Will the check engine light stop the dreamstreamrs?

We’re on the move again — enroute to Lake Junaluska NC for a NOMADS project.

Jim said this morning we’ve never completed such an exhausting get-ready checklist. Yet this is our first transcontinental drive we didn’t first unpack and reload the truck’s bed. Our detailed checklist was comprised of trailer repairs and refinements desired before we start on a seven month tour.

Mesa AZ is a great place for a lot of things (that’s a blog post by itself). Anything we needed we could find locally in Mesa or Phoenix. Jim was glad to work on his truck and trailer projects in between his times on the tennis court. The weather was almost always outstandingly fine and we were on a level spot. Gee, why’d we leave?

Because we’re due March 31 in Lake Junaluska, the Methodist Church’s largest retreat and conference center in the U.S. We, along with several other NOMADS couples, will be doing maintenance and cleaning tasks requested by the maintenance director at the center. We’ll be there three weeks.

Today we stopped in Las Cruces NM and don’t yet know where we’re going tomorrow. Debbie’s working on tomorrow’s driving directions while Jim fixes the APRS beacon on our truck’s ham radio. We thought it was working today but hadn’t checked to be sure. Nope — no position location.

Jim fixed a drink, asked the laptop why the radio wasn’t sending, and immediately learned he simply hadn’t pressed the beacon key. One more casualty of not traveling regularly — we forget some of these small details.

Good news, we inflated the trailer tires to 65 psi yesterday and the highest they ran during towing today was 68. Seems to show the tires are running happy and lightly loaded. That’s what we want to believe.

Not good news, our check engine light lit up an hour into the drive immediately after a rest break. We were pulling a hill and saw a likely place to stop for a few minutes. Visited the airstream’s wash room, restarted the truck, and the check engine light is on.

All the dash gauges are reading normal range. Sometimes we wonder if they are real — they read so constant, rarely changing. Deb looked up the check engine light in our owners manual and found it is a drivable condition until something else happens. We were only 20 miles from Globe AZ and so drove on.

Debbie called Las Cruces’ Chevy dealership and spoke to the service writer who said they couldn’t look at our truck until Monday morning. We have a couple of zero days but didn’t plan on spending them yet. When we pulled into Globe we found an AutoZone car parts place on the highway.

Did you know they will bring their diagnostics reader for your car’s computerized control and tell you what the codes are? AutoZone read our on-board diagnostics (OBDII?) and printed out two codes and explanations for us. Even better, they called until they found an auto repair shop open on Saturday and gave us directions.

So we drove into downtown historic Globe and stopped at Earth Movers tire and repair center. The check engine light had by now turned itself off. Chris listened to our tale of woe, then sent a mechanic with a bigger OBDII reader to our truck. Cool thing, they were able to read for codes history (the two mentioned earlier), any pending or active codes (none), and clear all these for us.

Final word is, for now, the mass airflow sensor detected a too lean fuel mixture during our climb and stop. We had increased altitude by a couple of thousand feet (not a new thing for us) but this time something tripped and the engine computer wasn’t happy about it. But it got over it and so have we.

We might have the throttle body cleaned when we are in Kannapolis in May, and check the sensors. We’ll see how the rest of the trip goes.

A good first day — let’s go eat supper!

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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr


2 responses to “Will the check engine light stop the dreamstreamrs?

  1. The airflow sensor is quite sensitive on a GM. Our engine check light came on and I drove to the dealer. The Service Manager looked at the car, walked around, it a came back to my window and said I was good to go. I said the light is still on, and he replied it will go off. The bottom line was that the gasoline filler cap was not on full tight. A few restarts later, it corrected itself. May all our problems be so simple!

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