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I recently bought a '97 TBird with 32K original miles. Runs great except for the fact that it pings on regular 89 octane. Has anybody else had this problem? Not sure if this engine even has a knock sensor. The book says the timing is permanently set at 10 degrees, plus or minus two degrees? Do I really have to run a higher octane or ?? My other '97 with over 100K miles has never done this. Thanks, Phil
 

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I cleaned the MAF with special MAF spray, a week ago. Actually made it worse if anything. It pings BAD so I am running premium for now. It is to the point where it would cause piston damage if it hasn't already. Stopped pinging on premium though. I need to find a way to retard the timing. Maybe a computer flash?
Phil
 

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I cleaned the MAF with special MAF spray, a week ago. Actually made it worse if anything.
As in, you just sprayed cleaner through the MAF body? IMHO, the only real way to clean the sensor is to remove it from the body so that you can actually clean the sensor. I prefer the q-tip/rubbing alcohol method.

Also, I agree with Obucina, ignition timing is not the problem here.

-Rod
 

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In addition to the pinging, I also had the OBDII kick out P0171 on my last trip. I will try the Seafoam and tune up (plugs). Since I cleaned the MAF, the code hasn't come back but the pinging persists. Phil
 

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In addition to the pinging, I also had the OBDII kick out P0171 on my last trip. I will try the Seafoam and tune up (plugs). Since I cleaned the MAF, the code hasn't come back but the pinging persists. Phil

did u physically take out the maf element and clean it with that spray and a q-tip?? If not u didnt do anything by spraying it through the maf. Those 2 little diodes can get build up on them and cause problems. and like everyone else said tune up the car and sea foam it
 

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the bank 1 lean code could be related to lack of fuel pressure, think fuel filter?

and 32k on a 97 bird, i bet the car has never been run hard, maybe a large amount of piston carbon has uped the compression on the car enough to have it ping, is a wot thing or all the time deal?

im not so sold as everyone else on here that cleaning maf's solves that many issues, sure it can probably be tied into almost every driveability problem described on these forums, but its not always the answer

i can walk you threw the different systems that can pop that lean code blue bird, if you feel up to eliminating them one by one over time

p.s. im way way with rod on this one, id soak a maf in a cleaning solvant safe to the surface of the sensor or use a light non abrasive way to just clean it down, sparying pressurized liquid onto a sensative item like that potentially baised it
 

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Discussion Starter #11
did u physically take out the maf element and clean it with that spray and a q-tip?? If not u didnt do anything by spraying it through the maf. Those 2 little diodes can get build up on them and cause problems. and like everyone else said tune up the car and sea foam it
I physically took the MAF out and removed the two torx screws holding the plate over the hot wires. I then sprayed the hot wires from all directions and let it dry. The instructions on the CRC MAF cleaner tell you never to touch those hot wires, only spray. That's what I do on all of my vehicles and never had any problems.
 

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the bank 1 lean code could be related to lack of fuel pressure, think fuel filter?

and 32k on a 97 bird, i bet the car has never been run hard, maybe a large amount of piston carbon has uped the compression on the car enough to have it ping, is a wot thing or all the time deal?

Good idea. I need to try the fuel filter next. I am quite sure it is still the original one. Yes, it is a real clean '97 with just 32K on it. Got it for $3K. The lady thought the tranny was going to go so I got it cheap. All it needed was Mercon V, the old shutter problem went away totally. Not a scratch or door ding anywhere. This car is a mint SOCA car for 3K!

The car sat because the lady that had it out grew it. She actually could no longer sit behind the wheel with the seat fully back! She bought a Lincoln SUV a few years ago and hardly ever drove this car.

I am going to change the fuel filter and water inject the cylinders this weekend to blast carbon with an atomizer. I already did the intake swap, changed all rubber hoses and belts, so it should be good to go. The PO also just put on new tires and a battery. What a deal!
 

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the bank 1 lean code could be related to lack of fuel pressure, think fuel filter?

and 32k on a 97 bird, i bet the car has never been run hard, maybe a large amount of piston carbon has uped the compression on the car enough to have it ping, is a wot thing or all the time deal?

Good idea. I need to try the fuel filter next. I am quite sure it is still the original one. Yes, it is a real clean '97 with just 32K on it. Got it for $3K. The lady thought the tranny was going to go so I got it cheap. All it needed was Mercon V, the old shutter problem went away totally. Not a scratch or door ding anywhere. This car is a mint SOCA car for 3K!

The car sat because the lady that had it out grew it. She actually could no longer sit behind the wheel with the seat fully back! She bought a Lincoln SUV a few years ago and hardly ever drove this car.

I am going to change the fuel filter and water inject the cylinders this weekend to blast carbon with an atomizer. I already did the intake swap, changed all rubber hoses and belts, so it should be good to go. The PO also just put on new tires and a battery. What a deal!
I bought a '93 low mileage 5.0. Same problem. It took alot of miles to get all the varnish out. When I changed the fuel pump (was getting desparate) the filter bag held gas while laying in the pan for hours. We all lost the bets for when it would go flat. There were literally sheets of varnish sliding around the bottom of the tank and that was after 3 cans of Seafoam. Bet dollars to donuts you'll end up changing the o2's to. Great score! Just go clean her up. You are pinging due to fuel. Bet on it. My #6 injector was clogged also.

Brad
 

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302's dont hold up to siting as well as the 4.6s do, plus i think the tank is a different style, once it gets running on a regular basis, thats when alot of the quirks will clear up, for now i wouldnt go to drastic with the repairs, cars are not meant to sit, and IMO id rather drive a car often, then have one lay around and never get driven
 

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did u physically take out the maf element and clean it with that spray and a q-tip?? If not u didnt do anything by spraying it through the maf. Those 2 little diodes can get build up on them and cause problems. and like everyone else said tune up the car and sea foam it
This is the right tip...

You need a torx with a hole at the end, or a small pair of vicegrips to get it out; you cant clean but one of the elements without taking it out of the housing.

They aren't diodes; they're tungsten or platinum wires that are heated up to use as a sensor one's in the airstream, one is a reference...

They're wound around a ceramic core, which keeps them from deforming, because they're really brittle. Be careful with the q-tips, and don't use anything with ammonia in it to clean the sensor.

The oxygen sensors can also cause this, as well as clogged cats.

There is a plug in the wiring harness somewhere, to retard the timing for crappy fuel; I believe it's under the hood on the passenger's side. It looks like a gray two-pin plug, at the end of one of the bundles...Anyone else know for sure?

It kills the performance, but doesn't ping.

EDIT: I knew I saw this before:

http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?t=55766&highlight=octane+plug+96
 

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tamper proof torx is what its call, and its a TH20 your looking for
 

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I dont remember seeing the retarding plug on a 4.6 .. the one in the picture in the post is probably the ecc iv ... remove so you can set your distributer.
 

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302's dont hold up to siting as well as the 4.6s do, plus i think the tank is a different style, once it gets running on a regular basis, thats when alot of the quirks will clear up, for now i wouldnt go to drastic with the repairs, cars are not meant to sit, and IMO id rather drive a car often, then have one lay around and never get driven
Tanks are the same on the '93. Don't know about the rest. My brother has a '97 XR7 he got in 05 with 15k on it and didn't have the problems I did but did have some. He used Lucas cleaner and acetone, 2oz per tank.

Brad
 

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I would change the fuel filter, fuel injector cleaner won't hurt either. After that I would go for front O2 sensors. Keep running premium in the mean time.
 
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