Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Stop! Stop! Stop!

It has been some time since I have posted here. That is because there have been no major running issues, which belies all the things that friends and neighbours have been telling me is wrong with this Van. That reputation is down to the way the motor trade has dealt and still deals with faults. By using a process of  changing parts to eliminate them as faulty instead of following a procedure to determine what the actual fault is. Then charging the customer for the privilege.

The van had not been used for some weeks so it was quite a surprise that when running it up the road to get some supplies that two red lights started to flash on the dash. The STOP and what looks like an outline of an engine. After the initial annoyance I considered whether I should do what it was saying and STOP. However I carried on. With my mechanics head on I started to reason out what could be happening. To a certain extent it looked like the light was flashing every time I hit a bump, but then it looked like it was flashing for the hell of it! I reasoned – could something be loose? or could damp have gotten in causing a short?  I decided as soon as I returned home I would look in the owners manual.

With the manual in my hands I look for the icon page. OK the outline is of an engine. Which means: Engine. stop. See page 25. or Engine electronics, exhaust emissions. See page 26. So what does it say?

         Page 25: will light up in conjunction with STOP engine if coolant temperature is too high. The temperature gauge was slightly higher than usual but not off the scale. “It can't be over heating, can it?”

         Page 26: Control indicator lights up when ignition is switched on. Goes out shortly after engine starts. There are then two headings here , one about flashing when engine is running; which is the one I took note of for obvious reasons because it states: For fault that can lead to destruction of catalytic converter. Look to another Page 94. I did look at the other page for reference. Talk about strike the fear of god into you that you now may have a bill coming the size of the national debt. I have got to say I took this statement with a pinch of salt until I new for sure that all indications lead down this route. If it does oh man!

There was nothing I could do as I had a long trip planned for the next day. Just have to see what happens. I know a break down far from home means an expensive tow. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. The long trip gave me time to think about what could be happening. I've got to say that it was running really well so it cannot be the converter. ( As both lights flash for the hundredth time) I looked at the dash from time to time when the lights were flashing but noted nothing else wrong. Then it went out and stayed out for the rest of the trip.

The trip home started well no flashing lights at all. Then we hit a major down pour could hardly see out of the windscreen at double wiper speed. Then I noted that the same two lights were flashing again. By the time I arrived home there had been some further developments the head lights were sort of flashing getting brighter and softer I also noticed that the the temperature gauge was oscillating in time with the lights. When I turned the engine off I notice the cooling fan was running.  This is looking like a cooling temperature sensor problem.
With the bonnet up it's time to track down this fault. I still have it in the back of my mind that it is a dodgy connection. But until I find this allusive sensor, “where the hell have they hidden it?!” Some time later I track it down to the right hand side of the engine behind a number of pipes with the sensor facing the bulk head. Now I have to thread my hand through the pipes like a snake (what a joke) to feel if the connector is loose. There is a bit of movement but not enough. After some fiddling, the connection is removed and reconnected. Oh Well here goes. The engine has now been running for a couple of minutes, no flashing lights.  Better take it for a spin to check and make sure. While I'm out I'll get a cooling sensor.  


Since doing the connection I have not had the time to replace the sensor due to work load and the fact you have to drain the whole cooling system down. I hope to come up with a solution that negates this, If I do I will let you know. But I'm happy to say that the red lights have not flashed again. Bad connection!? Time will tell.  

When it comes to red lights flashing on the dash I am not condoning that you should ignore them and carry on regardless. The situation in which it occurs needs to be taken into account and then the appropriate action taken.