Checking and Adjusting TPS


Oct 8, 2009
I am needing to check my TPS to make sure it is in range. I am getting ready to go to get a multi meter. I seen on here where somone had a list on how to check it. This may be a dumb question can I check the voltage through the wire with the coating on it? I seen somewhere about using saftey pins!? THanks guys.
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15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
If you have a code, you probably want to check the TPS. Otherwise, it should be ok.

No year of vehicle is given. Generically speaking, green is the output, Blk is ground, and Or is VREF.

You can use a safety pin (that's Jrichker's idea), piercing leads, etc to get through the insulation.


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Mar 10, 2000
TPS setting and troubleshooting

Revised 06-Oct-2010 to add open computer signal ground information.

Setting the TPS:
You'll need a good Digital Voltmeter (DVM) to do the job. Set the TPS voltage at .5- 1.1 range. Because of the variables involved with the tolerances of both computer and DVM, I would shoot for somewhere between .6 and 1.0 volts. Unless you have a Fluke or other high grade DVM, the second digit past the decimal point on cheap DVM’s is probably fantasy.

Since the computer zeros out the TPS voltage every time it powers up, playing with the settings isn't an effective aid to performance or drivability. The main purpose of checking the TPS is to make sure it isn't way out of range and causing problems.

Wire colors & functions:
Orange/white = 5 volt VREF from the computer
Dark Green/lt green = TPS output to computer
Black/white = Signal ground from computer

The Orange/White wire is the VREF 5 volts from the computer. You use the Dark Green/Lt green wire (TPS signal) and the Black/White wire (TPS ground) to set the TPS. Use a pair of safety pins to probe the TPS connector from the rear of the connector. You may find it a little difficult to make a good connection, but keep trying. Put the safety pins in the Dark Green/Lt green wire and Black/White wire. Make sure the ignition switch is in the Run position but the engine isn't running.

When you installed the sensor make sure you place it on the peg right and then tighten it down properly. Loosen the back screw a tiny bit so the sensor can pivot and loosen the front screw enough so you can move it just a little in very small increments. I wouldn’t try to adjust it using marks.

A.) Always adjust the TPS and Idle with the engine at operating temp. Dive it around for a bit if you can and get it nice and warm.

B.) When you probe the leads of the TPS, do not use an engine ground, put the ground probe into the lead of the TPS. You should be connecting both meter probes to the TPS and not one to the TPS and the other to ground.

C.) Always reset the computer whenever you adjust the TPS or clean/change any sensors. I just pull the battery lead for 10 minutes.

D.) The key is to check the TPS voltage whenever the idle screw is changed.

TPS testing:
Most of the time a failed TPS will set code 23 or 63, but not always. Use either an analog meter or a DVM with an analog bar graph and connect the leads as instructed above. Turn the ignition switch to the Run position, but do not start the engine. Note the voltage with the throttle closed. Slowly open the throttle and watch the voltage increase smoothly, slowly close the throttle and watch the voltage decrease smoothly. If the voltage jumps around and isn’t smooth, the TPS has some worn places in the resistor element. When the throttle is closed, make sure that the voltage is the same as what it was when you started. If it varies more than 10%, the TPS is suspect of being worn in the idle range of its travel. It should go from base voltage at idle to somewhere near 4.6-4.8 volts at WOT

TPS Troubleshooting:
The TPS sensor is a variable resistor like the volume control on most cheap radios. We have all heard them make scratchy noises as you turn them up or down. The resistor element can wear and cause a drop out spot in the output voltage. This confuses the computer because it expects to see a steady TPS voltage increase as the Throttle opens up.

TPS troubleshooting steps:
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. More than 1.5 Ohm means you either have wiring problems or a open signal ground inside the computer. An open signal ground inside the computer will disable the TPS, EGR, ACT, ECT and MAP/Baro sensors. That will cause performance and drivability problems.

See Computer issue? - Mustang Forums at StangNet for more help on fixing the computer innards.

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.


Put lubricant all over the balls
Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
Really need to sticky a tps thread or something.

As long as you are within 0.5v and 1.1v at idle you are fine. No need to adjust anything. The computer takes idle voltage at startup, applies a 0 reference and dictates wide open throttle at 2.71v above that initial startup voltage.

This whole set to 0.98v thing is bs.

If you are outside that idle range, you get a code. I think it's code 63. Run the codes, no tps on


Oct 8, 2009
Sorry should of put what year and issue. Its a '89. I adjust the idle reset the computer and it runs great for a week or so then i start getting sticking idle its the IAC becuase when I unplug it its fine. It a rather new IAC. But if I unplug the IAC check the base idle its perfect. Reset the computer. and for over a week or so it runs great then randomly after I start it and give it some gas it goes to like 2K and sticks reset the computer and it quits. I have never checked the TPS thats why I was asking about it. I do not get any codes at all.