Certified Water Technologist #63

Certified Water Technologist #63
Vern's Stories fredhorn37@gmail.com

Why Is It So Difficult to Repair an Older Vehicle?

I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota which has had a check engine light for about a year. I have put off repairing it because I had plenty of time before I had to get it smogged for registration. Well guess what, here it is two weeks before registration is due, and I haven't repaired it yet. I am a lazy ****** when it comes to getting stuff done on time.

I worked on it myself several months ago. The problem is both oxygen sensors have a code that says heater circuit malfunction. I replaced both sensors because they are both old, but that didn't cure the problem. Then I delayed, because plenty of time, and I simply didn't want to mess with it, because I am a lazy curmudgeon.

I troubleshot it down to the point I believed I had a bad computer. I didn't want to spend the money on a new one without a professional diagnosis, so I took it to a garage I have used over the years.  They said it required 2 new oxygen sensors and a computer software upgrade. Well, that didn't cure the problem, so they said my truck didn't like the aftermarket oxygen sensors and required the Dodge mopar sensors. More money of course. So they put on the Dodge mopar sensors, and guess what, problem is not solved. So they did some more looking, said a new computer wouldn't fix it, and that I required a sensor that had 13 ohms instead of the normal 4 ohms. Problem is NOBODY knows what the hell the garage is talking about, because there simply isn't a 13 ohm sensor anywhere in the known  world. So I had them put the old sensors back on, and now I got my truck at the local Dodge house. They said yep, needs a computer. Today is Friday, they ordered the part Tuesday, but still not here. They don't know if it will arrive today.



















10 comments:

  1. Just to be a jerk but let me point out that a 72 Chevy pickup has neither a computer or oxygen sensors and when tuned properly can get 12 mpg depending on the engine/gear ratio combination.
    For what you are already dumping into this rig you could probably find one down in your area fairly rust free and start in on it.
    Yeah, I know. I almost cried when I found out that my 1983 GMC Caballero actually has a damn computer in it. The very first year they came out with them.

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    1. The more I think about it the more I want to say that there should be a fuse for the heating elements on those sensors.
      As for oxygen sensor codes that keep coming back even after replacing them, that happened to my now wife before we got married with her Ford Focus. I forget how many times she told me they got replaced but it was like four times before she just gave up on it. I messed with it until I ran out of ideas and broke down and took it to the dealer. They used a propane bottle with a valve and a rubber hose to go around the engine looking for vacuum leaks that would cause it to run lean and set a code.
      Turned out a steel PCV valve tube had rubbed up against the firewall long enough to rub a hole in it but you couldn't see it because it was behind the tube and up against the fire wall. It cost me $400 bucks but that was the end of the oxygen sensor codes.

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    2. I hope either the garage I had it at or the dealer checked on that. These days though I think they rely too much on their technology.

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  2. Hi Phil. I have been looking for just such a vehicle. But unfortunately have not found what I have been looking for. I will eventually find one, but for now I need a relatively reliable truck for my work.

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  3. Main problem you have Fred it is a Dodge...

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    1. One of my many quirks is I like Dodge. I have had several of them, liked them all but one.

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    2. I use to like Dodge up to 1972. 1973 and after Dodge/Chrysler got stupid and ruined their car/truck lines by adhering to federal/insurance diktats and not telling them to stick it up their tailpipes. To be fair, GM and Ford eventually slithered that way. AMC which I liked their cars could not compete with the three and federal/insurance mafias.

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  4. I had what I thought was coded as a bad oxygen sensor in my GMC pickup. Was told the part was inexpensive, but the labor to get to it and replace would be expensive.

    So off I g to get prices from auto part stores. One of the older Auto Zone techs told me to disconnect the battery to reset the system. If it coded again - I had a problem. If not, just a glitch.

    I did that and the code did not light up ever again.

    Maybe worth a shot ?

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  5. Thank you. I have done that several times to no avail. Dealer says it is a bad computer, it is on order. If it came in this weekend I hope to have it repaired by monday.

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