The flex fuel sensor measures the ethanol-gasoline ratio of the fuel being used in a flexible fuel vehicle. Flexible fuel vehicles can be operated with a blend of ethanol and gasoline, up to 85 percent ethanol. In order to adjust the ignition timing and the fuel quantity to be injected, the engine management system requires information about the percentage of ethanol in the fuel.
The flex fuel sensor uses quick-connect style fuel connections, an incoming fuel connection, and an outgoing fuel connection. All fuel passes through the flex fuel sensor before continuing on to the fuel rail. The flex fuel sensor measures the fuel alcohol content, and sends an electrical signal to the engine control module (ECM) to indicate ethanol percentage.
The flex fuel sensor has a three-wire electrical harness connector. The three wires provide a ground circuit, a power source, and a signal output to the ECM. The power source is battery positive voltage and the ground circuit connects to an engine ground. The signal circuit carries the ethanol percentage via a frequency signal.
Alcohol content and fuel temperature information is supplied to the powertrain control module (PCM) from the fuel composition sensor (FCS). The FCS has the following circuits:
•An ignition 1 circuit
•A signal circuit
•A ground circuit
The FCS uses a microprocessor inside the sensor to measure the ethanol percentage and fuel temperature and changes output signals accordingly. The signal circuit carries both the ethanol percentage and the fuel temperature within the same signal. The signal is both variable frequency and variable pulse width. The frequency signal indicates the ethanol percentage and the pulse width indicates fuel temperature. The PCM provides an internal pull up to 5 volts on the signal circuit and the FCS pulls the 5 volts to ground in pulses. The normal range of operating frequency is between 50–150 hertz. The normal pulse width ranges between 1–5 milliseconds. The microprocessor inside the sensor is capable of a certain amount of self-diagnosis. An output frequency of 170 hertz indicates that the fuel is contaminated or an internal sensor fault has been detected. If the PCM detects a signal more than 155 hertz, DTC P0179 will set.
Note: This sensor requires connector 12146121