How to Test the Ford EGR Valve EGR Vacuum Solenoid, DPFE Sensor

TEST 8: DPFE Sensor Ground Return

This test is a continuation of TEST 7... and here you're gonna' test the ground return circuit of the DPFE sensor.

This ground (for the 5 V REFERENCE Signal) is provided by the PCM, so it's crucial that you take the utmost care not to short this circuit to 12 volts as your are testing/verifying it. Use a multimeter for this test and not a test light.

  1. Attach (with an appropriate tool) the BLACK multimeter lead to the wire labeled with the number 2.
  2. Connect the RED lead of the multimeter to the battery positive terminal.
  3. Place the multimeter in DC Volts mode.
  4. Have your assistant turn the key to On and notice the voltage reading on your multimeter.
  5. The multimeter should read 12 volts.

CASE 1: If your multimeter registered 10-12 Volts: This indicates that the PCM is providing a DPFE sensor ground to the DPFE sensor. If you have gotten to this test by following the following flow of testing: TEST 1, then TEST 2, then TEST 7... then this result indicates that the DPFE sensor is BAD. Replace the DPFE sensor.

CASE 2: If your multimeter DID NOT register 10-12 Volts: Re-check all of your connections and repeat the test. The DPFE sensor will not work without this ground (that the PCM provides) and will set an EGR fault code that will light up the check engine light (CEL) on your instrument cluster. Repairing the issue of this missing ground should solve your EGR valve fault code.

Some Tips and Suggestions

It's very rare for the DPFE Sensor to have any type of issue with its Ground Return Circuit. But if you do encounter this condition and you have triple-checked all of your multimeter's connections and set-up, then the two most likely causes are:

  1. An open short in the wire (that feeds this ground to the DPFE Sensor) between the PCM and the DPFE sensor.
  2. Or the PCM has fried.

Testing the two above conditions are beyond the scope of this article, but at least you have eliminated the EGR valve, the DPFE sensor, and the EGR Vacuum Regulator Solenoid as the cause of the EGR valve system malfunction.

Real Life Case Studies
from EasyAutoDiagnostics.com Readers

In this section is input and feedback from all of the folks who have had a similar issue with their vehicle and found a solution. If you're one of them, thank you for sharing your experience with all of us!

If you want to share your repair and/or diagnostic experience, you can use the contact form below.

Real Life Case Study 1

Vehicle: 1998 Ford F150 XLT

Trouble Codes: P0401.

Complaint: P0401

Test Notes/Repair: “i read all of your suggestions and did everything as you stated. i carefully followed all of your tests to get rid of that dreaded PO401 code.

however, after following all of them, what you failed to mention is that inside the throttle assembly there are two small ports from the EGR valve. these ports were clogged completely. i had to remove the throttle assembly and manually clean them. they were closed shut with carbon.

this solved my problem and i'm sure many others would appreciate this as well.

thanks for a great article!!!!!!!”

Courtesy of: Mario (09-19-2014)

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If this info really saved the day, buy me a beer!

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