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Used Pickup Questions

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by teflon97239, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    So is a check engine light an automatic kiss of death in OREGON when it comes to registering a vehicle? I had a couple of Cherokees with check engine lights on most of the time for decades. For the life of me I don’t recall if I ever got smogged at DEQ while the lights were actually on. Seems to me I must’ve, but maybe not. They both ran perfectly for years and got decent mileage too (for Jeeps).

    I ask because I looked at a nice used Ford Ranger in Vancouver for my girlfriend’s son today, and the check engine light was on. We were back-pedaling out of there when the owner showed us a recent WASHINGTON smog cert and assured us that “if it passes, it passes,” light or not. Maybe so in Washington, or maybe not… We agreed to chat again this week if:
    A.) He fixes it.
    B.) I hear something similar from Oregon DEQ after they open up again on Tuesday.

    Maybe WA and OR have different rules? Tell me what you guys know. (Or show me a decent small pickup without a check engine light…)

    I’m also curious if there’s something to be done about the musty smell in my own beater 4WD. It had a major rain leak a couple years ago. It’s fixed now, but I can always smell something dank in the seats and headliner when it’s been closed up for awhile. Tossed all the carpeting, but it persists. Anything I can use in there this summer to eradicate that odor once and for all?

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  2. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If the tester catches it, having the check engine light on will cause a DEQ failure. My friends sister just put a picture of her kids over the light and went right thru.
     
    Sgt Nambu, 44mag2ndamend and parallax like this.
  3. ripcity

    ripcity Milwaukie Active Member

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    The rule is totally lame. If they see the light, automatic failure. It should be deemed as a failure if it fails the smog test, not if there is a light on. However, I don't know of any small trucks, so can't help you there:(
     
    orygun likes this.
  4. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I agree, but we're dealing with the government...
     
  5. PaulZ

    PaulZ Oregon City Active Member

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    Get yourself a code reader, reset the code just before the test
     
  6. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    Every check engine light I've had on three Jeeps (one Cherokee and two Grand Cherokees) with one exception was a bad sensor. Google how to get the failure code, then look the code up on the internet. Odds are it's an easy fix that won't cost very much. The forums at jeepsunlimited.com are a tremendous resource. If it's a Grand Cherokee then check out wjjeeps.com.

    Should be similar resources for the Ford PU.
     
    orygun likes this.
  7. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    Even worse, we are dealing with the DMV...
     
  8. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I agree with 3MTA3 - I've had 2 check engine lights on a car and both were bad sensors that were fairly inexpensive to replace. It's worth a check. Maybe see if a buddy or co-worker already has a code reader so you can save the cost of buying one.
     
  9. ScottyB

    ScottyB Whatcom Member

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    If you are going to rely on a code reader to tell you what parts to swap you can figure on spending more than you should. A code will tell you what the computer sees. It still takes a skilled brain to determine WHY the computer is seeing that problem. You could change a "bad sensor" just to have it go out again in short order because the root cause of the failure was not addressed. Code readers are helpful but they are not miracle tools.
     
    Colt Carbine likes this.
  10. OLDNEWBIE

    OLDNEWBIE State of Flux Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe with all the other B.S. we deal with here in Eugene/Springfield that we don't have emission testing too! I didn't know that Portland had it.
    My wife's Hyundai btw, if you disconnect the battery it resets the light until whatever made it come on happens again.
     
  11. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Another option;

    Most dash faces are black. A neatly trimmed piece of black electrical tape often blends right in. Either that or dig underneath the dash and remove the bulb.:D
     
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  12. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't always work. I reset mine and drove about 30 minutes to the DEQ no CEL showing, but they were able to tell the light had been reset and failed me. Where I live now I am exempt from checks, so I am happy about that. Especially with a cammed 392 in my 1980 Scout!
     
    Colt Carbine likes this.
  13. cmica

    cmica puy Active Member

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    make sure the gas cap is tight them asshats in troutdale did this to me by putting it on lightly. fill up tighten cap should go off about 50 miles
     
  14. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Disconnect check engine light bulb. Profit.
     
    orygun likes this.
  15. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    For everyone saying just disconnect the blub the last few times I went in there they actually scanned the computer (OBDII post 96 production vehicles) so disconnecting the bulb will do nothing as the computer will still throw the codes and they will fail you.

    When I had to DEQ the Scout they used the sniff test but on my 1996 Dodge, 2000 Volvo and 2003 Explorer they scanned the computer, hence they were able to tell I had cleared the codes.
     
    Colt Carbine likes this.
  16. 1990Turbo

    1990Turbo St.Helens Active Member

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    Cel are there for a reason. Sometimes its not a big deal and the car will run fine but they do help in diagnosing bigger problems. That when fixed might save the motor. I know Autozone will let you borrow a code reader for free. I used theirs on my Expedition when I had a misfire it actually told me which cylinder was misfiring. So to the OP dont be scared of the little Ranger you are looking at just ask the owner if you can hit the local parts store and run the codes and see what it tells you.
     
    3MTA3 likes this.
  17. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I had the DEQ over on 82nd Drive pass my little pickup after wanding the tailpipe.. the tailpipe wasn't connected to the muffler by a long shot.
     
  18. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for responses.

    Found a really clean used Ranger last night - original (adult) owner, runs like a top, low miles, good brakes and new tires. We had cruised some dealers just to get a broad view of what's out there in used small trucks. Went with a private party, of course, and paid well under blue book, leaving some cash in the teenager's first-truck-fund to take care of those inevitable things that pop up with used vehicles.

    Looking in earnest for a few weeks, I found the following regarding check engine lights:
    - More than a few with the light on - about 20-25%
    - Two with check engine lights that had either burned out or been disconnected
    - Two sellers insisting the light is irrelevant as long as it passes emissions
    - One seller at wit's end after replacing sensors, valves, hoses, wires and a filler neck

    Aside from the light, we met dealers universally describing nearly bald tires as having "plenty left on them."

    My own advice to anyone shopping for used is to not be in a hurry - keep looking relentlessly and wait for the right one.

    (Still looking for tips on how to eliminate the mildewy smell in my beater that sits outside rain or shine.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  19. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Mildew try Frebreeze or Baking soda. Another way is to put a small electric heater in the rig and dry it out completely. If the leak continues it will just reoccur.
     
    orygun likes this.
  20. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Leak totally secured 2 years ago. Did Febreeze and variants, baking soda and I keep a bucket of charcoal briquettes in the back. It's not strong or foul, but it's still there. Certainly not worth tearing out all cloth, but that appears to be where the funk resides.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014