Learn't a new trick today, re. my van.....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Seawolf1090, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Well, it finally happened..... my Grand Caravan threw a code and the "MIL" light came on - "Malfunction Indicator Light", aka the 'Check Engine' idiot light......
    So I had been meaning to get the computer code reader gizmo, this gave me the perfect reason. Dropped by the local "China Fright" store, and got the $60 gizmo. Finally plugged it in today - the hook-up is right under the dash - no need to remove anything.
    A quick read thru the manual, plugged it in, and got the code - it even gives a short description! I have the Haynes Manual with the codes in it too.
    I had already added two quarts of oil - it had been awhile since I checked it. I also reseated the gas cap - that can throw a code.
    Sure enough, it was an "Evaporative Emmisions - small leak" fault - likely that damned gas cap! An after-market locking type. Thought I had it tight.
    After checking, I went ahead and cleared the code - I'll keep an eye on it this week.

    Small thing this time, but knowing the codes can likely save me a garage visit or three in the future. I'd sure hate to have had the shop keep it overnight and charge me just for a misinstalled gas cap!

    I miss the days when our cars were dumber than we are....... ;)
  2. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    That's why I drive a '73 Suburban!
  3. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Knowing the codes can help, but not always. The wife's Windstar kept throwing a code for faulty O2 sensor. A quick search of the net (didn't want to spend the $150 per sensor) and I found out there was a TSB to change out some bolts with rubber seals for ones with silicone. $25.00 and a few hours later (along with a new set of plugs and plug wires) and the light was gone for good.

    yeah, I like working on engines that don't have computers.
  4. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    when im done rebuilding my '88 f250 4x4 it wont hav a damned computer
    im sick of those things, i want a truck that I can fix
  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    I hate all the new crap they have on the cars now and will only do the basics on them. When my trucks alternator went over voltage temporarily I had 5 idiot lights go on and stay on, I'm now trying to figure out how to reset the computer to turn them off.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Try disconnecting the positive lead from battery for a few minutes. Some 'puters reset that way.
  7. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Thanks ghrit, I'll give it a try. Have been searching the internet and have not found anything yet.
  8. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    My '96 Dodge van kept throwing codes every 1,000miles...I took it to a mechanic friend and told him there was nothing wrong. He checked it out and said it was "built in to the system" to get me to go back to the dealer!
    He plugged his reader unit in, punched in some code, and nothing coded ever again! Is that weird or what? That stinks!
  9. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    My van also threw codes for small emissions leak. Turned out the computer is only as smart as the idiot programming it. Took it to a local garage,l had them do a plugs and wires replacement (the van has almost 50K on it). I started the van et voila, the idiot light goes off. Seems that the system was indicating a faulty firing of one of the sparks. Unburned or not fully burned gasoline in your emissions causes the sensor to post a leak status. Passed emissions with flying colors two days later. 3 months later, the idiot light is still off. As with anything YMMV.
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