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Check Engine Light - It was my spark plug coil


I was on my way to work one morning and I dropped by a Royal Farms store to get coffee. I was all set to work and I started my car and pulled out of the parking space. I've noticed that the car is running rough and the Check Engine Light came on.

I remembered that there is an Advanced Auto Parts store nearby, probably about a mile and drove there slowly. I asked if they can check the code for my CEL and they did it for free. The code was P0305 and the associate said that it was a misfire on one of the cylinders. I called up my mechanic buddy and asked for an advice on what to do. My buddy said that it's either the spark plug or the coil. He told me to try replacing the spark plug first and if that doesn't work, try switching the coils and check if the code changes. I don't have any tools with me so I also asked if I can drive my car back to the house and he said yes as long as I don't drive fast.

I bought an NGK Iridium spark plug from Advanced before leaving. I just replaced the spark plugs less than a year ago so I still remember the brand. My home is about 10 miles away from Advanced Auto Parts and was able to get back safely.

I changed the spark plug on cylinder 5 and reinstalled the coil. I have an OBD-II reader so I was able to clear the code before starting the car. I then started the car but it was still running rough. A few minutes later, the CEL lit up again. I read the code and it's still P0305.

I then moved on to the next step of swapping the coils. I swapped the coil on the 5th cylinder with the one on the 2nd cylinder, cleared the code and restarted the car. The engine was still running rough and when I checked the code, I got a new one P0302. This indicates that the problem might be with the coil.

Looking to buy a replacement coil, I first went to NAPA Auto parts. They told me that they don't have anything in stock and said that they can have it by tomorrow. The price that they quoted me was $110 and I said that I'll think about it. In my mind, I knew that there was an AutoZone nearby and was planning to go there next.

At AutoZone, the associate was very helpful (his name is Jerry). He said that he doesn't have any in stock but he can also have it available by tomorrow. The price was also cheaper at AutoZone - $95. Jerry then said that he can check other AutoZone stores if they have it. He found one at a nearby store and he even called up the other store and told them that I will be picking it up. The store is about 15 miles away and Jerry told me to tell them that Jerry sent me there to pickup the part. I thanked Jerry for his help.

I got to the other AutoZone store and told them that I am picking up a spark plug coil and Jerry sent me. The manager got the part and showed it to me. I looked at it and it was the part I'm looking for and said that I'm taking it. At the cash register, the part came up as $95 and I already swiped my card. The manager said, wait a minute. Since Jerry sent me and Jerry is a nice guy, she will give me a discount. She took of 10% and the cost went down to $85.50. Whoa! I started from $110 at NAPA to $85.50... I'll take the $25 savings. Never had a day like this and I'm thankful for talking to Jerry at AutoZone.

I took some pictures of the spark plug coil replacement:

The faulty spark plug coil on the 2nd cylinder
Duralast coil from AutoZone
The new (shiny) spark plug coil
Removed the faulty one on the 2nd cylinder
Side by side (faulty and new)
New spark plug coil installed on the 2nd cylinder

I then cleared the code and restarted the car. The engine was running smoothly now. I drove the car around the block and the CEL didn't light up. I fixed the issue and it's good to have a mechanic friend who can always give you an advice on how to fix your car problems. Also, it's nice to meet people like Jerry who are always helpful to customers like me who are in need of help.

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Air Filter follow-up


I got a reply from my friend Jet about the air filter that I replaced. He pointed out that I've replaced the air intake filter and not the cabin filter and the air cabin filter is a different story. He's right about it.

In my experience, the cabin filter is a bit tricky to replace as you have to remove a lot of things. I replaced my cabin filter on my Odyssey several times now and I found the steps on how to do it in an Odyssey forum. Here's the link on how to replace it on 2nd generation Odysseys.

I remember that I had to do it because the dealer was charging me $130 back in May 2006. I was able to buy the cabin filter at a cheaper price and didn't had an issue replacing it the first time. Since then, I always decline this filter replacement when the dealer says that I have to. (The last time I was offered was back in March 2010 and the replacement price is a bit lower now - $75.00).

I'm buying my replacement filters online. You can get it from Amazon or eBay or maybe from a local Auto parts store.

Here's the cabin filter that I just replaced recently
The filter is under the glove box.

If you have a 2nd generation Odyssey and is looking to have the cabin filter replaced, just follow the instructions on the link I posted above. If you do it on your own (and correctly), you'll surely save a few $$$.

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Replaced my Air Filter


On my earlier post, it mentioned something about Air Filter as a regular maintenance. I just remembered that I did this on one of my cars a couple of months back. Air Filter replacement is actually one of the easiest thing to do on your car.

It was time to replace my air filter and I took a picture of the old (left) and the new (right). The old filter is very filthy and I guess it did its job well. These filters are the same brand - FRAM and you can see the difference.

These are the back of the filters. New one on the left while the old filter is on the right. I had to mention that as I didn't notice the change in location. Looks like the old filter is filthier (don't know if that's a word) at the bottom. I'm glad that I decided to change it.

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Save $31,000


I've been saving this article for about six months now because it's about car maintenance. The title of the article is "Drive Your Car to Death, You'll Save $31,000." I got the article from The Women's Journal magazine/paper while I was waiting for my turn at the doctor's office. The actual article can be viewed online using this link.

As I read through, this savings estimate came from Consumer Reports Magazine. It says that if you keep your car for 15 years, or about 225,000 miles of driving, you could save yourself nearly $31,000. This figure was compared to the cost of buying an identical model car every 5 years.

The article also points out that the key to keep your car running well beyond 100,000 miles is regular scheduled maintenance. The following should be followed:

  • Change engine oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles (stop-and-go driving) or 5,000 miles (mostly highway driving)
  • Flush the transmission and drive train fluids every 30,000 miles
  • Flush the cooling system every 30,000 miles
  • Change the fuel filter every 30,000 miles
  • Change the air filter every 12-15,000 miles
  • Replace oxygen sensors every 90,000 miles
  • Replace spark plugs and plug wires when recommended by manufacturer
  • Replace timing belt every 60,000 miles
I think you will be saving more if you keep your car instead of buying a new one because you don't have to worry about car payments anymore after paying off your car.

I'm planning to drive both my cars to death. One is nearing 130,000 miles (12 years) while the other is at 90,000 miles (8 years). Both of my cars are still running fine and I just hope both will reach 225,000 miles.

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ESPN NBA Fantasy - Final Standing


My NBA fantasy season ended with my team finishing 2nd place. The season ended on April 14 and currently the NBA is having it's playoffs.

I didn't know that there's no playoffs in the fantasy league that I joined. I'll probably switch to a different fantasy format next year.

All in all, I'm satisfied. I've learned how to play on an NBA fantasy league.

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ESPN NBA Fantasy - 02/27/2010


A quick check on my NBA fantasy game. I'm still at 2nd place and still tied for the same position. We're down by 2 points for the 1st place (5 points previously).
I didn't have much changes on my lineup. I did drop Marcus Thornton and picked up John Salmons but picked up Marcus again the next day after he scored 37 points. John is doing well though with his new team (Milwaukee Bucks).

I'm currently monitoring Andrei Kirilenko's injury. If he don't play much, I will be picking up John Salmons again as a replacement.
As for the stats, my team need to work on their Free Throw percentage. I'm actually at the bottom with 75.04%. The next team above me has 75.69%. The other stat that I have the chance to take over is the rebounds. I have 4,116 while the other team has 4,134. I need 19 rebounds to take over. I have to analyze my stats as I may have to give up one player to get someone who has a better stat at rebounding.

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Replaced my battery - Other car


I had to do another battery replacement on my other car last December after bringing it to the dealer for an oil change. They mentioned that I had to change the battery and is asking for $118 again. It's the same charge they were asking back in October.

My dad bought me another battery from Walmart and final price after returning the old battery is $67.50 just like the last time.

Here are the step by step procedures on how I replaced my car's battery:

1. Open the hood and get the appropriate wrench to be able to remove the terminals and the brackets.
Side note: My old battery's brand is DieHard and it really died hard. I believe it's on my car for more than 5 years.
2. Be sure to have a new battery. Just common sense, you cannot replace your battery without a replacement. :)
3. Remove the Negative Terminal connection first.
4. Remove the Positive Terminal connection next.
5. Loosen the bolts on the bracket to be able to remove the old battery.
6. Battery removed.
7. Place the new battery.
8. Re-assemble the brackets but do not tighten the bolts. Remove the red and black plastic covers on the terminals.
9. Install the Positive Terminal connection first and tighten the bolt. Make sure the cable will not move.
10. Install the negative terminal connection next and tighten the bolt. Make sure the cable will not move as well.
11. Tighten up the bolts on the bracket to make sure the battery will not move.
12. Start the car to test the battery

There you go. Hope these steps help you should you tackle the battery replacement yourself.

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ESPN NBA Fantasy - 02/10/2010


Update on my status on my NBA Fantasy game. I've fallen to 2nd place after about 2 months. My rank sometimes fall into 3rd place and go back to 2nd. Looking at the standings, I'm actually tied with someone else. We're 5 points behind the 1st place team.
I made several changes on my lineup (see below):


1. Michael Redd - out of the season due to injury
2. Thaddeus Young - regressed in stats when I dropped him
3. John Salmons - starting to regress in stats

1. Andre Kirilenko - getting hot since he was put back in Utah's starting lineup. Replacement for Michael Redd
2. Darren Collison - Since Chris Paul is injured he's one of the guys picking up the slack for New Orleans. Replacement for John Salmons
3. Marcus Thornton - Also picking up the slack for New Orleans due to Chris Paul's absence. Replacement for Thaddeus Young.
Some things that affected my ranking.
1. Carmelo Anthony - the league leader in scoring. He missed 8 games due to an ankle injury but he was back in the Nuggets lineup yesterday.
2. Marcus Thornton - missed 4 games due to a back injury
3. Brandon Jennings - on a shooting slump. His points average fell to 17.1 from 21.3.

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Busted Door Bell light


I have noticed that my door bell light is busted again. I found out about it when somebody knocked on my door hard. I wondered why he knocked when he could have just pressed the door bell button. I'm guessing he didn't notice the button was there.

Door bell without light
This will be the 2nd time I will be replacing it. I was lucky to save the old button on the original replacement case (Style selections #158623). If memory serves me right, I bought this product from Lowes. I kept the item in the car this morning and was planning to drop by Lowes to get a replacement.
While on my way home, I decided not to go to Lowes since we will be hammered with a snow storm tonight and tomorrow. Weather forecasts are calling snow for about 6 to 18 inches.

I started looking at the old button and thinking that I don't have any use for it anymore, maybe I should open it and see what type of bulb it has. I didn't care if I break the product since I know I'll be buying a new one anyway.

Closer look at the button (apologies for a blurry picture).
Back of the button
I was able to separate the back part and found an LED type bulb. Looking at the button case, it says that the button can be installed to wired chimes, bells and buzzers that are from 8 to 24 volts.
Removed the bulb (busted one)
I remembered that I used a similar bulb on my car when I replaced the backlight of the clock. I know that the bulb is 12 volts. I bought the bulb from Radio Shack for $1.79 (part #272-1092) and it has 2 bulbs. At that time I used it, I only needed one so I had a spare.
I compared the Radio Shack bulb with the busted bulb and they both look the same.
I was able to re-assemble the button back with the new bulb. I then removed the button with the busted bulb and replaced it with the newly fixed button. After connecting the 2nd wire (see below), it worked!
Now my door bell has a light again. I'm keeping the other button so the next time I get a busted bulb, I'll just head to Radio Shack instead of Lowes. I can't remember how much I paid for the button but at least I saved a few $$$.

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