LEAN TROUBLE CODES (P0171 or P0174)
A code P0171 or P0174 indicate the engine is running lean. This means there is too much air and/or not enough fuel. You can confirm the engine is running lean by looking at Short Term Fuel Trim (STFT) and Long Term Fuel Trim (LTFT). Normally, STFT and LTFT should be plus or minus 8 from zero. If STFT and/or LTFT are more than about +10 or higher, it indicates the engine is running LEAN. Negative numbers (-10 or more) indicates the engine is running RICH.
A lean fuel condition can be caused by:
* Low fuel pressure due to a weak pump or leaky fuel pressure regulator. (use a fuel pressure gauge to check fuel pressure at idle)
* Dirty fuel injectors. (try cleaning the injectors)
* Vacuum leaks at the intake manifold, vacuum hose connections or throttle body. (Use a vacuum gauge to check for low intake vacuum)
* Leaky EGR valve. (Check operation of EGR valve)
* Leaky PCV Valve or hose. (Check valve and hose connections)
* Dirty or defective Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF). (Try cleaning the MAF sensor wires or filament with aerosol electronics cleaner. Do NOT use anything else to clean the sensor, and do not touch the sensor wires)
A code P0171 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
- The MAF (Mass Air Flow) Sensor is dirty or faulty. Note: The use of "oiled" air filters may cause the MAF to become dirty if the filter is over-oiled. There is also an issue with some vehicles where the MAF sensors leak the silicone potting material used to protect the circuitry.
- There could be a vacuum leak downstream of the MAF sensor.
Possible solutions include:
- In the vast majority of cases, simply cleaning the MAF sensor does the trick. Consult your service manual for it's location if you need help. I find it's best to take it off and spray it with electronics cleaner or brake cleaner. Make sure you are careful not to damage the MAF sensor, and make sure it's dry before reinstalling
- Inspect all vacuum and PCV hoses, replace if necessary
- Check for a dirty fuel filter and proper fuel pressure