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Old 01-16-2009, 03:28 PM   #1
KnightRid
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Default How can I reset the readiness monitors on a 2003 Vue?

Well I took it in for inspection and emissions and it failed I had 4 codes (which I thought was only one for the thermostat, which I will NEVER get replaced due the the ridiculous cost to replace them).

codes

PO128 - thermostat
PO446 - evap vent control problem - might have been a loose gas cap
PO300 - misfire detected
PO302 - Cylinder #2 misfire

Only the last 2 worry me, but they might just be a bad spark plug since the car has 65000 miles on it.

My mechanic told me I had to wait to retest the Emissions ( in Pennsylvania, good ole PA ) until the readiness monitors reset. I searched the forums, but there doesnt seem to be a clear cut way to make sure they are ready for another test, unless I buy a code reader that supports that function.

Is there a sure fire way to reset them other than to just drive for a while? Inspection has to be done at the end of January (wife waits to let me take the car till the last darn minute ), so I do not have much time.

Thank You
Mike

We might just trade this in on a new 08 or 09 - we arent sure yet, since with the codes on there, I doubt we would even get $5000 for the trade in.

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Old 01-16-2009, 03:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: How can I reset the readiness monitors on a 2003 Vue?

The readiness status is determined by X number of start/run cycles (not sure what it is for the VUE). Usually a couple of days of normal driving will be enough. I'm not sure what PA's laws are, but in NY I believe it would still fail if the thermostat code remained, even if everything else was dealt with and the codes cleared. I've heard that the thermostat is a supreme pain on the 3.0L. If you end up replacing it, just make sure you get an aftermarket part and not a dealer sourced thermostat since they seem to be troublesome.

Cheers,

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Old 01-16-2009, 06:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: How can I reset the readiness monitors on a 2003 Vue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KnightRid View Post
...the thermostat, which I will NEVER get replaced due the the ridiculous cost to replace them).

My mechanic told me I had to wait to retest the Emissions ( in Pennsylvania, good ole PA ) until the readiness monitors reset. I searched the forums, but there doesnt seem to be a clear cut way to make sure they are ready for another test, unless I buy a code reader that supports that function.

Is there a sure fire way to reset them other than to just drive for a while?
What you may not know is that the readiness monitors are not related to 'resetting' anything as much as someone reset the SES errors that also reset the customized parameters when the engine was running well. This automatically reset the ECM back to factory default parameters. Not that this is terrible but a reset engine computer is the same as never running the engine as if it just came from the factory and started for the first time. There's also some customization going on all the time the engine is running that makes your engine different from another VUE. As much as every engine is made as accurately as the next, the reality is that each engine will have a few minor quirks that the engine computer allows for and adjusts for the slight differences in running characteristics. These adjustments are all done automatically and you may have read of some the terms; short term fuel trim, long term fuel trim, O2 sensor(s) range/performance, etc.. The engine computer is continually monitoring all the sensors to not only run the engine but to make small adjustments to optimize emissions output to a minimum against programmed maximum parameters. The adjustable parameters can change as spark plugs age, a temperature sensor fails, an O2 sensor changes, or contaminated fuel affects engine running. Some changes will be positive while others will be negative. All these changes occur silently under computer control and are part of the parameters that are stored in eraseable memory, the memory that was reset to extinguish the SES light. The stored adjustable parameters are now lost so the computer has to start gathering data all over again until certain driving parameters are met that meet and pass 'readiness monitors'. Call it a bar that must be met and the car must be driven throughout a normal driving routine in order for the computer to gather enough data to exceed minumum criteria; a complete start of the engine with the temperature of the coolant going from cold to operating temperatures, throttle position from idle speed to highway speed with engine rpm's monitored along with emissions efficiency, etc.. These are basically the same parameters done to pass emissions control but instead of the old tailpipe sniffer and simulated driving on the rollers in the older emissions inspection routine, each OBD II vehicle already has the programs to self test itself to either pass emissions or fail. Pass means nothing lit up on the dash but a failure means the SES light turns on and stays on. In between, right after resetting the SES light, a vehicle is simply driven normally and usually meets all the readiness parameters to allow state inpsection. Unfortunately, there aren't any provisions to alert anyone that their car has met the minumums to pass emissions but plugging in a reader/scanner to check on the readiness indicators will either indicate 'Ready', 'Pass', or nothing. Nothing meaning not ready. If you notice during inspection, the tailpipe sniffer is no longer plugged into the exhaust. This should tell you that the emissions testing is done automatically by the car's computer since all OBD II vehicles post '96 are equipped to perform emissions self testing each and every time the car is started and run. Continuous emissions testing and if something goes amiss,
the SES indicator lights up. Whether its for the coolant sensor, O2 sensor, or throttle position sensor, anything that will affect emissions to cause below par performance automatically alerts the driver by the SES light.

One of the sensors that will not allow your Vue to pass inspection/meet the readiness monitors parameters is the coolant error code, P0128. If you are dead set against replacing the thermostat, you're fighting the fact that you won't pass inspection. However, there may be a work around - simply placing something to block off part of the radiator to allow the coolant temperature to rise high enough to allow the coolant sensor to send a different signal that the engine computer needs to meet one of the readiness monitor criteria. In this case the thermostat may be just on the borderline (just below normal) that lights up the SES light (remember that any SES indicator automatically fails inpsection) so blocking off part of the radiator will allow more heat to be retained and most likely be detected by the coolant sensor as the right temperature to finally extinguish the SES light. This shouldn't happen during the summer time and the radiator block isn't needed. Think cardboard covering the radiator. Its OK in the winter as this allows better heat retention for the heater to warm up the interior so no harm will come to the engine. Partially blocking off the radiator still allows the cooling fan to operate if temperatures go higher than expected. And this just might extinguish the SES light to allow passing state inspection. The two misfire codes may also be taken care of by the blocked radiator because a higher coolant temperature is sensed as meeting the optimum engine operating conditions that also means the least amount of fuel used. A leaner air/fuel mixture won't cause misfiring but a rich mixture can if the engine is running cooler than normal. As it is, its most likely you have less than normal fuel mileage as the engine isn't operating at the ideal coolant temperatures.

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Old 01-16-2009, 06:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: How can I reset the readiness monitors on a 2003 Vue?

You might as well trade up to another car if you're unwilling to change the thermostat. I don't think it's even possible to pass a state inspection with the check engine light illuminated. If the coolant is getting up to temp too quick/too slow, I don't see any reason for this code to reset on it's own.

EDIT: Looks like fdryer beat me to the punch while I was typing this

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