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(this is my first post here, BTW) (2.3L PZEV engine)

I wanted to post my P0171 (lean mixture) story. I searched Focus Fanatics and read a number of threads concerning this problem. Learned that a common cause was a vacuum leak in the hose from the PCV valve to the intake manifold.

So I set aside a day to do this repair. Since I am somewhat slow and deliberate, and not familiar with this engine, it took me about 5 hours to get the intake manifold out. Sure enough, the hose from the PCV valve to the manifold was cracked along its side, resulting in a substantial vacuum leak and thus the P0171 code.

Unlike some others, I decided to shell out the $45+ for the Ford OEM hose. I did notice that several others had the same symptom - namely, the hose was split along the side. It finally dawned on me what had happened: The hose was mechanically instable to repeated evacuations and then relaxing up to air pressure. Over hundreds or thousands of these cycles, the rubber must fatigue and crack along the side.

So I cut my replacement hose in half in the middle, and pushed the ends over a 5/8" nylon hose connector from the hardware store. About 2.5" long, I think it will stabilize the shape of the hose in the future and keep it from collapsing under vacuum.

I also replaced various of the OEM hose clamps on coolant lines. Mine were starting to corrode. I cut them off with a Dremel tool so as to not have to drain the cooling system. I also replaced various rusty 6 mm OEM bolts with stainless steel ones. I have not yet replaced the lower center intake manifold bolt that is so hard to get at - may never replace it. Also have not replaced the lower dipstick attaching bolt - may never replace that one, either.

All in all, this car is a PITA to work on!
 

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All in all, this car is a PITA to work on!
Thanks for the info.

Work on any van, then you'll find an appreciation for this engine in this car. I agree, with all the plastic hoses that are on this car, you'd think Ford could've made a plastic hose for this application. Then we'd only have to worry about the ends of the hose decaying.

I'm going to try to do this myself sometime. I'm a minimalist, so I want to see if it's possible to simply slide the intake manifold back on long bolts enough to get at the PCV and the thermostat. You'll notice that the thermostat is also behind the intake manifold. Mine is working find, but at 135k- if I'm going on there, then I'm going to do it as well.
 
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