Engine Explorer Intake Swap Performance Issues - Need Help!

markinms

Member
Mar 1, 2018
47
8
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65
Columbus MS
I recently did the Explorer Intake upgrade on my 87 BII 5.0L/AOD. Intake manifolds came from a 96 Explorer. I also upgraded to the Explorer 19lb injectors. Because of the difficulty changing plugs, I went from a standard spark plug to a Motocraft Platinum type (longer life) made for my model engine. I've encounter a few issues that I've been unable to solve; perhaps some of you can help.

Issue #1: Engine surges/misses at cruising speed (55-65 mph). When driving at 55 mph, 2000 rpm, engine will momentarily surge to 2500 rpm then drop back down. This is intermittent and not a constant fluctuation in RPM.

Issue #2: Engine will surge up to 1000 RPM (jump from 800 RPM to 1500 RPM) higher than idle after reaching normal operating temp. It sounds and acts exactly like it does when pulling computer codes. This is also intermittent, not a constant issue.

Testing done:
Pulled codes. KOEO is perfect, no error codes and ends with code 11 showing the ECU is ok. KOER only generates one error, code 91. I checked the 02 ground(s) and they're fine. Replaced the 02 sensors an still get a code 41.

I've followed all the testing checklists for surging at idle, won't run, surging while driving, etc.. Everything checks out ok. Great checklists by the way!

Fuel pressure is good. KOEO is 38lbs, KOER is 39lbs.

Vacuum readings are:
At 800 rpm idle: 15-16
1000 rpm: 17
2000 rpm: 17
Rev up: drops to 0 then back to 15-16

Timing is set at 12 deg BTDC

TPS is set at .99

IAC "appears" to be working fine.

I must be missing something. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Mark
 
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jrichker

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Vacuum is about right for the cam...
Is the cam installed straight up dot to dot?

Code 41 or 91. Or 43 Three digit code 172 or 176 - O2 sensor indicates system lean. Look for a vacuum leak or failing O2 sensor.

Revised 01 Sep 2019 1.) To emphasize do not attempt to measure the O2 sensor resistance. Disconnect the O2 sensor from the wiring before doing any resistance checking of the sensor to computer wiring.

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

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

Code 43 is not side specific according to the Probst Ford Fuel injection book.

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 O2 sensor. Before checking the O2 sensor circuit wiring resistance, disconnect the O2 sensor from the rest of the circuit wiring. 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.
Computer wiring harness connector, computer side.
88243.gif


Backside view of the computer wiring connector:
71316.gif



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 (RH O2 with a dark green/pink wire) and 43 (LH O2 with a dark blue/lt green 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 (RH O2 with a Gray/Lt blue wire) and 43 (LH 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.


94-95 5.0 Mustangs; note that the 94-95 uses a 4 wire O2 sensor.
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 O2 sensor harness and the Dark Green/Pink wire on the computer pin 29


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 Gray/Lt blue wire on the RH O2 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 O2 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

Check the fuel pressure – the fuel pressure is 37-41 PSI with the vacuum disconnected and the engine idling. Fuel pressure out of range can cause the 41 & 91 codes together. It will not cause a single code, only both codes together.

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. The exception is that the 94-95 uses a 4 wire O2 sensor.

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. This puts an excess amount of air in the passenger side exhaust and can set the code 41. 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.

Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 94-95 Mustangs


Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 91-93 Mass Air Mustangs


Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 88-90 Mass Air Mustangs



It is time to beg, borrow or buy a vacuum gauge to troubleshoot the problem. Most auto parts stores will rent or load one if you have a credit card.

Vacuum Gauge readings
 
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markinms

Member
Mar 1, 2018
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Columbus MS
Thanks for the extensive write-up. I'll check the 02 voltage output and recheck the vacuum reading(s).

Is the cam installed straight up dot to dot? Yes it is.

Mark
 

markinms

Member
Mar 1, 2018
47
8
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65
Columbus MS
Ran through the checklist, readings are ok. Miss/stumble is still very intermittent. For example, drove over ten miles with no issues then the missing started. Pulled over, waited a few minutes, then drove again with no issues.

Cleared codes, drove a while, then ran codes again. Still get the code 91; however, this time it also shows I have an EGR issue.

I'll post again when I have fix to report.
Mark
 

Bird76Mojo

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Jul 12, 2018
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Central Illinois
My 92 Thunderbird engine in my 87 Ranger was doing something similar and the distributor pick-up was on it's way out. The TFI module was also getting VERY hot when checked with an IR thermometer. I relocated the TFI module, switched to an SN95 style distributor, and all has been well ever since.

Also, I've bought O2 sensors before that were bad right out of the box.
 

markinms

Member
Mar 1, 2018
47
8
18
65
Columbus MS
Thanks for the heads-up on the potential TFI overheating issue. I have a relocation kit, just have not installed it yet. Will give that a bit more priority now.

Mark
 
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