If your ford F150 is sputtering when accelerating, then it would mean many things, especially it may be running out of gas and the fuel may be falling short for combustion to generate power.
But if you observe that this issue persists even if your fuel tank is full, then the problem may be linked to the more severe issue in one of the systems like fuel supply system, air intake, exhaust, or ignition system.
If the problem remains unresolved it may lead to expensive repairs involving engine failure so it is necessary to diagnose the components related to the above systems one after the other to analyze the issue and identify the root cause of the sputtering issue.
If you are facing the issue of ford F150 sputtering when accelerating, you are not alone!
Here, in this article, you will get to know all the information that is needed to fix the sputtering issue in your Ford F150. So stay tuned!
Table Of Contents
- 1 Vehicle Systems Responsible For Sputtering Issue
- 2 Ford F150 Sputtering When Accelerating? 12 Reasons and Solutions to Fix it!
- 2.1 Faulty spark plug
- 2.2 Bad ignition coil pack
- 2.3 Clogged fuel injectors
- 2.4 Failing fuel pump
- 2.5 Clogged fuel filter
- 2.6 Malfunctioning Oxygen sensors
- 2.7 Dirty mass airflow (MAF) sensor
- 2.8 Bad Catalytic converter
- 2.9 Leaky Exhaust manifold
- 2.10 Worn out seals and gaskets
- 2.11 Vacuum Leak
- 2.12 Faulty ECM
- 3 Final Thoughts
Vehicle Systems Responsible For Sputtering Issue
Typically, the sputtering issue when accelerating is the result of the problem in one of the systems like air intake, exhaust system, fuel system, and spark ignition system during the combustion process inside the engine cylinder.
The air intake system consists of various sensors like MAF (Mass airflow), MAP (Manifold Absolute pressure), TPS (Throttle position sensor), and IACV (Idle air control valve).
The components of the air intake system exactly measure how much air at what temperature and pressure is being sucked into the engine.
These parameters are important to precisely maintain the air-fuel ratio during the combustion process for ensuring optimum engine performance.
Once the precisely estimated amount of air reaches the engine, it is now the job of the fuel system along with vehicle ECM (Electronic control module) to ensure the desired amount of fuel reaches the engine to precisely maintain the air-fuel ratio for complete fuel combustion.
The fuel system comprises several components viz. fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel filter and fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator.
Out of all these components, the fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel injectors play a direct role in ensuring the required fuel supply to the engine for combustion.
The fuel system stores the fuel in the tank and the fuel pump supplies the required quantity of fuel by lifting the fuel to the engine.
The fuel pump strainer filters the coarse dust particles in the fuel inside the tank and the inline fuel filter ensures filtered fuel reaches the fuel injectors.
The exhaust system involves an exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, and silencer. The exhaust system is responsible for funneling the exhaust gases and transfer them to the catalytic converter to convert the harmful pollutants to harmless gases and finally reduces the noise caused by the pressurized exhaust gases at the silencer before it exits the gases at the tailpipe.
The spark ignition system comprises of ignition coil pack, spark plug, and plug wires. These components produce high energy ignition spark in the combustion chamber at the right time when the pressure inside the cylinder increases for the combustion to take place.
Failure of any one or multiple components of the air intake, exhaust, fuel, or ignition system would adversely affect the air-fuel ratio of the combustible mixture and you would feel like your ford F150 sputtering when accelerating.
This happens due to improper combustion caused by the engine which is running either too rich or too lean depending upon the faulty part involved.
Ford F150 Sputtering When Accelerating? 12 Reasons and Solutions to Fix it!
Now we have understood the possible vehicle systems and their parts that would lead to the sputtering issue, let’s go in detail to find the common reasons for the parts to malfunction and solutions to fix the sputtering issue.
Faulty spark plug
Most of the time it is the faulty spark plug that is to be blamed. Spark plugs are one of the key maintenance part which ensures proper combustion of fuel upon injection by the fuel injectors by igniting the air-fuel mixture.
However, the spark plug undergoes wear over a while and carbon may get build up after some operation and it will not perform as intended.
The failing spark plug would mean that the ignition required for the combustion of the air-fuel mixture would be intermittent or with less intensity leading to a lot of unburnt fuel and misfire in the combustion process resulting in your Ford F150 sputtering or jerking when accelerating.
Hence sputtering or misfiring may indicate that the spark plug has reached the end of its life and the time has come to replace it with a new one if you have not replaced it for a long time and the maintenance is already overdue.
Based on the extent to which it is damaged you may just need to inspect and clean it with a good spark plug cleaner.
Bad ignition coil pack
The ignition coil packs are the one that supplies power to the spark plug to generate a high-energy ignition spark at the right time for combustion of the air-fuel mixture.
If the coil pack goes bad, then it would lead to all issues similar to the bad spark plug and your ford F150 would cause the noise of sputtering when accelerating.
Hence this would indicate that the time has come to replace the bad ignition coil pack with a new one.
Clogged fuel injectors
The fuel injectors are the parts that atomize the fuel for proper air-fuel mixture to ensure complete combustion.
To aid atomization of fuel, super fine holes are provided at the outlet of injectors, but if debris or dust particles get entangled in the fuel injector holes, then the fuel will be just dribbled into the cylinder instead of getting atomized.
Hence the air-fuel mixture ratio will get affected which would lead to your ford F150 sputtering when accelerating your vehicle.
If you could spot the fuel injector clogging issue early, then it can be fixed simply by cleaning the fuel injectors with special cleaners otherwise, you would need to replace the fuel injectors with a new one.
Articles you may like to read: Fuel Injector Vs Fuel Pump? How It Differs?
Failing fuel pump
Are you wondering why your ford F150 sputtering when accelerating even when the fuel tank is full? This may be due to a bad fuel pump.
If the dust or debris gets accumulated in the fuel pump suction strainer, first it would get clogged and later on will either pass unfiltered fuel across the strainer to the fuel pump impellers or completely blocks the flow across it.
In the former case, it damages the impeller blades of the fuel pump and increases the internal gap between the blades resulting in low fuel discharge volume and large pressure drop across the strainer that would lead to the issue of your Ford F150 sputtering when accelerating the throttle.
The easiest way to check the fuel pressure is to connect a pressure gauge to the Schrader valve or at the common rail.
If the reading shows less than 40 psi, then it is time to replace the fuel pump with a new one.
Simply cleaning the strainer may not help in many cases, because the unfiltered fuel might have already damaged the fuel pump to the extent that it would not perform even if you clean or replace the fuel pump strainer.
If the clogged strainer blocks the fuel flow, then it doesn’t allow fuel supply to the engine and would lead to vehicle starting problems.
Clogged fuel filter
The fuel filter is the component that filters and sends clean fuel to the engine for combustion.
Similar to the fuel pump strainer, if the inline fuel filter reaches its dust carrying capacity, then it would pass on contaminated fuel to the engine and reduce the fuel flow pressure or completely clogs the fuel supply to the engine.
The low pressure in the fuel system would cause your engine to run lean and your Ford F150 would start sputtering when accelerating the vehicle.
The complete clogging of the fuel filter would result in a hard starting problem as well and the vehicle would not start at all.
Hence it is recommended to replace the fuel filter as per the manufacturer’s preventive maintenance schedule.
Articles you may like to read: Fuel Pump Vs Fuel Filter? How to Identify Problems?
Malfunctioning Oxygen sensors
The oxygen sensors are the one that senses the amount of oxygen present in the exhaust gases which indirectly indicates whether the engine is running rich or lean.
This information is then sent to vehicle ECM (Electronic control module) to regulate the duty cycle of the fuel injectors to adjust the amount of fuel getting injected.
But if the oxygen sensors have gone bad or faulty, it would be sending wrong data to the ECM thereby affecting the amount of fuel getting injected that would affect the required air-fuel ratio, hence your ford F150 would end up sputtering when accelerating unless the faulty oxygen sensor is replaced with a new one.
You may try cleaning the oxygen sensor with cleaners and confirm if it helps to fix the issue.
Dirty mass airflow (MAF) sensor
The mass airflow sensor is the one that senses the temperature of the incoming air to evaluate the mass airflow rate.
The MAF sends feedback signals to the vehicle ECM to adjust the amount of fuel being burnt in the combustion chamber by regulating the duty cycle of the injectors based on the throttle input that is monitored by the TPS sensors.
A clogged or dirty MAF sensor would initiate many problems as it would wrongly estimate the mass air flow rate and the ECM would incorrectly adjust the fuel metering accordingly which affects the air-fuel mixture ratio leading to ford F150 sputtering issue when accelerating.
Bad Catalytic converter
A catalytic converter is a part that converts harmful carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water.
A bad or failing catalytic converter would not burn the hydrocarbons in the exhaust and it will not break down the sulphur produced by the combustion process hence would lead to your ford F150 engine sputtering when accelerating and would even produce rotten egg smell released by the unburnt sulphur.
This is especially true if the engine has been running rich for a while which tends to clog the catalytic converter.
You may notice check engine light ON in the case of a bad catalytic converter. If it goes faulty, it would also lead to vehicle starting issues.
Leaky Exhaust manifold
The job of the exhaust manifold is to collect the exhaust gases and send them downstream to the exhaust system.
If there is a leak in the exhaust manifold, then you may feel that the engine is jerking while accelerating.
The vehicle would also run noisily and would affect the engine performance and fuel economy.
Apart from the sputtering and noisy issues, the parts around the exhaust manifold would be exposed to hot exhaust gases and would damage them, especially the plastic parts.
Often in the case of a leaky exhaust manifold, the leaking gases would find their way into the cabin through the HVAC unit and gets mixed up with the cabin air. Hence it is necessary to fix the leaking exhaust manifold at the earliest.
Article you may like to read: “Ford F150 knocking noise when starting? 11 Causes And Solutions To Fix It!“
Worn out seals and gaskets
Typically, there are several seals and gaskets that are used in the exhaust system at different locations.
The gaskets undergo compression set over a while and lose their function of sealing since it is exposed to extreme temperatures and fuel vapor conditions which are detrimental to gaskets.
Since the outgoing exhaust air comes at high pressure, any leak in the seals of the exhaust system would cause your ford F150 to sputter when accelerating.
You would hear huge noise and feel as if some firework is going on just beneath your car. So, replace the worn-out gasket and seals, if found damaged.
If you have a leaky intake manifold or hoses, then the air intake vacuum will be leaked. If the location of the vacuum leak is past the TPS, MAP, and MAF sensors, then the vacuum leak cannot be compensated.
Usually, the vehicle ECM adjusts the amount of the fuel depending upon the feedback from the sensors, but this vacuum leak that is past the sensors would result in an improper air-fuel ratio hence would cause your ford F150 to sputter when accelerating.
Article you may like to read: Fuel Pressure Regulator Vacuum Hose Disconnected? Reasons And Solutions To Fix it!
The ECM (Electronic control module or engine’s computer) is the storehouse and processes all the input information that comes from various sensors and parts of the vehicle.
But in the event of a bad ECM, it would incorrectly process the information and would send erratic outputs to the engine parts whose function depends on inputs from ECM.
This would lead to improper functioning of the concerned parts like fuel injector and spark plugs which would trigger your ford F150 to sputter when accelerating.
If you are facing the issue of ford F150 sputtering when accelerating, then one of the systems like air intake, exhaust, fuel, or ignition is possibly faulty and leading to the issue.
In case one of the components is faulty in the air intake system, then it would signal wrong feedback to the ECM that would further process the incorrect information to decide the amount of fuel to be injected, thereby affecting the air-fuel ratio and thus leading to engine sputtering problem while accelerating your vehicle.
The failure of one of the fuel system components will cause improper fuel supply to the engine.
Usually, the clogging of foreign particles in either the fuel pump strainer or fuel filter or the fuel injector leads to poor fuel delivery and improper air-fuel ratio for combustion which would cause your Ford F150 to sputter when accelerating the throttle.
A leak in the exhaust manifold or at the sealing gasket interface or a bad catalytic converter would interfere with the engine performance and would cause the issue of engine sputtering while accelerating.
Similar to other systems, in the event of a bad component in the ignition coil pack or spark plug or even worn-out plug wires, the ignition will not happen as desired, hence your ford F150 would start sputtering while accelerating.
We have tried to collate all possible reasons for the issue of ford F150 sputtering when accelerating. I hope, with this information in hand, you would be able to analyze different vehicle systems and arrive at the root cause of the issue.
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