Gas Engine “Godzilla” – 8 ft Bed with Tow Package
On Tuesday July 11th, 4:05pm, my fiancé was driving down the highway not towing anything, around 80 mph heading home and the car started to decelerate on it’s own. The accelerator was floored and it still would not accelerate. The air conditioner and electrical / audio systems were still working. The Check Engine Light came on. The car was pulled over and turned off.
An attempt to turn the car on and accelerate was done 3 times and the car would only slowly roll forward. The Check engine light was on, and the AC, electrical and audio systems were working each attempt.
The fourth attempt the car turned on and was able to accelerate. The Check engine light was on, and the AC, electrical and audio systems were working.
It was brought immediately to Mac Haik Ford, with a check engine light on. They attempted to connect an ODB Reader to it but the ODB Reader would not read anything at all, as if it was not working. They did not try another reader.
They had over 21 Trucks ahead of us and told us to come back the following week. I drove the truck home and then brought it back to Mac Haik the following Week on Tuesday the 18th of July.
On Tuesday, the 18th of July I brought the car back to Mac Haik and left it with them to check it out. It sat in my Driveway for about a week and was not used.
On Thursday, the 27th of July, I was told there was no problem at all that they could duplicate except the Air Filter was dirty and should be replaced which they did.
Not knowing what happened or why, we immediately lost faith in the truck, we use it to tow horses, so we can’t have a Truck that would randomly fail to accelerate so I began to investigate before thinking of selling the truck as it can no longer be used for it’s intended purpose.
My father was/still is a Ford Technician Trainer for nearly 40 years ( now training consultant) and when I presented him with the situation, he told me they didn’t bother to do any investigation and that it was absurd. He could get the codes off the Truck and find out what happened when he is back in a week from his trip to Europe. He told me I should call Ford Direct Customer Support Direct and explain the situation and they would take it up the chain and something would be done.
I called Ford Customer Support and they told me to drive it for 20 more days and if it happens again to bring it back to a dealer and have it looked at. This was not helpful, but they did help me get the Error Codes off the Truck so I could look them up.
Two error codes stood out, one happened a month prior and went unnoticed, but another happened exactly at the time the truck would not start.
June 19th, 21:42pm – Mileage 40,291
Catalyst System Below Threshold
P0420 – Bank 1
P0430 – Bank 2
July 11th, 4:05pm – Mileage 41,431
Exhaust emission control sensors reporting correcting for an overly lean fuel condition
P2197 O2 Signal, Stuck Lean – Bank 2, Sensor 1
P2197 can cause serious internal engine damage. This code is usually a minor annoyance but can cause some expensive problems depending on the source of the failure. If it isn’t corrected soon, it can cause some significant engine damage. A lean air fuel mixture can burn valves, cause overheating, damage cylinder walls and or pistons as well as blow head gaskets. All if this can usually be avoided as long the car is not driven.
If the sensor itself has failed, the ECM will be forced into a pre-programmed failure mode that creates a rich fuel mixture. This can damage the catalytic converter and in some cases, start the catalytic converter on fire. If this possibility exists, the check engine light will flash continuously and the vehicle should not be driven.
A common emissions code seen in the field, a P0420 trouble code indicates that the catalytic converter isn’t functioning efficiently. To work at peak efficiency, the emissions or feed gases entering the catalytic converter need to be perfectly balanced and not excessively elevated.
If a month ago, the truck was erroring related to issues with the Catalytic Converter, and a month later, I am getting O2 Sensor reports, and symptoms, of a lean condition, which can cause catalytic converter damage and issues, then it makes sense why the truck would suddenly stop accelerating if it goes into a pre-programmed failure mode, or it detects the possibility of overheating, to prevent it from catching on fire.
My suspicion is that the engine is already damaged, or at minimum the O2 reader itself is faulty, but the connection of the Catalytic Converter Error code leads me to believe otherwise.
Ford Technicians say they cannot do anything unless they can duplicate the issue or Ford will consider them “idiots” if they just “throw parts” at it, but there are methods to diagnose the issue outside of waiting for it to happen again. Regardless, they did let me drive off with a possible ticking time bomb with no regard, no explanation why the issue happened, what the codes meant, what it could, be or any route of action to take in the future. But hey at least the Air Filter got changed. Just keep driving and hope it does / doesn’t happen again. We took it in immediately as the issue was occurring, but they just couldn’t look at it so what’s to say this whole “duplication” problem doesn’t happen again? After a week of sitting, everything in the engine had obviously cleared out so duplicating it would take some time if it happens again.
The Real Problem
We tow horses, we cannot have a car suddenly stop accelerating on the highway or at an intersection due to risk of the horses. Deceleration at high speeds can cause the horses to shift and fall and injure themselves, and it also put’s us at risk of collisions in traffic if it happens when we are in a bad spot.
The car also now feels dangerous to drive as there are too many unknowns and no real investigation done beyond standard diagnostics. Putting “1” and “1” together was not done with the codes when they seem extremely related.
What to do?
I am no car expert, I am just a tech guy good at research. I am frustrated with this issue and don’t know what to do.
Do we just sell the truck and hope some other sucker will buy it since we can’t get any help?
Do we just keep driving it and hope for the best? Hopefully it doesn’t catch on fire?
We really love the truck! We use it heavily! It’s performed amazing, tows great, gas mileage is…so so, but it’s an amazing truck. It is rough to be in this situation.
The Truck is only a year old! It’s got a 6 year 150,000 mile warranty, but it’s completely useless until the whole thing explodes?!
We just can’t figure out how to get anyone to take us seriously to get this issue resolved.
I will likely have to wait for my father to come back from Europe before this sees any traction, as we know in every industry, it’s about who you know not what you know.
Source Info Code: P2197
Source Info Code: P0420 / P0430
Deep Stone Crypt
Gas Engine “Godzilla” – 8 ft Bed with Tow Package On Tuesday July...