Well, half the job is done!

What a huge difference between yesterday and today!

At a time when we were at -28C/-18F yesterday, we were at -8C/17F this morning!

When I changed out Potato Beetle’s water bowl yesterday, which was up close to the heat bulb, I ended up with a shell of ice. This morning, there was no ice at all. In fact, when I let Potato Beetle out, I unplugged the heat bulb and took the water bowl back outside. There’s no need for him to be kept in the sun room anymore. The Potato is free again!

Oh, I managed to snag a photo of some visitors yesterday evening.

This herd has been coming by regularly! That group is the back is four deer, bunched together. 🙂

With the temperatures warming up 20C in 24 hours, I was able to do my full rounds before heading to the city with the van, to finally try and do a Costco run.

The van was running well and I had no problems, and yet, shortly before I reached the city (after about a hour of driving), the check engine light came on.


I kept going to the Costco parking lot, then plugged in my OBD II reader. I got two error messages this time.

The first error code, I’d had the last time I checked, but the second one was new. The app allowed me to look it up.

I got this:

SPECIAL NOTES: OBD II code with the definition “IAT [Intake Air Temperature] – B Circuit Malfunction / Exhaust Gas Recirculation Closed Position Performance” is mostly relevant to some General Motors (and a few European) products from the late 1990’s to the early / mid 2000’s, and is therefore no longer in common use by most manufacturers. Starting in the mid-2000’s, the “IAT [Intake Air Temperature] – B Circuit Malfunction” component of the definition was dropped, largely due to improved PCM programming, even though it still appears in many sources, including online lists of OBD II code definitions.

However, the transition from the definition “IAT [Intake Air Temperature] – B Circuit Malfunction / Exhaust Gas Recirculation Closed Position Performance”, to the definition most commonly used by many manufacturers for OBD II code P1404 today, “EGR Valve Closed Position Performance”, has NOT been smooth and/or uniform across all manufacturers, and it may still be encountered on older USDM applications and some European imports. The General Motors TSB below that describes a potential cause of this code on some older GM applications with the definition “IAT [Intake Air Temperature] – B Circuit Malfunction / Exhaust Gas Recirculation Closed Position Performance” is reproduced from official GM sources. Note that the “electronic noise” referenced in the TSB often originated in the Intake Air Temperature sensor.


Which basically tells me “our van is old”. :-/

For our specific vehicle, it means “Exhaust Gas Recirculation Closed Position Performance (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GM, Pontiac, Saturn)”

I also found this:

If the Check Engine warning light turns on or your vehicle fails an emissions test, have the powertrain of your vehicle undergo a diagnostic scan. If the scan provides you with trouble code P1404, then it means your EGR valve is stuck in the closed position. This will ultimately raise the combustion temperatures in your engine cylinders. The temperature gauge on your dashboard may even reflect this too.

The engine control unit constantly communicates with the EGR valve and will know whenever it is in the wrong position. Once you know that it gets stuck in the closed position, you must either replace the EGR valve or figure out if another component is causing the problem. Sometimes you may just have a clogged EGR valve which must be cleaned out. But this isn’t a treatment which you should perform alone. It requires someone with the proper knowledge and skills of automobiles to make it happen.


However, this is a completely new EGR valve.

I ended up texting a screencap of the error codes to the garage, then called him to let him know I’d sent them. He checked them out, then got back to me. After confirming that the van is otherwise running fine, and this is the first real trip I’ve made since the EGR valve was replaced, it is likely some carbon he couldn’t reach to clean out came loose. For now, I’m to keep an eye on it. If the van starts acting up, bring it in. Otherwise, it should just clear itself out.


So I went ahead and braved Costco.

I almost didn’t. The entire time I was in the van, I was watching the line that extended almost the entire length of the building. It was moving, but not very fast. I finally decided to go for it, instead of going to a Superstore or something.

Thankfully, this location is still somewhat sane. There were signs all over for “face coverings”, but even the ladies at the door were wearing face shields, not masks. They didn’t even blink at me with my Mingle Mask. So that was a relief.

This being Costco, I grabbed a flat cart. With so much to stock up on, I only got half the cat kibble and litter I normally would have – not only for the space on the cart, but also because I didn’t want to fully load the van with heavy stuff like that, quite yet.

I still got pretty much everything from the Costco part of my list; just not all in the quantities I normally would have. Still, the whole thing came out to about $750 – part of which went towards renewing our membership, which lapsed back in November. We’ve got an Executive membership, so I did have the rebate check on that. It didn’t quite cover the renewal fee, but that’s okay.

One thing I was able to find was a three pack of storage bins. I was on the look out for a bin to store our canning supplies, which are currently scattered about in various places in the kitchen. When it came time to pay, I told the woman that was going to repack the cart that she could use the new bins to hold things, if she wanted. She liked that idea and was going to, but the bins were Zip tied together. After seeing them struggle with the bins, I asked if she needed a knife, which she did, so I grabbed my little pocket knife out of my coat and went to cut the ties.

Behind me I hear a customer saying “It’s a good thing we’re not at the airport!” LOL

It worked out very well. When I got to the van, I repacked the cold and frozen items into insulated bags. All the other smaller stuff fit in the three bins, and with their lids, it made for a very efficiently packed van!

During the drive home, I paid close attention to the van, and it was running fine. If there was anything out of the ordinary, I’d say that the gas mileage was somewhat worse. That was it.

Once at home and everything was put away (so good to see everything well stocked again!), I went over the list and made up a new one for non-Costco shopping.

I’ll be going back to the city tomorrow for the rest, just to get it over with. One of my daughters will even be coming with me, as they have their own shopping list. Once that’s done, we will be fully stocked for the month, and need to only make trips into town for fresh stuff.

If that check engine light is still on after tomorrow’s trip, I’ll see about bringing the van back to the garage.

I am so looking forward to not needing to go anywhere again.

The Re-Farmer

4 thoughts on “Well, half the job is done!

  1. Either the valve is stuck closed OR (more likely) the tubing connecting the EGR system is clogged. One end of the tube has just a tiny hole in it and is easily clogged.

    You’ll have to manually clear the code, otherwise the check engine light will be on tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, he cleaned the tubes as much as he could, but he did warn me there might still be pieces breaking loose. Unfortunately, the codes don’t really give a lot of information.

      I though I could use my app to clear the code, but when I tried to use the function, it turned out to just be a notation. :-/

      I will see how it’s running tomorrow. I expect to be taking it in for him to check it, some time this week.


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