Engine Sensors

Car Engine Sensors Explained

Electronic Engine Control (EEC) System - How it Works

With the car engine sensor cost increases these days it can only help to understand how they work. All Sequential Fuel Injection (SFI) systems use the EEC system. The heart of the EEC system is a microprocessor called the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The PCM receives data from a number of engine sensors and other electronic components (switches, relays, etc.). Based on information received and information programmed in the PCM's memory, it generates output signals to control various relays, solenoids and other actuators. The PCM in the EEC system has calibration modules located inside the assembly that contain calibration specifications for optimizing emissions, fuel economy and drive-ability. The calibration module is called a PROM.


The MAF sensor (a potentiometer) senses the quantity of airflow in the engine's air induction system and generates a voltage signal that varies with the amount of air drawn into the engine. The IAT sensor (a sensor in the area of the MAF sensor) measures the temperature of the incoming air and transmits a corresponding electrical signal. Another temperature sensor (the ECT sensor) inserted in the engine coolant tells if the engine is cold or warmed up. The TP sensor, a switch that senses throttle plate position, produces electrical signals that tell the PCM when the throttle is closed or wide open. A special probe (the HO2S) in the exhaust manifold measures the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gas, which is in indication of combustion efficiency, and sends a signal to the PCM. The sixth signal, camshaft position information, is transmitted by the CMP sensor, installed in place of the distributor (except 5.0L engines), or integral with the distributor (5.0L engines).

The EEC microcomputer circuit processes the input signals and produces output control signals to the fuel injectors to regulate fuel discharged to the injectors. It also adjusts ignition spark timing to provide the best balance between drive-ability and economy, and controls the IAC valve to maintain the proper idle speed.