Shaking While Idling On F-150 Trucks

The F-150 has served farms, ranches, construction sites and quarries across the America. Unfortunately, the stresses of heavy-duty work can bring even the mightiest machines down during the toughest of times. If your truck starts shaking while idle—whether it continues while driving or not—there are a few places you need to check before heading back out to work.  

Mass Air Flow Sensor Problems

Shaking while idling is often a problem caused by problems in the fuel combustion system. If the cylinders in your engine aren't firing at the expected time, the rest of your engine could start shaking violently. Leaving the problem alone for too long can eventually shake out nuts and bolts, leading to damage and other problems with other parts.

For the internal combustion engine to run, you need oxygen, fuel, and heat. The heat comes from the spark plugs, the fuel from your gasoline or diesel and the oxygen from the outside air. Although the engine can bring in air on its own, the mass air flow sensor is responsible for keeping a precision amount of air in the system for different speeds or workloads. The truck can run without it, but it won't work as hard as it needs to at exactly the time you need it.

If the mass air flow sensor is leaking, you may have more of a problem than if it wasn't connected. Since the vehicle is expecting air from the mass air sensor, an unexpected drop in air pressure can cause the cylinders to fire and move at the wrong times—a problem known as the misfire.

Misfiring throws off the balance of your vehicle, resulting in the telltale shaking. It can also cause your vehicle to stop if there aren't enough cylinders firing at the right time to keep the engine moving. Look up your F-150 year and find out where the mass air flow sensor is, then carefully remove the power before heading to the mechanic. If you're not comfortable with tampering with such a fine piece of machinery, drive safely and let the mechanic do it.

Fuel Filter Failure May Be The Culprit

Not getting enough air is one problem, but a drop in fuel can be an issue as well. If you've ever run out of gas while driving, you may have noticed that the car shakes and wobbles a bit as it comes to a stop. The same thing can happen with a dirty fuel filter.

The fuel filter is designed to keep debris like dirty, heavy metal deposits in some fuels and other contaminants out of your fuel line. Contaminants could come from the gas station, the transport vehicle or even the fuel processor, but it can all end up deposited in your fuel tank for years to come.

If the fuel filter becomes clogged, your vehicle may start to shake because of a specific drop in the fuel pressure. You're getting more fuel that you would if you were running out of gas, but it's just low enough to cause the vehicle to misfire and shake.

You can clean out the fuel filter or replace it, but consider having your fuel system flushed as well. Getting rid of the dirt and leftover contaminants from the fuel tank and cleaning out your fuel line can result in a much smoother drive. Contact an F-150 professional (such as one from Metro Ford) for help with repairs or to get a new F-150 model.