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Replace an Oxygen Sensor on a Ford Taurus

by Don Bowman

There are at least two sensors on the Ford Taurus. One sensor is in front of the catalytic converter, and the other is behind it. Oxygen sensors check the amount of unburned oxygen going in the Taurus' converter as opposed to coming out. This will calculate how well the converter is functioning and if the engine is using the correct fuel ratio. Any problem with the ignition system, intake manifold leaks, timing, condition of the internal engine components, or any of the sensors will result in a ambiguous reading on the oxygen sensor, turning the "Check Engine" light on. The oxygen sensor reading is a direct result of all of these items if they are malfunctioning. All of these must be checked first, because the only way the computer has of checking the oxygen sensor is through its signal. If all the above is all right, then the sensor itself is malfunctioning.

Install the code scanner to the OBS port under the Ford Taurus' driver's side dash. Turn the ignition key on, and the scanner will display the word "Read." Press the button for "Read," and the scanner will display the codes. Write the code or codes down and look for the corresponding explanation of the codes, which is displayed in the form of a number, in the chart provided with the scanner. If it states that sensor 1 or sensor 2 is not giving a proper signal, then the first one is before the converter and the second after the converter.

Correct the other codes first, then hit "Erase" on the scanner to clear the codes, and recheck with the engine running to see if the code comes back. If there were other codes, it is entirely possible that other issues caused the mixture to be wrong, causing the computer to set a code for the oxygen sensor. Oxygen sensors are not cheap and respond directly to the activity of the engine weather, good or bad, with a corresponding signal. If the oxygen sensor code still shows up, go to Step 3.

Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands. Disconnect the wiring harness at the pig tail for the sensor. Remove the oxygen sensor with the appropriate wrench or socket.

Brush anti-seize compound on the threads of the new sensor and tighten it in its socket on the vehicle. There is no need to crank down on the sensor; just make sure it is tight. Plug the electrical connector into the new oxygen sensor.

Turn the key on and hit the "Erase" button on the scanner; it will turn the "Check engine" light off on the dash and erase the code.

Items you will need

About the Author

Don Bowman has been writing for various websites and several online magazines since 2008. He has owned an auto service facility since 1982 and has over 45 years of technical experience as a master ASE tech. Bowman has a business degree from Pennsylvania State University and was an officer in the U.S. Army (aircraft maintenance officer, pilot, six Air Medal awards, two tours Vietnam).

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