Last update:

11/02/2005

  Fuel Monitor

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FUEL MONITOR

The Fuel Monitor is one of the Continuous tests and runs whenever the engine is running. It is entirely in software and monitors the system Fuel Trims.

OBD enables the software to adapt to a deterioration in the sensors and the catalysts over a period of time by utilising Long Term Fuel Trims (adjustments). These can be summarised as follows - 

bulletWhen new, the HO2S sensors and catalysts require no adjustment. The Short Term Fuel Trims are an accurate assessment of the fuelling requirement for the combustion cycle and the Long Term Fuel Trims are set to zero.
bulletAs the HO2S sensors degrade over time and the Catalysts become less efficient, the Short Term Fuel Trims are no longer accurate, so they are 'weighted' further by the Long Term Fuel Trim. This LTFT continues to adjust the original STFT using either a lesser or greater amount in order to provide good stoichometry.
bulletEventually, the Long Term Fuel Trim has not enough adjustment left to provide a good stoichometry.
bulletIf the LTFT is at maximum and the STFT is outside a set threshold, DTCs are set.

NOTE, on the OBD Vehicle Explorer software the Short Term Fuel Trim is called RTFT in the DATA page, and SHRTFT on the Enhanced Data.

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Entry Conditions
The Fuel Monitor runs all the time that the engine is running. Although the Monitor is running, in Open Loop no adjustments are made to the fuelling trims. When the Entry Conditions are met the FUEL Monitor checks that the Fuel Trims have not exceeded their limits, which would indicate a deterioration in the HO2S sensors, or perhaps an intake or fuel pressure fault.

Entry conditions are :

bulletRPM:      Idle to 4000 rpm
bulletAir Mass:    0.75 lbs to 8 lbs/min
bulletEVAP System:  Not operating during test.

 

DTCs
Lean: If the LTFT reaches Max, >25% and RTFT >5% - P0171 Bank 1 Lean: P0174 Bank 2 Lean

Rich: if the LTFT <25% and STFT <10% - P0172 Bank 1 Rich: P0175 Bank 2 Rich.

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DRIVEABILITY CONCERNS
The owner may not be aware that the Fuel Trims have reached maximum Lean or Rich. Without a MIL light on the Scorpio there may be no symptoms at all. The DTCs will only be detected by a Ford Main Dealer and WDS, or an owner equipped with Vehicle Explorer and an OBD lead, in which case he can carry out his own diagnostics.

Difficulty Starting

On occasion a fuel pressure problem may cause difficult starting. A difficult re-start (when hot or cold, after the car has been stood only for a few minutes) and LTFT is persistently negative at idle, whether or not a P0171 and/or P0174 has been recorded - then suspect the fuel pressure regulator is faulty - causing fuel rail over-pressure.

If the engine is difficult to start when cold and the LTFT is showing a consistent positive LTFT - whether or not P0172 and/or P0175 is recorded then suspect that the pressure regulator is not pressurising the fuel rail properly and the INJectors are unable to provide enough fuel.

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TROUBLESHOOTING
Because the Fuel Monitor uses adaptive strategy, causes of the Fuel DTC's can be somewhat nebulous. 

Experience has shown that the following may be contributory causes:

Slow switching and/or flatlining HO2S sensors can push up the LTFT to compensate. The HO2S sensors 11 (and 21 on 24V engines) should be monitored and checked for periods of inactivity, slow switching, or low and high voltages.

Leaks in the inlet system can admit unmetered air which leans the mixture. This will also cause a rolling/uneven idle. However, experience has shown that a very small leak in the inlet can cause uneven idle, without being enough to upset the fuel trims and without setting any DTCs. It requires a larger leak to drive the Fuel Trims high enough to set a DTC. Points to check are:

bulletVacuum pipe system, T-piece vacuum connection at rear of 24V, vacuum pipe connections to the Vacuum store on offside engine bay (particularly after engine work) or brake servo.
bulletSplit/disconnected vacuum pipes in the EVAP, VIS, EGR or Climate Control evaporator.
bulletLeak by loose/split inlet trunking, leak around MAF O-ring seal.
bulletSplit or loose Idle Air Valve bypass pipe.
bulletSplit or disconnected engine breather pipes.
bulletA faulty fuel pressure regulator can produce severe negative and positive LTFTs at idle speeds.

Minor leaks which are enough to effect idle but not enough to set DTCs have shown to be:

bulletInlet pipe O rings at nearside rear pipe join displaced or split during reassembly. Extreme care and new O-rings must be used when reassembling the metal Inlet system.
bulletSlightly loose inlet trunking to MAF. This need only be a very small leak to affect idle.
bulletLoose EGR valve assembly, or misplaced EGR valve gasket.

In general, on an engine with a smooth, steady idle an unmetered inlet leak can be ruled out as a cause of DTCs. For more information see Poor Idle

A dirty MAF sensor can mislead the PCM by detecting less air entering the system than there actually is (by up to 30%). This may push the LTFT to rich to compensate and may cause a sooty exhaust pipe.

Dirty/gummed INJectors can deliver fuel as a dribble rather than a spray, and this effects combustion efficiency. There is debate about whether this causes a shift to Rich or Lean, but dirty INJectors are undesirable in any case, so regular Injector Treatment should be included when fuelling.

Consistent Positive or Negative Fuel Trims

The Long Term Fuel Trims can also be effected by the Fuel Pressure Regulator. This should be providing petrol pressure in the fuel rail set at about 3 Bar. If the engine is difficult to start when recently run and the LTFTs are showing consistent negative trims at idle then suspect that the fuel pressure regulator is overpressurising the fuel rail. Thus too much fuel is injected and the LTFT swings to negative to try to correct this. Because the INJectors can only lean the mixture by a small amount (by shorter opening times) the LTFT swing over to negative and stays there. There can also be slow switching HO2S DTCs - this is not a failure of the HO2S sensors. The pressure regulator must be replaced.

If the engine starts poorly when cold and the LTFTs show a positive trim at idle, suspect the fuel pressure regulator is failing to maintain a proper fuel rail pressure. In this case not enough petrol is being injected into the inlet to provide a good combustion - the engine will often struggle to start and the LTFT will continue to swing to positive trims at idle.

A failing MAF sensor can also cause Fuel System DTCs. See Testing the MAF  If lean running DTCs (P0171 and or P0174) are set, (and both banks the same on a 24V) and there is a consistent very high Long Term Fuel Trim (25% is often found) then log the MAF reading carefully at idle and at higher revs. No load idle reading on the 24V should be ITRO 0.657 llbs/min - less than that and the LT fuel trims will react to compensate.  Experience has shown that a reading of 0.235 at idle is enough to provoke the LTFT to maximum without causing a DTC for a failing MAF.  If this is seen then the MAF must be replaced even though no MAF fault has been registered.

EricR

 

 

 

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