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mrblanche
05-11-2007, 01:17 PM
On Monday, my wife called to tell me the "Service Engine Soon" light had just come on in our 2002 Ford F150 pickup with the 4.6 L V8. When she got home, I disconnected the battery to allow the computer to reset, then drove the vehicle. No light.

The next day, she called to tell me it had come on again. After work, we took it to an Auto Zone where they have a code reader. They came up with 401 and 402 codes, which is both "Excessive EGR flow" and "No EGR flow." The Auto Zone manager said he though it meant the EGR was blown, and they are a bear to change.

However, checking with a friend who works at a Ford dealership, who checked with his service manager, I found that it was almost certainly the DPFE sensor, which senses the EGR flow for the computer. He says they sell a pile of them at $70 each, and they're lasting about 30,000 miles on average. My pickup has 29,000.

So, I bought the sensor and replaced it. Not even any tools required; it just has two vacuum hoses (of different sizes, so you won't confuse them) and an electrical plug. Less than 15 minutes of labor, reset the computer again, and fixed.

But you know you're getting the shaft when you walk into the Ford dealership, hand the parts counter man a slip of paper with the part number on, he glances it and says, "Oh, yeah, I know what that is. And we have a pile of them available."

MikeHalloran
05-11-2007, 01:28 PM
They used to keep replacement diaphragms for Ford's Variable Venturi Carburetor right under the cash register so they wouldn't even have to walk to get them.

Aside from that one flaw, it was actually an excellent carburetor.

Eric
05-12-2007, 06:30 AM
On Monday, my wife called to tell me the "Service Engine Soon" light had just come on in our 2002 Ford F150 pickup with the 4.6 L V8. When she got home, I disconnected the battery to allow the computer to reset, then drove the vehicle. No light.

The next day, she called to tell me it had come on again. After work, we took it to an Auto Zone where they have a code reader. They came up with 401 and 402 codes, which is both "Excessive EGR flow" and "No EGR flow." The Auto Zone manager said he though it meant the EGR was blown, and they are a bear to change.

However, checking with a friend who works at a Ford dealership, who checked with his service manager, I found that it was almost certainly the DPFE sensor, which senses the EGR flow for the computer. He says they sell a pile of them at $70 each, and they're lasting about 30,000 miles on average. My pickup has 29,000.

So, I bought the sensor and replaced it. Not even any tools required; it just has two vacuum hoses (of different sizes, so you won't confuse them) and an electrical plug. Less than 15 minutes of labor, reset the computer again, and fixed.

But you know you're getting the shaft when you walk into the Ford dealership, hand the parts counter man a slip of paper with the part number on, he glances it and says, "Oh, yeah, I know what that is. And we have a pile of them available."


The latter-day version of a Holley power valve!

DonTom
05-12-2007, 08:16 AM
"The next day, she called to tell me it had come on again. After work, we took it to an Auto Zone where they have a code reader. They came up with 401 and 402 codes, which is both "Excessive EGR flow" and "No EGR flow." The Auto Zone manager said he though it meant the EGR was blown, and they are a bear to change."

The same thing happened to me last summer, in my 2002 Ford Mustang V6 (3.8L). I made the big mistake of troubleshooting it myself (I have all the factory Ford manuals for this vehicle) and buying the part and replacing it myself.

So what was the mistake I made?

It happened in 2006 in a 2002 car that was bought and still registered in CA (but it's been garaged in NV for the last couple of years) . CA has a five year warranty (parts and service) for smog related stuff but I forgot about that. I paid for the part out of my own pocket where they would have fixed it for free if I just simply drove the vehicle to the local Ford dealer, even in Reno.

I could not get a refund on the part.

Seems the new part is a much better quality. BTW, the same part is a better quality in the 1999 Mustang. At least it looks that way. The one that fails is made from cheap plastic. The good ones are made from metal. I guess they tried to be cheap in 2002 and the plastic didn't hold up as well.

BTW, the reason the light would seem to reset is because for that code, you have to drive more than ten miles, stop the engine, drive at least another ten and then the light will come on if it's not fixed.

With OBD2, reseting by disconnecting the battery is usually a waste of time. They are rather temper proof these days. In CA, if I do a reset (by ANY medhod other than fixing) and go to get a smog test, it will fail. It will show "sensor not set" until you drive enough miles and meet the conditions for a possible failure to appear on each sensor. With OBD2, in CA, don't get a smog test after replacing or disconnecting the battery or it will fail even if there are no codes. All sensors have to have enough miles on them to meet the possible failure conditions of each. Usually less than 100 miles will be enough as long as it's in two startups or more.

-Don-

mrblanche
05-12-2007, 10:01 AM
My part would have been covered under warranty, if it had caused me to fail an emissions test, which I had done last month!

DonTom
05-12-2007, 03:19 PM
BTW, the reason the car has to be started twice and driven so many miles for some codes to show is because for many codes, it wants to see the same problem in two drive cycles before the check engine light will show a problem. This prevents false codes from setting.

When I first reset mine (with the code reader) I noticed when I drove to downtown Reno from Cold Springs Valley the check engine light would never come on. One the way back home, it came on every time at the exact same place, ten miles north of Reno. It did this many times in a row. So then I got my manuals out and read about the code and why this happened. And then I troubleshot it and fixed it by buying the part that should have been covered under warranty. It was easy to replace the part, but somewhat of a hassle to troubleshoot, because I had to leave it in normal operation while I got into wires to check voltages. To do so, I cut several wires and put in European style connectors so I could meassure the voltages in normal operation.

-Don-

Eric
05-13-2007, 07:10 AM
BTW, the reason the car has to be started twice and driven so many miles for some codes to show is because for many codes, it wants to see the same problem in two drive cycles before the check engine light will show a problem. This prevents false codes from setting.

When I first reset mine (with the code reader) I noticed when I drove to downtown Reno from Cold Springs Valley the check engine light would never come on. One the way back home, it came on every time at the exact same place, ten miles north of Reno. It did this many times in a row. So then I got my manuals out and read about the code and why this happened. And then I troubleshot it and fixed it by buying the part that should have been covered under warranty. It was easy to replace the part, but somewhat of a hassle to troubleshoot, because I had to leave it in normal operation while I got into wires to check voltages. To do so, I cut several wires and put in European style connectors so I could meassure the voltages in normal operation.

-Don-


My Nissan's light has been coming on (in fact , it is now on all the time). And I suspect the EGR valve - which appears to be original. But getting that puppy off will be a Job. It is mounted on the back of the engine, right up against the firewall and there is no way I can see to get at the mounting bolts without some pretty extensive disassembly. Since it's stll running fine, I have put off doing anything about - and spent the afternoon cleaning/detailing my Trans-Am's engine instead!

mrblanche
05-13-2007, 10:33 AM
Looks good.

The EGR valve on the Ford is mounted in a pretty easy-to-reach spot, right up by the throttle body.

Eric
05-13-2007, 10:53 AM
Looks good.

The EGR valve on the Ford is mounted in a pretty easy-to-reach spot, right up by the throttle body.


Thanks!

(And lucky you...!)

I will keep you posted on the Nissan's EGR; have to get up the initiative to deal with it and right now it's just too nice outside - so I'm going to go for a ride instead!

mrblanche
05-13-2007, 11:50 AM
Higher-mileage Fords with the 4.6 seem to be plagued by clogged EGR ports in the throttle body, and that's a 2 or 3 hour operation to solve.

MikeHalloran
05-13-2007, 12:46 PM
I will keep you posted on the Nissan's EGR; have to get up the initiative to deal with it and right now it's just too nice outside - so I'm going to go for a ride instead!


See if you can find a way to artificially cycle (and test the operation of) the EGR valve before you remove it.

mrblanche
05-13-2007, 01:39 PM
Usually that involves applying vacuum to it while the engine isn't running to hear if it's working, or applying vacuum to it while the engine is idling to see if it kills the engine.

Jim Rose
05-13-2007, 02:35 PM
>>Higher-mileage Fords with the 4.6 seem to be plagued by clogged EGR ports in the throttle body, and that's a 2 or 3 hour operation to solve.<<

You would think that Ford would have fixed that problem --it's been going on for all the years that the engine has been in service! No wonder they are losing it to the offshore brands!

DonTom
05-13-2007, 07:59 PM
"And I suspect the EGR valve -"

OBD2?

Don't guess anything until you KNOW the code. It's almost impossible to guess. There are many hundreds of codes these days and some have nothing to do with the engine at all.

My Jeep code was from a leaking gasket on the gas cap, that looked just like new. Would you have guessed that? About a thousand other possible codes with OBD2.

-Don-

MikeHalloran
05-13-2007, 10:40 PM
It's amazing what the onboard computer is able to infer, given the small number of sensors it has.

You have to trust it; but once you do, it's easy to get blindsided by the failures that don't set codes.

DonTom
05-14-2007, 12:14 AM
"given the small number of sensors it has."

With OBD2, there are probably a lot more sensors than you know about. In CA Jeep models, such as my 97 Jeep Grand Cherokee, there is a lot of junk just to check for air leaks in the gasoline tank to set the code I got. Every so often, it pressurizes the gasoline tank as you drive and checks to see how long it takes to lose the pressure. There is a lot of junk in cars in the last ten years most people don't even know exist. Get the dozen or so possible factory service manuals for any car built in the last ten years or so and you will see what I mean. Usually even more of this junk in CA models.

-Don-

Eric
05-14-2007, 08:40 AM
"And I suspect the EGR valve -"

OBD2?

Don't guess anything until you KNOW the code. It's almost impossible to guess. There are many hundreds of codes these days and some have nothing to do with the engine at all.

My Jeep code was from a leaking gasket on the gas cap, that looked just like new. Would you have guessed that? About a thousand other possible codes with OBD2.

-Don-


This is why I say "throw OBD down the well!"

What a PITAS....

DonTom
05-14-2007, 08:51 AM
"This is why I say "throw OBD down the well!"

What a PITAS...."

Not really. Just different. Sort of like going from carbs to computer controlled fuel injection ;D. It's not a big deal to spend a few bucks on a code reader. I have a few of them, cheap ones cost about $25.00 on E-Bay. I have another one that costs about a hundred bucks. But any of them will tell you what your code means as well as reset it.

The real problem with cars these days is that it takes several hundred dollars worth of books to cover just one year of a single model and there is a lot more to troubleshoot. But because of this, your car is more likely to stay in perfect tune as long as you don't ignore the check engine light. Here in CA we cannot ignore it because of smog tests.

-Don-

mrblanche
05-14-2007, 09:19 AM
A unit that will read and clear OBDII codes starts at about $150, as far as I can tell.

DonTom
05-15-2007, 12:28 AM
"A unit that will read and clear OBDII codes starts at about $150, as far as I can tell."

Buy one on E-Bay as "buy it now" for $13.99, plus $10.99 shipping, total less than $25.00. Check:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Car-Scanner-OBD2-SCANNER-ERROR-CODE-READER-OBD-II-2_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ43989QQihZ014QQitemZ3 30117206366QQrdZ1 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Car-Scanner-OBD2-SCANNER-ERROR-CODE-READER-OBD-II-2_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ43989QQihZ014QQitemZ3 30117206366QQrdZ1)


-Don-

Eric
05-15-2007, 06:48 AM
"A unit that will read and clear OBDII codes starts at about $150, as far as I can tell."

Buy one on E-Bay as "buy it now" for $13.99, plus $10.99 shipping, total less than $25.00. Check:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Car-Scanner-OBD2-SCANNER-ERROR-CODE-READER-OBD-II-2_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ43989QQihZ014QQitemZ3 30117206366QQrdZ1 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Car-Scanner-OBD2-SCANNER-ERROR-CODE-READER-OBD-II-2_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ43989QQihZ014QQitemZ3 30117206366QQrdZ1)


-Don-


I have dee-cided that my next truck will be a pre-smog F100... ideally, one with a 360 (or even a 351). No "OBD" crapola. And nothing I can't fix myself with standard tools and for next to nothing!

And you know what? With a few judicious upgrades here and there, one can have the best of both worlds - the simplicity and ease of maintenance of an older vehicle - and the functionality (esp. handling and high-speed capability) of a modern car.

More to come on that topic...

DonTom
05-15-2007, 07:05 AM
"No "OBD" crapola."

Eric,

You're very hightechphobic, aren't you?

"And nothing I can't fix myself with standard tools and for next to nothing!"

These days, IMAO, an OBD2 reader IS a standard tool for anybody who works on modern cars.

-Don-

Eric
05-15-2007, 08:25 AM
"No "OBD" crapola."

Eric,

You're very hightechphobic, aren't you?

"And nothing I can't fix myself with standard tools and for next to nothing!"

These days, IMAO, an OBD2 reader IS a standard tool for anybody who works on modern cars.

-Don-

Not high-tech phobic - jut not interested in unnecessary (to me) and expensive technology!

DonTom
05-15-2007, 09:06 AM
" jut not interested in unnecessary (to me) and expensive technology"!

Most high tech stuff is cheap these days. It's just that there is so much of it that was never in cars before.

China does NOT have the high tech OBD2 stuff in their cars and that has been expensive to China in health costs. They have learnt this the hard way. Here in CA it's necessary too, if we don't want to all kill each other in our smog.

-Don-

mrblanche
05-16-2007, 07:29 AM
Most high tech stuff is cheap these days. It's just that there is so much of it that was never in cars before.



Really? Did you notice that I pointed out the little sensor that caused my problem was $80 with tax, and that Ford is having trouble with them dying every 30,000 miles? You can get them for $30 at Auto Zone, and it may last 10,000 miles. If I had taken it to Ford rather than doing it myself, the total bill would have approached $200.

I ordered one of the scanners you mentioned. I'll let you know how impressed I am.

Eric
05-16-2007, 07:41 AM
Most high tech stuff is cheap these days. It's just that there is so much of it that was never in cars before.



Really? Did you notice that I pointed out the little sensor that caused my problem was $80 with tax, and that Ford is having trouble with them dying every 30,000 miles? You can get them for $30 at Auto Zone, and it may last 10,000 miles. If I had taken it to Ford rather than doing it myself, the total bill would have approached $200.

I ordered one of the scanners you mentioned. I'll let you know how impressed I am.


Now compare this with the cost of entire TH350 automatic transmission - which you can buy from Summit Racing for about $500.

DonTom
05-16-2007, 08:44 AM
"Really? Did you notice that I pointed out the little sensor that caused my problem was $80 with tax, and that Ford is having trouble with them dying every 30,000 miles? You can get them for $30 at Auto Zone, and it may last 10,000 miles. If I had taken it to Ford rather than doing it myself, the total bill would have approached $200.

I ordered one of the scanners you mentioned. I'll let you know how impressed I am."

I think of $80.00 as being cheap these days. That $80.00 will get me less than a half of tank of gas in my RV, or a little over a full tank of gasoline in my SUV or truck. BTW, dealers are a big rip off. I avoid them. If I MUST go to them for service, I may just junk the vehicle instead. However, the one time I should have gone to a dealer, I ripped myself off by not doing such when I had the same code as you had in my 2002 Mustang (the CA 5 year warranty). BTW, did you mean 100K ar Auto Zone, or did you mean 10K just as you said above?

The 1999 Mustang has the same part made from metal and the new replacement part for the 2002 is a bit larger than the one that failed. I assumed it will last longer, even though it's still made from cheap plastic.

The OBD2 reader won't impress you too much, but it will do a job that you could not do without it. As I explained before, you cannot guess OBD2 codes. There are way too many possibilities, but especially in CA models.

The main problem you will have is when you do get a check engine light, you may need a few service manuals to fix it, even when you have the code and know what the basic problem is. One book might tell you the problem and another might tell you where to look for the problem part, etc. But I have books for my 2002 Ford that will work for most of your codes on your 2002 Ford, so I should be able to help with at least some OBD2 problems. I have had my share of them.

BTW, there are MANY codes that are ignored until they happen several times in several start cycles. This includes when my secondary air injection failed in my 1999 Mustang (electric air pump failed, which was very difficult to locate, hidden under the right headlight). So reseting the codes might just lead to more confusion. If the light does not come on during a single hundred mile trip, it does NOT mean the "check engine" light won't go on 20 miles after the next time you start the car, even though the problem has not changed at all. The OBD2 system makes sure the problem is for real and not a computer glitch, when you see that light come on.

-Don-

chiph
05-16-2007, 06:53 PM
On some cars you can jumper a connector and view the codes as "blink codes".
These are really cryptic, and to avoid the hassle, it's probably worthwhile buying a code reader/clearer.

Chip H.

mrblanche
05-16-2007, 08:04 PM
I don't think you can on OBDII cars. But I may be wrong.

MikeHalloran
05-16-2007, 10:03 PM
You are correct. Cars with OBDII don't do blink codes. You have to buy a reader.

I bought one for $150 at AutoZone. It reads and clears the basic codes, all it says it will do. There's a decoder in the thin book that comes with it. Odd codes are covered on the company's website, easy to access.

My friend Ted bought the $500 model, which reads and clears codes, and additionally allows you to monitor activity on the vehicle's data bus in real time. I.e., you can measure rpm, various temperatures, etc., whatever the sensors read.

There are actually far fewer actual physical sensors than there are codes or monitored parameters. The onboard computer does a lot of inference in order to multiplex the sensors.

Given that many vehicles now have suitable digital displays, one might wonder why the car doesn't just display the code on the dashboard.

One, the gov't doesn't require it. The OBDII connector is standardized, as is the format of the publicly accessible data that appears on it.

Two, each manufacturer additionally posts a completely different set of enhanced codes, in proprietary format that is not standardized or public. I think most of them send the data at a much higher baud rate, over the same pins as the OBDII output, but the high speed data bits just look like noise to the generic reader. The enhanced codes support more fine grained data reporting, and commands to do special tests for faster diagnostics, and also support the manufacture and sale of multi- thousand dollar scanners, to dealers only.

There are third- party scanners for the enhanced codes, slightly more affordable than the official factory stuff, and adaptable to multiple manufacturers. They may not cover everything the dealer gets, because they are reverse- engineered. I almost got a job doing that; it would have been great fun.

mrblanche
05-17-2007, 05:32 AM
For what it's worth, when my Volvo truck sets a code, it also tells you what it is, what it means, and gives the part number.

DonTom
05-17-2007, 07:11 AM
"On some cars you can jumper a connector and view the codes as "blink codes". "

You're thinking OBD1, used before 1997. However, I think there might be some vehicles where you can retrieve OBD2 codes without buying a code reader, as they have their own built in reader. I have seen this in OBD1 (gives the actual code, nothing to count), such as in the 1989 Caddy we used to own, so I assume they might still do it with some OBD2 cars.

If some cars do have a built in code reader, I doubt if you can reset the code with it and many OBD2 codes will NOT reset by removing the battery power. What resets OBD2 codes other than a reset button on the OBD2 reader depends on the code itself. Most codes will reset after starting either 25 or 50 times and so many miles driven(depending on the code) but only if the code has not returned a single time during all those restarts and miles. Not all OBD2 codes are treated the same way. OBD2 is MUCH more complicated and high tech than OBD1. There is no easy way to cheat on an OBD2 code.


-Don-

MikeHalloran
05-17-2007, 10:06 AM
For what it's worth, when my Volvo truck sets a code, it also tells you what it is, what it means, and gives the part number.

There's no _technical_ reason why they couldn't do the same thing on cars, and update the information by satellite.

mrblanche
05-17-2007, 02:09 PM
There's no _technical_ reason why they couldn't do the same thing on cars, and update the information by satellite.


All over-the-road trucks built since 1987 have computer controls and a standardized "data buss" that can be tapped into. Many companies, such as Werner, connect that buss to their QualComm satellite communication system. The effect is that the head office often knows about a problem before the driver does. I had a Peterbilt that set a low oil pressure code whenever I started it cold, and each time I would get a message from the head office asking if the truck was OK. In addition, I was in an accident in 1991 (a lady turned left in front of me) and when I called in, they already knew that there had been an impact on the truck.

Jim Rose
05-17-2007, 03:15 PM
>> The effect is that the head office often knows about a problem before the driver does. I had a Peterbilt that set a low oil pressure code whenever I started it cold, and each time I would get a message from the head office asking if the truck was OK. In addition, I was in an accident in 1991 (a lady turned left in front of me) and when I called in, they already knew that there had been an impact on the truck.<<

Big Brother is really watching you!

DonTom
05-18-2007, 06:07 AM
"There's no _technical_ reason why they couldn't do the same thing on cars, and update the information by satellite."

Stuff such as giving a part number for a failed part is usually unreliable.

The factory service manuals do NOT assume anything in its troubleshooting procedures. For an example, when my air pump went out, the code wasn't for a failed air pump, but for "no secondary air injection detected". This means, perhaps it's the sensor or a bad hose and not the air pump. The troubleshooting procedure made sure I tested everything correctly before letting me assume it's and air pump problem. Something has to tell the system that the air pump failed, and that "something" might be what really failed. Also, something has to tell the air pump when to come on and off. Many problems will set the exact same code, making some troubleshooting necessary if you don't want to waste time and money on replacing good parts. Remember, most places have a no refund policy on electrical parts.

In fact, that's what happened with my Jeep ABS failure code. It's a false code saying a sensor failed, but the false code turns off the ABS and the real problem is the module itself. I cannot test for ABS codes myself, but the factory that makes the ABS module explained that this is their most common failure.

So you cannot always trust a simple system that gives you a part number for a failed part. Some troubleshootin is usually necessary.

-Don-

Eric
05-18-2007, 06:44 AM
Actually, I believe certain GM vehicles have similar capability - working via OnStar. "Problem" codes and maintenance reminders tied to accumulated mileage, etc. are downloaded and sent to the dealer/customer as necessary...