Ford Aspire 1994-1998 Repair Guide

General Information


The Sequential Fuel Injection (SFI) system includes a high pressure, inline electric fuel pump mounted in the fuel tank, a fuel supply manifold, a throttle body (meters the incoming air charge for the correct mixture with the fuel), a pressure regulator, fuel filters, and both solid and flexible fuel lines. The fuel supply manifold includes 4 electronically-controlled fuel injectors, each mounted directly above an intake port in the lower intake manifold. Each injector fires once every other crankshaft revolution, in sequence with the engine firing order.

The fuel pressure regulator maintains a constant pressure drop across the injector nozzles. The regulator is attached to the fuel injection supply manifold downstream of the injectors. Any excess fuel supplied by the fuel pump passes through the regulator and is returned to the fuel tank via a return line.

The pressure regulator maintains fuel pressure at 30-38 psi (206-262 kPa) under normal operating conditions. At idle or high manifold vacuum condition, fuel pressure is further reduced to approximately 30 psi (206 kPa).

The fuel pressure regulator is a diaphragm-operated relief valve, in which one side of the diaphragm senses fuel pressure and the other side senses manifold vacuum. Normal fuel pressure is established by a spring preload applied to the diaphragm. Control of the fuel system is maintained through the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), although electrical power is routed through the fuel pump relay and an inertia switch. The fuel pump relay is normally located behind the instrument panel at the left-hand cowl panel and the inertia switch is located behind the left-hand luggage compartment side cover. The inline fuel pump is mounted in the fuel tank.

The inertia switch opens the power circuit to the fuel pump in the event of a collision or roll over. Once tripped, the switch must be reset manually by pushing the reset button on the assembly.

Check that the inertia switch is reset before diagnosing power supply problems to the fuel pump.

Fuel injectors used with the SFI system are an electro-mechanical (solenoid) type, designed to meter and atomize fuel delivered to the intake ports of the engine. The injectors are mounted in the lower intake manifold and positioned so that their spray nozzles direct the fuel charge to the back face of the intake valves. The injector body consists of a solenoid-actuated pintle and needle-valve assembly. The control unit sends an electrical impulse that activates the solenoid, causing the pintle to move inward off the seat and allow the fuel to flow. The amount of fuel delivered is controlled by the length of time the injector is energized (pulse width), since the fuel flow orifice is fixed and the fuel pressure drop across the injector tip is constant. Correct atomization is achieved by contouring the pintle at the point where the fuel enters the pintle chamber.

Exercise care when handling fuel injectors during service. Be careful not to lose the pintle cap and always replace O-rings to assure a tight seal. Never apply direct battery voltage to test a fuel injector.

The injectors receive high-pressure fuel from the fuel supply manifold (fuel rail) assembly. The complete assembly includes a tubular rail, fuel injector connectors, mounting flange for the pressure regulator, and mounting attachments to locate the manifold and provide fuel injector retainers.

The fuel supply manifold is normally removed with the fuel injectors and pressure regulator attached. Fuel injector electrical connectors are plastic and have locking tabs that must be released when disconnecting the wiring harness.


Safety is the most important factor when performing not only fuel system maintenance, but any type of maintenance. Failure to conduct maintenance and repairs in a safe manner may result in serious personal injury or death. Work on a vehicle's fuel system components can be accomplished safely and effectively by adhering to the following rules and guidelines.

To avoid the possibility of fire and personal injury, always disconnect the negative battery cable unless the repair or test procedure requires that battery voltage be applied.
Always relieve fuel system pressure prior to disconnecting any fuel system component (injector, fuel rail, pressure regulator, etc.) fitting or fuel line connection. Exercise extreme caution whenever relieving fuel system pressure to avoid exposing skin, face and eyes to fuel spray. Please be advised that fuel under pressure may penetrate the skin or any part of the body that it contacts.
Always place a shop towel or cloth around the fitting or connection prior to loosening to absorb any excess fuel due to spillage. Ensure that all fuel spillage is quickly remove from engine surfaces. Ensure that all fuel-soaked cloths or towels are deposited into a flame-proof waste container with a lid.
Always keep a dry chemical (Class B) fire extinguisher near the work area.
Do not allow fuel spray or fuel vapors to come into contact with a spark or open flame.
Always use a second wrench when loosening or tightening fuel line connection fittings. This will prevent unnecessary stress and torsion to the fuel piping. Always adhere to the proper torque specifications.
Always replace worn fuel fitting O-rings with new ones. Do not substitute fuel hose where rigid pipe is installed.