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Another P1131 code


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#1 block

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 03:08 PM

My car (1999 SE Sport - V6 with 88k miles) runs fine, but I have the dreaded P1131 error code and the NYS inspection is due in 2 months. The Ford dealer attached an analyzer to the car and test drove it. Everything seems fine (fuel trims is one thing they checked, whatever that means). I suggested the problem could be a vaccuum leak, but they could not find any, and the car is running well, so they did not think that was likely. The know it's a guess, but they suggest replacing the O2 sensor(s). But NYS is smart - they won't pass inspection if the computer has not been through all tests after a reset, so I need to fix the cause, so randomly replacing the O2 sensor won't get me an inspection sticker.

I looked at the various hoses and they look OK to me, including the PCV valve's hose and elbow (hard to see it very well though, it's a bit buried). I sprayed MAF cleaner onto the MAF the other night, which made no difference and it looked spotless to me (even before being cleaned).

I also have broken rear springs, bad struts, tie rod, wheel bearings; etc - $1500 to fix that stuff at Pep Boys (they seem to be the cheapest). But first I need to find out how to fix the P1131 fault so I know what my total bill will be (might not be worth keeping the car even though it's been a good car and I still like it - it's getting moderately rusty underneigth and some rust is starting to show).

Any suggestions on what migth be causing the error code?

I'm tempted to have Pep Boys replace the Bank 1 O2 sensor and see if the code comes back in a few days. If it does, then take it back to the Ford dealer.
Pep Boys planes to investigate the code tomorrow ($100 - more than ford charged me!), but maybe instead, as a first step, I should spend the $100 towards replacing the O2 sensor as per Ford's recommendation?

#2 SVTDEMON

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 11:39 PM

P1130, P1131, P1132 (HO2S11 lack of switching, bank 1
P1131 means the fuel system is stuck lean and the O2 sensor is not switching. This could be caused by a massive vacuum leak.
Any vacuum or air leaks can cause P1131.

Possible causes:
Water contamination in connector.
Leaking vacuum actuators.
Engine sealing (Intake and IAC).
EGR system (valve).
PCV system (hose and valve).
Unmetered air leaks between throttle body and mass air flow (MAF) sensor assembl

#3 block

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 07:13 AM

I saw these recommendations in older threads. Ford checked out vacuum leaks and fuel system..either it has too much air or not enough fuel or the O2 sensor is bad. That coveres a lot of ground/possibilities though. Only one old thread had a conclusion - one guy's PCV valve or elbow was bad, I think on the 4 banger. My hoses look good (V6) though.

I forgot to press the Ford dealer on the EGR valve...it's probably original, I have not replaced much on the car, it's been very reliable.

I'm going to drive our other car to Pep Boys now (left the Contour there) and drive it to see if I can get the CEL back on so Pep Boys can take a whack at isolating the problem. (Ford dealer reset the codes yesterday)

#4 block

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 12:47 PM

Well, this might be yet another case where no solution gets posted. Pep Boys connected an analyzer and drove it until 9 out of 10 tests completed w/o error, which is all that NYS requires. So I might never fix the light if/when if comes back on - perhaps sell the car later this year after I get some of my money's worth out of the repairs (over $1500) that I'm putting into it today.

Rear springs, struts and mounts. Both front tie rod ends, ball joints, and wheel bearings. They could not get the hubs off, so they cut them off and I think he said they have hub units with bearings for only $40 more than the bearings.

Front springs and struts are original, I asked if I should replace them, they said no, but it seems to me that much of the labor is done - they have a lot apart in front.
But I might sell it anyhow - don't want to battle the CEL again next year for inspection. Maybe I'll replace the O2 sensor (as per Ford dealer's recommendation after 2 hours if diagnosis) if I can do it myself to see if that fixes the fault.

#5 Aussie Ford

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 04:19 PM

Don't get in too much of a hurry to just do something. Things are slow around here on weekends and not a lot of folks check the site. Terry and Dom and others may have input on your problem. Many things can be the cause of that code, stealerships and shops like PEP boys are not the best source of repairs for these cars. They usually have one thing in mind..... getting into your pocket. Starting out by getting a Ford repair and maintenance CD, posting the code (s) and searching the site are your best source for solutions. Glad to see you did some looking for your answers. Dom did a post about CEL codes that has a lot of info in it. IIRC it was "does this light scare you?" or something like that. See if you can find it and check back on monday.

I too have a 99 SE Sport and it has given me good service.

Welcome to the site,

AF

#6 block

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 05:28 PM

I think I was on this site (or a similar "CEG" site) 9 or 10 years ago...didn't have any problems though, so I stopped visiting. The site made me paranoid about the water/coolent pump, but so far mine is OK.

I got the car from Pep boys just now. Luckily we had a 15% off coupon, which saved me over $260. It was $1600 total (including 10% tax) - less than Firestone and the Ford Dealer, and Pep Boys replaced a LOT more hardware. They were really good to work with, at least the guy that I got. I don't think they even charged me for the diagnostic (supposed to be $100) nor the NYS inspection.

OK they only charged me $21 for OBDII diags instead of the $100 that they quoted, and no charge for NYS inspection. I'm sure the CEL will come back on - they did nothing to fix it (but now I can drive the car another year!). They got 9 out of 10 tests to finish, which is all NYS requires (Ford dealer had reset the codes and the tests has not finished running yet, so Pep Boys connected their analyzer and drove the car until 9 tests completed).

I bought lifetime alignments at firestone, so I need to take it there tomorrow. (I also bought 4 new 80k mile Uniroyal tires for only $88 each a few days earlier at BJ's wholesale, so I don't want to ruin them). Tires might be unerinflated - feel very soft. Quite a difference riding old lady tires instead of the BF Goodrich T/A traction that I used to have on them. Hopefully they will be quiter - Contour road noise is insane, esp. with wheel bearings going so often (more noise). It's rainy and the car ios way out of alignment, but so far they seem quiet - especially with new wheel bearings.

I might still replace the O2 sensor, if I can find it and reach it myself...and if I figure out which one!

#7 block

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 08:18 PM

Some of this stuff probably was OK, but their price was really good and I've replaced wheel bearings every other year, so I was going to have both bearings replaced anyhow, as well as both tie rod ends ($40 each + labor) just to be sure.
Both wheels wiggled a lot (they showed me on the lift). All winter, I could hear the right wheel wiggling when turning at 55-65MPH. Sounded like a wheel was not on tight. I wanted to wait until Spring to replace the parts...

------------
This is what was replaced - lots of parts (and it did take them at least the quoted 6 hours, more like 8 hours):
1) Left and right ball joints,
2) Left and right tie rod ends,
3) Left and right wheel bearings. They had to cut the hubs to get them off the axle, which cost me $200. They used hubs that come with the bearings, which cost $100 more (each) than just replacing the bearings alone. I saw them cutting the hub off - not a fun job (some tool like a jackhammer, not heat type cutting). I wonder if they didn't know what they were doing - I've had wheel bearings replaced a few times and the Ford dealer never had a problem with the hubs. The contour's wheel bearings are the only part I've replaced more than on other cars.

4) Rear springs, Sensa-Trac struts, and strut mounts. Struts were leaking 5 years ago and spirngs were rusty, but it rode fine, so I let it go. But now, one spring broke and one was cracked (other shops said the same thing). He said they would try to reuse the old mounts, but I forgot to ask when I picked up the car. They charged me $46 each for them, so I better check...

5) Pep boys called me to say the front rotors broke when they banged them off. They were 5 years old and were rusted on. Not surprised - we get more snow and salt than anywhere literally - more than Buffalo every year. Pep Boys charge no labor of course to put new parts on.
I did the brake job 5 years ago and had my receipt - got the pads replaced today at Advanced auto parts store for free and dropped them off at Pep Boys. Saved me $50. (The old rotors only had 1 year warrantee)

6) I called them later - asked if rear brakes were bad and they said yes, pretty old. They were last replaced ~4 years ago (30-40k miles and lots of salt). They reduced labor by 50%, so I replaced the rear rotors and pads (mid grade pads, not cheapies) for $150, minues 15%.

My wife found a 15% coupon with no limit, so that saved us $260

#8 Aussie Ford

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 02:18 PM

You've replaced wheel bearings more than once on a Tour? If that is the case I'd suspect that someone isn't pressing them in correctly causing them to fail.

AF

#9 block

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 03:57 PM

Yes, isn't it crazy? It's the only part that has failed more than once. I had Ford replace one and it failed again w/in a year (brought it in a few days past a year actually), so they relaced it again. I repalced one of them another time, so that's 3 rpelacements, and yesterday I reolaced BOTH again. Yesterday was at Pep boys, and they used combined hub/beearing units.

We get a LOT of snow and salt (about 150 inches this year - some most nights, so that means salty water every ride to work). I wonder if moisture and salt gets into the bearings. I use 14" Enkie brand wheels and snow tires in the winter (14" are narrower - better in snow, but are te same overall height as my stock 15"). I wonder if the winter wheels let too much water+salt to get to the hub area. Aftermarket wheels have a larger center opening so they fit all cars....the factory/stock wheels have a very small gap. That's all I can think of.

I saw another thread where a guy mentioned replacing bearings - are you sure it's uncommon? My other cars usually have one fail durign their lifetime, but this car has been crazy. I figure it's my winter wheels' fault, or Ford uses cheap bearings. I assume (and hope) that my new bearings/hubs are NOT the same as Ford's!!!


PS: Even in this nasty area, my battery lasted 9.5 years (failed after I left the dome light on). Hoses, radiator fluid, radiator, starter, and altenator are all original. I replaced the plugs around 5 years ago just so they wouldn't be in there so long that they would never come back out. Firestone quoted me a price for a 4 banger - I wondered why their price was so low, so I made out well there!

I had the car rust proofed almost 10 years ago - what a joke, the bottom lip of the door started rusting after just 3 years. Rocker panels are very rusty underneigth, so I'm going to try a warantee claim. ECP Auto Armor emailed a claim form to me today....I just need to get one quote and send pictures to ECP.
The warantee lasts 10 years - until May 5th.

You've replaced wheel bearings more than once on a Tour? If that is the case I'd suspect that someone isn't pressing them in correctly causing them to fail.

AF



#10 block

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:28 AM

CEL has stayed off so far even though nothing was replaced/fixed for it. Car rides nice with the new rear suspension and the ties rods, ball joints, and wheel bearings.

#11 Aussie Ford

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:54 AM

Have you checked to see there are no stored codes?

#12 block

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:18 PM

CEL is still off. That is odd, but I think it was on for a few weeks about a year ago and went off...hmm, can't recall if I fixed it or it just went out on its own last year as well.

The car rides a lot nicer/stuffer with the new rear springs and struts and front end hardware mentioend earlier. Uniroyal touring tires are very soft riding compared to BF Goodrich T/A traction that were on it earlier, but they are a lot quieter, barely can hear them. The Contour sure lets WAY too much tire noise into the cabin - not enough sound dampening/insulation - likely to save cost and weight.

A car ends up costing $200 or more per month when you figure the cost of car and maintenance, so I only need to keep it 10 monhts to break even pon the new tires and the other stuff, plus the resale is higher with the new parts.

#13 block

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:23 PM

The CEG went on more and more often since my last post, and now it's on all the time. I assume it's P1131, so I took it to pep-boys to replace the bank 1 O2 sensor. They could not get it out! They said their tools could not get to it, the sensor is "right against the firewall". I need to find another place to take it. Dealer wants way oto much - my recollection is $377!!!

#14 jeffmknight

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 04:01 AM

The CEG went on more and more often since my last post, and now it's on all the time. I assume it's P1131, so I took it to pep-boys to replace the bank 1 O2 sensor. They could not get it out! They said their tools could not get to it, the sensor is "right against the firewall". I need to find another place to take it. Dealer wants way oto much - my recollection is $377!!!


I think your Pep Boy is being lazy on that one. They're probably trying to use their 'special' slotted O2 remover socket with a ratchet (gigantic). Plus, if your sensor is "right against the firewall", something is seriously wrong.Posted Image IIRC I removed mine with a large open-ended adjustable wrench after a good soaking with some PB Blaster... WD-40 works okay, too. This should be something you can do at home, save big $$! It should be the upper O2 sensor (closer to the motor) because the lower one just checks the catalytic effectiveness, the upper one actually does the fuel monitoring.

I would also double-check the mechanics' work. Check the connections to the upper O2 sensor for contamination and make sure they have a tight fit. Look for vacuum leaks by 'feeling around' the various vacuum hoses and elbows with the motor running, listening carefully for any change or 'hiss'. I found my leak this way, but not before spending big $$ on a new IAC and enduring months of stalling issues. If you've not had any problems with the engine stalling, however, it's probably not a vacuum leak.

My 2 cents on mechanics: their primary goal is to find the best way to get the most out of your pocket. I actually refuse to take my car into mechanics because, so far, all they've done is add more damage. The only thing I have not done at home is tires/alignment. When I do take my SVT in, I always ask if I can drive it onto the jacks to save my sideskirts (precious parts) and I babysit until the job is done. One mechanic wisely insisted I be the one to pull it in. "I'll let you break it", he said.

I hope this helps. Posted Image

#15 block

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 03:40 PM

Thanks. Do you use socket extensions and perhaps a wobbly adaptor or two?

I figured instead of spending $20 on the tool (or buying multiple O2 tools at pep boys - who knows which works best?), I'd let soemone else replace it. What a hassle. The car still runs fine (also see first post if you want - the painful details are there). But now the CEL is always on. Gas mileage is down about 1MPG, maybe 1.5MPG due to the computer making it too rich (I check every fill-up basically), but it runs fine.

Maybe I should take it to another pep-boys. At least they do what are asked to do, unlike the local shop that I called.

I called a recommended local mechanic (just the husband and wife work there) 2-3 hours ago. They did not call me back with an estimate. I think they don't want to replace the sensor w/o gouging me for the $70 diagnostic charge. I said I was perfectly fine taking the risk that the problem does not go away. It's a 10 year old sensor, and they seem to "often" fail at 100k anyhow. I'm at 93k, 1999, V6.

What if I paid the $70, they replace some other part, and the CEL is still on? It's not as though they would then replace the O2 sensor or some other part for free anyhow! They wouldn't charge me the $70 again I suppose, but I'll worry about that AFTER they replace the best bet at this point - the O2 sensor.

Ford spent a lot of time looking into vaccuum leaks and fuel pressure 6 months ago. They found nothing wrong, so they figured the only thing left is the O2 sensor. The CEL was not on all the time back then, so I let it go. Plus, the dealer wanted $377 is my recollection!

#16 jeffmknight

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 05:14 PM

Thanks. Do you use socket extensions and perhaps a wobbly adaptor or two?

I figured instead of spending $20 on the tool (or buying multiple O2 tools at pep boys - who knows which works best?), I'd let soemone else replace it. What a hassle. The car still runs fine (also see first post if you want - the painful details are there). But now the CEL is always on. Gas mileage is down about 1MPG, maybe 1.5MPG due to the computer making it too rich (I check every fill-up basically), but it runs fine.

Maybe I should take it to another pep-boys. At least they do what are asked to do, unlike the local shop that I called.

I called a recommended local mechanic (just the husband and wife work there) 2-3 hours ago. They did not call me back with an estimate. I think they don't want to replace the sensor w/o gouging me for the $70 diagnostic charge. I said I was perfectly fine taking the risk that the problem does not go away. It's a 10 year old sensor, and they seem to "often" fail at 100k anyhow. I'm at 93k, 1999, V6.

What if I paid the $70, they replace some other part, and the CEL is still on? It's not as though they would then replace the O2 sensor or some other part for free anyhow! They wouldn't charge me the $70 again I suppose, but I'll worry about that AFTER they replace the best bet at this point - the O2 sensor.

Ford spent a lot of time looking into vaccuum leaks and fuel pressure 6 months ago. They found nothing wrong, so they figured the only thing left is the O2 sensor. The CEL was not on all the time back then, so I let it go. Plus, the dealer wanted $377 is my recollection!


I read the entire topic. It sounds like a vacuum/intake leak has been ruled-out. It takes quite a leak to set off the CEL, and you'd have hesitation/stalling issues in that case. I actually still have a slight vacuum leak on my V6 but it has never thrown a CEL, just occasional unsteady idle after decel.

Did you check the electrical connection to the O2 sensor? This is critical considering the amount of snow and salt you're dealing with. The O2 circuit is extremely sensetive to the slightest contamination, and we know sodium is a conductive metal. Doing this check could save you $$ and headaches, not to mention bloody knuckles.Posted Image

Now on to the sensor itself. There's only about one to two inches between the top of the O2 sensor and the firewall, which will not allow for most ratchet/adaptor setups. If you have an open-ended adjustable wrench (aka crescent wrench) that's fairly durable, I would suggest using that after a light application of PB or WD (it won't take much oil to loosen the part because there's a squash-washer that helps absorb the oil). This is a sideward approach to the sensor and IMO is the best solution given the limited space. No need for an O2 socket or ratchet here because, once you get it loosened with the wrench, it's easier to spin it out by hand than to be swinging a ratchet around in there.

Don't throw your precious money at a mechanic to do something that's as simple as replacing a spark plug! Posted Image

Let us know what you find.

Edited by jeffmknight, 12 November 2009 - 05:22 PM.


#17 block

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 08:18 PM

Crescent wrench is an interesting idea, but of course risky - don't want to round the heads off. I fear Pep-Boys may have quit due to rounding off the heads...maybe just being paranoid, but who knows. I plan to head out to the garage tonight to determine if I can even see the O2 sensor. The two by the "cat" under the car sure would be easy, and the one near the radiator almost seems doable, but behind the engine - ouch!

#18 Aussie Ford

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 09:00 PM

Not that big of a deal I got a crows foot looking o2 sensor wrench/socket that you put the handle in on the side. That was the slickest thing to use on that rear sensor after a bit of PB Blaster.

I picked it up at Harbor Freight for cheap. I didn't see how one could use the standard o2 sensor socket on it.

AF

#19 block

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:11 PM

I was a bit shocked when I picked the car up and they said they could not get it off, amd it was at 7pm after working all day, so it's hard to recall who said what, but one of them mentioned crow's foot. Not sure if they said they tried it on my car though, or another car. I could swear threads on here said either type of O2 tool would work, but I don't see how you could get a long socket on it if it's that tight.

#20 jeffmknight

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:12 PM

Crescent wrench is an interesting idea, but of course risky - don't want to round the heads off. I fear Pep-Boys may have quit due to rounding off the heads...maybe just being paranoid, but who knows. I plan to head out to the garage tonight to determine if I can even see the O2 sensor. The two by the "cat" under the car sure would be easy, and the one near the radiator almost seems doable, but behind the engine - ouch!


Yeah ouch is right! I can see mine from above but reaching it this way is not an option unless you want suicide by slit-wrists. There's a lot more room to maneuver from underneath the car. Once the PB has been allowed to soak (the longer the better, 30 minutes or more) in it should crank right out, no risk of rounding. If it was already rounded, time to get the vise-grips out!

Also, my O2 socket has a hex outer at the top, making it easy to grab with a wrench if the ratchet is a no-go. I always felt like I'd be better off using a crescent, though, because the 'split-side' of the O2 socket makes me wonder about it's strength (and whether it's going to spread apart and round-off the head).. just my 2 cents.