So it’s been a week since “the incident.” But we actually need to go back a couple of weeks to when things really started. My mom has my car, or rather, my truck. She got her car smashed up in July 07, and the one before that, and yes-even my truck looks horrible now. So I’m increasingly of the belief that MAYBE mom mother is not so great with cars. And that means I have to get rich enough that I can either get her a driver or move her to a place with lots of flat surfaces and very few other drivers or objects. But let me give you the bottom line: my fix turned out to be easy solution.
So since I did have a Code book and a Scanner and maybe you don’t-let me give you some online info. 2 of the 3 codes have links.
System Too Lean (Bank 1). Basically this means that an oxygen sensor in bank 1 detected a lean condition (too much oxygen in the exhaust). On V6/V8/V10 engines, Bank 1 is the side of the engine that has cylinder #1.
Note: This DTC is very similar to P0174, and in fact your vehicle may show both codes at the same time.
Random Misfire. Basically this means that the the car’s computer has detected that not all of the engine’s cylinders are firing properly.
A P0300 OBD DTC code indicates a random or multiple misfire. If the last digit is a number other than zero, it corresponds to the cylinder number that is misfiring. A P0302 code, for example, would tell you cylinder number two is misfiring. Unfortunately, a P0300 doesn’t tell you specifically which cylinder(s) is/are mis-firing, nor why.
Lack of Upstream Heated Oxygen Sensor Switch – Sensor Indicates Lean – Bank No. 1
At any rate; a few weeks ago the ever so loved CHECK ENGINE light went on. Now I used to have a OBD II scanner that I’d gotten on sale for under $50. That unit was stolen when my truck was broken into (in my mother’s care of course). So I checked Sears and Pep Boys and those things are selling for $150 bucks! And its only like 2 years later. There were some models for 100, so I decided to go online to everybody’s friend Amazon. Buying electronics from eBay is a something you have to really think about. Then think about again. But Amazon is going to have a good selection, reasonable prices, and a return policy you can work with. They had the model I had bought before, but it was almost 60, so I found another simple model for less.
So that was about a week after the check engine light showed up. Then last Friday it showed up at my mom’s place. She called to ask if that was the device for the car and later that SAME night she calls. The truck has stopped and she’s stuck out on the street. Gas? Ok. Battery? Ok. So I tell her to take out the scanner-I’ve never used it, but hopefully I can figure it out over the phone. I am PRAYING that it’s something simple. The thing doesn’t need batteries, it runs off the car battery once you plug it in.
Meanwhile I call my insurance company to see about a tow. I used to be with AAA and that insurance included 3 tows a year. And now since moving to Chicago I’ve been with Liberty Mutual. About a year back I got stuck and they sent a truck. So I called last Friday and they tell me I don’t have the service. I ask if I checked some box, or signed some form saying I didn’t want the service. No. They just cut it out of my coverage. So luckily my mom knows a guy. She had scanned the car by this time and it was the dreaded PO171 code “lean air.” So I had them tow the truck to my place, and then he drove her home.
So it was about 10pm. I was going to leave it until morning, but around 12am I just HAD to know what the codes were at least. The U380 scanner came with an instruction book and a list of the codes but I looked up my three codes on the internet. PO171 P1131 and PO300. Lean air, misfiring spark plug, etc. A few years ago when I had a problem that caused me to by an OBD II scanner in the first place it was PO171 and I changed the oxygen sensor. I was dreading doing that job again or worse, dealing with the MAF. One other time we got a light was when the binding clip on the air filter had came loose. And when I saw the codes this time I was thinking/hoping it was one of two things; a hose was loose somewhere or maybe the spark plug wire had come undone. That happed once with a VW bug I owned. And when I started the truck it even sounded like the VW; Vroom, Vroom, Vroom, Blahhhhh! Vroom, Vroom, Vroom, Blahhhhh! Vroom, Vroom, Vroom, Blahhhhh! That’s the sound of 3 spark plugs firing and one missing.
The scanner plugs in under the dashboard, and you just press one of the two buttons to operate it. You can get a more advanced model, but I’m not a mechanic and I don’t see the point. I mean do you want a 10 dollar hammer or a 70 dollar hammer? It’s not like buying a stereo system, all you want to know is what’s wrong with the car from an electrical point of view. What’s failing in the start up or running of the car. So you’ll have a clue of where to look.
Anyway, after I checked the 2 visible spark plug wires (the other 2 are so deep it’s a joke) I started looking for any kind of hose that might be loose. And of course I went back to the air filter binding. It was fine. But as I looked closer I noticed the tightening ring had let the entire filter hose come loose. My GOD, could it really be this simple? It’s now close to 1am and I’ve got a shop light all the way outside. I connected the ring and the car started right up.