How do you guys read intermittenent OBD-1 light | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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How do you guys read intermittenent OBD-1 light

Discussion in 'Tech & Repair' started by Paul A., Apr 22, 2020.

  1. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    Hello,

    I was wondering if anyone has a good idea for reading an intermittent obd1 check engine light. It comes on usually when the car is under stress like going up hill and will stay on for a bit. However once I slow down and park to try to read it, it goes away and there are no codes to be pulled. Also if you turn the car off and back on they clear. The connector is in the engine compartment so its not exactly easy to just leave the scanner plugged in when I drive, or jump it with a paper clip. I suppose I could always move the connector, but I was wondering if any of you guys have found a better way. Theres not a significant change to the way the car runs when its on or off making it harder for me to trouble shoot. It won't pass smog though and smokes slightly when you let it idol too long. Not too sure if this has anything to do with it. It doesn't smoke when I drive around and its doesn't seem to be smoking when the light is on. It is a 93' Lx Wagon with a 1.9.

    Thanks,

    Paul
  2. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    How come it doesn't pass smog?

    My check engine light also comes on occasionally on long drives, then goes out. But even so, when I check for codes (Key on, engine off - KOEO a stupid acronym if ever there was one) at least one will be stored. I think it's usually code 172 Oxygen sensor not switching – system is or was lean.
  3. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    Well, the smog thing is because if it sits for too long like during one of the tests it visibly starts to smoke. Not like super bad, but enough to fail. I've been having a hard time with that. I'm either doing something wrong, or its not giving me any codes when I go key on engine off. I was able to get an engine lean code and one for the MAP sensor, but haven't been able to pull them again. I did however clean the MAP sensor really well and verify the wiring was intact. For a while I was getting a fuel smell associated with the light, but I changed some suspect hoses and that stopped while the light did not.

    Thanks,

    Paul
  4. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    If your engine is smoking due to oil burning, supposedly synthetic oil produces much less visible smoke. Perhaps this could help you pass the test.

    Many years ago we had emissions testing in a large city my brother lived in. He had a crappy old Corolla that he had to bring in to test.
    He told me the car pretty much filled up the test booth with smoke, but he passed! I suppose they were only checking for CO and HC and maybe NOx, and most of the exhaust didn't make it to the end of the tailpipe anyway.
    They cancelled car testing a few years ago, figuring that there are almost no old carburated beater cars still driving daily up here. I think they're right.
    Paul A. likes this.
  5. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    I've heard about cars passing like that, but out here its "any visible smoke" and mine smoked his little shack out too. He had to open the other door to let it out. . . it had been sitting a while at that time. I drive it all the time now, and have burnt everything from sitting so long out of it. Its just when I sit for a long time like at a drive through (or in line at the emissions place). I could always just register it out of city limits, but its a major hassle and technically illegal if I were to get stopped. I've considered trying an additive to help it, but I don't want to risk gumming up my engine. I know eventually I will have to overhaul it, and I don't want another major headache. I poured all kinds of that stuff in an Impala I own and its made rebuilding the engine a nightmare, everythings gummed up beyond belief and after sitting a lot of it hardened. I finally gave up and will probably end up having to buy another one.

    My other issue is if they see the check light its an automatic fail, not to mention it kind bugs me. I can sometimes get it to stay off and other times not. Just curious, what procedure are you using to pull the engine off key on codes? Perhaps I am doing something wrong.

    Thanks,

    Paul
  6. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I have a Code Reader that does both OBDI and OBDII, and it has an erase button to remove all trouble codes as desired.

    It's a long shot, but my car used to occasionally smoke due to a leaky fuel pressure regulator. It's easy to test, just remove the line at the intake manifold "tree" and apply mouth suction to it. If you get gasoline, it's leaking.

    What's the mileage on your car?
  7. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    The mileage is very high. Its 314,000 miles. Unclear on the previous history except what Carfax can find out. I'm assuming it hasn't been rebuilt before or at least any time in the last decade. I may just have to invest in one of those. The counting light method is nice but can be a hassle. I usually have to film it and slow the video down to get a solid reading every time I've done it.

    I will check that. It can't hurt, and it very well could be. Its probably well worn. Could it possibly be anything to do with valves? I've read some posts on here and other places about the engines having valve problems. Mine doesn't seem to be having problems with them, at least nothing that I can hear like ticking.
  8. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    With that high mileage, it could be the valve stem seals. The good news is they can be replaced without taking the head off, by holding the valve shut with compressed air or thin rope stuffed into the spark plug hole.
    I recently used the latter on a Chrysler V6 with good success.
    You should be able to find lots of descriptions of this method on the Internet. You probably only need to change the intake valve seals, if the job becomes too tedious.
    The seals are cheap. Do not lose any keepers down the oil drainback holes!
  9. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    I should try that soon. If my transmission replacement is a success the valves will probably be one of the next things on my list. When I do the transmission however I was planning on doing the valve cover gaskets for now as they leak pretty bad. When I take them off, is there anything to look for visually that would indicate valve problems?
  10. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    No, I don't think there is visual indication of worn out valve stem seals.
    A compression test will be useful to diagnose the valves themselves.
    You may well have nothing wrong with the valves , but just have worn valve stem seals. Replacing the valve cover and camshaft seal would be a good idea.

    It depends on how far you want to get involved with the engine. You could simply install an ebay exchange rebuilt head assuming that yours has significant wear by now.
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  11. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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  12. Paul A.

    Paul A. FEOA Member

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    I may do a compression test soon granted everything on my trans swap goes well.. I'm fixin to swap the transmission and everything this weekend with some friends.
    I didn't know they made such a cable. That is actually pretty cool. I was planning on moving it using some 12 conductor access control wire to the inside of the cable. The connected was missing when I got the car so its just held on with crimp connectors. I never soldered it in case I moved it.

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