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However, they said they'd have their guy drive it around until the monitors were ready, and I thought "great!"
So some "monkey joe" gets to drive a free vehicle with free gas and no supervision?

What could possibly go wrong?
-oh wait,
Today they finally drove it around, and said it died and wouldn't start again while the guy was driving it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
So some "monkey joe" gets to drive a free vehicle with free gas and no supervision?

What could possibly go wrong?
-oh wait,
Pretty sure they're just driving it during business hours, not taking it home with them. I mean, that's what mechanics do after a fix, drive the car around to test it, right? Though getting the sensors ready requires a bit more driving than just testing.

Talked to the manager today because originally the girl at the front desk said it would be ready on Friday, then Saturday, then "definitely Monday." I called at 1:30 this afternoon and the manager said it was her day off and he didn't know anything about it needing to be driven around to get the sensors ready!

Anyway, he was real nice. Said that normally they charge to drive the car around to get the sensors ready and that she didn't understand that, but that since she promised me they would do it, he wouldn't charge me. So that's nice.

So hopefully the problem isn't major. I had my fuel pump fuse go out a little over 500 miles ago. So it's possibly just that again. And, if it is, then that would be another issue, as to why that fuse keeps going out? But first I'll need to wait and see what it actually is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
So some "monkey joe" gets to drive a free vehicle with free gas and no supervision?

What could possibly go wrong?
-oh wait,
So, I went down to the place and talked to the mechanic. He says there's some sort of short in the circuit. He showed me that when the fuse for the blower is in place the blower is on, even though the switch for the blower is off. He said he's trying to find the problem.

Just kind of strange that it happened right after they changed that part, even though he insists that it's not part of the same circuit.

Also found out that the guy barely drove it around yesterday. Said he took it out to drive it and only had gone about a block when something felt wrong to him so he turned around and came back, and the car died before he made it back to the shop, and now it won't start (though it tries to turn over).

So I don't know. Just kind of weird that it happened right after they fixed the thing. The very next time it's driven it goes out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Another cliff hanger... *making popcorn and pouring a coke
LOL I know, right? I need to sell the film rights to this! 😁

Turns out there was a wire in the wiring harness that broke, and that's what was causing the short. So the mechanic replaced the wire.

The wiring harness is 20 years old, so pretty fragile. It's possible that he might've pulled on it when he replaced that part, and that's why it broke right afterwards. Or it could just be a coincidence. Either way, he repaired it, so the car is running again, so that's good.
 

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And what was the final bill? Just curious.
I know from being on both sides of the service counter that unexpected situations can be hard on both shop and the consumer...
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
And what was the final bill? Just curious.
I know from being on both sides of the service counter that unexpected situations can be hard on both shop and the consumer...
I haven't picked up the car yet. They're still driving it around when they're not too busy. The guy told me there was just one monitor left that needed to be ready, and then they'll do the state inspection. So should be sometime today.

They didn't call me about a quote on repairing that wire, but I imagine they'll probably charge me like an hour's labor, which would be fair. So I guess I'll find out when I pick up the car.
 

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Probably the EVAP monitor which won't be tested until the gas tank is under 3/4 full. It is good that they are looking for the monitor to 'ready' but how long will it take?
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Probably the EVAP monitor which won't be tested until the gas tank is under 3/4 full. It is good that they are looking for the monitor to 'ready' but how long will it take?
No, actually, he said it was the O2 sensors that weren't ready.

The tank was already below 3/4 full when I was was driving it around to get it ready previously (before the check engine light came back on). So I assume they didn't put any gas in it and it's still below 3/4 tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
THE SAGA THAT JUST WON’T END!

So yesterday I went down to the place and talked to the guy who was driving my car around, and he said there was only one monitor left to be ready, and then they could do the state inspection.

Technically, in Texas, you're allowed to have one monitor not ready with an 03 year car. So, technically, he could have done the inspection yesterday.

Anyway, so today I call and I find out: one of the battery cables was loose and IT RESET ALL THE MONITORS!!!! So we're back to square one! big facepalm

Am told he just left to pick up some parts and is going to drive it around and try to get the monitors ready today.

Unbelievable.
 

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There's a reason "courtesy" / loaner car is given to customer by a shop / dealer, but a customer giving their car to a shop to just "drive around" simply doesn't sound right... (what incentive would the shop have to return the vehicle to owner asap?)
 

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There's a reason "courtesy" / loaner car is given to customer by a shop / dealer, but a customer giving their car to a shop to just "drive around" simply doesn't sound right... (what incentive would the shop have to return the vehicle to owner asap?)
They want to get the monitors to run so they can make sure it’s fixed. If they let it go, not knowing it’s fixed, they risk having an unhappy customer. It’s not rocket science.

it’s also sometimes necessary with intermittent problems to try to get the problem to show up. I don’t think most techs love just going out and driving around. None that I know think it’s the best use of their time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
There's a reason "courtesy" / loaner car is given to customer by a shop / dealer, but a customer giving their car to a shop to just "drive around" simply doesn't sound right... (what incentive would the shop have to return the vehicle to owner asap?)
Honestly, I don't believe that's what they're doing. Despite the fact that he drove it today while going out for parts, I believe they're just taking it when they have some downtime. If there wasn't the situation with the battery cable, it would have been ready today.

And, of course, I have the option of picking it up and driving it around myself to get the monitors ready. I'm just choosing not to, for two reasons: one, I'd rather they do it, to save me the trouble; and two, if there's a problem (such as there was when the car died), then it will have been while it was in their hands.

So this is just a string of issues (car dying due to broken wire, and then battery cable having been loose, resetting the monitors) that is causing this to drag on. I don't believe they're purposely dragging it out to use my car as a shop car. They have their own cars.

Plus, this is causing me to be dependent on my ebike to get around locally (I work at home, so I don't need my car for commuting), which is giving me some much-needed exercise.

So I don't ascribe malice to them. And if I needed my car badly, then I would pick it up and drive it around myself to get the monitors ready. It's my choice to leave it with them and have them do it.

But, if this goes on much longer, then that's what I'll do, since I only have 8 days left until my tag expires. But, hopefully the car will be ready tomorrow. If not, then I'll pick it up on Monday and drive it around myself and then get it inspected.
 

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car dying due to broken wire, and then battery cable having been loose
If they were repairing wiring harness, ("by the book") they should have disconnected the battery in the process and checked the terminals once reconnected...

Not assigning blame or swinging mud, just pointing out (in general) what someone in this situation should carefully consider.
 

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They want to get the monitors to run so they can make sure it’s fixed. If they let it go, not knowing it’s fixed, they risk having an unhappy customer. It’s not rocket science.
The shop is taking a risk by doing this, the employee driving a customer vehicle (which could be argued outside of normal duties) is a liability should something happen...
Most shops around here will not do this, I suppose unless they know the customer very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
If they were repairing wiring harness, ("by the book") they should have disconnected the battery in the process and checked the terminals once reconnected...
I don't know exactly what the situation was. But I know they repaired the wiring harness, which involved disconnecting the battery terminal. Then, when the car was running again, the guy drove it around until all but one monitor was ready. And then, for some reason, all the monitors cleared. They said it was because the cable was loose. So I don't know what happened.

Maybe he went over a bump at speed and the cable popped off the terminal when the car came down? I don't know. It's very strange that a cable would just come off the terminal by itself, even if it wasn't fully tightened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
THE SAGA CONTINUES

So, where last we left off, after completing the repair; and then completing the repair that was needed after the repair; the monitors were all ready except for one.

However, when driving it around some more, for some reason the battery cable came loose and all the monitors needed to be reset. So that was Wednesday.

By today, Monday, there were three monitors still not ready (the person who was driving it told me his boss wouldn't let him drive it very much each day). This was exceedingly frustrating.

So I took the car and drove it around myself to try and get the monitors ready. But then, after driving it like 10 miles, the check engine light came on!

Turns out it was a P420 code: low catalyst system efficiency. So that had nothing to do with the evap problem that I initially went there for. Still, it's strange that all these things are going wrong after they replaced that part to fix the evap problem.

The catalytic converter was replaced a few years ago, and only has 15,000 miles on it. So it seems strange that it would go out.

I asked the mechanic if this could have anything to do with the electrical system, and he said no; that the catalytic converter isn't electrical. Still, the sensors that feed into the computer are electrical. So it's just very strange that all these issues are happening right after they replaced that part.

In any case, the mechanic cleared the code, and I added some RXP to the tank, in hopes that that will help the situation. And I'm just driving it around myself to try and get the sensors ready. Hopefully they'll be ready without the check engine light coming back on.

I know that Texas, where I live, has a low mileage waiver if you drive less than 5000 miles in a year and have an emissions related issue. I wonder if P420 would qualify for that. Seems that it should, right?
 

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I have a butane solder iron / micro torch. I pull the trigger and the torch lights and heats the solder iron tip. After it ignites and heats, then I release the trigger and the butane continues to flow. The solder tip remains glowing and heats the iron.

That is similar to how a catalytic converter burns the unused fuel from an internal combustion exhaust to "save our planet"

If an engine is continued to be operated with the engine running too rich, that catalyst gets coated with soot and can no longer operate correctly. If you put leaded gasoline into the engine, the lead very quickly coats and disables the catalyst bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
If an engine is continued to be operated with the engine running too rich, that catalyst gets coated with soot and can no longer operate correctly. If you put leaded gasoline into the engine, the lead very quickly coats and disables the catalyst bed.
Thanks for the reply. I never put leaded gasoline into the engine (do they even sell it anymore?). I mainly use E15 gasoline or just straight 87 octane unleaded.

Also, the cat only has 15,000 miles on it. Strange it would go out -- and even stranger that it would go out right at the time that they worked on my car!

Also, something I didn't mention in my last post is that I think they may have damaged my car while driving it around.

See, I keep a bunch of loyalty cards in my glove box. When I picked up my car yesterday, the glove box was open, and some of the loyalty cards were on the floor. At first I thought someone might have gone through my glove box when the car was parked. But nothing was missing that I could tell.

Then it hit me: on Wednesday I was told that the battery cable came loose, which caused the monitors to reset. How hard do you have land from a bump to cause a battery cable to come off the post?? Pretty hard!

So my theory (which I believe is correct) is that the guy was driving really, really fast with my car; didn’t slow down for a bump, went flying in the air and landed hard – hard enough to cause my glove box to fly open and some of the loyalty cards to come flying out. And, possibly hard enough to damage the catalytic converter or O2 sensors. That’s what I believe may have happened.
 

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If an engine is continued to be operated with the engine running too rich, that catalyst gets coated with soot and can no longer operate correctly. If you put leaded gasoline into the engine, the lead very quickly coats and disables the catalyst bed.
It’s really unusual to find a cat that’s plugged up from soot or contamination. Every one I’ve seen that was plugged happened because the honeycomb broke up and chunks plugged the outlet pipe. Maybe if the engine is burning a tremendous amount of oil.

Excess fuel (worst from a misfire, not as bad from running rich) makes the cat overheat, which can melt the ceramic honeycomb, leading to the restriction I mentioned.
 
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