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Old 11-03-2009
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Adaptive Fuel DTCs Diagnostic Techniques (P0171/P0174)

I thought this would help some of you troubleshooting P0171's and P0174's

Adaptive Fuel DTCs Diagnostic Techniques

Adaptive Fuel DTCs Diagnostic Techniques help isolate the root cause of the adaptive fuel concern. Before proceeding, attempt to verify if any driveability concerns are present.

Obtain Freeze Frame Data

Freeze Frame Data can be helpful in duplicating and diagnosing adaptive fuel concerns. This data (a snapshot of certain PID values, recorded at the time the DTC was stored in Continuous Memory) is helpful to determine how the vehicle was being driven when the fault occurred, and can be especially useful on intermittent concerns. Freeze Frame Data, in many cases, can help to isolate possible areas of concern as well as rule out others. Refer to Freeze Frame Data in this section for a more detailed description of this data.

Using the LONGFT1 and LONGFT2 (dual bank engines) PIDs

The LONGFT1/2 PIDs can be useful for diagnosing fuel trim concerns. A negative PID value indicates that fuel is being reduced to compensate for a rich condition, while a positive PID value indicates that fuel is being increased to compensate for a lean condition. It is important to know that there is a separate LONGFT value that is used for each rpm/load point of engine operation. When viewing the LONGFT1/2 PIDs, the values may change a great deal as the engine is operated at different rpm and load points. This is because the fuel system may have learned corrections for fuel delivery concerns that can change as a function of engine rpm and load. The LONGFT1/2 PIDs will display the fuel trim currently being used at that rpm and load point. Observing these changes in LONGFT1/2 can help when diagnosing fuel system concerns. For example:

A contaminated MAF sensor would result in matching LONGFT1/2 correction values that are negative at idle (reducing fuel), but positive (adding fuel) at higher rpm and loads.
LONGFT1 values that differ greatly from LONGFT2 values would rule out concerns that are common for both banks (for example, fuel pressure concerns, MAF sensor, etc. could be ruled out).
Vacuum leaks would result in large rich corrections (positive LONGFT1/2 value) at idle, but little or no correction at higher rpm and loads.
A plugged fuel filter will result in no correction at idle, but large rich corrections (positive LONGFT1/2 value) at high rpm and load.
Resetting Long Term Fuel Trims

Long term fuel trim corrections are reset by resetting the keep alive memory (KAM). Refer to Resetting The Keep Alive Memory (KAM) in this section. After making a fuel system repair, the KAM must be reset. For example, if dirty/plugged injectors cause the engine to run lean and generate rich long term corrections, replacing the injectors and not resetting the KAM will now make the engine run very rich. The rich correction will eventually be learned out during closed loop operation, but the vehicle may have poor driveability and have high CO emissions while it is learning.

P0171/P0174 System Too Lean Diagnostic Aids

Note: If the system is lean at certain conditions, then the LONGFT PID would be a positive value at those conditions, indicating that increased fuel is needed.

The ability to identify the type of lean condition causing the concern can be crucial to a correct diagnosis.

Air Measurement System:

With this condition, the engine may actually run rich or lean of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio) if the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is not able to compensate enough to correct for the condition. One possibility is that the mass of air entering the engine is actually greater than what the MAF sensor is indicating to the PCM. For example, with a contaminated MAF sensor, the engine would run lean at higher rpm because the PCM would deliver fuel for less air than is actually entering the engine.

Examples: MAF sensor measurement inaccurate (corroded connector, contamination/dirty (a contaminated MAF sensor will typically result in a rich system at low airflows (PCM will reduce fuel) and a lean system at high airflows (PCM will increase fuel), etc).

Vacuum Leaks/Unmetered Air:

With this condition, the engine may actually run lean of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio) if the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is not able to compensate enough to correct for the condition. This condition can be caused by unmetered air entering the engine, or due to a MAF malfunction. In this situation, the volume of air entering the engine is actually greater than what the MAF sensor is indicating to the PCM. Vacuum leaks will normally be most apparent when high manifold vacuum is present (for example, during idle or light throttle). If freeze frame data indicates that the fault occurred at idle, a check for vacuum leaks/unmetered air might be the best starting point.

Examples: Loose, leaking or disconnected vacuum lines, intake manifold gaskets or o-rings, throttle body gaskets, brake booster, air inlet tube, stuck/frozen/aftermarket PCV valve, unseated engine oil dipstick, etc.

Insufficient Fueling:

With this condition, the engine may actually run lean of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio) if the PCM is not able to compensate enough to correct for the condition. This condition can be caused by a fuel delivery system concern that restricts or limits the amount of fuel being delivered to the engine. This condition will normally be most apparent when the engine is under a heavy load and at high rpm, when a higher volume of fuel is required. If freeze frame data indicates that the fault occurred under a heavy load and at higher rpm, a check of the fuel delivery system (checking fuel pressure with engine under a load) might be the best starting point.

Examples: low fuel pressure (fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel leaks, restricted fuel supply lines), fuel injector concerns, etc.

Exhaust System Leaks:

In this type of condition, the engine may actually be running rich of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air / fuel ratio) because the fuel control system is adding fuel to compensate for a perceived (not actual) lean condition. This condition is caused by oxygen (air) entering the exhaust system from an external source. The HO2S will react to this exhaust leak by increasing fuel delivery. This condition will cause the exhaust gas mixture from the cylinder to be rich.

Examples: Exhaust system leaks upstream or near HO2S, poorly welded/leaking HO2S boss, malfunctioning Secondary Air Injection system, etc.

P0172/P0175 System Too Rich Diagnostic Aids

Note: If the system is rich at certain conditions, then the LONGFT PID would be a negative value at that airflow, indicating that decreased fuel is needed.

System rich concerns are usually caused by fuel system concerns, although the MAF sensor, and base engine (for example, engine oil contaminated with fuel) should also be checked.

Air Measurement System:

With this condition, the engine may actually run rich or lean of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio) if the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is not able to compensate enough to correct for the condition. One possibility is that the mass of air entering the engine is actually less than what the MAF sensor is indicating to the PCM. For example, with a contaminated MAF sensor, the engine would run rich at idle because the PCM would deliver fuel for more air than is actually entering the engine.

Examples: MAF sensor measurement inaccurate (corroded connector, contamination/dirty (a contaminated MAF sensor will typically result in a rich system at low airflows (PCM will reduce fuel) and a lean system at high airflows (PCM will increase fuel), etc.).

Fuel System:

With this condition, the engine may actually run rich of stoichiometry (14.7:1 air/fuel ratio) if the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is not able to compensate enough to correct for the condition. This situation can be caused by a fuel delivery system that is delivering excessive fuel to the engine.

Examples:

Fuel pressure regulator causes excessive fuel pressure (system rich at all airflows)(fuel pressure can be intermittent, going to pump deadhead pressure, then returning to normal after engine is turned off then restarted).
Fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose off (causes excessive fuel pressure at idle, system rich at idle airflows).
Fuel pressure regulator diaphragm ruptured (fuel leaking into intake manifold, system rich at lower airflows).
Fuel return line crimped/damaged (fuel pressure high, system rich at lower airflows).
Fuel injector leaks (injector delivers extra fuel).
EVAP canister purge valve leak (if canister is full of vapors, introduces extra fuel).
Fuel rail pressure sensor (electronic returnless fuel systems) concern causes sensor to indicate lower pressure than actual. PCM commands higher pressure to the fuel pump driver module (FPDM), causing high fuel pressure (system rich at all airflows).
Base Engine

Engine oil contaminated with fuel can contribute to a rich running engine.

Last edited by Jp7; 11-03-2009 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 11-03-2009
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Bored much?
Good write-up, the P0171/P0174 codes come up a lot. The most common causes I have seen are un-metered air and/or vacuum leaks, but of course the easier parts should be checked first, like any obvious intake leaks or vacuum hose leaks.
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Old 11-03-2009
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Ah the good ole PO174 code, oh how I don't miss you. I would like to thank you for staying off long enough for the dealership not to notice.
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Old 11-03-2009
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can I get a wha wha sticky?
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