All it really does is contain fuel vapors from the fuel system and waits till a certian point to open a soleniod to allow intake vacuum to draw in the vapors to burn. Basically it is an emissions device.
the carbon(charcoal canister) is used to absorb vapor from the fuel tank via a vent tube,where it is stored until the next engine startup. My guess is because it is a pressurized fuel system, there is excess vapor being introduced into the fuel tank via the return fuel line. I guess ford's bright engineers decided to find a way to harness that vapor and use it at a later time, thus reducing the hydrocarbons caused by unburnt fuel from being expelled into the atmosphere.
Pretty good. The only beef would be that carbon canisters have been in use since about 1970. So that kinda kills the high pressure fuel system justification.
Anyway, no the canister is not a mission-critical device. You might notice some fuel odor at times and a slight loss of economy, but that's about it. Oh, you do need to keep the solenoid connected or substitute a 100 ohm resistor to keep the dreaded code demon at bay.
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