Is your Ford F-150 bucking while you’re driving it, and you want to know what is causing it and what you can do to fix it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.
A restricted fuel flow causes bucking and hesitation of your Ford F-150. Any single or a combination of these issues can cause your F-150 to have a restricted fuel flow:
- Clogged fuel filter
- Dirty fuel injectors
- Failing fuel pump
- Problematic oxygen sensor
- Clogged EGR valve
- Failing spark plugs and/or wires
Learn more about each of these possible causes in the succeeding sections. Match the symptoms that apply to your F-150 and eliminate the rest that does not. Read on!
How clogged fuel filters can cause bucking in Ford F-150?
Fuel filters get rid of dirt, rust flakes, and other solid contaminants that make it to your fuel tank. It prevents these contaminants from reaching the fuel pump and fuel injectors and causing a bigger problem.
Diesel engine filters have the shape of a bowl. This makes it ideal for allowing water contaminants to settle at the bottom of the filter. Diesel floats on water.
Unfortunately, the fuel filter can accumulate contaminants that will eventually clog it. Fuel filter clogging will restrict the flow of fuel to the combustion engine.
A restricted fuel flow will cause the engine to hesitate and buck, especially at higher loads. This is because it cannot get the right amount of fuel that it needs. This can also make it hard to start your F-150.
Replace your fuel filter immediately once you start to experience this problem. A dirty fuel filter can cause other fuel injection parts to fail.
Additionally, dirt caught on the fuel filter can be forced through the filter by the flow of fuel if there is too much dirt on the filter. If dirt makes it through the filter, it can cause a bigger problem on the engine of your F-150.
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What are the symptoms of dirty fuel injectors?
Fuel injectors receive the correct amount of fuel from the fuel pump and spray fuel into the intake manifold. The correct ratio of air and fuel mixes in the intake manifold. The piston in the combustion chamber will compress this mix before it ignites to produce the amount of energy needed by your F-150.
However, fuel injectors can get dirty and limit the fuel flow into the engine. If you still experience the symptoms of having a dirty fuel filter even after you replace the fuel filter, then the problem might be the fuel injectors.
Another symptom that you would experience with dirty fuel injectors is the "Check Engine" light will ignite in your instrument panel or dashboard. There will be a noticeable vibration coming from the engine as it struggles to complete each cycle with insufficient fuel.
Bring your Ford F-150 to a certified mechanic to clean your fuel injectors. Most mechanics recommend fuel injector cleaning every 30,000 miles. Regular cleaning ensures that your fuel injectors will last as long as your engine's lifespan.
To prevent your fuel injectors from getting too dirty, use a bottle of fuel injector cleaner each time you bring your car for an oil change.
Techron’s Fuel Injector Cleaner from Chevron is available on Amazon. Check it out through this link.
Is my fuel pump going bad?
The fuel pump is responsible for moving fuel from the fuel tank to the fuel injectors—or to the carburetor for older F-150s. A fuel pump that is starting to go bad will no longer be able to supply the right amount of fuel and cause similar symptoms as a dirty fuel injector or clogged fuel filter.
Bring your Ford F-150 to a service center to have the fuel pump checked if you experience one or more of these symptoms:
Loud Whining Sound
You will hear a loud whining sound coming from the fuel tank if the fuel pump is starting to fail. This noise can also be present when the fuel in your fuel tank is contaminated. The normal fuel pump sound is a low droning hum.
The fuel pump pushes fuel to the engine of your F-150 in a constant stream that matches its speed. However, if the pump cannot match the fuel demand at higher speeds, then your F-150 will sputter and start to stall.
A lower fuel supply will not cause your engine to stall. However, a failing fuel pump can get too hot because it is working twice as hard. This situation can lead to engine overheating. An overheating engine can lead to stalling.
Loss Of Power
A failing fuel pump will cause your F-150 to lose power while driving up steep inclines or while carrying heavy cargo. This is similar to driving at a faster speed. Your engine needs more fuel to meet your performance demands.
You will lose power during these demanding situations if your fuel pump cannot catch up to meet the engine's needs.
It is very difficult to start an engine with a fuel pump that cannot supply a consistent fuel stream. Without the help of a working fuel pump, the combustion chamber will not receive the right amount of fuel to start your F-150.
What are the signs of a bad oxygen sensor?
The oxygen sensor monitors the amount of unburned oxygen at the exhaust. It sends the information to the Electronic Control Unit (or ECU), and the ECU will compute how much fuel is getting to the combustion chamber.
If too much fuel gets into the combustion chamber, then no oxygen will be left in the exhaust. With too little fuel going to the combustion chamber, then there will be too much oxygen left in the exhaust.
If the oxygen sensor is starting to fail, the "Check Engine" light will turn on. Your engine will start bucking because the ratio between the air and fuel is not optimized since the oxygen sensor is not feeding the right information.
Bring your Ford F-150 to a service center to check the oxygen sensor and replace it as needed.
What are the symptoms of a clogged EGR valve?
The EGR valve—or the Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve—is responsible for cooling exhaust gases to prevent nitrogen oxides from forming. The EGR valve is closed at low RPMs and starts to open as the RPM rises. Since nitrogen oxides only form at high temperatures, the EGR valve closes when your engine is not operating at a high temperature.
A failing EGR valve can stay open or closed. This can lead to bucking, rough idle, and poor performance. Unfortunately, a failing EGR valve is best brought to a certified mechanic.
What are the symptoms of a failing spark plug?
Spark plugs supply the energy needed to ignite the compressed air and fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. A failing spark plug will cause one or more cylinders to have a problem producing the necessary power for your Ford F-150.
Here are some of the symptoms of a failing spark plug:
This is one of the most common symptoms of a failing spark plug. If your failing spark plug cannot provide the necessary spark to ignite the air and fuel mix, then it wouldn’t have the energy to start the engine.
Rough Idle And Misfires
Your engine will start bucking and have a rough idle if one or more of your spark plugs are starting to fail. This can cause violent vibrations that can lead to bigger problems.
Similarly, a failing spark plug prevents one or more cylinders from producing power, and this leads to engine misfires.
The engine will never stop taking in air despite the problem with the spark plugs. This will lead to engine surges that can increase the chances of a vehicular accident.
Loss Of Power
Similarly, a failing spark plug will cause the engine to lose power and acceleration. This is because one or more cylinders are not producing power anymore. Without the spark plug, the air and fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber will not be ignited and will not combust.
so, there will be a drop in power and a loss of acceleration.
Drop In MPG
Since failing spark plugs will cause a cylinder to fail in producing the needed power, the remaining cylinders will need to produce more power to compensate. This causes them to consume more fuel to produce more power.
Several issues can cause your Ford F-150 to start bucking. Checking the different symptoms from each issue will allow you to eliminate the different scenarios that could be causing the bucking issue and focus on the true source of the problem.
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