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8.12.2009

At long last... Car issue solved!

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1 comments

I about cleaning my MAF sensor last April to clear out my Check Engine trouble on my Honda Passport. My truck has been continously showing the codes:
P0171 - System Too Lean (Bank 1)
P0174 - System Too Lean (Bank 2)

For months, I've been continuously searching the www.planetisuzoo.com forum for answers. I found several solutions like cleaning the EGR valve and IAC valve. I tried doing them and I thought that I fixed the problem but turned out false.

I noticed that the issue is getting worse. Previously, the Check Engine light will go away and will not come back after driving several miles. It changed to Check Engine light gone to Check Engine light back in a matter of minutes. I also noticed the truck idling has gone rougher than before. Other noticed symptoms: when the truck is started, it immediately dies.

I have been talking to one of my basketball buddies who is a mechanic about the issue. He said that he's doing a lot of stuff right now but once he's available, he can help me. No luck there!

I searched the forum again and there are a couple of things that I haven't done: change the fuel filter and check the intake manifold gasket if it's broken. I decided that I'll do the fuel filter first because it is cheaper and easier to do than the manifold gasket. I also don't have any experience in replacing gaskets.

I'm set to buy the fuel filter at one of the local auto parts shop but I didn't know what got into me. I started checking my previous maintenance records and lo and behold, I found the same error codes on one of the records. P0171 and P0174 had been an issue before on my truck. As I read though the notes, what the dealer did is they replaced the intake manifold gasket.

I paid around $350+ for the service 5 years ago. I'm not sure how much would it cost me now. I asked the local mechanic shop that I go to for an estimate and they mentioned that it would cost $150 just to diagnose the issue and they wouldn't be able to give me an estimate yet for the total job. I'm guessing it would be another $250+ to replace the gasket. I'm looking at a little less than $500 total for it.

I talked to my mechanic friend again and told him what I found. This time, he said that he's available to help. He told me to buy the intake manifold gasket set and once I get the parts, he can do the job.

Yesterday, he went to my house and started the job. He removed the upper and lower manifolds and guess what. We found that one of the lower manifold gaskets is broken. Also the tube that connects the EGR valve has a lot of carbon in it.

My dad assisted in the cleaning of the parts and my friend reassembled everything. He started the truck and let it idle. The rough idling was gone and the engine is running very smooth ~ just like new. We did a quick test drive and the truck runs great! I gave my friend $150 for the job, he was asking less than that but for me, he was a good help in fixing my truck. I was even thinking of availing the Cash for Clunkers program if the issue was not solved but right now, I can't afford the new car payments. I'm happy with my truck and I'm hoping to drive it for several more years.

All in all, the fix cost me about 200 bucks. This is better than paying around $500 at a local mechanic. Also, the local mechanic might only change the gasket. My friend totally cleaned out the carbon deposits from manifold.

Before he left, he noticed that I have a remote starter installed in my truck. I told him that it's another issue that I have to tackle. I haven't used my remote starter for years. I can't remember when was the last time I was able to use it. I believe it's about 4 years ago. He checked the fuses and they were all ok. He told me to bring it to the installer as it might be the unit that's broken. I said that I'm planning to do that in a couple of days.

My friend then noticed one wire that's not connected and placed it on the negative terminal of the battery. He asked me to try starting the car remotely.... guess what again? It worked!!! Another issue solved.

This surely made my day. Two issues solved in a day. It's like hitting two birds with one stone. I thanked my friend and asked him if he can change my timing belt next time. It's due for replacement in 6 months. I remember paying Honda about $700+ for it. I'm hoping my friend is available when that time comes.

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