slot. Further, my plastic pcm case is only partially trimmed, such that with it on, the chip has no where to go.

Last night, I installed the new sensor, and the JB Welded stud, to replace the bolt. I am letting the JB cure, until about noon, then I will tighten down the nut, plug the new sensor in and hope for the best. I have to drive another 50+ miles south, and back today, so hopefully that fixed it?
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  #23  
Old 08-30-2017, 10:26 PM
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Got the new sensor and stud in. That part went well. However, it did not fix the running issue. Like clockwork, it start to show up after driving about 30 miles or so. Starts out with a few stutters, then keeps getting worse until the truck just shuts off and won't start until it sits for a while.
I was able to get it to start sooner by hosing down the IPR with brake cleaner ( instant chill). However since everything around it is still heat soaked, it only buys a little time. The longer the truck sits and cools down, the longer it will run on re-start. On my way home Monday, it left me stuck about 80 miles into my trip ( I had made several stops along the way, and left the hood up for cool down ( as well as spraying it). I ended up sitting at a service area on the hoghway for over an hour, and I doused it with 2 cans of brake cleaner. That just barely got me home, as it died again at the traffic light around the block from home.

So, my best guess is an IPR solenoid that is shorting internally when hot ( got a whole bunch of weird codes).

Today I replaced the IPR with a new motorcraft. I have the shredded hands to prove it.
Fingers crossed......
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  #24  
Old 09-01-2017, 10:57 AM
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And.... the saga continues.

While the new OEM IPR did seem to make the truck run a little better ( idle smoother, etc..) vs the 2 yr old aftermarket one I took out, it did NOT fix the problem.

The truck ran great on my way to work in the morning ( yesterday). On the way home ( its about a 35 mile drive) the truck started the exact same thing again, at about the 30 mile mark.

Again, exact same pattern. It starts with a stumble/stutter or 2, and then keeps going. Each time I have to lift off the throttle to get it to respond again. The dash is still receiving power, as the speedo, etc... still work. Again, as before, the symptoms would quickly become more frequent and more "violent", until the truck just shuts off and won't re-start for several minutes, and after numerous key cycles. If I see the WTS light come one for more then a brief blink, then I know its ready to re-start.

This time, it also made a scary "pop" at one point ( while not running) and blew some blueish/white smoke out the tailpipe briefly. Once it re-started, it seemed to be ok, but that noise and smoke really worried me.

The other NEW symptom is that on the way home yesterday, at the beginning of the trip, the coolant temp gauge on the dash was freaking out at one point. It would bounce from cold to full hot, and somewhere in between, several times. Once I was certain the truck wasn't actually overheating, I ignored it. Eventually it settled down and read like normal.

So, whatever this is, it only shows itself after about 30 miles of highway driving. In other words, after everything is fully heated up. I don' think it is triggered by vibration or bumps, as it has happened on smooth roads as well as bumpy, and it has NOT happened on some very bumpy roads earlier in the drive cycle.

cam sensor and IPR are new Motorcraft. ICP sensor is Motorcraft, changed within the last 6 months.

What else could be triggered by heat/run time causing this? It seems like an intermittent short, but wouldn't that likely be set off by vibration/road bumps moving things, and therefor appearing at random intervals and not just consistently after sustained driving? I'm tempted to just bite the bullet and buy a new engine harness, rather then digging through and attempting to repair a 17 year old greasy well baked mess. BUT, I want to know its a reasonably likely cause first. I'll spend then money if the problem is in the harness, but I'd rather not waste another $500 for nothing.

I REALLY need to get this figured out, as this is my only transportation and I can't afford to be without a vehicle. I can't just take it somewhere, as there are no good 7.3L mechanics around here; plus I can't be without the truck for days.

I just bought an OBDlink MX and Torque Pro. What should I monitor and log, to help diagnose this issue?
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  #25  
Old 09-01-2017, 12:00 PM
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Without reading back into the thread too much, I have been loosely following your issue.

Have you checked the major ground points, PCM connection bolt, 42 pin connector, UVCH outside the cover plug conditions. I agree with you that the problem is related to heat soak and perhaps the IPR was masking the true problem that still persists.
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  #26  
Old 09-01-2017, 12:15 PM
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Without reading back into the thread too much, I have been loosely following your issue.

Have you checked the major ground points, PCM connection bolt, 42 pin connector, UVCH outside the cover plug conditions. I agree with you that the problem is related to heat soak and perhaps the IPR was masking the true problem that still persists.
Well, post # 24 pretty much sums it all up anyway. Symptoms haven't changed despite new cam sensor and new IPR valve.

I can't say I've checked ALL the ground points, since I don't know where they all are. But, I can say that several are intact and attached. I don't think its a loose ground wire. It could be a hot wire somewhere shorting to ground, but where?

I can try checking the PCM bolt, but again, I don't see how that would be a drive time/heat related problem. Its either tight or its not. If its not, then I would expect it to be triggered by bumps vibration and be a more random failure pattern.

Ahh, the 42 pin..... Well I can't actually check anything with that, or ohm out the harness from there. The bolt or its threaded female end is stripped. It just spins and neither loosens or tightens. But, I could not get the 42 pin connector apart to save my life last time I tried, so I think its still firmly attached. I wish it wasn't, so I could just replace the harness, with the 42 pin connector. I haven't quite figured out how to deal with that without breaking the body side of the connection ( which I REALLY don't want to do- Engine harness can be ought. I don' think the body side one is available). So, I don't want to touch it until I get this figured out, and have a replacement on hand. But again, seems like if it WERE loose, it would more likely be triggered by vibration then heat, although that particular connection does see a lot of heat.

UVCH and pigtail needs to be changed on the passenger side, eventually. I broke the clips on both the engine side and the valve cover side last time I played with it. Again, this is part of why I'm leaning towards just putting a new complete harness in- eliminates 17 yrs of repairs and splices. BUT, I've checked them frequently and they are still firmly inserted where they belong. Also, if that were the problem, I would expect the truck would stay running, just really badly on something less then all 8 cylinders. It would run like crap but it should still run.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:23 PM
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In regards to the major grounds, I was saying the engine block grounds and fender grounds which I would include as the major ground points.

As for the PCM bolt, it was a suggestion based on the fact that it takes a few seconds and it could be loose and with heat soak might be changing how well it is holding the contacts together.

As for the 42 pin, I think there is a bolt in the middle of that as well holding it together firmly, but you addressed that. There is also the point underneath the wires on top of the valve cover that has been known to cause gremlins.

My thinking of the heat soak bolts is a bit in relation to the injector hold down bolts working loose when they are hot, but I could be wrong.

Just trying to help a fellow FTE'r out with a few brainstorming ideas. Good luck with your search for the problem with your truck.
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carguy3j View Post
Again, exact same pattern. It starts with a stumble/stutter or 2, and then keeps going. Each time I have to lift off the throttle to get it to respond again. The dash is still receiving power, as the speedo, etc... still work. If I see the WTS light come one for more then a brief blink, then I know its ready to re-start.
Once again the PCM is loosing power and rebooting, see my post #7 above. Your description of needing to lift off the throttle to get it to respond also verifies it. Dash and PCM receive power from different sources.

Quick question, have you removed the chip yet to verify it's not the issue? Yes, chips generate heat and can fail. It's best to put the truck back to stock configuration when troubleshooting these gremlins. It might be something really simple such as a flaky PCM relay, you can swap it with another relay to verify.

The coolant gauge symptom might be a clue but never heard of that one. You might want to just unplug the sensor to take it out of the equation.

All the suggestions are labor only, yours and cost nothing but your time.
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  #29  
Old 09-01-2017, 03:24 PM
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Once again the PCM is loosing power and rebooting, see my post #7 above. Your description of needing to lift off the throttle to get it to respond also verifies it. Dash and PCM receive power from different sources.
But the pcm has power even when it won't restart, because the chip/switch has power and is lit up. If the PCM did not have power, the chip and switcher LED would be dead.

Quote:
Quick question, have you removed the chip yet to verify it's not the issue? Yes, chips generate heat and can fail. It's best to put the truck back to stock configuration when troubleshooting these gremlins. It might be something really simple such as a flaky PCM relay, you can swap it with another relay to verify.

The coolant gauge symptom might be a clue but never heard of that one. You might want to just unplug the sensor to take it out of the equation.

All the suggestions are labor only, yours and cost nothing but your time.
I am being stubborn and resisting the call to pull the chip, because it is not as easy for me, as some other people.
I have the S&B intake, which is a pain to remove and re-install, for access to the PCM bolt. Additionally, my plastic PCM case is only minimally trimmed, such that the chip can not be removed without completely unbolting the pcm support bracket, etc.. from the body. In turn, I have to unbolt and fight with the clutch pedal and e-brake pedal assembly. Its a process. An aggravating time consuming one.

I also called Dp this morning, and they don't think it sounds like a chip failure; although they also suggested pulling it.

The PCM relay sounds like a plausible possibility. Where exactly is that one, and does anyone have a part#? As long as its not stupid expensive, I'll just replace it, rather then messing around with swapping it for something else.
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:59 PM
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I just went on a test run, and to run errands. Sure enough, after about 30 minutes of run time, it did it again. This time I had Torque Pro running. I just slapped together a quick setup, and I'm sure I didn't really get it configured 100%, but I got enough to see that it wasn't really useful in finding this problem. The only things that may be a clue is that the tach was not readable by TP at first, but later was after I sprayed the pcm with freon. Also, when the truck is a no start, TP gauges freeze, and it has no PCM connection.

So, I JUST barely coasted into the auto parts store parking lot. I swapped the blower and pcm relay, and ran the truck at high idle. No change. The blower works fine, and the truck still stalls.

I jiggled all the under dash wires I could get my hands on. Nothing triggered the stall. It just happens.

Once it got to a no start condition, I tried unplugging the ICP sensor. No change, still no start.

I did notice that the pcm is very warm. I wouldn't call it hot, as it is not uncomfortable or burn the skin level. But, definitely much warmer then anything else around it. No, I did not have the heat on.
So, I went inside the store. They did not carry any "canned air", so I got the idea to use R134 and an open nozzle. So I bought a can of straight refrigerant with no oil in it.
I sprayed the pcm case until it was cold.

The truck started right up and drove fine until I got home; at which point the pcm was getting warm again.

So, does this point to a bad PCM? Is it not normal for the PCM to be warm after running for a while?

Its supposed to rain here the next couple of days. If it does not, then I will pull the chip and go on a test drive.
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