Sorting starts, first trouble codes

Two rides later the big green (and oh-so-temporary) “Check Engine” light is aglow on me dashboard, signaling to me the inherent imperfection of, really when you think about it, all of man’s works.

OK, not really.

Here’s what’s shaken down in the past three days so far.

After the first run I got nervous, since I’d basically secured and/or finished nothing in the wiring harness or cooling system. I started up a checklist of things to get done that looks more or less like this:

1. Wire in VSS (aka “Wheel o’ Death” speed sensor)

2. Check all coolant hoses & tighten any drips

3. re-adjust the shifter so you can find second gear

4. finish wiring and test all circuits

5. attend to any trouble codes

6. Wrap everything neat and tidy in the wire harness

7. finish the bloody fan shroud, goddammit

8. install new reverse light switch in trans case–or pipe plug–to stop drip from there

9. tighten/adjust trans mounts to keep engine steady under hard acceleration

10. build and install rear tub panel to hide air intake

11. re-build and install interior panels/carpets. Clean it all up.

I did 1. first after work the other day.VSS installedAnd I was proud of the wiring job I did on it. No crimps small enough so I twisted them, soldered them, covered each with a shrink tube and then covered all three with a bigger shrink tube. I cut the ledes from both the plug terminal and the proximity sensor and left just a little more than I needed to loop once around the rubber bump stop before following the brake line to the terminal. This should work well.

Next morning before work I attached the rear bumper and spare tire and drove her to Mike’s shop to let him see. This was a bit further than the gas station–about three miles round trip, including some on Rt 40 at or about rush hour. I took it easy and had a little less trouble with the (still un-readjusted shifter). Mike praised my ability to actually see the project through and commuters stared and asked questions at the stop lights.

On the way back, waiting to turn left onto my home street, I hear what sounded like the chick-wiiish that plagued my early coolant system efforts. It sounded, just for a second, like the engine was hot and trying to expel antifreeze or bubbles from the high side head.

But I could not be certain; it’s loud on Rt 40 at 8 a.m. on a weekday. The sound did not persist, but the Check Engine light came on.

I came home and got the codes. It said there were five but it gave me three:

P0133. That’s Oxygen Sensor Slow Response, according to this amazingly-detailed guide. That looks like something I’ll need to get after. Apparently I could have an exhaust or intake leak–both of which sound likely. Other intriguing possibilities: “Defective Oxygen Sensor/Air Fuel Ratio Sensor Heater circuit.” And “Defective Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor.” I wonder if the fact that that sensor is not hooked up–but the spade end is hanging loose and uninsulated in a nest of wires and possible ground points under the driver’s seat–might have something to do with this code.

P1702. That comes back as “Trans Diagnosis Input Signal Circuit,” which is a code exclusive to automatic transmissions. We’ll chalk that one up to automotive phantom limb syndrome and ignore it.

P1500. That’s a fan relay issue which means that either my relay wiring is yet wronger than I realized or–possibly?–it’s a delayed-reaction to the previously screwed-up wiring job I did. I think I’ll check again and make sure the fan goes on when needed (it’s not been needed on the test drives so far) and then hopefully clear the signal and neaten up the relay circuit. Right now that relay is just hanging under the hood by the wires attached to it. . . .

The code reader also flashed “pd” and then “EGR” which I’m gonna let slide for now. It said “Mil On,” “Monitors,” “Catalyst,” “Misfire,” “fuel,” “comp,” “02 snsr,” and “02 htr.”

PD means “pending code,” but it looks like it’s better described as “previously detected” or “intermittent.” Just the sort of thing you might see while assembling and testing an engine swap, in other words. We’ll see how this shakes out after a few more test runs.

I went out last night and, this time about four or five miles round trip, started to get the hang of my mis-adjusted shifter. I also bought a flasher to try to fix my malfunctioning turn signals. Last year I shorted out the flasher while working under the dash. This year it’s something different though. If I signal a left turn the dash indicator flashes once then off. The front flasher works as normal, and the rear light works too–but both flash. Right turn is the same thing except the right front flashes with both rears. If I turn the headlights off the signal lamps work as normal.

Grounds, is my guess. So I’ll add that to my punch list.

Checking for more signs of slight coolant drips up by the heater and elsewhere, I find none.

I got no chik-hiss type sounds and the temp gauge never passed 190, which is where the fan clicks on. It does seem to want to stay at about that temp–so far at least. Fingers crossed I don’t have a blown head gasket.



About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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One Response to Sorting starts, first trouble codes

  1. Pingback: Hunt Valley Horsepower | bridgetmgtd

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