Ford F-150: Electrical Sensor Specifications

This article will cover everything you need to know about the Electrical sensors in your Ford F-150 truck.

By Pizzaman711 - October 31, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014).

Electrical sensors play a major part in how your truck runs. Newer vehicles are adding more and more sensors for multiple reasons including monitoring air flow, controlling fuel pressure, checking fluid level, etc. The one thing in common is all the sensors monitor some aspect of your vehicle, and by monitoring that aspect, you can get real-time information when something isn't right.

Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)

The MAF sensor sits usually towards the very beginning of your air intake from the outside. This sensor measures the volume of air your truck is taking in while compensating for the air density. Overtime due to the environment the sensor will get dirty and can cause some trouble codes to pop up that may not always direct you back to the MAF. Codes related to the engine running smooth or running rough can sometimes be solved by cleaning the MAF. To clean it you'll simply need to unbolt/unplug it from the air intake and wipe it off with an electronics cleaner. Since it's such a simple task I recommend cleaning it every time your clean/change your air filter.

Air Temperature Sensor

Depending on the year of your truck, this will either be integrated with the MAF or close to it on the air intake. The air temperature sensor is used by the MAF to help compensate for air density since it changes based on temperature. These generally require little to no maintenance, but if you need to clean, it simply requires wiping it with an electronics cleaner.

Brake Fluid Level Sensor

Just like its name says, this monitors your brake fluid level. It sits within the reservoir and will alert you with a light on your dash when your fluid is low. However, it is recommend that you regularly check the fluid level to make sure it never gets low as this can not only damage your braking system, but potentially cause a crash as well. There is little to no maintenance needed for this. Symptoms of malfunctioning would be low fluid light on but the reservoir is full and the brakes are working properly.

Brake Fluid Pressure Sensor

This sensor monitors the pressure in your brake lines to alert you if something is wrong. Too much pressure would be a sign of a clogged line and too little pressure would be a sign of low fluid or a leaking line. No maintenance needed for this part as there's nothing to service on it. Symptoms of a failure would include a trouble code for pressure out of range but the braking system is working fine.

Camshaft and Crankshaft Position Sensor

These two sensors are crucial to your engine running properly. The camshaft sensor is used to determine what cylinder is firing, that way the engine can synchronize the fuel injectors and the firing sequence. The crankshaft sensor is used to set the ignition timing, supply the rpm signal to the ECU, and determine the engine's speed. Both of these sensors will need to be replaced if they are faulty. Symptoms of a bad crankshaft sensor include engine backfiring or stalling, engine vibration, and ignition malfunction. Symptoms of a bad camshaft sensor include stalling at low speeds and poor acceleration.

Coolant Temperature Sensor (CTS)

The CTS is integrated into your truck's thermostat and monitors the temperature of the coolant to warn you when it's overheating. Symptoms of a bad CTS include black smoke from the exhaust, engine running rough when at normal operating temperature, and extra fuel usage.

Knock Sensor

One of the most costly sensors to replace, the knock sensor listens inside your engine for pinging or detonation. This sensor is normally located somewhere underneath components on the engine to be able to listen the best. Pinging or detonation is when the engine is burning fuel before it's supposed to which can damage your motor over time. Symptoms of a bad sensor include an audible pinging noise with no trouble code from the engine, misfiring when starting, trouble accelerating, poor fuel economy, and it also has trouble codes to detect when it isn't working properly as well.

Oil Temperature Sensor

This sensor monitors the oil temperature to alert you if it's overheating. When oil gets hot it begins to lose its lubricating properties, if it gets to hot it can cause permanent damage to the engine by not lubricating at all. Symptoms of a bad sensor would include the oil temperature gauge jumping all around or a trouble code coming and going rapidly for engine oil temperature being too high.

Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor sits in the exhaust pipe usually right past the pre-catalytic converters. By measuring how much oxygen is left un-burned in the system, the trucks computer can adjust the air/fuel ratio to maximize performance. Symptoms of a bad sensor would include lean/rich codes and poor fuel economy.

Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)

Located on the throttle body, this sensor measures both the throttle angle and the speed of movement. This information is used to adjust the timing, fuel delivery, measure engine load, etc. Symptoms of a bad sensor include a trouble code, hesitation on acceleration, and idling problems. If the sensor is bad, it will need to be replaced.

Transmission Position Sensor

Also known as the Transmission Range Sensor or Neutral Safety Switch, this sensor tells the computer what gear the transmission is in. It's very important this sensor is working properly for smooth shifting patterns as well as being able to start the vehicle as most won't start if the sensor doesn't read it being in neutral or park. The most common symptoms of this sensor when it's gone bad is electronics inside the vehicle like the power windows and radio only working in neutral or park.

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