These super-duty Ford trucks have a good reputation for performing excellently with great torque and power. However, it also has its imperfections, specifically if we’re talking about the Ford F-350 speed sensor problems.
A failed speed sensor results in a failed speedometer and vehicle speed control issues, and you’d receive a trouble code for it for the Ford F-350. It hampers braking and shifting safely as well. And so, it’s extremely unsafe to drive with a faulty speed sensor.
These sensors act as the bridge between the vehicle’s output and other shafts and the engine computer, which means a cluster of components are connected with and controlled by them. So, you need to stay aware of the problems from a wider perspective.
Table of contents
- Are Ford F-350’s Prone to Speed Sensor Problems, Or Is It a design failure?
- Let’s explore the possible speed sensor problems your F350 might face!
- Probable Causes Behind F350 Speed Sensor Failure
- The Solutions and Repair Cost For A Faulty VSS
- Ways To Ensure Proper Functionality Of The F-350 Speed Sensor
Are Ford F-350’s Prone to Speed Sensor Problems, Or Is It a design failure?
Throughout the years, there have been multiple cases of VSS or vehicle speed sensor problems for the F-350’s.
But are the speed sensor problems directly linked with how these trucks are manufactured?
A user experience survey analysis was undertaken shows that the 1999 Ford F-350 had the most repair calls for faulty parts.
The notorious 1999 model had an average of 1,054 problem cases alone, while all the other models of 26 subsequent years starting from 1996 to 2021 had an average of about 300 cases only.
Vehicle Speed Control–related problems ranked as the 13th most common problem among all those cases. The 1996 model version had about 115 responses for speed control problems as well.
These years and their records give away that you can rest assured that it’s not always an inherent problem for the F350. Instead, a lot of factors play a role here.
Let’s explore the possible speed sensor problems your F350 might face!
Signs Of A Faulty F350 Speed Sensor
If you’ve ever had to encounter your speedometer not ticking at all, it was probably the result of a faulty speed sensor. Apart from that, there are a few worth mentioning problems as well.
Here are the common indications of a speed sensor failure:
1. Dysfunctional Speedometer
The speedometer wholeheartedly depends on the speed sensor to show us the correct speed range on our dashboard.
If the speed sensor fails to provide the data or send a signal, the markers just lay down at 0 MPH. This can also affect the odometer as well.
2. Disruptive Brakes and Shifts
Under a huge load of pressure, the ABS or Anti-Lock Brakes rely on the vehicle speed semsors. ABS protects the wheels from locking abruptly.
The ABS of your F350 may stop working for a faulty VSS, causing a lot of havoc.
3. Issues with Cruise Control
If the vehicle isn’t receiving the actual speed it’s going at, that is, if it’s not aware of how fast or slow it’s running – there’s no way it could control the speed.
And as such, the VSS failure makes it nearly impossible for the cruise control unit to play its part since it’s not receiving a speed rate signal.
An OBDII trouble code called P0500 gets sent to the engine’s computer as a VSS failure warning sign. The OBDII trouble code refers to the vehicle’s ability to self-diagnose an issue.
And the upper mentioned problems are the most common ones for which this code is sent, and they more or less vary depending on the vehicle model year.
Read along to find out why a VSS might fail in the first place.
Probable Causes Behind F350 Speed Sensor Failure
A worn-out VSS takes the crown here for being the most frequent cause behind such failures. They fail to send the speed signals, and every other component depending on that signal becomes its victim.
If the wiring harness gets damaged, which is prone to due to its location, the truck won’t take in any speed data from the VSS’s reading.
In some cases, modifying the truck with a new tires, specially the larger ones, can cause a problem linked with wheel and vehicle speed sensors.
Note that sometimes the instrument cluster not receiving the signal can be due to inner electric damage and not inherently linked with the VSS.
So, you should check first if there are other faulty components before taking the next step to fix your VSS.
The Solutions and Repair Cost For A Faulty VSS
There’s no alternative to replacing a faulty sensor with a new proper one. And the good news is, VSS are budget-friendly.
1. Installing New VSS
You can easily get one for about $50 bucks, ranging from $25 to $45 for most vehicle models. There’re way cheaper ones as well. Then again, you might spend a bit more depending on the truck model year.
2. OBD2 Scanner
The OBD2 scanner helps to find out if there’s an imbalance of voltage flow which is essential to carry the speed rate data through the system.
You can use this to track any other issue before the sensor or speedometer fails.
The scanners cost about an average of $100. But the high-quality ones are a bit more expensive.
You can also use another device called Multimeter to test your VSS. The Fluke multimeters are user recommend which costs around $130-150.
3. Diagnostic and Repair
Some owners have said that they had to spend almost $100 for a speed sensor problem diagnosis. And a couple of more bucks to get it repaired.
The whole replacement procedure can cost about $250 to $295, excluding taxes and other fees.
Now, if your truck is out of warranty, let’s say – if it has recently crossed the 36,000 miles for 3 years limit, you can apply for an option called an “After Warranty Adjustment” , and that should cover your costs in this case.
Even though vehicle speed sensors are affordable, it is not feasible at all to change them again and again.
Let’s get a brief idea of how the speed sensor’s lifespan can be extended.
Ways To Ensure Proper Functionality Of The F-350 Speed Sensor
It’s recommended to check the speed sensors every month, allowing you to inspect any issue beforehand and not replace any other components.
The following are some ways you could adopt to prevent speed sensor problems-
1. Check the Gap and Sensor Connection
There should be a gap of .015 inches to .025 inches between the timing gear and sensor.
And based on its connection, there’s an LED light that should blink, and if not, you can assume that the VSS is getting damaged and take the necessary steps.
2. Power and Resistance Measurement.
A proper working sensor should have a voltage reading of 12VDC or 24VDC, depending on its type.
The resistance should be 1,000 ohms on p/n: 11026 approximately. If you don’t find these measurements, make sure to check for sensor wiring issues as soon as possible.
There should be a three-wire plug, and their continuity should be determined. You can check if the wires are all set following an owner manual guide.
If you adopt these steps, you can rest assured that your speed sensors will survive and function in productivity.
1. Are Vehicle Speed Sensors and Transmission Speed Sensors the same thing?
This depends on what the manufacturer decides to call the speed sensor. Both of them help to take in and provide speed data, but they’ve their unique ways to function.
The transmission speed sensor has more to do with the gears and their rotational speed, while the vehicle speed sensor or VSS measures the overall speed for the whole vehicle.
2. What does an Odometer do?
The odometer is a device situated on your vehicle’s dashboard which is used to measure the distance you’ve traveled. This is from where you get your mileage reading from.
3. How long can a speed sensor last?
The speed sensor should last till you have reached about 30,000- 50,000 miles. And this also depends on how frequently you drive and if your vehicle gets exposed to a lot of dirt.
There hasn’t been as much significant record for speed sensor problems as before for the F350. But, unfortunate events can happen anytime, and it’s a smart choice to be aware of the Ford F-350 speed sensor problems, regardless of if you own the 96’ or the 99’ version or not.
Make sure to tune in to your truck and its vital components, and don’t hesitate to take active measures. After all, taking care of speed sensors would only bring you peace. Have a safe trip!
Thomas is a retired Motor Mechanic, a Father and a Grandfather. He writes from his 20+ years in the automotive industry to help you find and solve anything related to Car repairs, Maintenance and Care.