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Old 09-27-2013, 05:55 PM   #1
spdice
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Default help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

-apologies for the long post, but there's a lot of 'splaining' to do:

So about a month or so ago, I posted about my recently purchased used 2002 SL1 w/ 90,000 miles on it. The check engine light came on a few days after purchase, (right in time for me to go through inspection - I live in NJ btw), needless to say, I failed inspection. The codes P0442 and P0301 came up - I took it to my mechanic who told me that I needed to fix the intake manifold gasket.

A little more than $500 later, I go to pick the car up. He tells me that the engine light will still be on, but I have to drive it around for the car to reset itself and then bring it back within a week or so. I ask him if he thinks I bought a lemon and he says "no, that's a tight little car and everything should be fine now that we fixed this problem." The check engine light is still on, but the car drives fantastic now, so I think nothing of it.

Well, I bring the f-ing car back for him to clear the codes and double check everything so I can try to pass inspection. I tell him that the check engine light is still on, and he says "that's not good", (which made no sense to me since he specifically told me that it would be on when I picked it up). He goes to check the codes and 2 NEW codes pop up - P0405 & P0440!! I say, "well, what am I suppose to do now? I'm not going to pass inspection and I just spent a lot of $ on the car itself, never mind the $500+ I just paid in repairs." His reply is "IDK, Ill have to give it another estimate. Whoever you bought this from new it was plagued w/ problems." WTF??? Mind you, this is coming from the same mechanic that just told me I had purchased "a tight little car."

So basically my question is-what now? Is this guy f-ing me? Is this car a money pit? Is it a simple repair to fix those 2 codes - P0440 & P0405 - or is it going to cost me another $500 or more? It's ironic b/c the car drives awesome now and it doesn't idle weird anymore either.

Please help! Any suggestions, solutions or voodoo hexes would be much appreciated!! Thanks

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Old 09-27-2013, 10:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

First off, I'd recommend finding a different mechanic! He should have cleared the codes after the original "repair" and not let you leave with the MIL on saying it will reset on it's own.

Check your gas cap to make sure the gasket seal is good on the filler pipe. If not, get a new one. Be sure that it clicks at least three times whenever you replace it, after filling the car.

If you're willing.. remove the EGR valve and clean it. Richpin has several how-to videos on youtube that will show you how.

...
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Purchased 114k 10/07
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by off-track View Post
First off, I'd recommend finding a different mechanic! He should have cleared the codes after the original "repair" and not let you leave with the MIL on saying it will reset on it's own.

Check your gas cap to make sure the gasket seal is good on the filler pipe. If not, get a new one. Be sure that it clicks at least three times whenever you replace it, after filling the car.

If you're willing.. remove the EGR valve and clean it. Richpin has several how-to videos on youtube that will show you how.
Just to add on a bit...

It may seem a simple thing, but the matter of capping a fuel filler neck is a tad more complex than it looks. Even the cap itself can fail in multiple ways, one of which is a worn gasket. If that's the problem, you may be able to get a short-lived fix by removing the gasket and reinserting it upside-down, so the "fresh" side is contacting the filler neck. It may at least get you through inspection. Maybe.

Another thing to look at is the filler neck itself, where it seals against the gasket in the cap. It doesn't have to be baby's-butt smooth, but it shouldn't be badly corroded or dirty, either.

If it looks corroded or pitted or has gobs of goo on it, you can gently clean the neck with a dry, fresh Scotch-Brite pad, where it seals against the gasket. Don't overdo it. We're talking maybe 15 - 30 seconds of cleaning here. You don't have to make it shiny. Just remove any surface corrosion or blobs of gunk. Try not to get anything in the tank, obviously.

Don't use steel wool! It can cause worse damage, both by scratching the surface and by causing galvanic corrosion.

-Richard

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Old 09-27-2013, 11:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

You may have inherited a host of problems when you bought the car and your mechanic may be caught in the middle and trying to make good on repairs. The worse you can do now is take advice from anyone saying to pull the pcm fuse to reset the error codes; doing so will never pass state emissions while error codes exist that were most likely appearing as your mechanic presumed no more problems would appear. Its never a good position for anyone to say one thing and then have to take back what they said because something else appears out of nowhere. The two new error codes, P0405 EGR position and P440 EVAP leak, are just some of the typical errors that do occur for any car.

Manually resetting the SES light will only delay passing state emissions; not only are the errors not corrected but resetting causes the entire emissions self tests to start from the beginning as if the car just left factory assembly. This default in the emissions system now requires a drive cycle, a torturous sequence of driving procedures to allow the on-board emissions to perform a complete set of emissions tests, the 'readiness monitors' you may have read about before a car passes its own self tests to pass state emissions. In other words, every state that requires emissions inspection relies on the OBD II system to perform emissions self tests and pass before a state will allow a sticker. If the two errors are not corrected then all you've done is delay state inspection by not correcting the errors and forcing the entire emissions self tests to start at the beginning because the car is required to be driven a minimum of 50 miles in all modes to allow the car's emissions tests to perform to satisfaction. The readiness monitors involve coolant temperature from cold start to warm up in a time range, measuring the fuel system for vacuum leaks, the O2 sensors, ans all the other sensors used in the EFI system while driving in traffic whether in local or highway conditions. If the two errors are genuine errors then the emissions tests will never proceed until these errors are corrected. This compounds the problems.

When any check engine light is turned on, the emissions self tests halts and remains halted until the error is corrected. Without manually resetting the error code/light and correcting whatever caused the error light to turn on, the next engine start that detects the corrected repair will automatically turn off the error light as it continues emissions self tests from where it halted. This often means as little as the next drive to work or up to three engine cycles will complete the emissions tests and allow immediate state inspection, to pass. The readiness monitors are a way to tell when a car is ready for state inspection.

You risk delaying state inspection by manually resetting the error codes that may not go away and the two new error codes simply need repairs at little to no cost. Fixing the reason for the error codes and letting the OBD II system detect the repairs is the best way to getting state inspection done. If it weren't for state inspection you can always manually reset the error codes and have time to deal with repairs. Your choice.

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Old 09-27-2013, 11:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

Your two codes could be simple fixes, The P0440 is an Evap code, it could simply be your gas gap isnt on tight, also check the gasket on the cap for cracks and deterioration, also being your mechanic just changed the intake gasket make sure he didnt knock off one of those lines going to the purge control solenoid that will cause an evap code, The P0405 is an EGR code, you need to more then likely remove the valve and clean it throughly the pintle gets carboned up and sticks and cannot function correctly.

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

thanks for the help so far guys, really appreciate it...

I failed to mention before that when he fixed the intake manifold, he did replace the gas cap. The 2 new codes still came up though.

I just went back to the inspection station in hopes of getting a new 'failed' sticker, but apparently they no longer do that. Your basically stuck w/ the sticker you got until you fix it. Fingers cross I dont get pulled over from now until I get some money together to fix it.

However, Im noticing now on the inspection print out that whatever items passed the OBD system test previously, has now failed. Is it because of the 2 new codes or is it because he didnt clear everything?

These are the OBD codes that have failed:
catalytic converter: not ready
heated catalytic converter: unsupported
secondary air injection: not ready
a/c refrigerant: unsupported
oxygen sensors: not ready

So I guess my next few questions are, is there anything I could do on my part before I take it in again? And should I even bring it back to this guy or is he a total idiot? I know that there could be a million factors, but if anyone could guess a price, would it be more than $500 for the repairs? If I found a mechanic/shop that does 'inspections' do I even really have to bother getting this fixed - will it ruin the overall performance of the car?

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

It almost seems like your car isnt getting up to operating temp and entering "closed loop" where is your temp gauge reading when its fully warmed up, if its only at the first mark on the gauge or below it could mean you have a problem with the thermostat, I dont believe you would have a problem with the Engine coolant temp sensor being yours is an 02 and it should be the revised brass unit however it couldnt hurt to check that and make sure its working correctly to...

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spdice View Post

< snip >

These are the OBD codes that have failed:
catalytic converter: not ready
heated catalytic converter: unsupported
secondary air injection: not ready
a/c refrigerant: unsupported
oxygen sensors: not ready
None of those are "fails," per se. "Not ready" means exactly that: That the system wasn't ready for the test. It means that someone cleared the OBD2 system, whether with a reader or by disconnecting the power, and that the car hasn't been driven for long enough in enough different situations for the tests to be run.

So basically, the "not ready" results are not really failures in and of themselves, but they will cause you to fail the inspection because the system was unable to provide the requested information to the inspector. This is done mainly to prevent people from simply resetting their OBD2 systems to try to pass the inspection. You need to drive the car, in enough different situations, from enough cold starts, to get those systems ready.

There's something called a "drive cycle" which is described here, which includes all of the elements necessary for a complete set of tests to run. I happen to have a nice stretch of highway by me where I can run that drive cycle exactly as laid out. On my 2001 SC1, typically the EVAP will take four or five cycles from cold starts to be ready, and the CAT will take 10 or more.

"Unsupported" simply means that a particular test wasn't yet implemented on a particular car model, and is irrelevant to whether you pass or fail the inspection. "Unsupported" results are simply ignored by the inspector.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spdice View Post
So I guess my next few questions are, is there anything I could do on my part before I take it in again? And should I even bring it back to this guy or is he a total idiot? I know that there could be a million factors, but if anyone could guess a price, would it be more than $500 for the repairs? If I found a mechanic/shop that does 'inspections' do I even really have to bother getting this fixed - will it ruin the overall performance of the car?
I don't want to even hazard a guess because there are so many variables and so many possible causes. Some of them are simple and cheap to fix, but others are time-consuming and expensive. Smarter people than myself, like fdryer and OldNuc, can help guide you down the diagnostic path, though.

Or if you feel like hopping over the river, I do know of a shop in College Point, Queens that's owned by a guy who's the best automotive diagnostician I've ever met. The name of the place is Auto Tech Diagnostics, and they're on 18th Avenue in College Point. The owner, Giuseppe, is Saturn-knowledgeable.

-Richard

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Old 09-28-2013, 09:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

To prevent chasing your tail around, do not perform any manual reset to the engine computer. Whether pulling a fuse to the pcm or battery negative, a manual reset starts the emissions self tests from the beginning. Continually resetting only starts the tests all over again and again - a waste of time and ignorance. Leave the error light alone and fix what's broke.

The best part so far is getting the inspection report spelling out what's not ready. Remember, every time the engine engine is started the emissions self tests are performed. When left alone, these tests are run automatically (to completion) and/or halt only when an error occurs. Right now you don't know if anyone performed a reset so leave things alone. The best way to find out where things are is to use a reader to monitor where emissions testing has gone by simply plugging in a reader and just observe the display. Some readers are better than others, displaying the readiness monitors; O2 sensor, coolant temperature, evap system, purge valve, etc.. Since emissions self tests are done automatically every time the engine is started, car driven, passing all tests results in the readiness monitors going to 'READY' - this means the car will pass state emissions inspection. NOT READY means one or several sensors didn't run right or failed and should be displayed as an error code. The two error codes are two parts that need attention.

Do not be misled by the list of errors. They may be the last time sensors or parts failed during normal testing/engine running. A reader must be plugged in to see if any progress was made since the last read.

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Old 09-28-2013, 09:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

There is a real problem here and it may be with nothing more than the report format, example -- oxygen sensors: not ready -- this test is complete before the idle has settled down to normal, both sensors.

Much more info is needed before throwing parts at this.

--- Has the ECTS been replaced?
--- Does the temp gauge indicate just above the 1/4 mark after the engine is completely warmed up?
--- Does the car idle at 750-850 RPM and idle smoothly?
--- What brand and type of spark plug?
--- How old are the plug wires?

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Old 09-28-2013, 11:08 AM   #11
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

geek on the hill - thanks for the mechanic info, I appreciate it. worse case scenario, I might make the trip. I know a guy who is really good in the bronx, but Ive been dragging my feet to go there. I was hoping that this local mechanic would be able to help me out but it's pretty clear I might be going to the bronx or college point soon.


oldnuc - oh god, that's scary news. Below is as much info I can give you. Im only a novice mechanic at best, so pls bear w/ me and my lack of tech talk:

- as far as I know, the ects have not been replaced. I dont recall the mechanic mentioning anything about them when he fixed the intake manifold.
- the temp gauge does stay on the 1/4 gauge for a while - even after I drive it around for a bit, but then it eventually ends up on the middle gauge. sometimes it does fluctuate between the 1/4 and middle gauge when Im driving, but it never goes above the middle gauge.
- Im not sure as to how many rpms it idles at, but before the intake manifold was fixed, it did idle really weird, but now since it's been fixed, it idles and drives fine.
- not sure about the brand of spark plugs
- Im assuming that the plug wires are new. When I brought it in for the manifold problem, I also asked him to give it a tune-up if it needed it, but according to the mechanic, everything was already tuned-up and done.

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Old 09-28-2013, 11:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

Find out what sparkplugs are in there.

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Old 09-28-2013, 11:27 AM   #13
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

Your '02 uses the correct (brass) coolant sensor.

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Old 09-28-2013, 11:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

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Your '02 uses the correct (brass) coolant sensor.
Has it failed? They do fail every so often....

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Old 09-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

the car hasn't died on me...yet, (& god willing). before the manifold gasket was fixed, it would idle weird where it would feel like it was about to die, but it never did. it would only do that from time to time. the only things that failed so far is inspection (har har).

how can I find out what sparkplugs are in there? would I know just from looking at them or do I have to ask the mechanic? like I said, I only a few handy things about cars and unfortunately, sparkplugs aint 1 of them.

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Old 09-28-2013, 01:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

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the car hasn't died on me...yet, (& god willing). before the manifold gasket was fixed, it would idle weird where it would feel like it was about to die, but it never did. it would only do that from time to time. the only things that failed so far is inspection (har har).

how can I find out what sparkplugs are in there? would I know just from looking at them or do I have to ask the mechanic? like I said, I only a few handy things about cars and unfortunately, sparkplugs aint 1 of them.
That information's stamped on the ceramic part of the plug.

Be careful removing and replacing plugs -- especially replacing them. It's easy to strip or cross-thread the holes. Use a proper spark plug socket, and when replacing, use a torque wrench if at all possible and torque to 18 - 20 ft lbs.

-Richard

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Old 09-28-2013, 01:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekOnTheHill View Post
Be careful removing and replacing plugs -- especially replacing them. It's easy to strip or cross-thread the holes. Use a proper spark plug socket, and when replacing, use a torque wrench if at all possible and torque to 18 - 20 ft lbs.
Additionally, make sure you do this on a DEAD COLD engine, or else you can risk blowing plugs out the head, not enough torque, your hands being burned, etc...

...
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DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

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Status: Alive, no heat

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Old 09-28-2013, 04:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

When the engine warms up to operating temperature, where's the temp needle positioned? 1/4, 3/8ths, 1/2?

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Old 10-04-2013, 01:29 PM   #19
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2002 SL1
Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

sorry for the delay - hopefully you guys are still around to answer this..


once the car heats up, it stays on the 3/8ths mark for a while. sometimes it will fluctuate between 3/8ths and the 1/2 mark, but it never goes past the 1/2 mark.


I still haven't taken a look to find out what brand of spark plugs are in the car. I know that it was mention that I can find the brand on the ceramic part of the plug, but do I need to take it out to see? Do I need any special tools to check it?

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Old 10-04-2013, 02:06 PM   #20
fdryer
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: help! check engine light on = plethora of evap problems...dont know what to do!

Well, its already been explained about removing spark plugs but if you're not familiar with plug removal/replacement then ask a friend that knows. Maybe a show and tell will help or else Google for spark plug removal, inspection, replacement, and handling. Most if not all spark plugs are marked on the ceramic. See below.

Your car has the correct coolant sensor according to descriptions. There is no need to replace it.

Unfortunately, if you are not familiar with car maintenance, troubleshooting several problems can overwhelm anyone. Perhaps its time to consider whether you trust the mechanic you have now or use suggestions from members to try another shop. Word of mouth referrals can be useful if you do not have any recommendations for repair shops in your area.
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