Check Engin Light

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  #1  
Old 06-09-03, 06:42 AM
duce110
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Check Engin Light

I have a 99 Ford Explorer Sport with 61000 miles. I don't know if you remember Joe, but a few months ago I had this check enging come on. I took it to the shop and they told me it was a rich and lean fuel mixture. So they said, I should replace all four oxygen sensors. I didn't have a problem with because my warrenty covered it. So they only replaced three though because my warrenty company was suspious. Well anyway, I drove about 40 to 45 miles and it came on again. I got so upset I took it somewhere else to get a 2nd opinion. The 2nd place (Express Auto Shop) told me it was not the oxygen sensor, that it was the overhead cam. They also told me it was wierd for the other people to change three out of the four oxygen senor. My question is what I should I do. Do you even think it's that. I've been fighting with this check engin light for months now and its really getting irriating and expensive. Any suggestions.

Oh I also have the air bag light on also. Express Auto Shop said it might be the moduel. What do you think.

I"M GOING CRAZY WITH THIS TRUCK!!!! PLEASE HELP.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-09-03, 08:29 AM
Joe_F
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I suggest going back to the Ford dealer who has the tools, knowledge and information to fix it right.
Yes, Fords will drive you to the poorhouse and nuthouse at the same time .
 
  #3  
Old 06-09-03, 08:37 AM
duce110
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Well, I tryed calling Ford but they are so busy and really expensive when it comes to dianastic work. I just really want to know about the check engin light. I have to take it for inspection next month and its really bad. Like in the morning. It has a rough start. It'll start but then shut off. I have to keep my foot on the gas so it can heat up.
 
  #4  
Old 06-09-03, 08:41 AM
Joe_F
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That is why they are busy, because they have the needed tools, technology and people to handle the problem, as well as manufacturer backing.

Again, you've spent countless time at guys throwing parts at the problem, now spend the time to get it fixed right. Bill the first two shops if you have to if anything has to be redone at the Ford dealer.
 
  #5  
Old 06-09-03, 10:23 AM
David Fulford
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You can buy the On Board Diagnostics code readers for ~$150 at Pep Boys or some other autoparts store. That'll tell you exactly what the problem is.

A buddy of mine has a '95 Bronco that had the check engine light come on. He took it to the dealer and they told him the code was telling him his catalytic converters were bad and it would cost him $1000. He's not too car smart, but he knew that sounded fishy.

I told him there is no feedback to the computer from the converters and that he should by an OBDII code reader to find out for sure what was wrong.

The code reader told us the pre-heater grid for one of his O2 sensors was bad. He replaced this $60 sensor and the check engine light went away and he gained 2 MPG.

Since the mechanics work on commission, he was obviously trying to *boost* his take on that job. My buddy is filing a complaint against this mechanic.
 
  #6  
Old 06-09-03, 11:36 AM
duce110
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I think that was what the first shop wanted. They screwed me. Anyhow the second shop said it might be a overhead cam problem. He said something about the camshaft. I hear like this chain like sound while I drive the truck. When I press the gas, it makes a louder noise then when its idel.
 
  #7  
Old 06-09-03, 12:20 PM
David Fulford
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I hear like this chain like sound while I drive the truck. When I press the gas, it makes a louder noise then when its idel.
That's not good. I wouldn't drive it like that. How's your oil pressure? How does it run otherwise?

Do you have a check engine light still? If so I'd get a code reader and find out for yourself what it is. It could very well be the cam. I think there is a cam position sensor that might give a check engine light.

The sound may also be your water pump going bad. I'm not sure what year it started, but I know the newer Explorers have many problems with the water pump. This wouldn't cause the check engine light to come on though.

Find out what the code is. Take it somewhere to be fixed. Don't tell them you know the code and see if they tell you the same thing. If they do tell you the same thing then I'd be more inclined to let them fix it.

HTH

-Dave
 
  #8  
Old 06-09-03, 12:32 PM
duce110
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Well I don't remember the code number but I did read it from the coder device and it said rich and low fuel mixture.
 
  #9  
Old 06-09-03, 03:14 PM
Joe_F
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David:

A code reader is not a scanner. The two do vastly different things. A scanner gives live data, replays, updates, code displays, some are meters, etc.

If shops could get away with having 150 dollar code readers to do their work, SnapOn would be out of business. Also, every Tom, Dick and Harry could open their own repair shop. Not so.

Your friend got lucky, and what was changed was a maintenance part, not a failure part. If you have to go that long on O2 sensors, something's wrong .

Original poster: The first shop may or may not have screwed you. Depends on what you asked them to do and what they did and whether it was accomplished.

Bouncing around from shop to shop is a sure fire way to drain your wallet. Pick a competent shop with the proper tools and knowledge. Use the ASE website to guide you as to a good shop.

Again, a good independent shop or the dealer should be the best bet in getting this fixed economically.
 
  #10  
Old 06-09-03, 04:55 PM
David Fulford
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Joe:

I never said a code reader was the same as a scanner. Not sure where you got that.

I'm also not implying that shops can effectively diagnose vehicles with a $150 code reader. Again I'm not sure where you got that.

My intent was to show that it's best to be as well informed as possible, because a lot of shops rely on the customer not knowing anything about their vehicle. Customers are at the mercy of the shop, and some shops take full advantage of that.

My friend got lucky because he informed himself of the REAL problem with his vehicle, regardless of whether or not it was a maintenance item.

I'm just trying to constructively add to the conversation. I'm not trying to take over or refute what you have posted.

-Dave
 
  #11  
Old 06-10-03, 06:46 AM
duce110
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Well now I just a have a general question. A buddy of mine who is a mechanic told me that the timing chain was under advisery through the factory and that I can take it to Ford and they'll fix it if it still was under the warrenty. I currently have 61000 miles on my car and I just wanted to know if there is such an advisery on the timing chain.

I'm going to explain the problem just in case you don't follow me.

Problem: Every time I turn on my truck it makes this rattling noise sounding like a chain (I'm not even sure if Ford Explorer carries a chain). After awhile it will go away if it's on idel. But as soon as I drive it, it makes the same noise or even longer (happens when I accerlate). The mechanic I know told me it might be that the belt was loosing oil pressure. So then he started to explain to me that there was an advisery and that I should take it to Ford. He said that it might also be causing my check engin light to go off being that everything now has sensors. But again, my question is how can I find out if there is an advisery or would you even know (anyone).
 
  #12  
Old 06-10-03, 09:04 AM
Joe_F
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You can buy the On Board Diagnostics code readers for ~$150 at Pep Boys or some other autoparts store. That'll tell you exactly what the problem is.
-----

David: NO! A $150 code reader WILL NOT tell you where the problem is. Neither will a $1000 scanner. However the $1000 scanner will tell the technician where to start to diagnose the problem along with the proper service information and the various functions that a scanner has which a code reader does not.

That is where I got my statement based on your original statement.

My point is that I agree with you that it is wise to be well informed, but just to clarify, a $150 code reader is not a diagnostic tool in ANY way, shape or form. It's a direction pointer at best. Nothing more.

Original poster: Once again, I suggest you get this vehicle to a Ford dealer. If there are any recalls or technicial bulletins on the problem, you may get Ford to pay for part or all of the repairs. From an independent, you'll pay for it all. Also, if the Ford dealer has to change any parts or redo any work done by the first shop, you should have the right to charge those repairs back to the first shop who did the work which was not done correctly.
 
  #13  
Old 06-10-03, 09:48 AM
jason1b
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YOUR ENGINE LIGHT CAN COME ON FOR THE BAD CAT CONVERTER
YOU WILL GET AN EFFICIENCY CODE,WE GET THEM ALL THE TIME AT MY DEALER
 
  #14  
Old 06-10-03, 10:06 AM
David Fulford
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Joe,

I'm sorry if my statement was too general. I meant that to mean the code reader will tell exactly what the alarm is. Obviously people have to have some knowledge of how the vehicle works in order to use the code reader effectively. I agree that the code reader will only report what is causing the check engine light to come. However, in my experience, reading the code with a code reader has pointed me to the problem (EGR control valve, O2 sensor, etc.) and saved me and other's $1000's of repair dollars.

I do agree with you that a code reader won't necessarily diagnose the problem. There very well could have been other problems upstream that caused the O2 sensor alarm, but those are the things that have to be evaluated once you know what is causing the check engine light. I think code readers are great tool.

Do most independent shops have TSB's available to them?

duce110:
If you are unhappy with the service of the independent shops you have tried, then it's probably time to bite the bullet and take it to Ford. Question everything, and get back the parts they replace if practical.
-Dave
 
  #15  
Old 06-10-03, 10:13 AM
Joe_F
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David:

Most GOOD shops have Alldata or Mitchell which will provide them with TSB information, yes. The ones that go "HUHHHHHH????" when you ask about a bulletin or TSB are probably the ones to avoid.

A code reader is not a bad idea, but again, as you've said, it will point you there, not give you good functionality to solve the problem. The key is diagnostic ability. Some folks thrive on it, others give up, some are in between. OBDII kinda assumes you are in the first category as everything is monitored nowadays and it's only getting more complex.

In order to play the game, you need the tools to do so. Unfortunately, a code reader doesn't give you that. You could change good parts with a code reader because it tells you that you are getting this code or that code. In reality, a loose gas cap could cause it all. LOL.

A good independent shop can handle this poster's problem, but it's probably best to take it to Ford as it is fairly new and again, some of the work may be covered by a goodwill warranty if there is a known problem/bulletin on that specific issue. Alldata.com would clue you in there.
 
  #16  
Old 06-10-03, 10:19 AM
David Fulford
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jason1b,

I never said the check engine light can't come on due to bad converters. I said there are no "bad converter" alarms.

The tech told my friend that the check engine light came on due to a catalytic converter alarm. There is no such thing, and the actual alarm was for the O2 preheater grid. Thats criminal to outright lie to the customer.

It make sense that low efficiency alarms and such can occure due to catalytic converters failing. But like I said, this was an O2 preheater grid alarm.

This plays into what Joe was talking about regarding using code readers to diagnose problems. Reading an efficiency alarm with a code reader probably won't help the average person fix the problem. That type of code obviously requires intervention by someone who really knows what they are doing.

-Dave
 
  #17  
Old 06-10-03, 10:25 AM
David Fulford
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Great web site! Thanks for sharing that.

Your so right about the code readers. They can be great, but they can also get you chasing your tail. Gotta be smart about what it tells you!

Thanks again!

-Dave
 
  #18  
Old 06-10-03, 12:05 PM
Joe_F
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Sure thing.
 
  #19  
Old 06-10-03, 02:31 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 73
98 Venture - 71,000 miles ... same problem with "service engine soon." Also unworking power windows. Diagnosed as an electrical problem. Rewired. $95.00 non-dealer. Windows are fine. Fixed the problem "service engine soon" light temporarily. Now comes on. Goes off. Comes on. Goes off. Etc. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. How about a piece of black electrical tape to put over the "service engine soon?" Then it won't bother anyone.
 
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