Engine Help With Reading Check Engine Codes!!

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by escbsap, Oct 15, 2013.


  1. escbsap

    escbsap New Member

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    My 89 gt is due for a smog check, but, here in California, no mechanic will even hook up my car to the smog machine because the "Check Engine" light is on. So I decided to fix this issue once and for all. Acutally, the light has been on for some time, but it would come on and off, but now it stays on solid. I bought myself and inexpensive code scanner at my local autoparts store, and although the instructions seem straight forward, I am not sure I have the codes down right:confused: I have posted a link to a video I made of the scanner code output as well as a file of the codes that I wrote down. I ran the scanner 3 x's and got the same codes, I would like some help in making sure that I wrote the codes down correctly and in the proper order so that I don't attempt to repair something that's not needed. These codes were obtained with the KOEO, and I have not proceeded with any further test. Any help would be much appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    Post the codes that you got. Then do the KOER test and post those codes.

    You should have gotten a book with that reader that tells you what each of those codes is for.


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  3. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    You got some real beauties...it's a wonder that the car even runs at all.

    Code 14 - Ignition pickup (PIP) was erratic – the hall effect sensor in the distributor is failing. Bad sensor, bad wiring, dirty contacts.

    Revised 10-Dec-2012 to add PIP diagnostic testing & Wells info

    The PIP is a Hall Effect magnetic sensor that triggers the TFI and injectors. There is a shutter wheel alternately covers and uncovers a fixed magnet as it rotates. The change in the magnetic field triggers the sensor. They are often heat sensitive, increasing the failure rate as the temperature increases.

    PIP Sensor functionality, testing and replacement:
    The PIP is a Hall Effect magnetic sensor that triggers the TFI and injectors. There is a shutter wheel alternately covers and uncovers a fixed magnet as it rotates. The change in the magnetic field triggers the sensor. A failing PIP sensor will often set code 14 in the computer. They are often heat sensitive, increasing the failure rate as the temperature increases.

    Some simple checks to do before replacing the PIP sensor or distributor:
    You will need a Multimeter or DVM with good batteries: test or replace them before you get started.. You may also need some extra 16-18 gauge wire to extend the length of the meter’s test leads.
    Visual check first: look for chaffed or damaged wiring and loose connector pins in the TFI harness connector.
    Check the IDM wiring – dark green/yellow wire from the TFI module to pin 4 on the computer. There is a 22K Ohm resistor in the wiring between the TFI and the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 22,000 ohms +/- 10%.
    Check the PIP wiring - dark blue from the TFI module to pin 56 on the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 0.2-1.5 ohms.
    Check the SPOUT wiring – yellow/lt green from the TFI module to pin 36 on the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 0.2-1.5 ohms.
    Check the black/orange wire from the TFI module to pin 16 on the computer. Use an ohmmeter to measure the wire resistance from the TFI to the computer. You should see 0.2-1.5 ohms.
    Check the red/green wire; it should have a steady 12-13 volts with the ignition switch on and the engine not running.
    Check the red/blue wire; it should have a steady 12-13 volts with the ignition switch in Start and the engine not running. Watch out for the fan blades when you do this test, since the engine will be cranking.
    If you do not find any chaffed or broken wires, high resistance connections or loose pins in the wiring harness, replace the PIP sensor or the distributor.

    The PIP sensor is mounted in the bottom of the distributor under the shutter wheel. In stock Ford distributors, you have to press the gear off the distributor shaft to get access to it to replace it. Most guys just end up replacing the distributor with a reman unit for about $75 exchange

    PIP problems & diagnostic info
    Spark with the SPOUT out, but not with the SPOUT in suggests a PIP problem. The PIP signal level needs to be above 6.5 volts to trigger the computer, but only needs to be 5.75 volts to trigger the TFI module. Hence with a weak PIP signal, you could get spark but no injector pulse. You will need an oscilloscope or graphing DVM to measure the output voltage since it is not a straight DC voltage.

    See http://www.wellsmfgcorp.com/pdf/counterp_v8_i2_2004.pdf and http://www.wellsmfgcorp.com/pdf/counterp_v8_i3_2004.pdf for verification of this little detail from Wells, a manufacturer of TFI modules and ignition system products.


    MAP/BARO sensor operation and code 22

    Revised 19-Jul-2011 to add functional descriptions for MAP and BARO operation.

    On a Speed Density car, the MAP/BARO sensor is connected to the intake manifold and acts to sense the manifold pressure. Lower vacuum inside the intake manifold when combined with more throttle opening measured by the TPS means more airflow through the engine. As airflow increases, fuel flow through the injectors needs to increase to keep the air/fuel ratio where it needs to be. When manifold vacuum increases, the engine is either decelerating or idling, and it needs to reduce the fuel flow through the injectors.

    On a Mass Air car, the MAP/BARO sensor vents to open air and actually senses the barometric pressure due to changes in weather and altitude. Its purpose is to set a baseline for the computer to know the barometric pressure. As barometric pressure decreases, it leans out the fuel flow to compensate for less oxygen in the air. When the barometric pressure rises, it increases to add fuel since there is more oxygen in the air. The fuel requirements decrease as altitude increases, since the atmospheric pressure decreases.

    Disconnecting the MAP or BARO sensor will set code 22.

    Misconnecting the BARO sensor to vacuum on a Mass Air car will cause the computer to lean out the fuel mixture.

    Code 22 or 126 MAP (vacuum) or BARO signal out of range. The MAP or BARO sensor is pretty much the same sensor for both Mass Air & Speed Density cars. The main difference is where it is connected. Mass Air cars vent it to the atmosphere, while Speed Density cars connect it to the intake manifold vacuum. Its purpose is to help set a baseline for the air/fuel mixture by sensing changes in barometric pressure. The MAP or BAP sensor puts out a 5 volt square wave that changes frequency with variations in atmospheric pressure. The base is 154 HZ at 29.92" of mercury - dry sunny day at sea level, about 68-72 degrees. You need an oscilloscope or frequency meter to measure it. There a very few DVM’s with a price tag under $40 that will measure frequency, but there are some out there.

    The MAP/BARO sensor is mounted on the firewall behind the upper manifold on 86-93 Mustangs.

    Baro or MAP test using a real frequency meter - run the test key on, engine off. The noise from the ignition system will likely upset the frequency meter. I used a 10 x oscilloscope probe connected from the frequency meter to the MAP/BAP to reduce the jitter in the meter's readout. And oscilloscope is very useful if you have access to one or know of someone who does. With an oscilloscope, you can see the waveform and amplitude.

    If it is defective, your air/fuel ratio will be off and the car’s performance & emissions will suffer

    Some basic checks you can make to be sure that the sensor is getting power & ground:
    Note that all resistance tests must be done with power off. Measuring resistance with a circuit powered on will give false readings and possibly damage the meter.
    Check the resistance between the black/white wire on the MAP/BARO sensor and then the black/white wire on the EGR and the same wire on the TPS. It should be less than 1 ohm. Next check the resistance between the black/white wire and the negative battery cable. It should be less than 1.5 ohm.

    The following power on check requires you to turn the ignition switch to the Run position.
    Use a DVM to check for 5 volts on the orange/white wire. If it is missing, look for +5 volts at the orange/white wire on the TPS or EGR sensors. Use the black/white wire for the ground for the DVM.


    Code 41 or 91 Three digit code 172 or 176 - O2 sensor indicates system lean. Look for a vacuum leak or failing O2 sensor.

    Revised 29-Sep-2013 to add back in a clogged crossover tube as cause for code 41

    Code 41 is a RH side sensor, as viewed from the driver's seat.
    Code 91 is the LH side sensor, as viewed from the driver's seat.

    Code 172 is the RH side sensor, as viewed from the driver's seat.
    Code 176 is the LH side sensor, as viewed from the driver's seat.

    The computer sees a lean mixture signal coming from the O2 sensors and tries to compensate by adding more fuel. Many times the end result is an engine that runs pig rich and stinks of unburned fuel.

    The following is a Quote from Charles O. Probst, Ford fuel Injection & Electronic Engine control:
    "When the mixture is lean, the exhaust gas has oxygen, about the same amount as the ambient air. So the sensor will generate less than 400 Millivolts. Remember lean = less voltage.

    When the mixture is rich, there's less oxygen in the exhaust than in the ambient air , so voltage is generated between the two sides of the tip. The voltage is greater than 600 millivolts. Remember rich = more voltage.

    Here's a tip: the newer the sensor, the more the voltage changes, swinging from as low as 0.1 volt to as much as 0.9 volt. As an oxygen sensor ages, the voltage changes get smaller and slower - the voltage change lags behind the change in exhaust gas oxygen.

    Because the oxygen sensor generates its own voltage, never apply voltage and never measure resistance of the sensor circuit. To measure voltage signals, use an analog voltmeter with a high input impedance, at least 10 megohms. Remember, a digital voltmeter will average a changing voltage." End Quote

    Testing the O2 sensors 87-93 5.0 Mustangs
    Measuring the O2 sensor voltage at the computer will give you a good idea of how well they are working. You'll have to pull the passenger side kick panel off to gain access to the computer connector. Remove the plastic wiring cover to get to the back side of the wiring. Use a safety pin or paper clip to probe the connections from the rear.

    Disconnect the O2 sensor from the harness and use the body side O2 sensor harness as the starting point for testing. Do not measure the resistance of the O2 sensor , you may damage it. Resistance measurements for the O2 sensor harness are made with one meter lead on the O2 sensor harness and the other meter lead on the computer wire or pin for the O2 sensor.

    Backside view of the computer wiring connector:
    [​IMG]

    87-90 5.0 Mustangs:
    Computer pin 43 Dark blue/Lt green – LH O2 sensor
    Computer pin 29 Dark Green/Pink – RH O2 sensor
    The computer pins are 29 (LH O2 with a dark green/pink wire) and 43 (RH O2 with a dark blue/pink wire). Use the ground next to the computer to ground the voltmeter. The O2 sensor voltage should switch between .2-.9 volt at idle.

    91-93 5.0 Mustangs:
    Computer pin 43 Red/Black – LH O2 sensor
    Computer pin 29 Gray/Lt blue – RH O2 sensor
    The computer pins are 29 (LH O2 with a Gray/Lt blue wire) and 43 (RH O2 with a Red/Black wire). Use the ground next to the computer to ground the voltmeter. The O2 sensor voltage should switch between .2-.9 volt at idle.


    Testing the O2 sensors 94-95 5.0 Mustangs
    Measuring the O2 sensor voltage at the computer will give you a good idea of how well they are working. You'll have to pull the passenger side kick panel off to gain access to the computer connector. Remove the plastic wiring cover to get to the back side of the wiring. Use a safety pin or paper clip to probe the connections from the rear. The computer pins are 29 (LH O2 with a red/black wire) and 27 (RH O2 with a gray/lt blue wire). Use pin 32 (gray/red wire) to ground the voltmeter. The O2 sensor voltage should switch between .2-.9 volt at idle.


    Note that all resistance tests must be done with power off. Measuring resistance with a circuit powered on will give false readings and possibly damage the meter. Do not attempt to measure the resistance of the O2 sensors, it may damage them.

    Testing the O2 sensor wiring harness
    Most of the common multimeters have a resistance scale. Be sure the O2 sensors are disconnected and measure the resistance from the O2 sensor body harness to the pins on the computer. Using the Low Ohms range (usually 200 Ohms) you should see less than 1.5 Ohms.

    87-90 5.0 Mustangs:
    Computer pin 43 Dark blue/Lt green – LH O2 sensor
    Computer pin 29 Dark Green/Pink – RH O2 sensor
    Disconnect the connector from the O2 sensor and measure the resistance:
    From the Dark blue/Lt green wire in the LH O2 sensor harness and the Dark blue/Lt green wire on the computer pin 43
    From the Dark Green/Pink wire on the RH Os sensor harness and the Dark Green/Pink wire on the computer pin 43

    91-93 5.0 Mustangs:
    Computer pin 43 Red/Black – LH O2 sensor
    Computer pin 29 Gray/Lt blue – RH O2 sensor
    Disconnect the connector from the O2 sensor and measure the resistance:
    From the Red/Black wire in the LH O2 sensor harness and the Red/Black wire on the computer pin 43
    From the Dark Green/Pink Gray/Lt blue wire on the RH Os sensor harness and the Gray/Lt blue wire on the computer pin 29

    94-95 5.0 Mustangs:
    Computer pin 29 Red/Black – LH O2 sensor
    Computer pin 27 Gray/Lt blue – RH O2 sensor
    From the Red/Black wire in the LH O2 sensor harness and the Red/Black wire on the computer pin 29
    From the Dark Green/Pink Gray/Lt blue wire on the RH Os sensor harness and the Gray/Lt blue wire on the computer pin 27

    There is a connector between the body harness and the O2 sensor harness. Make sure the connectors are mated together, the contacts and wiring are not damaged and the contacts are clean and not coated with oil.

    The O2 sensor ground (orange wire with a ring terminal on it) is in the wiring harness for the fuel injection wiring. I grounded mine to one of the intake manifold bolts

    Make sure you have the proper 3 wire O2 sensors. Only the 4 cylinder cars used a 4 wire sensor, which is not compatible with the V8 wiring harness.

    Replace the O2 sensors in pairs if replacement is indicated. If one is weak or bad, the other one probably isn't far behind.

    Code 41 can also be due to carbon plugging the driver’s side Thermactor air crossover tube on the back of the engine. The tube fills up with carbon and does not pass air to the driver’s side head ports, Remove the tube and clean it out so that both sides get good airflow: this may be more difficult than it sounds. You need something like a mini rotor-rooter to do the job because of the curves in the tube. Something like the outer spiral jacket of a flexible push-pull cable may be the thing that does the trick.

    If you get only code 41 and have changed the sensor, look for vacuum leaks. This is especially true if you are having idle problems. The small plastic tubing is very brittle after many years of the heating it receives. Replace the tubing and check the PVC and the hoses connected to it.


    When you have replaced the defective parts and/or wiring, disconnect the battery for 5 minutes and turn on the headlights. This will clear the codes from the computer's memory. IT WILL NOT FIX the root cause of the codes. It will erase them and give the computer a fresh scratchpad area to write on. The engine & computer may need about 15-30 minutes of steady speed highway driving to "relearn" the proper code values with new sensors.

    I will say this: once you have fixed all the codes, the car will run better, gas mileage will improve and you chance of passing emissions testing will be much much greater.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
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  4. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    Why is this not a resource? :rolleyes:
  5. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    I keep updating the code definitions with new input I get here on Stangnet. They are forever a work in progress...
  6. Noobz347

    Noobz347 Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor Admin Dude

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    Not to sidetrack the thread here, but that's EXACTLY what it's for. You and I should talk when we can.
  7. escbsap

    escbsap New Member

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  8. escbsap

    escbsap New Member

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    The codes that you posted are the same ones that I got from my scanner. Believe me, I am ashamed that I have neglected & driven this car in the condition that it's in, so, I have decided to just go ahead and replace all the sensors based on the codes. I have already replaced both oxygen sensors, hopefully this will clear codes 41 & 91. I'm waiting for the BP sensor and the PIP sensor, both special order from my local auto parts store. Once I install these I'm hoping this will clear the two remaining codes, 22 & 14. I will post updates once I replace these 2 remaining sensors...

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