August 26, 2008

The 'Service Engine Soon' Saga

As I posted way back here, I've been having a problem with my 'Service Engine Soon' light. The shake is now a thing of the past, that was resolved by a newer set of bearings...apparently the ones from NTB weren't shiny enough. But this idiot light tests me. So much so, that I was tempted to title this entry Episode IV, envisioning a grand saga told in six parts, to include three prequels. But I digress...

Two weeks ago, I'd scheduled three days off from work to relax and take care of a few things, chief among them was dropping the Mustang off in a shop. I chose another garage, one willing to open the engine up and do what needed to get done.

After 2 1/2 days, they were finally ready to release my vehicle, but without being able to solve the problem. They were seeing a cylinder misfire (which they resolved by replacing the plug), but were unable to figure out why with their diagnostic equipment. They suspected a clogged injector was causing the plug to foul, but could not pull the injectors because the connectors appeared too brittle; at $100 a pop, they didn't want to run my bill up too much. So the garage suggested the dealership, who has a machine that can clean the injectors from the inside, plus better diagnostic equipment.

When I got the car back, the 'Service Engine' light was out because they'd reset the code. 'Clogged injectors,' I thought, 'Maybe I should just put in some Gumout, just so it runs smoothly until I take it in to the dealer.' So I immediately stopped at Auto Zone and got the Gumout (which they assured me was the best product for my problem, plus it was on sale!) I only had a 1/4 tank of gas, but I figured 'What the hell, can't hurt'...I ran 1 bottle of Gumout in that 1/4 tank, then another bottle when I fulled up (which is what Gumout actually recommends).

The 'Service Engine' light stayed off the rest of that week and all through the weekend, something it hasn't done the entire time I've had this problem. Every single time it's gone into the shop, no matter what they did, the damn light would be back on within an hour or less. Four days, no light? I was convinced that my gremlin was not gone, instead lay dead but dreaming somewhere within the block.

So on Monday I dropped it off with the dealership. They gave me a rental car from Enterprise, who had only trucks, so I got a Toyota Tundra. The Tundra, by the way, is an absolute beast, it's much larger than any passenger vehicle should be. It felt like flying the shuttle Tyderium, there was room in the back for an entire strike force of rebel soldiers and a couple of robots, not to mention a Wookie could have easily been my copilot. The gas mileage was unspeakably bad.

Anyway, after two days I got word that they could not find even a hint of my problem. Not one fault code, no idiot light, everything's cool. Now I should point out that the dealership gave me the same weird line they did the first time, which goes something like this; 'We can't find your problem, but we think it's a valve hanging up. This is very expensive. Since this car has high mileage, you really don't want to spend this kind of money fixing it. If you open the engine to fix it, that will only lead to more problems. We wouldn't even do the work here, so you'd have to wait longer.' Then, as a final irony, they always seem to tack on 'So, what do you want to do?'

I opted to return the gas-guzzler they so kindly lent me, and run my Mustang until the light came back on and it started to run really rough again.

Now we're going on two weeks later. My car's running strong, not even a flicker from that thrice-damned light! I suppose I'll keep running Gumout every once in a while and see what happens...


Blogger Rothar said...

Quick update: Initially I went crazy with the Gum-Out. Now I just add it at every oil change. The light has remained dormant.

8:36 AM  

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