Monday, November 27, 2006

Code 181 for 1994 Ford Escort 1.9L accompanied by hesitation and cutting out.


My mother's Ford Escort would hesitate only when running at highway speeds as if the engine is running out of gas. When this happens, the engine would also stall and finally quit. It will re-start but it has no power. She had the IAC (Idle Control) valve replaced but the problem remains and she asked for my help. I plan to do a major tune up like spark plugs, wires and fuel filter. What bothers me though is when I scanned it, it has code 181 which showed cruising rich and bank 1 lean. Is this problem serious? Can I fix this myself?

ATS Adviser:

First and foremost, check first if you have a vacuum leak which can cause your engine to run lean. Next is to check the voltage readings of your oxygen sensor and see if it fluctuates (see ATS courseware). This sensor seems to be a common problem on this model especially with this code and symptom of hesitation. You can also check these:

1.) Service the mass sensor for dirty wire elements
2.) Check the fuel regulator for diaphragm fuel leakage
3.) Check pcv valve for crack that would cause vacuum leak

You should be able to do these checks by yourself if you read the ATS lessons given to you but I would concentrate your effort to check if the voltage reading of the oxygen sensor is not stuck (this will show that the sensor is defective).

ATS Tip:

A bad running oxygen sensor can disrupt your fuel mixture and would cause hesitation and loss of power.


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