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Old 04-08-2006, 02:01 PM   #1
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How-to: Replace ECT sensor

After searching in vain for instructions on replacing the the engine coolant temperature sensor, I put this together to help others.

Background: My check engine light came on due to a P0117 code (low coolant temp). I hadn't noticed any leaks and my fluid level was fine.

Parts needed:
-ECT sensor (p/n# DY-884, XS6Z-12A648-CA)
-needle-nose pliers
-rags or container to catch spilled anti-freeze

Time to replace: 10 minutes

Cost: $18.22 from your Ford dealership

-Make sure the engine is completely cool. You're cracking open the cooling loop, but there's nothing cool about the fluid in there after the engine runs. Be smart.
-Remove the plastic cover over the coil. It just snaps out.
-Place a pan underneath the car to catch spilled anti-freeze
-Look for the gray plastic eletrical connector about 5 inches in front of the coil. It's easy to find, and points straight to the sky.
-Remove the electrical connector.
-Use the needlenose pliers to grip/remove the cotter pin (I know it's not exactly a cotter pin, but the principle is the same.)
-Unbox the new ECT and hold it in your dominant hand (left for me)
-Grip the old sensor in your non-dominant hand while getting the new sensor close.
-As quickly as possible, remove the old sensor and drop the new sensor into place. Anti-freeze WILL shoot up 2-3 inches if left unchecked. It caught me by surprise the first time.
-Replace the cotter pin using the needlenose pliers. The sensor sits in place tightly enough that you don't need to hold it while getting the pliers loaded with the cotter pin.
-Wipe up the excess fluid, making sure that the electrical connector is dry.
-Plug in the electrical connector
-Replace the protective cover over the coil.
-Start the car and let it idle. Check for leaks and confirm that the CEL is off.
-Top off the fluid reservoir (I lost about 1 cup of fluid)

Notes: You might be tempted to first grab a crescent wrench or pliers to remove the sensor, I know I was. The cotter pin is certainly more elegant from a design and service standpoint. No, I didn't disconnect the battery first. I forgot, but that way I know for sure that the new sensor cleared my CEL, not resetting the computer.

Current mods: Grounding mod, K&N drop-in filter
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:06 PM   #2
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