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O/T Check Engine Light

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Mike G, Mar 9, 2009.

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  1. Mike G

    Mike G Member

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    My son's 2000 Chevy Cavalier's "check engine" light came on over the weekend. I got the error code but am wondering if there is a forum like this one out there to discuss this or a way to find out what the code exactly means. Thanks.

    Mike
     
  2. 682b

    682b Member

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    Call Autozone or Advance auto and they will scan it for free. It could be as little as a gas cap or even a dirty air filter. Good luck JIM
     
  3. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Well-Known Member

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    My Honda has had the check engine light on for 2 years. Every once in a while I lift the hood and check to see if the engine was there. It's always there!! Stupid computers. No one can seem to find the problem but they have no problem charging you $200 to look for it; fix it, and only to have it come on again before you get home.
     
  4. Mike G

    Mike G Member

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    There seems to be no problem with the performance of the car it still runs just as it always has. AutoZone hooked up a scanner and it showed a PO 480 error code and something in regards to cooling fan circuit. Mike
     
  5. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Not sure but it should be a relay coil the circuit sees. As stated, auto zone reads, but will not cancel. You need to disconnect the battery for a couple minutes and the codes will go away.

    Ihave had good luck calling the dealership and brain picking the service guys and the line mechanics. They are usually good about helping.

    HM
     
  6. bobcatv

    bobcatv TS Member

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    Mike, I bought a scangauge from the above link and installed it into my 2003 Trailblazer. The gauge gives error codes and will clear the codes as well. The gauge also provides a ton of information about your car performance including fuel mileage, hp used, map sensor, trans temp, and a ton of other information provided by your car's computer. I use it to watch the Trans Temp when hauling our boat or camper. It's well worth it.
    The other day the check engine light came on and I was able to reset it while driving down the road. It was a basic warning that my engine was running too cool. I think the device is around 170.00. And it plugs into your OBDII connection, which allows you to move it from vehicle to vehicle very easily.

    Well worth it.

    Jeff
     
  7. 320090T

    320090T Well-Known Member

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    Our AZ will clear the codes for you but I bought my own for less than $100 and I use it often. Very handy tool if you do much with cars. I have three older ones and need the scanner, there is always a light on somewhere. Unhooking the battery has not clear any codes on any car I have worked on.... yet. Not saying it is impossible, just not likely.
     
  8. Irfner

    Irfner TS Member

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    A code PO480 is a fault in the #1 or primary cooling fan circuit. If this circuit fails completely your engine could overheat. Heads, head gasgets, engine blocks etc. could be damaged if that occurs. Do what you want but if it were mine I would track the problem down and fix it.
     
  9. 1290FPS

    1290FPS Member

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    Had the exact same problem/same code on a 1999 olds cutlass. In the wiring harness from the cooling fan are some very small wires (circa 24 gauge). I found that the insulation on mine had chafed thru & shorted the fan & the relay. I cropped out the bad section & soldered in new wire, wrapped it with loom, and fastened it to the frame so it would not chafe anymore. A fast way to find the short is to start the car up, let it reach operating temp, turn on your AC in max. Using a sony walkman tuned to a weak AM station, hold the walkman about 6" above the wiring harness and trace the circuit. trust me on this, your headphones will let you know when you are over the short. After fixing the wires you may have to replace the relay. ($14.00 at NAPA)
    Good luck!
     
  10. Big Jack

    Big Jack Well-Known Member

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    Most of the 'check engine" faults lead back to emission problems. Especially if the light just stays on. If it starts blinking, shut down. With all the sensors on modern cars there are dozens of possibles hooked to it. First, check the gas cap. That one cost me sixty bucks once.
     
  11. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    1290, nice inductive tracer. I used to do that on circuit boards back in the dark ages when discrete component repair was still being practiced.

    I still use a telephone tone tracer for that.

    HM
     
  12. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    Try the Chevrolet forum at the link above. There is a good description of the code parameters and limits. You can always google the code and see what you get. I would recommend not driving the vehicle until the issue is resolved. Doing so may cause engine damage due to overheating. A "Scan Tool" would be a better idea, rather than a "Code Reader". You can compare ECT temps and sometimes the tool can command the fan and other outputs to change state for diagnosis.
     
  13. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    clydstr, You can find all the help you need right here @T.S.com. All we need is a bit more information. What is the number of the code? We can then tell you which monitoring circuit has a low voltage signal returning to the PCM. We can give you some hints as to what may be casuing the code. Past that the vehicle would need some one to run a series of diagnostic test to determine the exact cause. I'd be happy to help with that just let me know and I'll do what I can.
     
  14. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    Bruce Specht

    He already stated it was a 2000 Cavalier and the code was a P0480. On a GM it usually is defined as "P0480 Cooling Fan Relay Control Circuit Malfunction". Some other manufacturers may define it as low speed relay issues/malfunctions, or a related definition. The link I provided was relevant to the Chevrolet Cavalier and had some good information concerning the parameters that sets the code, so a better understanding of it might be obtained. If you know exactly what the issue is, then feel free to post, but you obviously did not read the original posters information as he had provided in his first two posts.

    Some diagnosis to find the root cause would be a good way to go, rather than starting to throw parts at the car. Looking at the freeze frame data might shed some light on the conditions present when the code was set. That needs to be obtained by interrogating the PCM.
     
  15. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    There is a discussion site populated by motorheads (as well as some dangerous wannabees) that you can find by Googling "OBD2." There probably is one dedicated to pre-OBD2 systems (1980-1995).

    Ed
     
  16. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    My first move would be to check the relay. Simple to do, costs nothing.

    Maybe that's not sophisticated enough. I usually try the simple stuff first.

    Then I brainpick the dealership guys.

    HM
     
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