99 explorer euro spec, O2 sensor

Hi, My explorer runs like crap when starting in cold weather( i have to apply 'gas' to increase idle speed to keep it running), after it warms up its
fine. when its raining it runs better(almost normal) right from the start. it's the 4.0L v6 SOHC, 4X4 approx 80k miles. I had a tune up done by the local ford dealer; oil change, new plug wires, new plugs. I get a yellow warning light after driving about 5 min(anytime after driving a few min, I can idle for 20 min and not get the light). The "dealership" as they call themselves, can't read the codes, just clear them, so I'm kinda stuck with guessing. (I'm in Germany, not so many explorers here). I was recommened by a friend/mechanic as the next low cost item to try is the O2 sensor. Sound like a good choice? any other ideas? is this a generic part for all explorers or do I need my vin # to get the right one for my vehicle's computer?
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I would suggest searching the internet and finding a cheap code reader - they are as low as 28.95 U.S. for a very simple reader - make sure its for Ford. Then read your codes. This should help pinpoint your issue - you may just have a vacuum leak. It's euro, but I believe it is still obdii.
O2 sensors fail, but its not really that common compared to other issues, so rather than just parts swapping, I'd spend a small amopunt of money and try and diagnose it. And, you will have the code reader available the next time your check engine lite goes on.
Many sites have explanations for codes or you can get help here once you know them.
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At least in the US, any vehicle from 96 on will require an OBDII code reader. If you buy anything, make sure that it's for OBDII. I am mentioning this, because the $28.95 will, to the best of my knowledge, only buy you the older EECIV 'readers' (consisting of an LED and a pushbutton switch in a matchbox) - those will not work with OBDII. Prepare to pay at least $80 for the simplest OBDII reader. Also make sure that it will work with Ford - there are at least 3 different OBDII protocols.

they
Ford.
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Your concerns sounds very much like the intake gasket pattern failure... IIRC, it is rare for this concern to illuminate the CEL (if your yellow light is shaped something like an engine might look or shows "service engine soon"). There is the chance that the light is responding to a different problem. If the shop has a "smoke machine", the intake manifold can be smoked when it is cold to help check for vacuum leaks.
At any rate, it is vital that the codes be read.... In addition to Ross' comments, you or your mechanic might look here http://www.troublecodes.net/technical/scaninfo.shtml this is a pretty inclusive list. Before making a buying decision, one would need to closely compare features.

by
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Oops.... forgot the usual "I don't work BatAuto..." speel.... I was even banned from their technicians forum for being..... ummmmmm, outspoken, I guess.
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thanks for the replys, any websites off hand that sell a code reader and ship US postal service?
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spr wrote:

Not sure - you might try ebay to get some ideas - lots of scanners on there, just make sure its a Ford scanner.
Also, doesn't ebay have a european website?. That would minimize shipping. with a little luck.
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Jim Warman wrote:

That's an interesting technique- do you blow smoke into the intake, and see where it comes out?
Anyone know where the intake manifold tends to leak? Might help him find it quicker. I should think you could fix it by applying some RTV over it while the engine idles. That would pull the RTV into the leaky area.
-Paul
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Yes... the heart of the machine is a simple smoke generator... Hooked up to a vaccum port on the manifold, I like to hold the throttle open to expell all the clear air quickly. When smoke starts coming from the throttle, I let it close and continue to let the smoke build - this is not harmful to the motor. Use a halogen spot light to watch for tattletales.
You're kidding about the RTV idea, right????

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Jim Warman wrote:

No- I fixed a coolant leak once by removing the radiator cap and holding a vacuum cleaner nozzle against the opening to suck some epoxy into the area of the leak. It worked.
I would think manifold vacuum would pull some RTV into the place that leaked. Then shut 'er off and let it cure. Are you thinking it would pull a lot of RTV in? Since he says it idles OK after it warms up, it must be a pretty small leak.
Removing the lower intake manifold is no small task. If I could fix it in a couple of minutes with a little RTV, I'd do it. -Paul
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While these sorts of "jerry rig" repairs may seem like an option, they usually have ramifications. First and foremost is the possibility that something can "let go" at the most unopportune moment... another being that subsequent repairs to these areas can be made more expensive than necessary... let alone that subsequent repairs wouldn't have to be made in the first place.
If you feel you deserve substandard repairs, more power to you... I would be hard pressed to recommend anything I didn't trust as a permanent fix. At the same time, you may want to consider the personality of RTV sealants.... they tend to "lose their grip" over time if not in an area subject to direct mechanical pressure.... even then, there have been concerns.
Again... quality is in the eye of the beholder.... for me... I think I deserve the best I can get and I'm not afraid to adjust the budget to get it.
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