Heavy sigh

First, let’s look at adorable cats.

Like this picture of Nosencrantz my daughter took.

She was very, very interesting in smelling my daughter’s phone!

While doing my morning rounds, I got entertained by Chadiccus.

Who just loves flinging himself onto the ground in front of my feet and rolling, trusting that I will somehow not step on or trip over him.

The morning rounds done and critters fed, my daughter and I headed to town to pick up my mother’s car and drop off the van again.

New batteries are a lot more expensive than I remember. The bill was over $200. Which was less than half of what we had budgeted, so that worked out. Getting a new tensioner for the van installed is going to cost between $100 and $150.

After paying for the work on the car, then dealing with the van, my daughter drove my mother’s car across the street to the grocery store to do some shopping. I caught up with her, but just needed to get a couple of our big water bottles refilled, so I was quickly finished and went to the car. Things being a bit chilly, I started it to warm up.

The check engine light was on.


I sent a text to our mechanic about it. He told me it was there when he’d started it, but hadn’t scanned it. He just assumed it had been there before, like with our van. Since we’d never been able to start my mother’s car after that “pop” happened, I’d never seen it before.

My OBDII scanner was in the van.

So I walked over to get it, and happened to cross paths with the mechanic as he came out to get the next vehicle he had to work on. We chatted a bit, and he’ll let us know an estimate on the wipers for the van as soon as he can, then I went to do a scan on my mother’s car.

The first issue was finding the port to plug the frikkin thing in. I knew more or less where it was, but just can’t see it. I took several flash pictures of the underside of the dash before I could finally see it, then I still had to find it by feel.

I finally got it in and did a scan, and got two fault codes with a message reading “2Gray fault codes might only be clearable by the ECU itself after ‘N’ fault-free drive cycles have completed.”

One of the codes was P161B and labelled “null”. When I did the web lookup, it came up as “not found.” Once at home I did a search, specifically for the code and my other’s make and model car, and got some information.

“… It is a check engine light code which indicates that the catalyst’s system efficiency is less than the required threshold. In simple terms, it means that more pollution is added into the air than what was supposed to be because of your car. Other symptoms that may indicate this problem are when the Check Engine Light illuminates and when there is a visible lack of engine power.”

For possible causes:

  • Rarely – faulty Powertrain Control Module (PCM-programming required after replacement)
  • Rough running engine due to misfiring plugs. Many engines have misfire codes to indicate the cylinder effected, such as P0307 for number 7.
  • A large vacuum leak would cause a massive amount of un-metered air to enter the intake manifold resulting in an overly lean mixture.

The engine is running smoothly.

The other code was: P0700 Transmission Control System (MIL Request)

The web look up had some pretty extreme possibilities, ranging from ‘work was just done’ to ‘transmission is worn out’.

Looking it up at home, I found:

  • Faulty transmission control module
  • Transmission valve body fault
  • Shift solenoid issues
  • Open or short in the wiring harness

This car has a long history of electrical problems.

Looking at the symptoms:

  • Check Engine Light displayed on the dashboard
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Transmission shifting problems
  • Engine stalling, running poorly, or dying

I’ve noticed poor mileage for as long as we’ve been taking care of the car for my mother, however it doesn’t seem to have any problems shifting that I can remember, nor does it have a history of stalling, etc. When we got the EGR valve replaced and our mechanic told us to stop buying gas where we were, we also stopped buying gas there for my mother’s car, and it has been running noticeably smoother, since.

Well, I guess when we pick up our van tomorrow, we will be dropping my mother’s car off again to get looked at. It may have a spiffy new battery, but we never did find out what that “POP” noise I’d heard was from.

My mother has been talking about selling the car for quite some time. My brother and I have both resisted, mostly because we do need a smaller car that she can get in and out of. It is very difficult for her to get in and out of our van, and I’m the closest one available to help her with errands. It’s also been our emergency back up vehicle.

It would be bizarre, indeed, if we end up having to sell and replace my mother’s car, faster than our van.

That’s a decision we’ll have to make, together with my mother and brother, after the garage has had another chance to check it out.

On a more entertaining note, my daughter came in while I was writing this and shared something she’d seen. When we got back with my mother’s car and parked it in the garage, my daughter went ahead to get the wagon to bring our stuff to the house. As she entered the inner yard, she startled a deer – in front of the kibble house! Our first confirmation that yes, it has been the deer drinking up all the water when we’ve found the heated water bowl empty. Because of where my daughter was, the deer started running down the cat path to the storage house, then cut through the West yard to go to the maple grove. The snow, however, is so deep, it had to repeatedly leap, as if jumping a fence, just to get through. It was quite a struggle!

No surprise we are seeing so many deer on the roads these days. They can actually move around.

The Re-Farmer

5 thoughts on “Heavy sigh

  1. Ask mechanic if check engine light will come on when battery is replaced…until the car has been driven several times where it has had a chance to warm up.

    I had an old Volvo that after a battery change would take a couple of day’s driving before the check engine light would go out.

    My scanner would indicate “Drive cycle tests incomplete” for those two days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s one of the possibilities that came up, and likely why he never bothered to do a scan after changing the battery. We’ve had so many issues, and I know my brother had many issues with this car as well, I tend to be a bit paranoid about such things!

      I’ve been messaging with our mechanic since I posted, and he’s going to do a full safety check. If it does turn out to be something major, he’ll let me know if it’s worth fixing or not, based on the value of the vehicle (he’s done that for me with our van; recommending against some work, because it would cost more to fix it than the van is worth). I’ll talk about it with my mother and brother. If it isn’t worth fixing anymore, it turns out our mechanic has a small car lot. He said he’d be willing buy it. When I mentioned we’d still need a small car for my mother, he said he could take it as a trade in for another car. Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but it’s a weight off my shoulders, knowing that’s an option.


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